Pauper Mono Red Storm Intro

da | Mag 1, 2020 | Deck Guide, English

Article by Matteo Manizza
Translation by Alberto Volpe

Introduction

Hi everyone, I am Matteo Manizza, Lega Pauper Marche’s player and admin, and I wrote this article to talk about the deck which led us to Pauper Challenge Top 8 on april 27th, “created” by me and my mtgo mate federusher.

Cycle Storm by federusher, Top8 Pauper Challenge 26/04/2020

Creatures (26)
Deadshot Minotaur
Drannith Healer
Drannith Stinger
Imposing Vantasaur
Monstrous Carabid
Street Wraith
Viashino Sandsprinter

Spells (22)
Faithless Looting
Rite of Flame
Cabal Ritual
Manamorphose
Reaping the Graves
Songs of the Damned
Lands (12)
Forgotten Cave
Geothermal Crevice
Snow-Covered Mountain

Sideboard (15)
Death Spark
Flaring Pain
Lotus Petal
Pyroblast
Shredded Sails

I previously said “created”, because I actually  took the key mechanics of this deck from the famous streamer Caleb Gannon, known for being a master storm deck builder in pauper and probably  in any other format.

Let me say it loud:  Caleb Gannon is an artist to me!

The creator has indeed taken an old deck, the Songs of the Damned Combo, and made it much more competitive thanks to the new cards from the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths set.

Songs Combo by Kurogi Takehiko, Pauper League March 2018

Creatures (33)
Crypt Rats
Deadshot Minotaur
Disciple of Malice
Architects of Will
Viscera Dragger
Horror of the Broken Lands
Krosan Tusker
Monstrous Carabid
Pit Keeper
Satyr Wayfinder

Spells (9)
Songs of the Damned
Gnaw to the Bone
Consume Spirit
Lands (18)
Barren Moor
Evolving Wilds
Forest
Golgari Rot Farm
Island
Mountain
Swamp

Sideboard (15)
Dispel
Evincar’s Justice
Gorilla Shaman
Gut Shot
Natural State
Snuff Out

At the beginning we didn’t like the decklist he created, so we decided to change its main color identity, sideboards, and more or less everything, saving just the core of the basic mechanics.

Cycle Storm by Caleb Gannon

Creatures (28)
Lurching Rotbeast
Monstrous Carabid
Street Wraith
Drannith Healer
Drannith Stinger
Horror of the Broken Lands
Imposing Vantasaur

Spells (24)
Reaping the Graves
Songs of the Damned
Cabal Ritual
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Dark Ritual
Lotus Petal
Lands (8)
Crumbling Vestige
Swamp

Let’s start with how the deck works, then we’ll see each single card and at the end the reasons why I chose this version.

I’d like to make it clear now: this version is probably way far to be the final one. Indeed, I sincerely hope that the deck will be assimilated by the community, improved and turned it into a tier in all respects.


How it works

As said, the basic mechanics isn’t mine, but I think I got it decently.

I’m not going to write a papyrus on how to go off with the combo, I’ll just give some guidelines, even because having developed it only few days ago my advices may be inadequate, given also the considerable amount of testing that the deck still requires.

The average turn to go off is the fourth, rarely the third. The first few turns you just have to cycle your creatures, in fact each creature can be cycled with one red mana, so you can use your lands without the possibility of having dead cards in hand. My advice for the future archetype’s players is to include only cycling cards that can be cycled through the mana provided by your lands in order to constantly cycling without get stucked. As soon as you find the combo key cards, basically Reaping The Graves and tons of mana, you can go off.

That’s it, obviously there are many different ways to get the max value out of it, but it would be harder to write them all than show ‘em in a game, so i’ll give up here with the explanation of the gameplan.


The Deck

Manabase

For the right amount of lands we relied to percentage calculators, but I won’t report the maths here cause it’s too long and definitely too boring, mostly based on the possibility of finding the second land even in the worst case scenario.

2 Forgotten Cave – Cycle land, useful during the combo, but it’s better not have too many of these to avoid the risk of being too slow in the early game.

4 Geothermal Crevice – Extremely strong land, a bit slow in your opening turns cause it enters tapped, but it allows you to fix black mana without using additional slots in the deck. The green mana is also a house with Manamorphose and Deadshot Minotaur. If I could have chosen this land’s colors, I would definitely have chosen these.

6 Basic Mountain – 12 total lands, as mentioned I find it the right amount to easily find 2-3 lands, keeping a one land-starting hand.

Creatures

The creatures are divided between humble draw cards, useful for their ability to cycle for 1 mana or less, and key cards for the combo. Luckily, mom Wizards has also given the ability “cycling” to the combo cards, making the deck way more linear.

4 Deadshot Minotaur – Bad cycle card, but still better than others, cycling for G/R; at least it’s a valid creature.

4 Drannith Healer – Excellent cycle card, very strong creature against fast aggro decks, where gaining a bunch of lives can give you enough time to prepare your combo, which is so important for this kind of deck.

4 Drannith Stinger – The deck’s finisher and also a great cycle card thanks to his colorless cycling cost; Once on the board, it deals 1 or more damage to the opponent depending on how many you cast.

4 Imposing Vantasaur – Another colorless cycling cost card.

4 Monstrous Carabid – B/R are the mana we generate during the combo, so once again, another great cycling card.

4 Street Wraith – Probably the strongest cycling card, but of course, you have to pay attention not to go too low on life, especially against some decks such as burn for example.

2 Viashino Sandsprinter – The worst on the list, it only cycles for red mana, even if as creature is ok.

Spells

As mentioned, accumulating mana in order to go off with the combo is essential, so I’ve included the best “rites” available on the market.

4 Cabal Ritual – The strongest ritual, getting threshold is really easy.

4 Manamorphose – This card has a power level so high that playing it is like cheating. Not only it lets us draw for free, provides the storm count and fix our black mana in order to go off, but during the combo it can turn tons of black mana from Songs of the Damned into red mana so we can keep on cycle and cast the few cards that require it.

4 Reaping the Graves – Deck’s key card, mandatory. Going down below 4 copies, despite the high casting cost, it’s just mental. Without this card, it’s hard to go off, and once you do, if you can’t find it, then your combo is done, probably ending with a loss. Best case scenario is to go off while having this card in your hand and this often happens thanks to the considerable amount of draws in the early game.

4 Songs of the Damned – I’ve called Cabal Ritual as  “strongest ritual”, which is undeniably true, except for this deck where it’s widely outclassed by Songs of the Damned. The amount of mana this card can generate is outstanding.  Although it seem to add relatively few mana when you start to go off, during the combo it will show all its power.

2 Faithless Looting – Another card with a very high power level. It’s just in two copies because is useful especially during the combo where you want to discard some of the few dead draws (lands, sideboards). Uncomfortable instead, in hands where you’d like not to discard anything at all. It can be useful to find lands on your first turns, but still uncomfortable.

4 Rite of Flame – We chose this card over Dark Ritual because of its color: to generate red mana during the combo is quite difficult, and Rite of Flame helps a lot.

Sideboard

4 Death Spark – I would like to spend few words on this one. I find this card so strong, we can consider to slightly change our gameplan against some decks since g2, especially blue-based decks full of annoying fairies, which are bad match-ups, finding themselves in a soft lock to solve, by the time is quite easy for this deck to find two copies of Death Spark. Obviously really strong against any deck full of 1/1 creatures like Elves.

2 Flaring Pain – Not playing this card means losing to every Prismatic Strands deck, and I don’t like to.

2 Lotus Petal – These two slots were empty, so we decided to add 2 petals in order to improve the match-up against fast decks, but I think they will be replaced soon.

4 Pyroblast – I’m not even explaining it, but don’t put Red Elemental Blast in its place! Pyroblast can be randomly cast without a target just to increase the storm count, while REB can’t.

3 Shredded Sails – The best card against artifact and hate in general available. It destroys artifacts, annoying flyers and can be cycled at a relatively low cost. I couldn’t ask for any better.

Honorable Mentions

Chromatic Star / Chromatic Sphere – Thanks again to the many percentage calculators available on the internet, we know how having 8 mana-fixers (4 Geothermal Crevice, 4 Manamorphose) are enough to get the necessary amount of black mana. To be precise: you have 91,6% chance to draw one of the fixers out of 15 cards (7 from starting hand, 3-4 standard draws and 3-4 cycling cards, to stay low). More than acceptable to choose not to weaken the deck with similar cards.

Lotus Petal – Just inside the sideboard, it turned out to be quite disappointing, while in the maindeck is completely useless, except to increase the storm count. The mana it generates is almost irrelevant.

Seething Song – Card we are considering at the moment to include in double copy.

Fireball/Kaervek’s Torch/Rolling  Thunder – Alternative finishers to take advantage of the amount of mana we generate, I don’t find them necessary: once you developed large amount of mana, the combo does the rest. You can try 1x copy of one of those, might be nice, but I don’t see the point in weaken the deck structure with cards that don’t significantly improve our game plan.


Conclusions

In the end, I’d like to report those I consider the pros and cons of the many versions of the deck we’ve seen so far, and why I chose exactly the red-based one to develop the deck.

BLACK BASED

PROS:

  • Extremely solid deck having every cycling card black. It allows faster starts (can go off on turn 3, with less difficulties than the green/red version).

CONS:

  • Difficulty on having good storm count in the early game;
  • Need for Epicure of Blood (maybe there are other cards, but I don’t know them) , super high casting cost card even for us, to avoid Prismatic Strands;
  • No anti-hate sideboards (No black artifact-destroyer), so color-splash needed to counter hate cards. Splash extremely hard to make due to the lack of excellent color-fixers, so it requires cards like Chromatic Star/Sphere, weakening the maindeck.
  • In general, sideboard weaker than any other version (Duress < Pyroblast)

Cycle Storm by saoli, 9th Pauper Challenge 25/04/2020

Creatures (27)
Architects of Will
Drannith Healer
Drannith Stinger
Horror of the Broken Lands
Imposing Vantasaur
Lurching Rotbeast
Street Wraith

Spells (24)
Consume Spirit
Edge of Autumn
Haunting Misery
Unearth
Cabal Ritual
Dark Ritual
Reaping the Graves
Songs of the Damned
Lotus Petal
Lands (9)
Swamp

Sideboard  (15)
Chromatic Sphere
Duress
Faerie Macabre
Grisly Survivor
Victim of Night
Weather the Storm

GREEN BASED

PROS:

CONS:

  • Lack of a good number of creature cards with cycling cost of green mana, making it difficult to optimize the lands;
  • Lack of green-based “rites”, having to use “rites” and cycling cards of different colors;
  • Generically slower combo than black-based version (Turn 4, hardly turn 3);
  • Complicated access to hate cards, such as Pyroblast;
  • Weaker against blue-based decks, especially Skred/Mono U, than the red-based version.

Cycle Storm by jamiieJR, 11th Pauper Challenge 26/04/2020

Creatures (29)
Deadshot Minotaur
Drannith Healer
Drannith Stinger
Horror of the Broken Lands
Imposing Vantasaur
Monstrous Carabid
Street Wraith
Tinder Wall

Spells (25)
Land Grant
Cabal Ritual
Manamorphose
Reaping the Graves
Songs of the Damned
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Lands (6)
Barren Moor
Forest
Swamp

Sideboard (15)
Barren Moor
Tinder Wall
Dissenter’s Deliverance
Flaring Pain
Geothermal Crevice
Red Elemental Blast

RED BASED

PROS:

CONS:

  • Generically slower combo than black-based version (Turn 4, hardly turn 3);
  • Difficulty having strong cards against fast aggro decks (or at least I didn’t find some yet).

 

So, the reason why I chose the red-based version is basically its versatility against most part of match-ups, thanks to the high power level sideboard cards available. Some might righlty want to try a two-colors version of the deck, which I don’t recommend at the moment, cause it can really lose strength. After that, don’t listen to me and my advices, just try to build your own ideal version of this deck. Well, I think everything has been told, hope you enjoied the article, as well as the deck itself.