Pauper Monored 8-Reck - Deck & Sideboard Guide
12/05/2023 · 10 min read
MoM has made a significant impact not only in Standard but also in other formats. One such format is Pauper, which has received new cards like Meeting of Minds, Saiba Cryptomancer, and Wrenn’s Resolve.
The latter isn't exactly groundbreaking, as the format already had Reckless Impulse, which has the exact same effect. However, the real game-changer is that with access to 8 cards that grant card advantage, an uncommon feature in Monored decks, you can shift your game plan to be more midrange-focused. Today, I'll discuss this emerging decklist that's frequently showing up in Pauper Challenge top spots, its pros and cons compared to the Kuldotha + artifacts build, and provide a sideboard guide.
My current version of the deck
|4 Kessig Flamebreather||$0.69|
|4 Monastery Swiftspear||$0.69|
|4 Experimental Synthesizer||$0.99|
|3 Searing Blaze||$2.29|
|4 Lightning Bolt||$1.79|
|3 Lava Dart||$0.35|
|4 Chain Lightning||$0.35|
|4 End the Festivities||$0.59|
|4 Reckless Impulse||$2.29|
|4 Wrenn's Resolve||$0.35|
|1 The Autonomous Furnace||$0.35|
|4 Relic of Progenitus||$6.49|
|4 Shattering Blow||$0.35|
|3 Gorilla Shaman||$0.49|
Over the past weekend, player PauloCabral_BR emerged victorious in the challenge, wielding a deck strikingly similar to beicodegeia's, who had won the previous Sunday's challenge. With back-to-back triumphs, it's clear that this build is immensely potent, and the mere inclusion of Wrenn's Resolve has made a significant impact on the deck's performance.
The most impactful card for the format. With access to 8 'reck effects,' the Monored deck gains significantly more fuel at every stage of the game. However, there isn't a 100% consensus among players that lists should run the full set of these two cards. Some argue that the deck can become somewhat clunky in the early game, and it may not be ideal to reveal many drop2 cards during the initial turns. Yet, the results show that this decision could be well-calculated and that the risk of certain plays can be rewarding overall.
Some decklists in the past have incorporated this card, but now with the plethora of spells generating card advantage, its use makes even more sense. With it on the battlefield, virtually all of your spells dish out a point of damage, making it crucial in matches where you need to control the board while also dealing damage to your opponent. In this new setup, it has become one of the best cards in the deck, and I believe it's unlikely to be removed anytime soon, despite some lists still disputing its use.
It has an effect similar to Kessig Flamebreather, but it doesn't work with cards like Experimental Synthesizer and Relic of Progenitus from the sideboard. It's also slower and lacks attack power, but with its ping effect, your spells become more potent, and I believe we don't have better options. One advantage it has is that, like Kessig, its 3 toughness makes it a better blocker in grindier matches than, for instance, a Firebrand Archer, which is extremely fragile. Additionally, it doesn't rely on another spell to deal damage; while it's enhanced by other spells, it can still deal 1 damage per turn on its own.
Playing the deck
The deck is a burn deck, so the ideal openings naturally involve Monastery Swiftspear, followed by spells. However, it's worth noting that in this deck, Monastery Swiftspear is the only true one-drop, as we never want to cast Experimental Synthesizer on the first turn. One-mana burn spells are perfect when we don't have Monastery Swiftspear, as they allow us to remove a threat on the first or second turn while continuing to develop our game plan.
Example hand #1
One example of hands without Swiftspear that are still worth keeping. Although we're unsure of Searing Blaze's effectiveness, it's quite challenging to not have a valid target in the early turns, especially with the presence of Reckless Impulse, which allows us to maintain momentum after casting our spells. A pro tip: maximize the value of Reckless Impulse by casting your spells beforehand to avoid the risk of exiling uncastable cards. Even though it's a burn deck, it has a very midrange profile, so keep that in mind.
Example hand #2
I've mentioned this in previous articles, but personally, I'm not a fan of keeping 1-landers in the decks I play. I believe that the risk of not drawing any more lands during the game is just too high, especially in a deck with so many 2-drops. You can have much better 6-card hands, and missing a land drop, despite having the resources to stay alive with 1-mana burn spells and the potential draw from the relic, can be critical in losing a match.
Example hand #3
I mentioned that I'm not a fan of keeping, but having Synthesizer in hand is one of the reasons that might make me keep. With these one-mana burns, it can also help mitigate the damage in case the artifacts don't reveal lands in the early turns. It's a risky hand, but we have one of the cards that could potentially provide us with the lands we need.
Pros and Cons Concerning Kuldotha
Let's delve into the advantages and disadvantages surrounding the Kuldotha strategy.
Suffers less from global removals like Suffocating Fumes and End the Festivities.
Boasts increased card advantage and direct damage to the opponent, potentially excelling in stalled board states and matchups with larger creatures than your own.
Improves bad matchups like Bogles, precisely due to the direct damage cards and the damage pings from Kessig and Thermo Alchemist when attacking becomes unfeasible.
One-land hands are less frequent. In the Kuldotha build, cards like Voldaren Epicure, Implement of Combustion, and Kuldotha itself allowed us to keep one-land hands and still develop the game well. In this build, the ideal is to have at least two lands to support the increased number of two-drops in the list.
Hands are less explosive, and gameplay is more drawn out, taking longer to finish matches and giving opponents more time to find the right answers.
Fewer one-drops weaken your early game, relying more on burn spells to control the start.
Matchups & Sideboard guide
It's a solid matchup, though dealing with cards like Reckoner's Bargain and Unexpected Fangs can be quite challenging. The version with Kuldotha was a bit stronger initially, as it forced the opponent to have Krark-Clan Shaman or else they'd take considerable damage in the early turns. Now, we have a more grindy strategy, which aligns well with the highly efficient midrange plan of Affinity, since it has numerous cards that generate late-game advantage. After siding in Shattering Blow, it effectively delays the game by exiling artifact lands, and Gorilla Shaman further supports this plan by destroying the remaining lands.
The match-up improves slightly in the main deck, as direct damage is highly effective against this deck. However, after sideboarding with 4 Weather the Storm, it becomes more challenging, as each burn spell during the turn is essentially negated by this enchantment. On the flip side, we're less vulnerable to cards like Electrickery and Fiery Cannonade.
Take advantage of turns when your opponent has their mana tapped to create massive creatures, aiming to cast your spells in fewer turns and play around Weather the Storm. There isn't anything truly impactful or relevant in our sideboard, as if we manage to play correctly around Weather the Storm, we'll have a difficult time losing the match.
Our 4 End the Festivities in the main deck significantly improve the matchup, potentially taking out multiple faeries in just one turn. The key to success in this game is to attempt to remove all creatures, even the most insignificant ones, to prevent your opponent from executing unfair plays with their ninjutsu abilities. However, the sideboard can be more challenging, as some lists may run up to 8 combined Hydroblasts and Blue Elemental Blasts. This makes the deck much more reactive, but we can capitalize on this by trying to cast multiple spells in a single turn.
A bad matchup simply due to the existence of Unexpected Fangs. All it takes is creating a 6/6 lifelink in the early turns to completely throw the game off balance. In game one, there isn't much we can do; our only chance is that our opponent doesn't find this spell or chooses to use it on a Gurmag Angler, giving us at least one opportunity to take it down. The key is to not miss casting spells every turn, disrupting their graveyard setup. Post-sideboard, the Relics help shrink their graveyard, delaying their game plan. One tip is to avoid leaving the relic untapped on the table, as they can dump a lot of cards into the graveyard at once. If you notice that they are heading towards this strategy, it might be a good idea to crack the relic even if there are only one or two cards in the graveyard.
In a matchup that heavily relies on the impact of Basilisk Gate, lifelink creatures become even more critical. It's essential to prioritize targeting these creatures with your burn spells, conserving them whenever possible, as a single attack from one of these creatures can completely disrupt your damage calculations. Aside from this, the matchup isn't the worst, especially since we're already utilizing End the Festivities in the main deck. Post-sideboard, Raze is necessary precisely to break down those gates, and the Relic provides assistance against the multiple Prismatic Strands plan but can also hinder the effectiveness of Sacred Cats.
Our deck transitions into a more control-oriented playstyle, effectively eliminating key creatures and extracting value from the 8 Reck and Synthesizer cards. You could adopt a more aggressive approach, directing burn spells at your opponent, but my advice is to play more defensively, as you have many value-generating cards in your arsenal, so the key is to avoid an early defeat. Against Kuldotha-based decks, we have 4 End the Festivities cards to clear the board, providing solid protection against that strategy. In terms of sideboarding, no changes are necessary, as the main deck is already well-tuned for this matchup.
It remains one of the best matchups, and even more favorable, as we don't struggle much against sweepers like Electrickery and Fiery Cannonade. However, Weather the Storm becomes a real threat here, so the key is to stick to the plan of not casting spells in a single turn and taking advantage of the turns when your opponent inevitably taps out all their mana. After sideboarding, 3 Roots are highly effective against the big mana strategy, but be cautious not to get caught off guard by a Crop Rotation.
Mono-red has become an incredibly potent deck since the introduction of Monastery Swiftspear, allowing for diverse builds that range from highly aggressive to more midrange-oriented strategies. Now, with the addition of Reckless Impulse and Wrenn's Resolve, the deck has gained even more power, making it somewhat dangerous in regards to potential bans. There are few matchups that are genuinely unfavorable for mono-red at the moment.
It'll be interesting to see how the format adapts to this powerhouse deck, but the initial results already showcase its strength. Until next time!