I feel like every time I check in on the Pauper format, there’s another deck that just blows me away. Being a Pauper novice brings out even more excitement—seeing what’s possible in a format full of commons is insane. How about a control deck filled with card advantage, removal, and no creatures?

This deck has a single Sprout Swarm, and that’s the way to win. This means Sprout Swarm needs to be protected from countermagic and discard, or things aren’t going to work out. You also only have a single green source, so it’s not like Sprout Swarm is being cast many times per turn or with any other mana acceleration. This deck is looking to control the board, take it to the late game, and let Sprout Swarm do the dirty work.

Luckily, you have some strong permission at common to control the game and make sure your win condition is safe. Counterspell is too good for Modern. A hard counter for 2 mana is better than anything we’ve seen in a really long time, and with good reason. Counterspell is an amazing card that is one of the most exciting features of the format for me. You also get a full playset of Rewinds to make sure that nothing bad is going to happen while still having your mana available afterward.

Some Excludes can keep creatures under control while creating card advantage. Main-deck Pyroblast is a nod to how good cards like Counterspell and blue are in the format.

You also have boatloads of removal in a deck where Lightning Bolt doesn’t even make the cut. Instead, you have cards like Terminate to kill anything, Magma Spray for the exile effect, Staggershock to take down multiple threats, and Electrickery to take down swarms of tokens.

The one removal spell you want to max out on is the incredibly efficient Skred. It’s going to kill creatures in the early game and the bigger creatures in the late game. A single mana for an instant that continues to scale every turn is massively powerful.

You also have lots of ways to see extra cards. Brainstorm, the best card in Legacy, is a legal card in Pauper! This is also a useful tool to dodge discard spells when you need to protect your Sprout Swarm. You get the full playset of Think Twice as well to help you see the maximum number of cards and use up your mana every turn.

The card that puts this deck so far ahead is Mystical Teachings. This is an expensive weapon, but it tutors for any of your 35 instants to get whatever you need in any situation. Having flashback is amazing, and you will often just Teachings for another Teachings when the game is under control. This engine will make sure you’re always ahead on counters, removal, and card draw.

A couple of bullets add versatility. Cremate will exile powerful spells from the graveyard, and Muddle the Mixture can give you either another cheap counter or a tutor for cards like Swarm and Counterspell. The only non-instant spell in the deck is a crazy one in Luxa River Shrine—a nice way to make sure you’re gaining life throughout the game. Early on, it will take a bit of mana and time to build up brick counters, but a few turns later and you’re looking at a great way to stave off death for a long time.

Pauper is a great format with tons of different things you can do and be successful. This is one of the cooler ones I’ve seen so far!

5c Control

OBZEN, 5-0 in an MTGO Pauper League