pauper fog

by Steve Giannopoulos

A lot of people usually associate Magic: the Gathering with money. It’s obviously not a cheap hobby, but then again it is realatively inexpensive compared to some. Most don’t have the means or the time to dedicate to forking over hundreds of dollars for a deck they will need to modify every so often. It gets even worse if you are trying to keep up with all the top tier decks just to be able to compete in your local FNM’s.

Fortunately, there exists a format called Pauper. It has its own ban list and you can probably just Google the specifics, but the interesting thing is that even outside of the format: the deck are competitive. Of course by that I mean they can win quite often against your casual buddy’s next level Death’s Presence deck. If you want to examine some nice little deck tech and get some ideas about what’s considered a decent deck, check out .

They used to have a cute little Hobgolbin Dragoon background that was appropriate. Here’s the image for those of you that are not familiar with it.

hobgoblin dragoon

Cute little moth thingy!

Pauper ‘Turbo’ Fog

4 Terramorphic Expanse
11 Island
4 Simic Guildgate
12 Forest

4 Moment’s Peace
4 Fog
4 Respite

4 Dream Twist
4 Ghoulcaller’s Bell
4 Curse of the Bloody Tome
4 Jace’s Erasure

4 Thought Scour

4 Brainstorm
4 Compulsive Research

The deck is pretty straightforward as you can see. You ‘Fog’ them when needed. Moment’s Peace give you extra life if your opponent starts off super strong and gets you low on life. The rest of the cards either draw you more cards or mill your opponent. The reasoning for Dream Twist over Mind Sculpt is because you might get to use its flashback if it’s milled or discarded depending on what you’re facing. With Ghoulcaller’s Bell, having it milled becomes a reality so you can grind out those extra cards.

dream twist

As seen in multiple Innistrad drafts

The mill is obviously less impressive than in limited due to the increase in deck size (40 to 60). It’s great that your mill comes a lot from permanents over instants/sorceries. This is the reason the more successful mill decks have used Hedron Crab, Howling Mine, etc. I’m kind of shocked to not see something like Archaeomancer in there, but I guess it’s a tad slow and when you are running Fog effects the ability to chump block is not needed.

The 1 Forest can easily be upped to 2, but with 4 Gates and 3 Terramorphic Expanses there should be no problem getting green mana. Add to that the card drawing package, it should not be an issue. I have not personally tested it, but I have it on good account that it’s a rather effective deck. The person who gave me this list is a Pauper/Commander/Two-Headed Dragon enthusiast, so I’ll take him at his word.


Probably the greatest common ever

Bottom line: Try this deck! It’s dirt cheap and fun. It’s always great to keep around a few pauper decks as a way to teach new players to play and eventually just give them the deck to have as their own. I believe Brainstorm is the only ‘costly’ card here and it’s not too hard to obtain.


FNM Promo for April 2013

call of the conclave fnm


This coming month’s FNM card is Call of the Conclave. It’s not the most exciting card, but it’s still nice that they chose a Standard card this time. A lot of people still prefer the original Terese Nielsen artwork, however this one is not that bad either.

If you need to pimp your GW tokens deck, then I suggest you play in as many FNM events as you can in order to procure a playset.

So go forth and conquer an FNM event near you! Or just participate, they are also available as random door prizes.


The best night of the week! If you’re into Magic: the Gathering

Modern American Merfolk

american folk

by Zac Clark

Getting into Modern as a new/returning player can be a real drag. There is a barrier to entry the format has that can be off-putting if you haven’t decided to get serious about being a competitive grinder. I’m coming up on one year since I re-mounted this cardboard monkey and the addiction is stronger now than I think it’s ever been. Lucky for me, the side effects have been out and out good things. New friends, steady writing, even a financial back-up plan, have all been great reasons to keep untapping. Like I said, coming back to the game a year ago I was ready to invest in Standard, but going Modern was a little more of a slow build.

One of the first decks I bought was Merfolk. The original decklist was U/W with Paths as the only white cards and just tons of Merfolk Lords and Æther Vial. Surprisingly, the deck had some good match-ups vs. other decks that ran blue. Islandwalk can be a real threat. And as we all know in these tribal decks, “The threat density is too damned high!”

Well, Modern singles prices (not unlike my heating bill this winter) continue to steadily climb. I moved to decks I thought could beat other decks in the meta. But David “Bones” McCoy recently borrowed my Merfolk to try to build a U/R version of the deck. He wasn’t impressed. But this got my wheels turning. I tried to build a Merfolk sideboard that could handle the various weaknesses the deck had.

Problem 1: Affinity

arcbound ravager

It’s a tough race to win in the U/W version. The Paths  just weren’t enough to stop Cranial Plating from killing me after a couple turns.

Vandal Blast makes for a good spot removal card for the bombs like Plating. And though it’s a sorcery we can instant speed removal the carriers with Path to Exile and Lightning Bolts while we build up mana for the blow out.

It’s a race to be sure, but it’s not impossible to win. And ,with four Vandalblast in the board we have a good chance of winning this one.

Problem 2: Jund

liliana of the veil

With BBE banned I had hoped this match-up would fall to the wayside. So much removal and card for card it’s a better deck. Their lack of Islands really hurts us and Tarmogoyf is a hard nut to crack.


+2 Path to Exile, +3 Spreading Seas, -2 Phantasmal Image, -2 Merrow Reejerey, -1 Cursecatcher

In comes two more Path to Exile and some Spreading Seas. Jund’s manabase is its real weakness. Keep them off a color, draw and get Islandwalk going. Bobs can be a pain but you have answers for him. You can bring in Rest in Peace to negate Deathrite Shaman, the card they should have banned in modern instead of the marginally less destructive BBE.

It’s gonna be tough, but remember you have direct damage. If you keep that on the low Jund tends to dip low into the life count before establishing dominance. You have the early beats so make him/her the control player.

Problem 3: Eggs

second sunrise

Short of having all your counters available in game one, things looks pretty bleak versus this deck. Your creature removal is trash but post-board you have a lot to work with.

-4 Lightning Bolt, -4 Lightning Helix, +2 Rest in Peace +2 Stony Silence, +2 Counterflux, +2 Vandalblast.

Having two different “You can’t go off til you deal with this” permanents in play is a hard thing to deal with for Eggs. They’ll need two Echoing Truth. Meanwhile you can play your dudes off Æther Vial to keep the pressure up. If the Eggs player gets sloppy killing a spellbomb on your turn (or all his artifacts) usually can get a scoop from them. It’s all about aggressively mulling. Also don’t let them know you have mondo hate.

Generally, they like to cast Silence then go off. Spell Pierce even with their mana available is many times enough to stall the combo. They need every mana they can generate. After Silence is gone and they don’t go off, keep counter mana up. They can’t afford to brick twice. Remember your Cursecatchers, they are easy to forget.


So good off a Vial!

A final way to shore up the weaknesses in a deck is to buy fetches to add a color. I know it doesn’t make the prohibitive cost of Modern easier to bear, but it does make your early cheapo deck a force in the current meta. As with most things in this game, knowledge of match-ups is important. If you know where and when to take the initiative and make an attack run on the Death Star, you won’t end up repeating a Hoth-sized mistake (to use a Star Wars reference that will make my girlfriend smile).

American Folk


2 Hallowed Fountain
4 Mutavault
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Steam Vents
1 Island
2 Sacred Foundry
4 Arid Mesa
2 Cavern of Souls


4 Silvergill Adept
4 Cursecatcher
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
4 Merrow Reejerey
2 Phantasmal Image
4 Lord of Atlantis


4 Lightning Bolt
4 Æther Vial
4 Lightning Helix
1 Counterflux
2 Path to Exile
2 Spell Pierce

4 Vandalblast
2 Stony Silence
2 Rest in Peace
3 Spreading Seas
2 Path to Exile
2 Counterflux

Bonus Deck: Esper Drownyard !

nephalia drownyard big

Eventhough I’m not playing Standard right now, I have to say I’m really excited about the format. It’s balanced and—even though it seems like there’s a deck that is very close to taking the mantle of “Best” (I’m looking at you, Jund)—there really is no clear king of the hill.

That said, the deck I like this week is Esper Drownyard. It does all the things Evil Tim likes to do (wrath and draw cards) and it has the added bonus of spot removal and a Geist Control option.

Esper Drownyard


2 Watery Grave
4 Drowned Catacomb
1 Plains
2 Godless Shrine
4 Nephalia Drownyard
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Glacial Fortress
2 Island
4 Hallowed Fountain


2 Restoration Angel
4 Augur of Bolas
2 Snapcaster Mage


1 Dramatic Rescue
3 Sphinx’s Revelation
4 Supreme Verdict
2 Planar Cleansing
4 Azorius Charm
4 Think Twice
2 Ultimate Price
2 Dissipate
2 Devour Flesh
1 Jace Memory Adept


2 Angel of Serenity
2 Jace, Memory Adept
2 Duress
1 Negate
2 Witchbane Orb
1 Rest in Peace
1 Psychic Spiral
3 Gloom Surgeon
1 Dispel

no dsphere

I like the lack of Detention Sphere here. Replacing it with Planar Cleansing feels great and it gives us a way to deal with other troublesome planeswalkers permanents. I have seen versions running Consuming Aberration as a win con, I’m guessing more for mill than attacking but with 6 main wrath effects (not to mention Snapcasters), I don’t really like him in the deck. Jace, Memory Adept in the main can just outright win games and I’ve grown to like this path to victory. After playing a few rounds with this configuration, I’m convinced that this is where I’m comfortable in Standard. Who wants to grind out a win with creature battles when the deck has a much better objective. Four Nephalia Drownyard means never having to say “Where’s my win con?”

I also like the Snapcaster Mage/Restoration Angel package here. There’s plenty of good targets and Augur of Bolas hits more often thanks to the absence of D-Sphere.

snapcaster mage restoration angel

Like peanut butter and chocolate. Or jelly, depending on preference.

The sideboard is crucial here. There’s a little something for everyone. Gloom Surgeon for the beatdown decks. You have more cards than life, after all. Jace, Memory Adept, Dispel, Negate and Duress for Control—this is sideboarding 101. Witchbane Orb vs UWR flash (thanks a lot, Boros Reckoner), Humanimator and Dark Naya. Angel of Serenity is quite interesting and is probably good versus most midrange decks, since having two gets around your own Supreme Verdicts/Planar Cleansing.

My favorite piece of tech, though, is the one of Psychic Spiral for the mirror. This is a game changer! Now you don’t really care what the other ‘yard player does. The idea here now is to focus on making him counter spells he thinks are important. Then, once you have some Dispel or Negate backup, SLAM IT BACK DOWN HIS/HER THROAT and yell, “Eat my Graveyard, Coppers!” “It was all a ruse!” is another personal favorite. If your Spiral goes to the yard you still have Snapcasters to get it back, though at that point the jig is up and they know your plan.

psychic spiral

Who would of thought?

All in all, this deck has all the early removal, late game takeover, and mid game resets that control is known for. Naturally, having Drownyard within your own manabase is nice since you don’t have to run Farseek and draw it when you need answers. As with all decks that durdle, you’ll need a little practice so you don’t go to time. (Editor’s Note: Especially in certain stores that run 40 minute rounds)

Good luck decking your fellow planeswalker!

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

DCI Judge FOIL: Crucible of Worlds

crucible promo


Oh my!

The newest Judge Promo was announced and it’s a doozy. It’s already great in Legacy and insane in Commander. The old frame is very cool on these artifact throwback promos and kind of makes me wish it was still the regular style for artifact cards.

You should probably wait until the price stabilizes on these as it has with many other Judge Promos. The more that get out on the open market, the greater the availability, the demand remains the same and the price…drops. You can also get your Judge certification and judge some some GPT-level or higher events to get your hands on this baby at the end of the judge rewards season.

One Drop of Servitude

one drop deck

by Steve DDT Giannopoulos

While the banner doesn’t really reflect it, this is basically a classic White Weenie deck. There is no real replacement for Honor of the Pure, which was a staple in these kinds of decks previously. The deck needs to rely more on its creature synergies rather than a massive boost. It wins rather quickly, rivalling even the ‘Naya Blitz’ deck that’s been gaining a lot of popularity as of late. It was even talked about briefly at Grand Prix Quebec when they asked Top 8 participant Tzu Ching Kuo what was the strangest deck he faced.

His answer:

Monowhite weenie. I got killed on turn four.

The deck mentioned here is the one I will reveal shortly. It was played by a team of local players captained by Charles Trottier. Charles mentioned the deck to me a week or so prior to the event, but I was not able to attend. We did however discuss possible improvement to it, this lead to two major changes.

1) Rally the Peasants > Righteous Charge

Obviously, right? We hardly ever care about the toughness boost. The instant speed is obviously better than the sorcery speed. The flashback, while improbable, was easy to splash for.

2) Mentor of the Meek maindeck

While it lessens the 1-drop threat density slightly it does allow you to recovery extremely well mid to late game. Its value is increased with Doomed Traveller and the only creature that does not trigger its ability is Lyev Skyknight.

Here’s the list:

One Drop of Servitude

Lands (19)

2 Cavern of Souls
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
3 Sacred Foundry


4 Wingcrafter
4 Boros Elite
4 Champion of the Parish
4 War Falcon
4 Doomed Traveler
2 Selfless Cathar
2 Mikaeus, the Lunarch
4 Dryad Militant
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Lyev Skyknight
2 Mentor of the Meek

Spells (4)

2 Rally the Peasants
2 Immortal Servitude


4 Boros Reckoner
2 Riders of Gavony
1 Rally the Peasants
2 Immortal Servitude
3 Knight of Glory
2 Angel of Jubilation

1 Slayers’s Stronghold


The first thing to note is the 19 lands. It seems too low for a regular Standard deck but we are playing a really low curve and only have 6 3-drops and 2 ‘4 drops’. We never need to ‘curve out’ and can easily just play multiple 1-drops as soon as possible and just keep swinging.

Some of the cards you may not even recognize unless you have drafted a lot, but they are the real deal. Selfless Cathar and Wingcrafter might seem like a joke. They are anything but.



Laugh until you realize he is responsible for your downfall

This guy is just awesome! He does so much more than people think. For starters, he is a human which is good times with Champion of the Parish. He acts as a Kitesail since he gives flying and also attacks himself (thuse equaling the +1 Attack bonus granted by Kitesail. He basically allows you to race the other aggressive decks in the air (something they don’t do at all).

You can get starts such as:

Turn 1  Champion of the Parish

Turn 2 Wingcrafter (pair) , trigger Champion of the Parish

                  Boros Elite , trigger Champion of the Parish

                  Attack for 3

Turn 3 Attack for a lot 7 if you played nothing else

                  Attack for much more if you got more humans in play

Turn 4 Probably Win?

It’s not an uncommons scenario, but it goes to show that even when your other small guys are not necessarily pushing through damage your Wingcrafter is allowing you to constantly swing with a Champion of the Parish.

This however is not the only flying threat. You have War Falcon and Lyev Skyknight as well to take to the air with. Pretty much every human in the deck except for Selfless Cathar, Wingcrafter and Mikaeus, the Lunarch. Two of those are not even 4-ofs so the odds are in your favor. A lot of opponents will sometimes waste their removal on one of your non-soldier non-knight cards even if you only have one soldier/knight. They just assume your War Falcon can always attack for some reason. Granted, when you see 4+ creatures on the battlefield you are not exactly focused on any one of them in particular.

war falcon

Now you too can command falcons to do your bidding

Lyev Skyknight also does his fair share of the ‘flying beatdown’. He can even ‘save’ one of your guys if he detains a Liliana of the Veil. Or he can assist the aggro by detaining Jace, Architect of Thought and preventing his +1 ability from happening next turn (something that is rather effective versus our weenie horde.

Another small detail is that it allows us to mitigate some of the opposing life-gain from cards such as Thragtusk by detaining them for a turn. We get to blank their blocker and basically make their cards read: ” 5 mana : Gain 5 life”

lyev skyknight

Your friendly neighborhood one-shot Pacifism

The other non-human in the deck is Dryad Militant. While it is a direct upgrade over Elite Vanguard, save its creature types, we would have almost preferred the Elite Vanguard. However, since it was not reprinted in M13 we do not get to make that choice. Her ability will maybe mess with the possbility of flashing back a Rally the Peasants, but that is very unlikely. She’s probably the 1-drop you want to play on turn 1 unless you have Champion of the Parish or War Falcon in hand. Also, if you have no actual white mana except for Cavern of Souls, it can get awkward. This too is rather unlikely.



Not the booster pack variety, but the cards that allow you to pump more damage.

Mikaeus, the Lunarch

mikaeus the lunarch

Rise my humans, Riiiiiiiise!

This guy can be a great play on any turn pas the first one. Sometimes you have to play in ways that are not ‘correct’. One of them being that you would cast creatures without haste pre-combat (a big no-no under normal circumstances). In this case though, we want the Mikaeus effect to affect the greatest number of creatures.

He usually doesn’t stick around very long, which is why it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have two of these in our opening hand. It’s very rare that we activate the ability to pump himself but it’s sometimes the correct play if their are too many creatures on the battlefield and you would be losing some guys by just going on the attack. This way you can alternate between both his abilities to keep boosting your team. It’s not rocket science but you just need to evaluate if activating the first ability is sometimes worth it.

Another smallish detail about him is that you do get to reanimate him when you cast an Immortal Servitude for X =1 . While this means that he dies as soon as he enters the battlefield, he will indeed trigger Champion of the Parish‘s ability once. This is rather important to remember in a deck that aims to deal as much damage as possible.

selfless cathar

This little guy is what I would qualify as the most ‘filler’ card in the deck. It does have a couple of uses. It costs one mana for starters, so Immortal Servitude can pop it back into play. Its main role is that it basically does a Glorious Charge but is also a creature. It’s a turn faster than Mikaeus for when you need that boost right away.

rally the peasants

Appropriate for something that is almost a ‘peasant deck’

This late addition to the deck proved to be potentially the most explosive. When you can deal an extra 6-12 damage, you definitely don’t ignore it. On the following turn it can mean casting it back for another damage boost. At that point, the game should probably be over.

Relevant still, is the ability to cast it on defense. You don’t want to be in that position, but it’s nice knowing you have that option. You get to kill their bigger guys with your smaller ones and then keep some of your to strike back.

Before we get to the other creatures in the deck,, let’s get to the card that lends its name to it.

immortal banner

No doubt your favorite white weenies in skeleton form

This is one of the cards behind the whole deck concept. It is the reason we max out on 1 drop creatures. It allows us to recover from disastrous situations, usually after a Supreme Verdict. If your opponent is trying to mill you out, this can also be rather awesome against them (of course with only 2 copies maindeck, it’s rather unlikely).

I played against a few decks casually trying this out in a Standard rats deck, only there are not enough to make it worthwhile. It’s pretty obvious you want to use it for X =1 to maximize its efficiency. I guess it will only get better as Standard evolves with DragonMaze.

We get a small amount of come into play abilities when we reanimate for one. Nothing major just Champion of the Parish triggers and Wingcrafter pairings to resolve.

I like the art on this and the quote from Teysa is pretty nice. It actually looks like a movie poster now that I think about it.

I wanted to do the same banner but with a small credits roll at the bottom half of it.

“One Drop of Servitude”

Produced by ………….. Immortal Servitude

Directed by ……………. Wingcrafter 

Executive Producer . Rally the Peasants

CAST ……………………..

                                                   Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

                                                   Mikaeus, the Lunarch

                                                   Doomed Traveler

                                                   Boros Elite

and so on  …….

Let’s get back to the card choices.

boros elite

This guy is usually found in Boros builds, but he’s pretty spicy in this deck as well. We get to sometimes give him flying and get to be attacking with him by turn with a couple of his friends for 3. He’s obviously great in multiples and we don’t mind having one of our other guys trade in combat if it means Boros Elite can get to hit for 3. Being a one-drop also qualifies him for the deck.

doomed traveler

Another one drop! Human and Soldier. So far so good… He dies and keeps the attack going. He’s one of the cards we don’t mind attacking with alongside Boros Elite as he will just turn into another creature anyways. This will allow us to repeat our attack next turn.

He can also get our Mentor of the Meek to trigger 2 times, giving us insane amounts of value.


This card is just good. I’m not going to use any arguments to try and convince you, just that it slows down the control decks for an extra turn. Supreme verdict costs 5 instead, they need to wait to cast their Ultimate Price and even their Farseeks may become uncastable if they kept a 2 land hand. We only play 3 and sometimes I wish it was less. Getting 2 of these in hand is about one of the worst draws you can have, otherwise it’s all around great.

mentor of the meek

Con: not a 1-drop. Pro: Just awesome!

He gets to be our drawing engine for when we’re running low on gas. He triggers Champion of the Parish‘s ability and allows our War Falcon to attack as well. There is also the improbable situation where you cast Immortal Servitude and use the extra mana to draw a couple of cards. In my experience with this deck you will max out at 5 mana and 6 is just unfortunate (unless you cast and recast Rally the Peasants).

I often said that I wish my nickname was Mentor of the Meek, but it’s hard to top DDT. I kid I kid!


boros reckoner

The funny thing about this guy is that the playset is almost as expensive as the deck itself. I’m exaggerating of course, but it’s just funny to think that you have 100-120$ in your sideboard that you sometimes get to play. For those on a smaller budget I would just recommend cutting it for something like Fiend Hunter.

He’s sided in versus the other aggressive decks and hopefully gets to 2 for 1 your opponent’s creatures. Also he can be fully cast off of all white mana even though everyone is used to seeing him in mostly red decks.

knight of glory

Here comes the hate!

A definite sideboard card that hates on Jund and Zombie decks. If he follows a turn 1 War Falcon, he can allow us to attack in the air for 3 while holding down the fort against black creatures. Same scenario with Wingcrafter only less damage.

angel of jubilation

Here is an ‘odd’ inclusion if there ever was one. One part Honor of the Pure and one part random hate. I guess it prevents a flipped Garruk Relentless, Cartel Aristocrat and Undercity Informer (from the Humanimator deck) from activating their effects.

It can also let us survive things like a very random Curse of Death’s Hold (don’t laugh, it happened to me).

riders of gavony

Where you expecting something else? These guys always appear in some capacity in human-themed Standard decks. They allow you to keep attacking versus other creature decks (usually naming ‘Beast’ for Thragtusk and sometimes ‘Wizard’ for Boros Reckoner. It’s also rather handy if you find yourself getting manhandled by Olivia Voldaren.

That about wraps it up for this article! Be sure to chec back regularly for more.

Comment, question and suggestions? Just reply on WordPress.

Sorin vs. Tibalt deck Spoilers

sorin vs tibalt

Sorin’s Deck

sorin lord of innistrad

Planeswalker (1)
1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

Lands (25)
2 Evolving Wilds
2 Tainted Field
12 Swamp
9 Plains


Creatures (19)
2 Doomed Traveler
1 Vampire Lacerator
1 Wall of Omens
1 Child of Night
2 Duskhunter Bat
1 Mesmeric Fiend
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
1 Twilight Drover
1 Bloorage Vampire
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Mausoleum Guard
1 Phantom General
1 Vampire Outcasts
1 Revenant Patriarch
1 Butcher of Malakir
1 Sengir Vampire

Spells (15)
1 Mark of the Vampire
1 Field of Souls
1 Decompose
1 Lingering Souls
2 Spectral Procession
1 Ancient Craving
1 Absorb Vis
1 Death Grasp
1 Vampire’s Bite
1 Sorin’s Thirst
1 Urge to Feed
1 Zealous Persecution
1 Mortify
1 Unmake

Tibalt’s Deck


Planeswalker (1)

1 Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded

Lands (24)
2 Akoum Refuge
2 Rakdos Carnarium
14 Mountain
6 Swamp

Creatures (18)
1 Goblin Arsonist
1 Scorched Rusalka
1 Reassembling Skeleton
2 Ashmouth Hound
2 Hellspark Elemental
2 Vithian Stinger
1 Shambling Remains
1 Coal Stoker
1 Lavaborn Muse
1 Mad Prophet
1 Hellrider
1 Skirsdag Cultist
1 Corpse Connoisseur
1 Scourge Devil
1 Gang of Devils

Spells (17)
1 Bump in the Night
1 Faithless Looting
1 Flame Slash
1 Pyroclasm
1 Recoup
2 Browbeat
1 Breaking Point
1 Blightning
1 Torrent of Souls
1 Devil’s Play
1 Blazing Salvo
1 Geistflame
1 Terminate
1 Strangling Soot
1 Flame Javelin
1 Sulfuric Vortex