Dime a Dozen #88: Geist, Sage, Drifter!

Jason is back with his Classic Pauper Izzet Control deck! This time he will try his luck in an epic Pauper League. Don’t miss it!


  1. Epic is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit. After watching Match 1 however, I can only hope the rest follow suit. I suggest all future pregame pleasantries shared via in game chat be changed to “Let’s make it EPIC!” at the start of each match. Then, on the off chance you get blown out completely, you have the option of closing with a deference of responsibility unto your opponent by forgoing the usual sportsman like, “gg’s” and instead end the game with a proclamation of “Epic Fail!”

  2. What would you replace the Pyroblast And Hydroblast with for someone who would want to try this deck but as budget as possible?

  3. Match 3 Game 3 “We got a reader!” Good Stuff.
    Another Epic Trio. Denying this deck the ability to use reality acid is crucial. Turn 5 is when things really come on line as far as play sequences go from the opponent. In game one, you asked about bolting your own creature in response to it, and I would say that whatever it takes to keep acid from going back their hand is worth strong consideration. In Game three you fought versus two reality acid’s. With no other permanents in play your lands were the primary target. The first salvo, your opponent had the dispel for your counter. On the second exchange you had a deprive to fight with. In this situation I would suggest you return (As part of deprive’s casting cost) the land being targeted by reality acid, as it is effectively countered either way.

  4. ArtStyle: It’s unfortunate that these are among the most expensive cards in pauper as their versatility and mana efficiency is second to none. I find that the vast majority of the time I use them it is on the stack. In this case Dispel will hit most of what you want to stop from red decks and is a decent alternative to Hydroblast in this deck. Dispel will also function for Pyroblast in helping to win counter wars but what Blue/Red struggles with is handling non creature permanents such as enchantments. In this case I think a bounce spell like Repeal or Into The Roil might slot in as well, or another Echoing Truth. Some number of dispel’s and either bounce, or other situation counter spells like negate would be more than adequate cards that are common and budget friendly.

  5. ArtStyle – Thanks for your question! Unfortunately it’s not the easiest to answer. In Hydroblast we have a VERY efficient means of killing Atog and Nivix Cyclops in addition to stopping Burn and Goblins aggression at a very low mana cost.

    Pyroblast , on the other hand, is typically used to win counter wars and maybe to kill a Curse of the Bloody Tome every once in a while.

    Try adding a second copy of Dispel to your sideboard for those permission-heavy mirrors, then look for something with a low mana cost that can kill Atog, Nivix Cyclops, AND can still come in against Goblins (it very well could end up being a second Harvest Pyre). Curse of Chains and Narcolepsy are problematic because Fling, Apostle’s Blessing and Goblin Sledder can all somewhat get around them. You may end up having to use them anyway.

    I think your Burn matchup is going to be pretty rough without Hydroblast, but there’s a chance it isn’t a stellar matchup to begin with. Please let me know how things turn out with your budget version! Thanks again.

  6. Yatunic – As a general suggestion, I would start here:

    -2 Counterspell
    -1 Deprive

    +1 Harvest Pyre
    +2 Hydroblast

    You likely want to get Serrated Arrows in there also, so if they aren’t running Auriok Sunchaser or Somber Hoverguard you can likely cut one Stormbound Geist.

    Devote all defensive resources towards managing their large creatures. Don’t counter card draw or color fixing or any of that. Line up the most appropriate answer to each threat (for instance, Flame Slash a 4/4 and save your Curse of Chains for the much larger Atog. Don’t forget that double Arrow counters will kill Atog too).

    Remember that they are very good at dumping their hand, and they have no reason to hold back threats later on in the game. This means that any time they still have unknowns in hand in the mid and late game, you can basically narrow the possibilities down to Fling, Galvanic Blast or Pyroblast. Use that information to your advantage!

    These are just generalizations so don’t treat them as absolutes. Use critical thinking and adapt to the best of your ability. Good luck!

  7. Jason:

    I haven’t yet encountered too much success yet (think im 2-6 or something like that) but it is probably just because im bad and very inexperienced in the format. Not having pyroblast and Hydroblast is Definitely a problem, as dispel can sometime be a dead card compared to Pyro and Burn and goblin have been rough. Too bad BEM and REM are uncommon in MTGO as it would definitely drive the price down. This is my second Pauper deck. Started out with a very cheap UB control deck, but playing control in a format you dont know is a challenge add that to fighting the UI and i tend to beat myself. So when I saw your deck using alot of the same blue card i already add + the added benefit of your video to show me how the deck needs to be played and your thought process, It really made me want to try the deck (you really got me Game 2 in vid 1 when you went creatureless and won with bloody tome, I tought it was a very clever way to play). Having a lot of fun so far. Wont get into tournament play for a while tho I think. Ill keep on getting better and as time goes on maybe ill pitch the 35-40 CAD for the pyroblast and hydroblast.

    Hopefully you make some more video with this deck.
    Watched everything so far from the 3 first to the 5 next and really enjoyed them.

    Do you have a stream where you play sometimes? I would definitely tune in!


  8. Artstyle – It’s great to hear about your progress and experiences with the format. Thanks for the feedback as well!

    I don’t currently stream (any hypothetical suggestions for what I could incorporate into the stream?), but some of my BlackBorder content might be able to tide you over.

    For instance, these control mage articles might help you out in some way –

    “How to Control the Pauper Meta” – http://www.blackborder.com/q/node/19235

    “A Tale of Two Control Decks” – http://www.blackborder.com/q/node/19351

    Talk to you soon ^^

  9. Jason:

    For your stream you could do the same thing you do in your video. You set up an account on something like twitch or google stream and play your deck and explain your thought process, your mistake or why card X was a better play then card Y with with the added benefice of being able to interact with the viewer live, answer our question and such. You could then upload the video to youtube like you just did and strike two bird with one stone.

    Thank you for your article I will read them tonight between two sealed round :).

    I have started seeing more success tonight with the deck. think im 6-2 tonight. Starting to get a better feel for it. Sideboarding is still an issue. I think im too quick on the gun to go creatureless sometime it backfires hard. Im having trouble vs Kor bouncer deck especially the WRU ones who incorporate the Protection from mono coloured spell. Any tips as far as playstyle or sideboarding goes?


  10. Jason:

    i guess i have problem with anything that runs shroud, hexproof or protection From monocolor spell. what is the general strategy to adopt vs those.

  11. Artstyle – Unfortunately I don’t think there is an easy answer to that question.

    One thing I can say is that many different scenarios will call for the employment of different strategies, and I can’t give you a quick fix to your problem.

    The first thing you can do in these kinds of situations is determine “what is my game plan?” –




    This goes hand in hand with determining “who is the beatdown?” -


    I assume that the “problem” you’re having with these decks is that you’re losing to them. With that being said, try to identify a few key factors: are the decks you’re losing to the beatdown? What is their plan, and what is that plan’s relation to yours? What does the board, graveyards and each player’s hand/library look like in the scenarios where you’re losing? How do the games usually play out in order to get to that point?

    I hope that by asking some of these pointed questions you will be able to find some meaningful answers! Thanks!

  12. Jason –
    I tried your Izzet Control build (virtually similar with the only change being a second pristine talisman in place of serrated arrows to conserve tixs) and have found great success. I am especially thankful for your video of your deck playing against Kuldotha Jeskai, as it helped me to figure out the best ways to outmaneuver that deck. Thank you for your content and I hope you continue to make content of this quality.