I’ve focused on a number of Pauper decks recently that also feature many cards considered too powerful for Modern. Artifact lands, Ponder, and Preordain are near the top of the list of cards that you can play in the format of all commons, but not in the format where turn-2 kills are possible. Today’s deck is much more “fair,” but may have the answers to solve the format.
Mono-Black offers card advantage, removal, and answers. One of the best removal spells in a format with hexproof decks and under-costed Affinity creatures is Chainer’s Edict. Edict doubles up nicely as card advantage as this deck will look to take the game late and get that extra flashback value. With extra ways to deal with small creatures, Edict is a great way to deal with even the most problematic threats. Geth’s Verdict acts as Edict #5 (or sometimes 9, when all of your mana is online).
Disfigure takes care of all of the small creatures, some of which pack a punch. Delver of Secrets, Glint Hawk, and Ninja of the Deep Hours all trade for the 1-mana instant, and you can even use it as a trick to win combat. Oubliette is much slower and sorcery speed, but it’s an effective tool against some of the bigger creatures the format has to offer. It also sticks around in play to contribute to devotion.
Duress is no Thoughtseize, but taking a big spell out of your opponent’s hand has always been good. This is also a powerful tool just for the information, knowing how to sequence and what removal spells to use at the right times will help you stay ahead.
Sign in Blood can get you ahead on cards and even give you a bit of reach if you can get the opponent low. Trading cards works out well in the early game when you have these 2-for-1s, and in the late game many of your other cards become 2-for-1s.
Nihil Spellbomb can mess up graveyard strategies while also being a cheap way to cycle through your deck.
Phyrexian Rager and Chittering Rats have nearly opposite abilities, but are awesome ways to get 2-for-1s out of your 3-drop creatures. Rager will get you a card ahead before trading for opposing creatures or removal, and Chittering Rats will set them a turn behind—putting a card on top is often more punishing than making someone discard. They’ll lose that draw step, and in cases where they need to topdeck a critical land or spell, this eliminates those outs.
Cuombajj Witches cleans up small creatures and tokens. Kuldotha Rebirth and Battle Screech populate this format, and the Witches mow tokens down to make sure your Edicts work. A reasonable size for blocking and a great casting cost for devotion are additional benefits.
Gray Merchant of Asphodel was one of the major draws to playing Mono-Black Devotion in Standard a couple years ago, and it’s no different here. Witches, Rats, and Oubliette all offer multiple mana symbols, and it’s possible that the Gray Merchant can drain the opponent out from double digits without too much of a sweat in the late game. Surviving 2 copies is often an impossible task.
Mono-Black Pauper isn’t doing anything I would describe as broken, but it’s doing many things extremely well. It doesn’t have the Ponders and Counterspells other decks have, but it has answers to everything and can get so far ahead that your opponents can never come back.