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Playing Pauper: Midnight Presence

Hello Playing Pauper fans and welcome back to our second week in a row of pulling off infinite combos! This week's game plan is to assemble infinite tokens with Midnight Guard and Presence of Gond.

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.

Midnight Presence Intro

Midnight Presence vs Mono Black Control

Midnight Presence vs Izzet Drake

Midnight Presence vs Temur Tron

Midnight Presence vs Affinity

Midnight Presence vs Izzet Drake

The Deck

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Midnight Guard and Presence of Gond combine to make infinite 1/1 tokens. If your opponent doesn't have a Fog or Shrivel main deck it's pretty hard for them to win.

Midnight Guard on its own is still efficient with all the convoke cards in the deck.

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This trio of one-drops is used for gaining infinite life while making infinite tokens or just gaining small amounts of life in the early game to help survive against aggressive decks.

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These four cards all make Saproling tokens. Once a lot of Saprolings are assembled, Pallid Mycoderm can sacrifice a few of them to make attacking for lethal extremely easy.

A second hidden infinite combo in the deck is with four Midnight Guard and a Sprout Swarm as another way to make infinite creatures. This version of the combo is much harder to pull off.

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For our limited interaction in the main deck, there are a few copies of Journey to Nowhere to remove problematic creatures.

We also run a single Spidersilk Armor to protect our tokens from cards like Wail of the Nim, while also making them better at double-blocking and blocking flyers.

The Sideboard

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Aerial Volley excels against Mono Blue Delver and can sometimes foil a Ghostly Flicker from Izzet Drake decks.

Gods Willing helps protect our Midnight Guard so we can combo with it, and we bring it in against decks with lots of targeted removal.

Circle of Protection: Red can beat Burn almost completely by itself so it also gets a spot in the sideboard.

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Gleeful Sabotage is great against Affinity and easy to conspire with in this creature heavy deck.

The last Journey to Nowhere comes in against decks with problematic creatures such as Ulamog's Crusher or Cuombajj Witches.

The extra Spidersilk Armors protect against Shrivel, Wail of the Nim, Electrickery and sometimes Evincar's Justice when we can resolve two of them. These enchantments are vital for surviving in post-sideboard games.

The Matchups

Against other decks that are low on interaction, our combo is relatively easy to pull off. Specifically against decks without countermagic, Sprout Swarm can get out of hand very easily.

Against decks that are high on interaction, we have to rely less on Midnight Guard or Pallid Mycoderm surviving and just focus on going wide with token creatures and attacking around any creatures the opponent may have.

Beating Midnight Presence

There are a number of different things to pay attention to when playing against this deck.

  • Can you afford to always save removal for Midnight Guard so that the infinite combo never comes online?
  • Can you stop a Sprout Swarm from flooding the board or do you have a plan to race the tokens with flying creatures or other evasion?
  • How long until Pallid Mycoderm sacrifices will turn the lowly 1/1 tokens into a lethal attacking force? Can you win before that happens?
  • Do you need to spend removal on Soul Warden and friends or are you okay with incidental lifegain every time another creature enters?

Once you answer these questions and figure out which parts of the deck threaten you, you need to determine what your best path to victory is and follow it.


While this deck has existed for quite some time, it still feels like a reasonable choice to run in the current metagame. It gets a little worse the more people know about it and the more scared they become of Midnight Guard, but the power of being able to say "I win" on turn four is still a strong one. 

In a control-heavy environment, playing fewer life-gain creatures and playing more card selection (such as Commune with the Gods to find either half of the combo) and protection effects (such as Gods Willing) may be worth exploring.


Viewer submissions are open! I'll still be playing known decks occasionally, but 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 Eldritch Moon)

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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