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Much Abrew: Freed from the Real Combo (Pauper)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, we had a bit of a surprise: the most popular Instant Deck Tech of the week was Pauper Freed from the Real Combo! We almost never play Pauper for gameplay videos, and I almost never play Pauper for fun, which means this week we are heading to a format I don't really know to play a four-card combo deck. What could possibly go wrong? 

Seriously though, the combo itself seems pretty sweet. The basic idea is to make a land tap for two mana with the help of Gift of Paradise or Fertile Ground, make that land into a creature with Lifespark Spellbomb or Wind Zendikon, and enchant the now-creature land with Freed from the Real to make infinite mana by tapping and untapping it, before finishing the game by using Valakut Invoker as a repeatable Lightning Bolt to our opponent's face. Is this convoluted combo a legitimate plan for Pauper? Let's find out! 

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Freed from the Real Combo (Deck Tech)

Freed from the Real vs. Mono-U Delver (Match 1)

Freed from the Real vs. Four-Color Tron (Match 2)

Freed from the Real vs. Not-Pretentious Burn (Match 3)

Freed from the Real vs. Mono-U Delver (Match 4)

Freed from the Real vs. WB Pestilence (Match 5)

Freed from the Real Combo (Wrap-Up)

Discussion

  • First off, as I mentioned in the intro, I don't really play Pauper, and this was probably pretty noticeable in the videos. While I felt like I played out deck pretty well, I didn't know our opponent's deck for the most part, so minus obvious stuff like Daze in Mono-Blue Delver and Lightning Bolts in Burn, it was hard to know exactly what we were trying to play around. This might just be a slight hindrance with some decks, but when the goal is to avoid removal and counters to resolve a fragile four-card combo, not knowing the metagame really is a big problem.
  • With this challenge in mind, we ended up with a 2-3 record, which isn't great but also isn't horrible.
  • One thing I realized while playing the deck is that it is much more powerful when it's a rogue deck that no one is expecting. We we able to win nearly all of our game ones, but after the opponent knew that they could die at any time once we had a Fertile Ground or Gift of Paradise on a land, they started leaving up removal (some of which likely came in from the sideboard), and things became challenging. 
  • From a more meta perspective, this makes me a bit worried about the deck moving forward. Now that we've been talking about and playing the deck, it seems less likely that people won't know about it, which means there will be fewer free wins from opponents who simply don't know what's happening because the deck is so unique. 
  • As for the deck itself, I was amazed at how consistently we were able to set up the infinite-mana part of our combo. The combination of 12 cantrips along with a bunch of redundant pieces means that getting a land tapping for two mana and turned into a creature isn't very hard, and even finding Freed from the Real was pretty easy.
  • This being said, we did have one big problem: we had at least two games where we had the ability to make infinite mana but simply couldn't find our finisher. With only one Valakut Invoker and four Drift of Phantasms (which sometimes have to tutor for Freed from the Real), finding a way to kill the opponent after we had infinite mana was somewhat challenging. This was especially sad because most of the time, getting infinite mana is the hard part while winning after you have infinite mana should be easy, but the exact opposite seemed to be true for this build of Freed from the Real combo.
  • Because of this, the biggest change I'd make to the deck is adding in a couple more finishers. This might be as simple as just cutting a Fertile Ground and an Impulse for two more Valakut Invokers, or maybe there is another finisher we can use (preferably three mana, so we can transmute for it with Drift of Phantasms). If you have some ideas, let me know in the comments!
  • Otherwise, I don't think anything in the main deck needs to be changed. Everything is a combo piece, a way to find a combo piece, or Gigadrowse
  • Speaking of Gigadrowse, it's basically an additional combo piece in some matchups. Against decks with counters or instant-speed removal, we almost have to try to wait until we find a Gigadrowse to combo off because it's really easy for our combo to get blown out by removal (or counters), and when that happens, we essentially just lose the game on the spot, since we end up three- or four-for-oneing ourselves.
  • One place where my lack of knowledge about the Pauper format really showed through was in sideboarding. While cards like Dispel and Relic of Progenitus are pretty straightforward, I still have no idea when I was supposed to bring in Spore Frog or Snap
  • So, should you play Freed from the Real Combo? I think the answer is yes and no. Assuming you add in a couple more finishers, it seems like the deck could win quite a few games, since it did a great job of setting up the combo. On the other hand, the fact that we struggled to win games two and three when our opponent knew what was coming makes me little worried about the long-term future of the deck. It seems like a deck that can sneak in and steal a tournament if no one knows how it works, but after people are wise to its tricks, Freed from the Real combo is actually pretty easy to disrupt with removal or counters, and while Gigadrowse helps, finding five specific cards to be able to combo off isn't all that easy, even with a ton of cantrips. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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