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The New School


Pauper is in a weird place right now. The banning of Spellstutter Sprite several months ago and subsequent banning of Peregrine Drake have fundamentally change the format. It used to be that linear decks could get absolutely crushed by either Cloud of Faeries into Spellstutter Sprites backed up by Ninja of the Deep Hours and Counterspell or by an interactive curve followed by Peregrine Drake and Ghostly Flicker. For better or worse, the lack of these engines has allowed proactive and linear decks to flourish, since there are few control decks that can realistically keep up with the variety of threats available in the format. Could Beafy have changed that?

There’s a lot to like about this deck. The low density of creatures means that you leave many of your opponent’s cards dead in pre-board games. The high density of counterspells, Exclude in particular, are great against all of the Kor Skyfisher and Chittering Rats decks in the format. The fact that you can play a strong suite of specialized removal spells to fight against whatever you expect is great. Electrickery is fine against the format, but great against tokens or Elves. Similar things can be said for cards like Magma Spray, Echoing Decay, Agony Warp, or Electrostatic Bolt, all of which are fine options.

What makes this deck work is the powerful combination of Ash Barrens and Brainstorm. This gives you great flexibility to represent both counterspells and the ability to fix your hand and mana all at once. This engine, combined with Accumulated Knowledge and Mystical Teachings to keep you flush on cards, is a great way to keep up with even the grindiest control decks.

The biggest pull to this deck, in my opinion, is the ability to play Skred as a four-of. A big problem that I’ve had with Blue-based control decks is finding a removal suite that can fight against both larger and smaller aggro decks. Four and five toughness are big numbers in current Pauper, due to threats like Myr Enforcer and Gurmag Angler. Having a removal spell which can fight those threats as well as Goblin Cohort and Delver of Secrets is a huge boon.

Winning the game can be somewhat problematic. There’s two primary routes to victory. The first is to just deck your opponent with Pulse of Murasa and Battlefield Scrounger. As long as the first card you return to your deck is always Pulse of Murasa, you can Mystical Teachings back your Pulse of Murasa again and again to bury your opponent in life and prevent yourself from decking. You’ve got to be a little careful of Journey to Nowhere and Oubliette, but you’ve got plenty of counterspells. The other option is Sprout Swarm. You don’t need a ton of Green mana to make this work because of convoke, but this is a card which can slowly and inexorably put a game out of reach of your opponent.

If you’re looking to counter all the spells and win some very protracted games, this seems like a pretty good place to be in the current format. Hard counterspells backed by Skred answers an awful lot of problems, and it’s something I can’t wait to explore myself.

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