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Playing Pauper: Orzhov Extortion

This video was recorded before Jake suffered a cardiac arrest. If you want to pitch in and help out, we've setup a GoFundMe for Jake. Please spread the word!

Welcome back to Playing Pauper! This week, two mana flying 4/4s and undercosted +3/+3 Auras are the name of the game as we take Orzhov Extortion for a spin. With this deck, we utilize powerful removal, hand disruption, and life-draining creatures to bring our opponent from 20 to 0, while gaining a nice cushion of life in the process.

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.

Orzhov Extortion Intro

Orzhov Extortion vs Angler Delver

Orzhov Extortion vs Stompy

Orzhov Extortion vs Izzet Blitz

Orzhov Extortion vs Mono Blue Delver

Orzhov Extortion vs Mono Black Control

The Deck

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These three creatures make up the beginning of our curve. Nightsky Mimic is on beatdown duty, while Nip Gwyllion and Mourning Thrull attempt to find an Edge of the Divinity to buff them up.

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These creatures make up the top of our curve and try to end the game with evasion and extortion. The Extort mechanic is powerful and works well in multiples, and the flyers can generally attack once our removal takes out opposing creatures.

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Edge of the Divinity provides a large +3/+3 bonus to any of the creatures in our main deck and can close out a game quickly.

Castigate is another multicolored spell in our colors and provides a Thoughtseize effect for removing problematic cards before they're cast.

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Our removal suite is pretty efficient and Pillory of the Sleepless even drains for life on its own. Having two of our removal spells be enchantments along with Edge of the Divinity does make us weak to enchantment removal however.

The Sideboard

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Circle of Protection: Red works wonders against Burn, Izzet Blitz, and Goblins.

Lone Missionary is good against aggressive decks such as Stompy who might not care about a Circle of Protection: Red.

Dust to Dust is a nice two-for-one against Affinity, but probably isn't enough to turn this matchup into a favorable one.

Holy Light is brought in against one-toughness creatures such as those from Mono Blue Delver and Elves.

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Bojuka Bog is an uncounterable way to nuke Dimir Teaching's graveyard.

Undying Evil is a cheap protection spell that buffs a creature when it works correctly.

The third Castigate is good against slower decks, and can also be nice for picking a Fling out of an Affinity player's hand.

Choking Sands comes in against almost all Tron variants.

The Matchups

Due to the various ways to gain and drain life in the main deck, Orzhov Extortion's best matchups are against aggro decks such as Stompy, Goblins, and Burn.

Against control decks, Extort can sometimes help close out a game, but our lack of either card advantage or a way to kill an opponent very quickly leaves us unable to get ahead in either a long game or a quick game. If the deck could play two Read the Bones over Castigate it would help, but Read the Bones doesn't trigger Nightsky Mimic so there's a tradeoff.

Beating Orzhov Extortion

If this deck gains popularity, here's some tips on beating the Orzhov Syndicate:

  • Don't be surprised by Edge of the Divinity. Try to save your removal until this enchantment is cast.
  • All of the deck's removal exiles or leaves the creature on the battlefield. Don't count on your creatures ending up in your graveyard.
  • Most of the deck's creatures have one toughness. Consider boarding in Shrivel.
  • If the boardstate is stalled, try to gain enough life to not be dead to a few Pillory of the Sleepless or Extort triggers.


I really enjoyed playing Orzhov Extortion this week. It feels a bit underpowered compared to what some other midrange decks in the Pauper format can do, and it relies heavily on Edge of the Divinity resolving, but it the deck has merits. The removal it runs is powerful, it has main deck hand disruption, and the evasion from its flying creatures combined with Lifelink can make a damage race easy to win.

If someone could find a way to pack a little more power into this deck, I'd be excited to take it into a tournament. Even with no changes I could see it meeting with moderate success. It's definitely becomes more desirable when the metagame is full of aggro decks.


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 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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