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Playing Pauper: Dimir Teachings

Welcome back to another week of Playing Pauper! This week's deck is the incredibly slow, incredibly controlling Dimir Teachings. The deck's game plan is to kill or counter all the opponent's relevant threats and run our opponent out of cards. Dimir Teachings is not for the faint of heart.

Check out the matches, then read the discussion below. If you enjoy Playing Pauper, subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube channel! It helps us draw more people to the channel, and it helps you to never miss any of our great video content.

Dimir Teachings Intro

Dimir Teachings vs Mono Blue Delver

Dimir Teachings vs Dimir Control

Dimir Teachings vs Dimir Teachings

Dimir Teachings vs Izzetron

Dimir Teachings vs Kuldotha Jeskai

The Deck

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The backbone of Dimir Teachings is Mystical Teachings, which can fetch up other instants. Instant-speed countermagic and kill spells allow you to tutor up the relevant half of your deck depending on whether you're playing against aggro or control. Interestingly, the deck only plays three of its namesake card. I suppose four Mystical Teachings is just too slow, even for this deck.

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Since the main deck is devoid of creatures, the cards pictured above comprise our only win conditions. Two Pristine Talisman plus an Evincar's Justice with Buyback deals two to the opponent each turn while keeping the board somewhat clear. The deck can also win without damage by decking the opponent with Curse of the Bloody Tome. Since Dimir Teachings needs only five slots in the deck dedicated to actual winning, it frees up the rest of the deck to contain interaction.

The Sideboard

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Versatile countermagic in the sideboard lets us counter opposing spells. Steel Sabotage is good against Affinity, while Negate and Dispel are good against opposing counterspells.

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Duress can nab a Buyback spell or something too hard to counter. Unmake deals with Undying creatures without being card disadvantage. The extra Evincar's Justice is for small-creature aggro decks.

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If we believe our opponent will sideboard out most or all of their removal, we can bring in creatures to capitalize on that. It's a fun little guessing game that can greatly punish them if they guess wrong as to whether we will sideboard in creatures.

The Matchups

Evincar's Justice offers a huge advantage against decks such as Mono Blue Delver, Goblins, and Stompy. When the deck casts even one Justice, aggro decks must have a very good start to to overcome it. However, if Dimir Teachings is on the draw, and can't find Evincar's Justice, the deck is often too slow for fast opponents.

Against midrange decks like Mono Black Control and Kuldotha Jeskai, Dimir Teachings excels. Midrange decks aren't fast enough to run you over nor slow enough to beat Mystical Teachings.

Control mirror matches can take forever to finish, but are often interesting, at least in the early parts of the game. When there are few or zero creatures in each player's deck, the kill spells become useless and decking the opponent is almost always the primary win condition.

Beating Dimir Teachings

If you have neither the patience nor the black heart required to pilot Dimir Teachings, here's some tips for beating it:

  • Analyze whether your opponent has countermagic or kill spells based on how they're interacting. If they probably are out of countermagic, cast your creatures with enter-the-battlefield effects to get some value before they're killed. If they are out of Mystical Teachings and card draw, just keep attacking and don't run your last spell into a Counterspell. You will be highly rewarded if you can tell what type of game plan the Dimir Teachings deck is trying to craft.
  • If you're an aggressive deck, decide during each game and each turn whether you can beat an Evincar's Justice. If you can't even a board wipe killing the two creatures you have out now, why are you saving the third creature in your hand?
  • Gush, Daze, Perilous Research, Quirion Ranger, and your own Capsize can all "counter" an opposing Capsize by removing its target.
  • Relic of Progenitus and Duress are among the most potent sideboard cards against Dimir Teachings. The Relic has the benefit of being colorless and fitting into almost any sideboard.
  • If you can destroy the Curse of the Bloody Tome and the two Pristine Talisman, you can sometimes force Dimir Teachings to deck itself due to lack of a win condition. Most decks don't play enough Naturalize effects to sneak past Counterspell protection, but it's something to keep in mind.
  • If you just can't figure out how your opponent can possibly win, don't forget the two main boogeymen: Crypt Incursion against aggro and Capsize against control.


Dimir Teachings is a good choice when the metagame is too slow to run you over but not positioned well enough to deal with the ridiculous value generated by Mystical Teachings. It's a deck that can be tuned from week to week to give the best mix of tutor targets, and rewards deckbuilding skill and metagame knowledge.

Be warned. Dimir Teachings is not a deck for someone who cannot play quickly on Magic Online. Nor is it for someone who dislikes long, drawn-out games. But if you're the player who'd rather win "eventually" then right away, Dimir Teachings might be the deck for you.


Viewer submissions are open! I'll still be playing known decks occasionally, but after this week I'll mostly be playing:

  • Decks submitted by viewers
  • Decks created from viewer challenges (e.g. build a deck around Horned Kavu)
  • Decks created by Jake (especially ones comprised of cards from new sets such as Shadows over Innistrad)

Email me at or Tweet to me @JakeStilesMTG with your decklist or challenge, and I'll give you a shout-out if I use your submission!

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