Tuesday, August 28

Standard, Modern, and Pauper

It's been a while since I've made a post and I had a request to post my lists and thoughts on the current format so I thought I'd do that for all formats I'm currently playing.

If you'd to ask or state anything, feel free to in the comments section or on twitter.

Standard (RUG Pod)

I don't know what it is, but I actually don't like UW Delver. It has seen very good results and is touted as the best deck in the format but I still can't get behind it. Then again, I rarely do get behind the "best" deck so I guess it's actually normal. I've tested other decks too but I keep coming back to RUG Pod. It's been performing the best for me all while being an unpopular deck, which is a quality I much prefer the deck I play to have.

Matt Nass's primer on the deck can be found here. And here's my most recent list:

4 Birds of Paradise
4 Llanowar Elves
2 Elvish Visionary
2 Phantasmal Image
3 Strangleroot Geist
1 Viridian Corrupter
2 Borderland Ranger
1 Deceiver Exarch
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Thragtusk
1 Zealous Conscripts
1 Wolfir Silverheart
1 Inferno Titan

4 Birthing Pod
4 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Bonfire of the Damned

4 Copperline Gorge
3 Hinterland Harbor
3 Rootbound Crag
2 Mountain
1 Island
9 Forest
1 Kessig Wolf Run

1 Ancient Grudge
2 Arc Trail
1 Bonfire of the Damned
3 Hellrider
1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
3 Pillar of Flame
1 Stingerfling Spider
1 Thragtusk
1 Wolfir Silverheart
1 Zealous Conscripts

The ability to switch to a very fast Hellrider deck is really awesome. I've started doing it in matchups that I didn't used to, like RG Aggro and Zombies.

Modern (UW Control)

I haven't done as well as I'd like to have with my UW deck. I think there is a version of it that is good but I'm still not there yet. I'll continue playing it but I'm also going to try some other decks soon (RWU Delver unfortunately). Hopefully Ravnica will have something that puts it over the top (I'm looking at you, Azorius Charm). In the meantime, the Magic Player's Championship will hopefully shake up the format a bit.

This is my current list (which is changing constantly):

4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Squadron Hawk
3 Vendilion Clique
2 Kitchen Finks

2 Engineered Explosives
4 Path to Exile
1 Dismember
1 Spell Pierce
2 Spell Snare
4 Sleight of Hand
3 Remand
4 Cryptic Command
4 Celestial Colonnade
3 Hallowed Fountain
1 Watery Grave
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Marsh Flats
2 Plains
6 Island
1 Moorland Haunt
3 Tectonic Edge

1 Academy Ruins
2 Disenchant
1 Dispel
3 Grafdigger's Cage
2 Vedalken Shackles
1 Oust
1 Pulse of the Grid
2 Kitchen Finks
2 Wrath of God

Vedalken Shackles, while really powerful, are too slow in the important creature matchups. If I drop them entirely then I could go back to a mana base with Seachrome Coast which casts the MD Kitchen Finks better.

I've decided that a lot of the matchups are basically races while in others (combo) we play as a true control deck. But even then, I still have Kitchen Finks over Geist of Saint Traft due to its higher versatility.

I think I'm also going to try a version that has Gifts Ungiven, though that would be in contrary to the idea that most matchups are races. I guess the deck would be a lot different/ have a much different game plan.

Pauper (UR Post)

I only just started playing Pauper so I don't have a lot to say about it. But I have become very opinionated on the deck that I've been playing with, which is UR Post. I'll go over the differences from other versions and why I think this one is correct.

3 Sea Gate Oracle
1 Mnemonic Wall
4 Mulldrifter
1 Ulamog's Crusher

3 Expedition Map
4 Firebolt
4 Preordain
1 Brainstorm
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Izzet Signet
4 Prophetic Prism
1 Counterspell
1 Harvest Pyre
3 Prohibit
1 Capsize
1 Ghostly Flicker
3 Mystical Teachings

9 Island
6 Mountain
4 Cloudpost
4 Glimmerpost

4 Earth Rift
1 Echoing Truth
1 Envelop
2 Flame Slash
3 Negate
1 Pyroblast
1 Seismic Shudder
2 Serrated Arrows

Sea Gate Oracle

Compulsive Research is a much better card in this deck but the body is actually very relevant in this format. In addition to that, I have to play this card to justify the Ghostly Flicker.

Ulamog's Crusher

At first I didn't like the random fatty that you can't tutor for, but I realized that the one random X spell was virtually the same thing and since I've never actually managed to kill any creatures of relevance with  Rolling Thunder I decided to make the switch. So far there's not much difference between the two but I like that this one is a giant.


Firebolt is easily the best of the available burn spells. It hits players, can deal 4, and is a two for one. Most of the time you want to sorcery speed the burn anyways. As an instant, Lightning Bolt does give you more safety which is why it's my second pick for this slot. I play one copy as a tutor target currently. I used to also have a Staggershock but it was (surprisingly) unimpressive.

EDIT: I've actually decided Harvest Pyre has been under-performing and have switched back to Staggershock which I think is better in the matchups where you really need removal. It could also just be another Lightning Bolt instead.


Other versions usually play Mysteries of the Deep but I prefer one mana to five. My version also has more shuffle / "scry" effects to make Brainstorm do what it's best at. In addition, when drawn it still acts as a way to find relevant cards early game even why you can't shuffle.


Other versions usually play Condescend which I've found to be horrible in this format. It's bad against pretty much every deck that you want a counterspell in as well as the other ones. Prohibit is an actual two (sometimes four) mana hard counter and is definitely best in this slot.

That's all I've got for you today. See you in the queues!


  1. Can you provide some additional insight on Elvish Visionary, and why many lists have been adding it in or replacing Strangleroot Geist with it?

  2. One Visionary is mandatory but I added a second one because Geist is weak to Blade Splicer, which sees a fair amount of play.

    1. What makes it "mandatory?" Do you just GSZ for it when Geist isn't good? I'm definitely going to try it out, but I wanted to get a better understand of how it plays with the deck and when to use it/get it.

  3. Yes, sometimes getting Geist with Pod or Zenith is worse than Visionary so you want at least 1.