Monday, September 16

Theros Brews, Pauper and Modern Decklists (pics)

Last night towards the end of my stream, I decided to brew up a decklist that I would be interested in playing in the post Theros format. I wanted to start with GR Aggro because of how much I like Polukranos and Stormbreath Dragon but I also want to look at GW Aggro and WU Control. Here are my initial ideas:


4 Elvish Mystic
4 Experiment One
4 Kalonian Tusker
3 Scavenging Ooze
2 Boon Satyr
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Stormbreath Dragon

4 Domri Rade
3 Mizzium Mortars

4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple of Abandon
12 Forest
4 Mountain

There are no Burning-Tree Emissary because it doesn't fit well with Tusker, which is a card I like better in this deck. Boon Satyr may not be good enough to be included in large numbers but it's still a 4 power 3-drop and that's something I want. Magma Jet is probably not better than Mizzium Mortars but I could see a combination. The new planeswalker, Xenagos, is fine but I would prefer to play 4 Domri and the two don't mix that well. Xenagos does interact well with all of our late game mana sinks so it's something I will try at some point, sideboard at least. Fitting Mutavault into the manabase is probably too greedy, especially when we already have so many late game mana sinks.


4 Elvish Mystic
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
4 Voice of Resurgence
4 Fleecemane Lion
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Polukranos, World Eater

4 Advent of the Wurm
4 Selesnya Charm
2 Ajani, Caller of the Pride

4 Temple Garden
4 Selesnya Guildgate
8 Forest
8 Plains

I'm not sure which of the available 1-drops are best but Soldier is worth a shot over Dryad Militant. Experiment One has been great in Standard so far so that could still be the way to go. It even works with Ajani in a cute way. Ajani is a card I think can shine in correct circumstances. This deck is incredibly dense so I think it's perfect for Ajani, so long as he's easily castable. The God weapons in red, green, and white are all playable in my opinion but they need to be better than the alternatives and I think Ajani is better in this case.


1 AEtherling

4 Chained to the Rocks
4 Syncopate
1 Celestial Flare
4 Azorius Charm
2 Azorius Keyrune
4 Detention Sphere
4 Supreme Verdict
4 Jace, Architect of Thought
2 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
4 Sphinx's Revelation

4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Azorius Guildgate
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Steam Vents
2 Mutavault
3 Island
5 Plains

I hit a wall while working on this deck. There are almost no good cards from Theros to help this deck along so I decided that I wanted to give the new 1-drop removal spell a try. Playing 8 additional dual lands isn't ideal, and my just not be worth it, but Chained to the Rocks gives you a Swords to Plowshares type effect that works well with Jace's -2 ability. Otherwise we could always adopt Pacifism or Sensory Deprivation. Going deeper into red could be the way to go but for now I'm sticking to this idea. I would love to be able to play 4 Mutavault in this type of deck but I'm pretty conservative when it comes to mana, at least before any testing.

Going deeper into red could definitely alleviate some of the card quality issues in just UW. It also means that we get access to scrylands but at the cost of Mutavaults and being a more streamlined deck. We'll have to wait and see how important Thunder Strike, Warleader's Helix, and friends are to the new format. And for the record, I'm not a huge fan of Steam Augury. I'm a much bigger fan of Jace, though alongside more instant speed removal it probably has a place. 

Also last night, Pauper bannings were announced. Temporal Fissure and Cloudpost both met the hammer which I think is great for the format. I took a decklist that I brewed up previously in the format (but knew it was bad in a Cloudpost format) and updated it for my expectations of the new format:

4 Fume Spitter
4 Augur of Skulls
4 Chittering Rats
1 Crypt Rats
4 Mulldrifter

1 Snuff Out
1 Brainstorm
1 Disfigure
1 Undying Evil
1 Vendetta
1 Grim Harvest
1 Oona's Grace
1 Soul Manipulation
1 Traumatic Visions
1 Spinning Darkness
4 Tragic Slip
4 Diabolic Edict
3 Mystical Teachings

3 Dimir Aqueduct
2 Dimir Guildgate
4 Evolving Wilds
12 Swamp
1 Island

3 Basilica Screecher
1 Crypt Rats
1 Disfigure
1 Dispel
4 Duress
1 Echoing Decay
1 Grim Harvest
1 Psychic Strike
1 Soul Manipulation
1 Spinning Darkness

This type of deck has a natural advantage against creature decks which is what most of the remaining format is made of but it also has enough card advantage to fight through control decks. A deck comprised of mostly countermagic would give us a hard time but if we can deal with their threats (easy enough), then that'll give us a chance for our engines to take over.

I used to employ a Probe and/or Trinket Mage Engine but I've decided the Mystical Teachings engine is going to be the way to go. It's less clunky than Probe, more versatile than Trinket Mage, and works through discard and countermagic. It also allows the deck to play a lot of sweet singletons as seen above. I would list the sweetest ones, but I'd end up listing almost all of them.

As for Theros additions, Read the Bones is a viable option but I've always said that if you're playing blue you can do better when it comes to card draw.

Lastly, if you missed my Living End decklist that I've started streaming with, here it is:

4 Fulminator Mage
2 Shriekmaw
4 Deadshot Minotaur
4 Monstrous Carabid
4 Street Wraith
3 Pale Recluse
2 Twisted Abomination
4 Jungle Weaver

3 Living End
4 Demonic Dread
4 Violent Outburst

4 Blackcleave Cliffs
3 Copperline Gorge
1 Raging Ravine
1 Blood Crypt
1 Stomping Ground
1 Godless Shrine
1 Overgrown Tomb
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Swamp
2 Forest

2 Avalanche Riders
1 Domri Rade
2 Faerie Macabre
3 Ingot Chewer
2 Jund Charm
2 Shriekmaw
3 Sin Collector

There's no Dryad Arbor because you rarely need to have one for Demonic Dread and even when you do it's really situational. The deck doesn't need more dead cards either.

The 1 Domri Rade in the sideboard could easily be a 4th Sin Collector but I've had good results with him so far. It serves as a way to circumvent hate while still being a bro otherwise. I bring him in against Tron and UWR.

A Daily Event with a similar decklist will go up on ChannelFireball in a few days so look for that and if you'd like to watch the archived stream from yesterday go here. Thanks for reading!


  1. Jim Storrie9/16/13, 4:07 PM

    What do you think of the interaction between Ordeal of Purphorous and Unleash guys? Putting Ordeal on a t1 Cackler or t2 Chainwalker seems fairly good, and those three cards fit well with BTEs.

  2. I don't think Ordeal is good enough regardless. Opening yourself up to a 2 for 1 isn't worth it when you could just play another creature or another burn spell..

  3. Jim Storrie9/17/13, 9:20 AM

    Well, it is effectively another burn spell - just a really slow one. But how slow does 5 for 1R have to be before it's bad? I think the question is whether or not it's more useful than Madcap Skills, which is already good enough to show up in the 4-0 Gruul/RDW lists in the dailies.

  4. Madcap Skills is definitely more effective. It impacts the board more directly and efficiently and the damage adds up faster if they don't have removal.