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Monday, April 27, 2015

Competitive EDH - Dragonlord Ojutai

(video is in Czech language)

This Saturday there was an EDH tournament held in Najada. I did not plan to go so we made a deal. If I manage to get my hands on Dragonlord Ojutai till the tournament I would participate in it. After the Pro Tour it was almost impossible to get the card. Not only the price skyrocketed but no one was willing to let the card go. On Friday afternoon I went to Najada. I brought my laptot with me and decided to play a draft on MODO. It started pretty well - my first pick was Ojutai Exemplars. I drafted primarily white cards with some red ones. Douse in Gloom, Harsh Sustenance and Foul Renewal made it into the deck but I was usually siding out the black rare. I went 2:0 fast but there was one table that was still playing. After 30 minutes they finally finished game 1. At that time a Friday Night Magic draft was starting. It was decided that I would play in it if they would be one player short. This happened and that is why I played in the event. During drafting I still had to finish my last match. I managed to win the game 2:1 and in the meantime pick some GW cards and I felt like a completely idiot^_^. The deck seemed pretty weak but I managed to win the first game. My opponent had certainly better cards but not so much card advantage so I managed to achieve one through combat mostly and win. Next I encountered more or less anti-deck for my deck. A deck full of 2/4s, flyers and life gain. Hopefully for me I did not encounter too many of those 2/4s and managed to get through those that hit the table thanks to Artful Maneuvers and Tread Upon. In the last round I played against Ondra who paid for my draft and who played UWg with 'small' Ojutai. (I played GWu with small Ojutai). Anyway I terribly died in game one and in game two I could beat him terribly but I couldn't draw a second source of white and the game wasn't looking good. It was either me or him playing Ojutai and the first one to play it would win. We got 6 pack in total. (4 for me kinda, 2 for him). We took the packs and went to fetch something to eat. In the restaurant we met another Magic player so each of us opened 2 packs. I'm not sure what the first rare I opened was...but the second one was UW card and with power and thoughness 5/4 - Dragonlord Ojutai, yay!

Afterwards we played few games of Modern on MODO. I encountered mostly Tron decks but also played against Cruel Ultimatum deck (the end result was a draw). It seems that monoU Tron decks don't have a good matchup with Grixis Delver^_^.

After this I went home to build the Ojutai deck (because I kind of promised that) but it had to be postponed for quite some time. In the flat I found my flatmate looking horrible. He called for an ambulance a bit later and was taken to nearby hospital (he looks better now). After that I returned to my room and wondered what to do with that Ojutai deck. I haven't slept for several days probably because of my worries for Zdenek. He certainly did not look good and I hoped he would feel better but that did not really happen. Things should be better though now, so hope he gets better soon. At almost 3 am I decided to put the deck together and not to think about bad things. I partly succeeded in both 'activities'. There were several cards I was missing and there were thoughts in my mind that were not really pleasant.

I went to sleep for a while. The 'Red Alert' sound tried to wake me up some time later. I realized that I set the alarm in a way...that I really needed to get up almost immediately and run for the metro. So I got up grabbed my deck and ran out of the flat. I managed to get in the store on time.

I went 3:1 somehow. I lost to High Tide from Tasigur. I hoped that Rest in Peace would help with Tasigur matchups. In my opinion Tasigur is broken and should be ban as fast as possible. Anyway I won one match against Tasigur deck because of RIP but I lost the High Tide match. I did not plan on writing a report from this tournament but I can say this. Dragonlord Ojutai is a really great card. A perfect general for my deck. It is (supposedly) a win condition. It draws cards and blocks well and it is a threat which is quite important when playing against other control decks. Some decks don't really have a way how to deal with it. I added Helm of Obedience and Rest in Peace in the deck. Mostly because I expected many Tasigurs and secondly because it allows me to win in one turn and this actually happened more often than not (even with only three tutors in the deck).

The reason why I started writing this post is completely different though. Now you know the story behind how I got to play Dragonlord Ojutai EDH deck. But the real story I wanted to share is the following.

For quite some time I wanted to shoot a Magic video. It was supposed to be a series of deck techs + actual games between the decks. The decks were supposed to be Mimeoplasm vs Karn and Grand Arbiter Augustin IV vs Marath, Will of the Wild. (One of the decks can be seen in action in one of my youtube videos)

So I tried setting up my table in a way so I could shoot a video showing my Dragonlord Ojutai (previously GAA) deck. The camera records in full HD and it drains the battery very fast and fills the memory card also very fast. When looking at the video I also noticed that it is hard to see or read the cards anyway (majority of them is in Japanese anyway). So I decided to try something different. I turned on a web camera and tried using that. The video itself was ok, a bit blurry and 'low-res' but the cards were seen more or less the same way. The audio though was horrible. So I put my deck aside grabbed my computer and imported the deck into MODO. I did the very same what I did with my deck earlier that evening/morning - I created piles of cards and placed them on the screen somewhere so I could talk about it (and not forget about it)

I set Camstudio to record audio from the microphone. I gave Dragonlord Ojutai yet another try. When exporting the file I lost the whole audio track due to (most probably because it reached over 2GB) some error. So I tried once again. This time I was recording the audio in another software. But in this attempt both the video and audio failed to save. I was quite frustrated because I already lost few hours of time and since that evening the screen capture worked fine (I was recording some games on MODO and those are saved with sound, 2 or 3 games in full HD). I decided to record ten minutes parts and put those together but that did not work out well either. So after few more attemps I set the video quality to something that was supposed to be only HD and record it once again.

The video quality is nowhere near HD or anything pretending to be HD...but it managed to save the file with both video and audio. So I just uploaded that. So anyway...the video itself is in Czech language so if you understand that language and you are not afraid of listening to me you can watch it. It is my first attempt of doing something like this and it is probably the longest speech I gave in the last few years. It was very difficult for me to express myself so there are sentences that hardly make sense. But I think I managed to introduce the deck a bit and you can see the decklist at least. So here's the video. If I ever try to do a new one..I will try to fix the video quality somehow (and make more sense as well^_^)

For those who do not understand czech language here's the decklist in a text form at least. It's an updated version of this (includes some explanation and card choices) -> http://stsu.blogspot.cz/2015/02/blue-white-control-in-french-edh.html

Dragonlord Ojutai

Creature [3]
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Monastery Mentor

Instant [32]
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Cryptic Command
1 Exclude
1 Force of Will
1 Absorb
1 Miscalculation
1 Force Spike
1 Spell Snare
1 Repeal
1 Dissolve
1 Path to Exile
1 Negate
1 Spell Pierce
1 Memory Lapse
1 Remand
1 Brainstorm
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Logic Knot
1 Jace's Ingenuity
1 Sphinx's Revelation
1 Impulse
1 Into the Roil
1 Forbid
1 Mana Leak
1 Condescend
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Mental Misstep
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Dig Through Time
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Counterspell
1 Anticipate

Sorcery [11]
1 Treasure Cruise
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Preordain
1 Terminus
1 Day of Judgment
1 Wrath of God
1 End Hostilities
1 Portent
1 Ponder
1 Council's Judgment
Artifact [2]
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Helm of Obedience

Enchantment [4]
1 Future Sight
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Detention Sphere
1 Rest in Peace

Land [40]
1 Command Tower
1 Hallowed Fountain
12 Island
1 Rishadan Port
5 Plains
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Tundra
1 Eiganjo Castle
1 Marsh Flats
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Dust Bowl
1 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Arid Mesa
1 Flooded Strand
1 Celestial Colonnade
1 Mystic Gate
1 Polluted Delta
1 Flagstones of Trokair
1 Maze of Ith
1 Kor Haven
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Wasteland
1 Cephalid Coliseum
1 Adarkar Wastes

Planeswalker [7]
1 Jace, Architect of Thought
1 Gideon Jura
1 Jace Beleren
1 Elspeth Tirel
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Narset Transcendent

Random Photo of the Day (Night)

CVUT Albertov

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fun with Standard

Standard is not my favorite format and it will never be. But sometimes I enjoy playing it. It usually is just for a brief moment but it is a nice change from different formats. The only time when I really enjoyed playing T2 was when I could play Solar Flare. This happened twice in the history of Magic. Anyway this time it wasn't about playing standard but it was rather about building a deck from some commons and uncommons at first and adding cards as I found them laying around. So how it happened that I don't have a deck for standard available right now?

This weekend there is Grand Prix Krakow. Since it is quite close many players went there to try their luck. When big events are held in the vicinity players ask me if they can borrow cards or decks from me. They usually start three days before the event and usually bother me during the night^_~. Anyway majority of my type two cards (which is not much anyway) is in Krakow right now. This weekend there are Game Day events though held throughout the world. I decided to take part in one (at least) but for that I need a deck. (I have UW Heroic which I doubt would be any good) So I was wondering what to play? I have majority of cards for Atarka Deck Wins and Gruul Devotion but I'm missing the key cards and still I wouldn't want to play it. I build some BG common/uncommon delve deck few weeks ago so someone from the LGS could play with some kids that would venture there and would be looking for a friendly game. So I thought that I could tweak that deck somehow and try that (so I would have a chance not to end up last). I opened MODO and stared at the deck for a while. I was thinking about adding Ultimate Price and Thoughtseize. I would cut Rakshasa's Secret, Scout the Borders and Endless Obedience. I would also add some fetchlands, temples and painlands I could find. But that wouldn't be enough... (how the deck looked like more or less is bellow. For some reason there is one forest that wasn't supposed to be there when I was taking the screenshot).

Some time later I was going through some random cards laying around and found a playset of Sidisi from Khans of Tarkir and not only that. There was also Sylvan Caryatid (three of them) and I knew that a promo one was laying on my table somewhere. So I grabbed those cards and decided to add blue. This would actually make the deck relatively 'competitive' or at least it seemed as a better plan to have Sidisi and a zombie on the table on t3 rather than a 4/4 on t2 followed by usually nothing^_^. So I went through what the rest of my type two cards and found 1x Torrent Elemental, 3x Hornet Queen (strange...I thought I have sold all of those), 2x Thoughtseize, 3x Whip of Erebos, 1x Tasigur, 1x Courser of Kruphix, like 5x Silumgar (the drifting one), Pharika, Soul of Innistrad, Temple of Malady and Llanowar Wastes (found many other cards but those wouldn't fit in this deck). That actually looked good. So I added majority of the cards to the deck, also extracted Polluted Deltas from my legacy deck and added them to this one. It seemed pretty 'Highlanderish' so I really wanted to put the new Sidisi in. But I did not have any because someone decided that these would be cool in Abzan Control (so they are in Krakow). Ondra though had two copies and brought me even more cards - 2x Thoughtseize, Hero's Downfall, Tasigur, Drown in Sorrow and Llanowar Wastes. A new deck was born^_^.

We played few games and the deck seemed to work. I played against Ondra's Boros which had difficulties with Silumgar. Torrent Elemental and Whip of Erebos where just insane. Today I played against few other decks at an FNM and it was quite fun as well even though I usually mulled to 5 (went 3:1). But this shouldn't be really happening. I played with Sidisi Whip before playing the same number of lands, Caryatids and Satyrs and it worked. This deck though even though being relatively similar is way more fun than the version I played before. So I will keep it this way and try my luck with it today and tomorrow.

After all those games I would move Pharika to sideboard, added Dragonlord Silumgar (just because I can^_^ well at first I wanted something to deal with walkers), added Torrent Elemental and cut Gurmag Angler and probably Soul of Innistrad. My sideboard for the time being contains 2x Duress, 4x Drown in Sorrow, 1x Feed the Clan, 2x Reclamation Sage, 2x Ashiok, 1x Thoughtseize, 1x Tasigur. It's not because I would think about it much or anything I just had those cards around. I was siding in 2x Duress, 3x Drown in Sorrow (even though it seems the deck does not really need it), 1x Reclamation Sage, 1x Thoughtseize and I certainly have a use for Ashiok. Feed the Clan and Tasigur just stayed in the SB so I should cut those and put there something more useful..but what? Not sure. I used to play Disdainful Stroke and Crux of Fate. But so far it looks it would need Negate and Hero's Downfall more (not going to play that as I don't have it, but Negate should do the trick^^ I don't usually tap out fully unless I play Hornet Queen). Anyway the deck itself really needs a 3 drop or 2 drop that would either accelerate, filter or just block. Courser of Kruphix is the best choice as it seems even though I don't really like the card much in the deck. But again this card is very important if (abzan) midrange decks are around.

I haven't probably come up with anything new as Sidisi Whip used to be quite popular at certain point and some cards are simply 'auto-include' but it was nice putting this together. Figuring out what to put together when one does not have the cards was actually good and served me good as well. Changing perspective is a good thing and I wish I could do this with my life because I'm stuck at one point and just can't move on. I would fancy to experience the very same thing as with this deck on the 'life' level.

edit: when building this deck I completely omitted that some people might actually play Abzan of any kind (I expected mono red decks or RG decks). I encountered three today. Sultai Charm is not a good card against it:-) But at least I can draw and discard with it:-) So I was reminded why Hero's Downfall is better (not only because it can hit a walker but also kills Anafenza or Siege Rhino. I won the games against Abzans but only because my opponents screwed it up (mostly). Report follows but does not give much relevant information ...

Round 1
Abzan Aggro. I played against the winner of the former Game Day. I'm glad he had the chance to win the tournament but on the other hand he has no idea how to play (yet). Unfortunately he did not tell me that his experience with Magic is almost 'none' so I did not explain to him what my cards do. He wasn't aware that my creatures go to the graveyard when he has Anafenza in play. I was screwed from turn 3 because I had no creatures in my graveyard and no creatures in my hand. I had to tutor removal to get rid of Anafenza but was facing two Rakshasa Deathdealers that I couldn't deal with at all. Sultai Charm in hand was pretty useless against all those multicolored creatures. When I finally drew Sidisi, Brood Tyrant I felt a bit happier. I knew the game is over for me since turn 3 but I still wanted to try. When I Thoughtseize'd my opponened and managed to discard Hero's Downfall I saw a light of 'hope'. Sidisi managed to stay in play and produced 2 zombies before she died and then...in my opponent did the most unlikely thing and finally attacked with the Deathdealers but it was the only turn he should have not attacked because all his green sources were tapped. I blocked the cats and few turns later finally managed to kill him. I milled about 40 cards of my deck and was hoping to get a creature...finally one showed up (it was the 14th card from the bottom of my library). I sided the Charms out and sided in all the creatures I found in my SB. I managed to play Whip of Erebos and kill all the Siege Rhinos so I want.

Round 2
Another Abzan Aggro. This time we both started with Courser of Kruphix in play. I saw my opponent's draws so that helped a lot. I played creature after creature hoping that he would hit one of them with Utter End that he drew early in the game and he finally did it. After that I played Whip of Erebos which was more or less game. I managed to deal with few creatures but the rest threatened me a bit. Indestructible Fleecemane Lion and Siege Rhino. But I managed to play Hornet Queen (that immediately died) and reanimate it. Those eight tokens destroyed Elspeth that was a bit annoying and killed my opponent later. In game two my opponent kept a hand without 2 sources of black and was stuck with one for the whole game. So it was quite easy for me to win the game. My creatures died more often than not but where not swept with Drown in Sorrow (not that this card would that good against this deck).

Round 3
We got an intentional draw. My opponent played UB control and he beat me in the finals. Round 4 or 5
I played against RW aggro. My opponent kept 6 cards with only one plains card. My draw wasn't any better but he was top decking better. Seekers of the Way finally did the job and killed me in game 1. In g2 I somehow managed to win. From earlier games against Boros Aggro I knew that Sidisi alone is quite a problem and if I have some removal for some annoying dragon I can easily win. In game 3 he kept a one lander once again. Managed to draw 2 lands and managed to play 2 Rabblemasters and 2 Soulfire Grandmasters. Because of his missed land drop I managed to deal more damage to him but still could die to both Rabblemasters and some tokens + any burn spell. I had two Murderous Cuts in my hand and wainted to see what card he would play. He did not have any burn spell so he did not gain life from it and gaining 2 life (because I could kill one of the Masters for sure) wasn't enough to finish me off. So my alpha strike won me the game and I got in the top 8 (from the first place). He certainly could have won this game though I think...Because there was difference in 2 points of damage that he could have probably squeezed in somewhere. (also removing one of my creatures from the game would do the trick as well)

Round 5 or 4
This time I played against Jeskai Tokens deck. In game one I was mana screwed and couldn't do much. Even though I managed to destroy the Ascendancy ten tokens was just too much for my lone creature. In the next game I sided in all the Drown in Sorrows I had and managed to draw some of them as well. My sideboard plan though was 'rewarded' Dragonlord Ojutai. I stared at the Dragon for a while wondering what to do with it. The only creature that could possibly kill it was Silumgar that I had in my hand already. But my opponent would have to block with it. I had two Drown in Sorrows and it seemed as my only chance to kill the dragon. I was afraid of a counterspell but I've seen a few already so I hoped both Drowns would resolve. I attacked with Silumgar destroying all the tokens and making Ojutai smaller. My opponent was surprised and wondered what would happen next. So I played my first Drown in Sorrow (seeing Whip on the top of my library) and played the second one. A long thought from my opponent, followed by Anticipate and ... Ojutai died. ^_^. I won the game later.

Round 6
Abzan midrange? I really had no idea what to expect from this deck. My opponent wasn't playing much in the first game so I wasn't sure what kind of deck it is. Anyway I saw Siege Rhino and some removal and disruption that can be found in both Abzan Aggro and Midrange version. In game two things got way worse as I had to deal with early Rakshasa Deathdealer, Heir of the Wilds and Fleecemane Lion. My only removal being Sultai Charm I did not really feel that good. I killed the Heir and hoped to draw something better before Lion would get monstrous and hoped my opponent would tap out so I could deal with Rakshasa Deathdealer. My only plan was to outrace all that. When it seemed I could 'possibly' have the advantage my opponent played End Hostilities that I couldn't counter. My only creature that was available was Reclamation Sage so I played that. My opponent played Hidden Dragonslayer. Reclamation Sage died and the Dragonslayer won the game later. In game three it was very strange on both sides. I had no idea if I want to be aggro in this matchup or control and just couldn't decide. I knew that Wrath effects could hit me if I go all out and playing less creatures wouldn't really help me much as well because Abzan has more removal and more resilient creatures. My only chance was to resolve Whip and hope it would stay in play and that I would manage to get some creatures in the yard. So I decided to play Sidisi hoping that the card would seem too much of a threat and would lure out Banishing Light. My opponent played the Light removing Sidisi from the game so I could play my Whip. The game continued for quite some time. Anafenza enchanted with Herald of Torment was quite a threat. I couldn't dig much from my graveyard except Courser of Kruphix, Satyr Wayfinders and Sylvan Caryatids so racing 7/7 flyer wasn't that easy. In the end though I managed to win even though it seemed that I could just terribly die at any time...

Round 7
I did not know what I would be playing against. But by turn 2 I knew I play against UB control and wasn't really glad about that. I miraculously won game 1 because my Whip played on t4 resolved. Game 2 I tried my best to get rid of his counterspells and discard any Dig Through Time but after Dragonlord's Prerogative, Jace's Ingenuity and anothe Dig Through Time my chances of winning the game were very slim. I kept Ashiok to annoy my opponent if it resolves and hoped that Silumgar would help as well. In the end it all got either countered or discarded. My counterspells did not show up and even if they would I guess they woudn't really help. Keeping two mana open was a small threat and the UB control had all the time it needed. So I tried to play few discard spells and them my Whip but it all got countered. In game 3 I mulled to 5 (I think) and I did not have anything good (except few lands which are always important but those alone do not win games (usually)). Even though my opponent tapped out in t3 I did not have the Whip so I could punish him for that. When I finally drew something his hand was full and nothing could get past. He played Ugin some time later exiling all my creatures. I could steal it and kill it but it wouldn't really help me much. My Dragonlord Silumgar died the turn after and my Torrent Elemental that I (re)played got stolen by my opponent's Silumgar. We could play some stealing game a bit longer but still there was no way for me to win the game so I conceded.

Even though I came up second the record does not really show if this deck is capable of surviving in the new metagame. I very highly doubt it because any control deck is a huge problem. Game 1s are really tough and even after sideboarding it's not easy to win. My sideaboard will have to change so I can deal with Hexproof dragons (Disdaiful Stroke and Thoughseize is not enough). Anyway it was fun to play with the deck. If the field will remain more aggro oriented I will certainly play it at some other event later.^_~.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pauper (All common)

EDIT: In the end I cut the Probes, replaced them with Brainstorm and put Bonesplitter there instead of one Mutagenic Growth.

One of the things I like about Magic is the fact that with commons and uncommons one can experience a lot of fun. Be it in limited format or constructed one. This is the thing that I personally think that keeps the game alive - it is the design of Magic: The Gathering. The commons are designed in a unique way. For most players most commons are just trash. But the importance of commons is actually pretty high. Ever played World of Warcraft TCG? In WoW TCG it was impossible to build a deck out of commons or uncommons. Just looking at the commons from one set one couldn't really say from what set they came. Most of the commons do not use the set's abilities and are unplayable in most formats (even limited). WoWTCG suffered also from a huge power creep. A common from Heroes of Azeroth (first set) is no match for a common from another set (be it uncommon or rare whatever). The differences are so huge that if one builds a deck from the last block nothing can most probably stop him (given as an example). In Magic though the power creep is held at certain level. There are overpowered cards that are very old and WotC won't most probably print anything stronger. The power level of cards changes in Magic. In the old days there were very strong noncreature cards and now it is vice versa. But still older cards can fight the new ones. As for the commons...commons are pillars of a building. They communicate the set's flavor and mechanics. This is the reason why playing with such cards is fun and the card interactions are good. It also means that some cards are too powerful for a common slot and then are printed as uncommon or even rare.

The only three damage I dealt to my opponent^_^. (He played 3x Snuff Out, 2x Sign in Blood, Phyrexian Rager.) That is how one wins games he/she should not win^_^

Pauper decks if built competitively are very efficient and usually quite fun to play. I certainly had a lots of fun with my pauper decks be it in pauper environment or at regular constructed environment (pre-planeswalker era). There are many card interactions and synergies and one needs to know how to play his or her deck. Even some type two decks were quite difficult to pilot. It is not as simple as one might think to play this format (speaking about legacy all common mainly) and it certainly is faster than most people think (or at least those I encountered). Many players tell me that they won't play pauper because the format is slow. I don't really know from where they got this impression. Games on MODO that I play I usually finish in 3 minutes. Yes, it certainly depends on the deck but in most cases the games are pretty fast at least compared to Legacy, Modern, Standard...It was in Pauper that I for the very first time played a deck with 16 lands. I never thought this possible in any format in Magic for years but the formats accelerated so much that it is possible even in (normal) legacy. This certainly does not show that the format is slow. Actually due to power level of the cards being limited there won't be too many large swings. There is no Wrath of God to restart the game (or completely kill an aggro deck). That is also why any misplay has way higher impact on the game compared to normal constructed formats and that is something I like as well. One needs to treasure his/her own creatures and use each card the best way he or she can. There is no Bloodbraid Elf to save the day or Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

The format (obviously) favors aggressive decks because there are no global removal spells even Pyroclasm is an uncommon. But each type of deck can be build. I used to play mono blue faeries that was more control than tempo. Even though nowadays it is vice versa (Delver of Secrets? Oh yeah...why not). I used to encounter Storm all the time because it was the best deck one could come up with. Affinity was a killer, insanely fast deck. And there was no Nature's Claim for Cranial Plating (not that much decks could play it).

From time to time I took my pauper deck and played with it at regular event. When Zoo, Scapeshift and Thopter/Depths was around I used to play with my Counter/Burn pauper deck. It consisted of Counterspells, Burn (as the name suggests) and Errant Ephemeron as a finisher (I admit I did not use my pauper sideboard because that was against affinity and storm). This deck was actually slow but Zoo was a bye and any combo deck died to my Rune Snags and Counterspells the same way it would die to Cryptic Command and Remand and it was my deck running more disruption and some bounce spells. The looks on my opponents' faces when I suspended or played Errant Ephemeron were priceless. That was usually the moment when the players started to understand that my deck is build from commons only. Those were really fun times.

Why I actually write this post you ask me? Well. When I opened MODO after several years of not playing on it I did not have any cards in my collection that would be worth a competitive deck. But I could put together a deck out of commons and uncommons. Turn 2 Hooting Mandrills was actually quite ok. When doing this I remembered the times when some new players came to me asking for help about their decks and being on budget. The easiest way usually was to build a pauper deck because such deck is inexpensive. In the school's environment any deck that is solid even using commons is better than a not solid deck build out of rares and piloted by not so good player. The pauper decks also need some kind of skill and also teach a player all the 'mechanics' there are in magic (with this I mean card draw/advantage, removal, pump effects, counterspells etc.). I think one can learn a lot by playing with all commons deck or simply playing limited but that is way more expensive than a pauper deck.

Lately some completely random players (beginners) asked me to play with them (why me?). I wasn't prepared for that and I usually have Legacy decks with me. I usually ended up explaining what Tasigur and Young Pyromancer does. Cards like Daze, Force of Will, Delver of Secrets, Ponder and Brainstorm were easy to explain. I realized that most cards I did not need to comment much on are mostly commons with the exception of Force of Will. But rares and uncommon cards are a bit more complicated. At that time I realized how well commons are designed. They are simple to understand but sometimes difficult to master but that is not someone needs to understand when he or she begins to play the game. He or she still needs to discover how the game works and if one does not understand how a card works it is a problem. Commons are easy to comprehend and usually have simple (1 for 1) effects. Uncommons and Rares become really tricky and their interaction with board, other cards are way more complex. A beginner needs to focus on simple things and card advantage for most is something completely incomprehensible (even for more experienced players). No matter what I think that starting with pauper is a good start how to learn/teach magic but on the other hand this format is played at competitive level and it is very tense and the format has its own banlist. In Modern Kor Skyfisher is banned along with Cloudpost. In legacy the list is longer (check it yourself if interested). Among those are cards like Invigorate, Cranial Plating, Grapeshot and Empty the Warrens, Cloudpost and now effective from 1st of April Treasure Cruise. Treasure Cruise is just an insane card and started to be played anywhere (in Boros Aggro for example^_^). Mana fixation was always here but 'dual' lands at common slot were scarce. Guildgates helped a ton but now we have even better lands from Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged. No more need to play Karoo lands that I used to play in Wee Dragonauts deck.

Now with Infect, Post and Storm deck not being uber good there is a field that is quite healthy and fun even though some cards are starting to be annoying. So if you are up for a highly competitive, tense games and don't have the money for all the rares and mythics just try this. You might not like the format after you try it but if you don't try it you won't know that. I personally think that most people who always tell me that pauper is crap and never tried it would be actually pretty surprised. There are many types of decks from Urza Tron, Mono Black Control, Mono Blue to Burn decks.

The screenshots are of decks I used to play for quite some time but they are changed so they would fit the actual meta. I used to play Mono Blue for a long time but it slowly became more and more aggressive and in the end I just gave up and added Delver of Secrets as well (be warned this deck is actually expensive for a pauper deck). I used to run more counterspells and less creatures. If you want to try a deck that will make your head ache just play this. When playing this on MODO it reminds me how difficult it is to play cards like Brainstorm or Gush correctly. As for Naya Landfall. It is a deck I used to play at Standard Pauper tournaments but I kept it because it was the only deck that was capable of playing against legacy and extended decks of that time. But then later Kor Skyfisher was banned and even Wild Nacatl at some places. The card (Skyfisher) is simply too good. I still keep the deck and when I feel like it I just beat someone with it (or try to^_^). I wasn't really thinking about tweaking the deck so it would be more competitive (probably it won't be). I like it the way it is (certainly Pyroblast would help). The last deck is UR Strobe deck. I used to play it with Wee Dragonauts at first (that is where the deck originated) but with time the deck changed a lot and actually became tier 1 deck. It was really difficult to keep the one and only creature alive back then. A way better cards were printed. No need of Assault Strobe now or Artful Dodge when there is something like Temur Battle Rage and Apostle's Blessing is also something that extremely helps. Actually all the Phyrexian mana cards are really great. Cyclops is a card that surives majority of bolts except Flame Slash so that is a huuuuge upgrade. The deck can play disruption after sideboarding so the creature might actually survive Hydro/Pyroblast. If you want to attack someone and hit him for over 30 damage...here's your chance.