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Playing Pauper: Puzzle Pieces

Welcome to an exciting episode of Playing Pauper that features an insanely controlling creatureless Pieces of the Puzzle Izzet deck by mlovbo on Magic Online. It slices, it dices, and it wins with Flurry of Horns so if we lie a little we could just call it Tribal Minotaurs.

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.

Puzzle Pieces Intro

Puzzle Pieces vs Burn

Puzzle Pieces vs Bogles

Puzzle Pieces vs Tortured Existence

Puzzle Pieces vs Mono Blue Delver

Puzzle Pieces vs Dimir Handlock

The Deck

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The countermagic is the backbone of this control deck. Anything that can't be ignored or removed by a burn spell needs to be met with a counterspell.

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The burn spells make up the removal for everything not able to be countered. Flurry of Horns is the main deck win condition and can also serve by blocking smaller creatures until it's time to attack.

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This absurd amount of card selection and card advantage exists so that after trading 1-for-1 with our countermagic and burn spells that we can get ahead of our opponent and make sure they run out of threats before we run out of answers.

The Sideboard

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Electrickery supplements Dual Shot against decks with many small creatures.

Gorilla Shaman shuts out Affinity. This slot was given to Relic of Progenitus in the past which would have helped a lot in match three against the Tortured Existence deck.

Hydroblast and Pyroblast are super powerful sideboard options that come in against the many red and blue decks in the format.

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Jace's Erasure is a great alternate win condition when you want to leave your opponent stranded with removal spells in their deck that do nothing against Jace's Erasure. Against decks that will kill you if you wait too long, you have to just continue with the Flurry of Horns plan since it can win a bit faster.


Izzet Control lacks the Chainer's Edict and Evincar's Justice of Dimir Control, but brings its own efficient removal and sideboard cards to the table. Whatever the future of control decks in pauper, I think Puzzle Pieces will be one to keep an eye on, and that it is definitely worth investing the time to learn how to play optimally.

The deck also has room for variation as the metagame changes. What are alternate options for Dual Shot and Dispel? What happens if you change Jace's Erasure to the main deck plan? There's a lot of interesting questions here to try to answer, and I hope as it continues to be tuned that it finds a more permanent spot in the meta. 


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 Aether Revolt)

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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