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Mazzy's Hexproof Aura Brigade


When it comes to playing Pauper, most people will automatically attribute one kind of deck to me: Elves. It's so prevalent that there's a sort of myth within the player base that it's the only thing that I like to play. In truth, I play lots of different decks and enjoy running a good variety through MTGO leagues, Pauper Challenges, and my good ol' LGS' paper Pauper nights. One of my non-Elvish favorites is Bogles, a deck where you play a cheap hexproof creature or two and suit it up as much as humanly possible.

Ethereal Armor
Slippery Bogle
Ancestral Mask

There's some kind of simple and elegant fun when it comes to playing Bogles that I enjoy. It appeals to my grinder sensibilities in that it's a good deck I can play with and get through games quickly. Would you rather play one league with Bogles and be done in an hour and a half or would you play some crazy control deck that takes three to four hours to run through a league? I know what I'd prefer personally! More than that, though, it also appeals to the Tammy side of me where big creatures and big numbers go brrrr.

The thing about Bogles, though, in any format where you play it is that you're going all in on a single creature. Everything can fall apart with one edict effect or one simple chump blocker if you can't find a good trample effect. I love playing with it and doing hexproof aura nonsense, but if can definitely lead to some incredible feel bads when playing it. Even if you do get there, also, it's just deeply unfun for your opponents. When I saw Mazzy, Truesword Paladin previewed for Battle for Baldur's Gate, though, I saw an opportunity to take this strategy and turn it somewhat on its head.

Mazzy, Truesword Paladin

Mazzy gives pumps to each creature you suit up. That incentivizes you to spread your auras across a wide swath of creatures rather than going all in on a single target. Seeing that, I thought wouldn't it be cool to build a Bogles-style deck with as many hexproof creatures as possible and try suiting up a bunch of them instead of just the one? Sounds like a good twist on a classic Constructed archetype to me, so let's see how a list looks!

Mazzy Bogles | Commander | Paige Smith

Well... spoiler alert: it didn't end up working out quite as well as I thought it would. There's still a lot of hexproof cards in here, though, and a lot of auras as well, so the general outline of the concept is still quite there. It's just nowhere near as all-in as I was expecting. So, what happened?

The simple answer is that when creating the initial card pool that I'd whittle down to form a deck, there were simply too many cards! There was something in the realm of 40-50 auras I'd picked out, about 20-30 hexproof creatures, and then you also need all the other non-land cards as well. Things like mana rocks, value creatures such as the various Enchantress cards, utility spells and removal, and so on. What I ended up with was about 120 non-land cards - nearly double what I tend to want in my Commander lists!

As a result, tons and tons of cards got cut. Oftentimes I determined I'd rather have value creatures over hexproof ones as at least that way you're probably more likely to draw into gas including the creatures that have hexproof. The auras had to be cut down to size as well and it hurt to make some of those cuts. It was even worse when I felt like the deck really needed some kind of utility spells like Heroic Intervention, Swords to Plowshares, and Cultivate just to round it out which took up even more spots. What's more, most of the hexproof creatures that I could choose from were actually terrible vanilla creatures that I'd just rather pass over, so what's left is often the cream of the crop in that regard.

So, the end result ended up being a bit different from how I initially wanted it. I still feel, however, that it ended up great and that you can have an excellent time. As mentioned before, several of the hexproof cards here are absolute heaters. Avabruck Caretaker // Hollowhenge Huntmaster, Sigarda, Host of Herons; and especially Uril, the Miststalker are the kind of cards that will aggravate your opponents to no end. Creatures like Umbra Mystic, Kor Spiritdancer, and Tiana, Ship's Caretaker all produce so much value for you that it almost doesn't matter that they don't have hexproof. Even if they don't naturally, though, playing a nice Asceticism will fix up that problem and legitimately turn everything you have into a bogle.

Umbra Mystic
Thrun, the Last Troll
Indrik Umbra

The aura suite is quite excellent as well. If you've ever played a Bogles deck, all the usual suspects are here. You've got Ethereal Armor, Gryff's Boon, Rancor, All That Glitters, Ancestral Mask, Armadillo Cloak, and so on. You also get some of the typical Commander options in Spirit Mantle and Flickerform as well. I personally like utilizing cards here such as Shield of the Oversoul, On Serra's Wings, and Gaea's Embrace for some real epic beats. It's even the perfect home for some lesser used options like Indrik Umbra and Verdant Embrace to get their time in the sun.

The one thing that really bothered me when making this list, though, was that there wasn't really a whole lot to get to utilize when it came to Mazzy's Red side. Let's be honest here: Bogles is typically a Selesnya archetype and it shows. Most of the best cards for the archetype are in Green and White when it comes to 60-card Constructed but that also holds pretty true in Commander as well. Aside from the Commander, only five cards in the deck use Red mana, not counting lands. There weren't even that many options I cut either, with the only others basically being Shiv's Embrace, Smoke Spirits' Aid (which as a very hard choice to cut), and Gruul Spellbreaker. If you can find some good Red options that you like, though, be my guest, but I simply found many better options in the other two colors.

Smoke Spirits' Aid
Darksteel Mutation
Slippery Bogbonder

That is the great thing about this kind of deck though: there's a ridiculous amount of customization options. The list here is what I'd consider somewhat of the more optimal and streamlined sort of build for a deck like this, but there were so many great options that got cut along the way as well. Chained to the Rocks, Darksteel Mutation, and Prison Term are all great removal options that trigger your Enchantress effects. I personally prefer the hard removal of Path and Swords but these are excellent choices if you want instead. Daybreak Coronet, Sixth Sense, and Empyrial Armor are great examples of power-up auras that could be run instead. There're even great hexproof-related cards like Guardian Augmenter, Slippery Bogbonder, and Shalai, Voice of Plenty that just narrowly missed joining the fray here.

One of the best parts about a deck like this in my opinion too is that many of the best choices among all of these different aspects of the deck are surprisingly cheap. That means you can build the deck how you want on your budget and find ways to incorporate your own deck-building style along the way. Want more Enchantress effects? You can definitely add them in. Want to go more aura utility creatures and less hexproof bogles? You can do that too. What about aura ramp spells? There's plenty to go around, and there's so much more than that too! Cost reductions, creature revival, deck searching and filtration - it's almost crazy how deep your options are with a deck like this.

That's sometimes the benefit of playing with an archetype that has such a rich - if annoying - history like Bogles does. The great thing about this one, though? Unlike your normal Constructed Bogles list which will often frustrate your opponents at a Pauper or Modern event, here it's a lot tamer and more manageable. As a result, it's not a stretch to say that you can have quite an excellent time at your next Commander night. Just watch out for those Aura Shards.

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

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