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Hack and Slash

Over the last couple of months, Pauper has become increasingly a format all about synergy. We’ve seen the rise of Gush decks like Kiln Fiend and Tireless Tribe, as well as various decks taking advantage of Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl, or control decks targeting down these highly synergistic decks. The problem with these decks is that they have a single point of failure - the creature that they’re going all-in on, which means that control decks are adapting by playing more and more efficient removal and disruption. How does the format adapt to that? Maybe it’s time for traditional beatdown to make a comeback:

Burning-Tree Emissary
When people are contorting their removal suite to beat decks with Apostle's Blessing and Dispel, sometimes it’s best to go back to basics. This deck has no frills or cute interactions. It’s all about curving out as efficiently as possible and just making your opponent have cards like Evincar's Justice and Pulse of Murasa, which are at a low in the format as it stands.

The key here is maximizing your damage off of Burning-Tree Emissary with Jund Hackblade, Rip-Clan Crasher, and Mudbrawler Cohort. These cards, particularly backed up by Violent Outburst into another haste creature, can put your opponent so far behind that no combination of Chainer's Edicts and Lightning Bolts is going to dig them out. Even if they do have enough spot removal, you’ve got Naya Hushblades that just don’t care.

Down to the minor choices of cards like Chain Lightning over Lightning Bolt, there are subtle edges that this deck can gain in a format that’s all about critical turns. Sure, Lightning Bolt means you miss out on sniping key creatures when your opponent goes all in, but Chain Lightning means that you can’t be Dispelled when you try to kill them a turn early. It’s certainly possible that this is just a budget consideration on Magic Online, but there are also real advantages to be gained depending on what you expect to see.

If you’re looking for a more traditional beatdown deck that has a chance of keeping up with the crazy combo decks, this seems like a good choice. Your high density of haste creatures is a great way to punish control decks in this format while also ensuring that you can force the combo decks to have everything early on in the game.

Dominaria is Now Available for Preorder!