Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Recreating Necropotence in Pauper

I am not a brewer. I brew very seldom. I prefer to let other people brew and then I make a fool of myself playing their decks on YouTube.

Last deck I brewed was Rot Wolf Control in Pauper. That did not work out. That was three years ago.

Recently the voices in my head kept reminding me of the glory that was Necropotence in the Black Summer of ages past. A guy at my local store brewed the first semi-working Necropotence deck. We refined it. My friend Leon Lindb├Ąck took it a rough draft of the list to the first Pro Tour and made history.

Check out Leon's deck here:

Mono Black Control (MBC) is #3 in the Pauper metagame while I am writing this.

Can we adapt MBC to become more like Necropotence?

A typical MBC deck
Here is a typical MBC list from MTG Goldfish:

4 Chittering Rats
3 Cuombajj Witches
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Gurmag Angler
4 Phyrexian Rager

3 Chainer's Edict
2 Corrupt
4 Sign in Blood
2 Unearth
2 Disfigure
1 Echoing Decay
3 Geth's Verdict
2 Tendrils of Corruption
2 Oubliette

3 Barren Moor
1 Bojuka Bog
18 Swamp

1 Echoing Decay
3 Bottle Gnomes
3 Choking Sands
3 Duress
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Shrivel
2 Wrench Mind

The Necropotence deck of the Black Summer
The Black Summer Necro list looks something like this (4 months later than Leon's triumph)

4 Hypnotic Spectre
4 Knight of Stromgald
4 Order of the Ebon Hand

4 Necropotence
3 Nevinyrral's Disk
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Drain Life
1 Soul Burn
3 Serrated Arrows
1 Zuran Orb
1 Ivory Tower
1 Dark Banishing

18 Swamp
4 Strip Mine
4 Dark Ritual

The sideboard is fairly irrelevant for a Pauper adaption.

Looking for similarities

Both decks have 22 lands, so lets stick with that. No, in fact let us count Dark Ritual as half a land. So we are going for 20 Swamp + 4 Dark Ritual.

Necropotence = Sign in Blood; Fairly large downgrade
Hypnotic Spectre = Chittering Rats; Alternatively Liliana's Spectre but I think rats are just better
Knight of Stromgald - 3 Anglers + 4 Ragers + 1 Gray Merchant(more expensive but that will do)
Drain Life = Corrupt; Actually an upgrade
Soul Burn = Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Hymn to Tourach = Wrench Mind; Not as good but similar at least.

We will try to emulate 3 Disk + 1 Dark Banishing with 4 Chainer's Edict. Not even close in removal power but we don't need a reset button as badly

We will reduce the number of Serrated Arrows (which is still a fine card, especially with Dark Rituals) to fit in one more Read the Bones (only the precense of a huge number of card draw spells can even hope to emulate the power of Necropotence)

Ivory Tower and Zuran Orb are powerful lifegain spells. They are replaced by Gray Merchants.

We replaced two of the Strip Mines with Swamps above. Lets replace the two other Strip Mines with two Read the Bones for the full set of 8 card draw spells + 4 Ragers to try to emulate Necro.

Finally we need Tendrils of Corruption for that little extra life gain to fuel our "Necro" things.

And we will try to fit in one Unearth because really cheap things that we can cast while Necroing is highly essential.

Pauper Necropotence
20 Swamp
4 Dark Ritual

4 Chittering Rats
3 Gurmag Angler
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel

4 Wrench Mind
4 Corrupt
4 Chainer's Edict
2 Serrated Arrows
4 Read the Bones
2 Tendrils of Corruption
1 Unearth
That is 10 lifegain spells and 12 card draw spells.

Rough Sideboard Draft
2 Echoing Decay
4 Dead Weight - against Delver
1 Coumbajj Witches - against Delver and to replace a 2 toughness creature
2 Bottle Gnomes - against Burn
4 Duress - against Control
2 Relic of Progenitus

What have we given up compared to traditional MBC for our uncertain "Necro" value?
We are playing 15 creatures instead of 18.
We are playing less removal.
We certainly have a worse matchup against Delver.
Our curve is probably a bit off and that is the #1 thing we need to work on now.
We have to rework the sideboard plan for certain.
We have no Gray Merchant + Oubliette synergy (that is because we already have way too many 3-drops)

This is just a thought experiment but I might just submit this deck to the Pauper Gauntlet starting on November 8th. I still have to figure out if this is within the rules or not (I did submit Rot Wolf Control in earlier seasons) - what do you think? Can I do that?

What do you think about the deck? Are Read the Bones, Sign in Blood and Phyrexian Ragers just not good enough card draw spells to pretend to be like Necro? Should I just go back to playing Blue Black with Mulldrifters or Deep Analysis if I want to draw this many cards?

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