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Going Infinite with Pestilence, Slivers, and Elves

Long-time, no see! I've taken a break from article writing until I had more meat to feed you all (or vegetarian equivalent if you want to split hairs). So, let's talk about week one of the two weeks we'll be covering today. We ended up running one of my favorite decks, BW Pestilence, twice in a single week because I felt robbed on Monday. Yeah, I got salty, but redemption was met!

The entire idea behind this deck is that we use removal and life gain to survive until we can get a Guardian of the Guildpact and a Pestilence on the field to lock our opponent out of the game. Now, normally we'd have to worry about killing ourselves, but our land base helps out in the form of Radiant Fountain, Kabira Crossroads, and Scoured Barrens giving us incidental lifegain alongside Pristine Talisman allowing us to break the symmetry of the Pestilence. Beyond that, we have Night's Whisper and Read the Bones for card draw, a suite of removal spells and two Ill-Gotten Inheritances as an extra source of lifegain and a bit of a clock. To summarize the different matchups, we generally destroy Burn between our lifegain and Circle of Protection: Reds in the sideboard, Green Stompy wrecks us if they don't have a very creature heavy hand, we can win most go wide decks (so long as we hit our land drops) and control is a better than expected match up. We lost to two things: Bad draws for us and when our opponent just went too fast. If we can get set up, it's just hard to beat this deck. Between the two leagues, we ended up going 2-3 and 3-2 for a dead-even split.

Moving onto the next deck, we have a beloved classic, Slivers. This deck is hoping to take advantage of the fact we can have twelve lord effects in our deck. In a format where even an anthem is hard to find, that strength can't be ignored. In an ideal world, we play out a one drop sliver on turn on and just play one of our lords every turn beyond that unless we need a specific answer sliver. In addition to the ability to just go crazy big, we are running seven cards to refill our hand in the form of a split between Winding Ways and Lead the Stampedes. The only game we lost was against Elves, and even then just barely. The deck was also under fifteen dollars, so if you're looking for a good 'first pauper deck' I'd highly recommend it.

When Wednesday came around, I was possessed by the Gods of Jank and commanded to bring Elvish destruction up my enemies. I don't know what it was (it was Tron) but I had an inexplicable urge to run an Elf deck that had back up win-cons in case of getting Fog-Locked. Boy was that the right call! Now, before I explain what the deck is trying to do, I'd like to say the only two losses we had were to arguably our worst matchup, Affinity. Affinity isn't that popular in the format right now, but it is definitely not a deck we ever want to see. Now, to explain what we're looking to do. Basically, using our mana dorks, Elvish Mystic Llanowar Elves, and Fyndhorn Elves as basic mana makers, Priest of Titania for mass mana, and Birchlore Rangers for both color fixing and for making our non-summoning sickness creatures and non-dorks able to make us some mana. Using all of this mana, we have a few Elf payoffs, namely Elvish Vanguard and Timberwatch Elf allowing us to make big beaters, Wellwisher to gain us more mana than most decks can handle and Lys Alana Huntmaster to let us go as wide as we may need to. Then, we have the big mana pay-offs in the form of Wildheart Invoker and Kaervek's Torch that I swapped into the main at the last second. That last call was CLUTCH in pulling a win against Tron. Truthfully, this deck is one of the most fun I've played with a fairly high skill cap in knowing how to maximize one's mana and when to play out all the creatures or hold back.

Now, I promised a few words on the meta now that Arcum's Astrolabe has been banned. Honestly? Not too much has changed other than Jeskai is completely gone now and that Tron is popular once again. Beyond that, I have noticed a decrease in weird three-plus color brews. So, while it killed Jeskai, which was slightly needed, I honestly think that the ban might have hit the wrong card. I think the bigger issue is/was Ephemerate, but I could easily be wrong.

Now, if you want to see some pauper play (and other stuff occasionally) follow me over at my Twitch and see if you enjoy my sailor-like mouth. Well, that's all I have for you enlisted this week, so until next time, DISMISSED!

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