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Playing Pauper: Dimir Rat Lock (Pauper, Magic Online)

Playing Pauper is back! Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, we looked at a sweet Dimir deck that was looking to lock the opponent out of ever drawing a fresh card by having a Chittering Rats enter the battlefield every turn (usually on the opponent's draw step) with the help of Archaeomancer and Ghostly Flicker. Well, today, we're going to take the deck into a Pauper league and see just how often we can actually rat-lock our opponent in practice. The deck is essentially a twist on the UB Control archetype, with plenty of removal and some counters to back up our lock along with some card-draw creatures like Sea Gate Oracle and Mulldrifter that work really well with Ghostly Flicker. Can the Rat Lock compete in Pauper? How quickly will our opponent's scoop once they realize they will never get to draw another card? Let's get to the video and find out!

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Playing Pauper: Dimir Rat Lock


  • Overall, Dimir Rat Lock was solid. While we did have our traditional Playing Pauper loss to Delver, we managed to beat everyone else, finishing our league with a 4-1. 
  • The biggest thing I learned playing the deck is that it's really a control deck. On paper, it sort of looks like you can rush out the Ghostly Flicker, Chittering Rats, and Archaeomancer locks as quickly as possible, but really this is a late, late game plan. In the early game, we mostly want to play the control role and set up our combo, and then eventually, once our opponent is light on cards, we can assemble the lock as a weird sort of finishing plan.
  • The good news is that if we can manipulate the game to the right place (and stay alive long enough to do it), the lock is extremely effective once it is set up. It is pretty close to a guaranteed win once it resolves for the first time.
  • One thing to be aware of with the deck is the cards we have left in our library. Since our games tend to go really long, one concern is that we will run out of our combo pieces. As such, especially once we use our Reaping the Graves, it becomes important to make sure to save our Archaeomancers for when we are ready to combo off, rather than running them out early for value, or we risk being stuck without the ability to combo in the late game.
  • Mortuary Mire is a lifesaver. We almost lost a game by decking ourselves, but the ability to flicker Mortuary Mire to stack a bunch of creatures back on top of our deck saved the day. Since Ghostly Flicker can hit lands for some reason, this trick is also helpful against Burn and other aggro decks since we can repeatedly blink Radiant Fountain or Dismal Backwater to gain life in a pinch. 
  • Dimir Aqueduct is more than just a land in the deck—it's a way to reuse our enters-the-battlefield lands like Mortuary Mire and Radiant Fountain. As such, once we already have a lot of lands on the battlefield, it's sometimes correct to hold back a Dimir Aqueduct just in case we end up in a position where we really need one more Mortuary Mire activation (to get back Archaeomancer from our graveyard, to get back a Ghostly Flicker from our graveyard and reassemble the lock). While just running it out in the early game is fine, it is important to be aware that it offers additional value. 
  • In general, the deck felt solid, although it sometimes feels weighted too heavily toward removal and not heavily enough toward cantrips, counters, and card draw. We spent a lot of games begging for a Mulldrifter. Adding the fourth copy, probably over a Disfigure, seems like a good plan. Finding room for a couple of Ponders could also be nice. It felt like we were losing against Delver mostly because our opponent got to see so many more cards than we did thanks to Gush and endless cantrips, even though our cards are more powerful in a vacuum. Apparently, seeing 40 okay cards is better than seeing 20 powerful cards.
  • So, should you play Dimir Rat Lock? I think the answer is yes. While the loss to Delver was somewhat concerning, it also wasn't all that surprising, considering we always lose to Delver no matter which deck we play. If you enjoy control decks with combo-esque finishers, Dimir Rat Lock seems like a really solid choice, offering answers to just about anything and a near-guaranteed way to close out the game after we run our opponent low on resources. While the deck could probably use some light tuning around the edges (mostly with the mixture of removal vs. card draw and counters), it's more than good enough to compete as is.


Anyway, that's all for today! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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