MTG – Get dirty! With Dimir Alchemy, a Powerful Control Deck in Pauper for Magic: The Gathering


For those who aren’t familiar with pauper it’s like Legacy Lite. You get to play with commons from throughout Magic’s history, all the way back to Alpha Lets hook up. And can you bring with you a couple of decks? I can. We’ll get those up on full graphics and we can actually explore, look so here’s a Mono-Blue Control List. Now I didn’t say that at random because obviously I want to play Counterspell. Many Rich Hagans ask the question what’s a powerful control deck running actual Counterspell for Pauper? Well sir I’m afraid Mono-Blue just won’t due. We need to splash some black to control our opponent’s attack. But don’t worry it does run Counterspell, so all is well. So long as you’re willing to get a little dirty with your control. And if you are? WOW, then I have I got a deck for you Rich. Dimir Alchemy. Pauper at a glance looks like a wasteland for control decks. An incredibly diverse metagame that skews aggressive. Trying to have the right answers all the time isn’t exactly easy. Even decks that play along similar lines are vulnerable to different counter punches. With some working better than others. But Dimir Alchemy is the best positioned control deck in the format. Not only does it lean heavily on instants, but due to the eponymous instant it can find the right answer for a given situation, each and every time. Dimir Alchemy is also highly customizable. Outside of a few key cards it can be built and adapted for just about any metagame. Even builds that aren’t kept up to date can easily break even in a league at a 3-2 record. But a properly tuned version can cut through a tournament like a hot knife through butter. Best of all the deck only costs about $40. So get ready to spread this on you mourning crumpets Mr. Hagan. Let’s take a look. The first question this deck asks is teachings or alchemy? Mystical Teachings is a fantastic Magic: the Gathering card. And a common to boot. For 3 and a Blue it is an instant that searches your library for an instant card or a card with flash, reveals it and puts it into your hand. Teachings also has flashback for 5 and Black. Wow, it is a powerful tutor that can be slow card advantage engine unto it’s self and a popular card for pauper. And yet despite all this, it’s just to slow for the format, currently That’s why we are going to go the road of forbidden alchemy instead. Forbidden Alchemy is 2 and a blue to look at the top 4 cards of your library. Put one of the into your hand and the rest into your graveyard. It also has flashback for 6 and black. Pauper has numerous breakpoints in gameplay including the second and third turn. Being able to do something Counter a spell or kill a creature turn 2, then follow it up with end of turn alchemy on turn 3 is just what you need to set your wheels in motion. Alchemy is also better at feeding an early Gurmag Angler. Which is what we use to win games. Teachings decks suffer from a lack of good win condition. And even more from the absence sweeper. Without these teachings decks have to spend to much time and too many cards, trading one for one. And struggling to get and stay ahead. But where Teachings lingers, Dimir Alchemy snaps into a midrange deck at an instant. And untimely wins by sticking that Gurmag Angler in and depleting a life total, rather burying an opponent under card advantage. And thus the core of this deck is 3x Forbidden Alchemy, while not a card advantage engine it is certainly a card selection one. It lets the deck run a wide array of answers while also fuelling Gurmag Angler. And obviously we’re running a full playset of Gurmag Angler. Once you’ve dumped into your graveyard it’s one mana for a 5/5 What else is there to say? Angler is one of the best threats in the format and this deck, right here excels at casting it. You can get away with 3 copies if you have ways to get it back like Soul Manipulation or Grim Harvest, but like to stick to the full playset. And along those line those lines a full playset of Augur of Bolas is also run. An early drop that can find key cards and absorb some blows the worst thing about Augur is that it cannot find you lands directly. Nonetheless this is a true workhorse. And that’s it. That is the core of this deck. Those three cards. I’m going to go through what I think are the optimal counterspells and removal but I love how much the player themselves can fine tune this deck. Not only to their meta, but to their play style. So let’s take a look at what I recommend running in addition to the core. Actually the first thing I should mention is something I’m not running. Mulldrifter. And yes yes, I know it’s a great card. And it’s true that some Alchemy decks do run Mulldrifter. And of course that Soul Manipulation to get it back But I just don’t recommend it in the current meta. Simply put Mulldrifter is too expensive to warrant inclusion. With sorcery speed card draw the goal is to be able to cast it then do something with the fresh cards that turn. Mulldrifter just does not allow that. Instead I run Compulsive Research. Now stop hear me out. Compulsive Research is not meant to be cast on the third turn, but rather a later turn when you have returned a land with Dimir Aqueduct and can then put the fresh cards to use. Usually by stopping your opponents plans. Thus I run two Compulsive Research as a main way to go up on cards. While it is indeed a sorcery, it combos so well with the mana base of Dimir Aqueduct Tap 3 lands, play the aqueduct. Discard the bounce land etc. And unlike Mulldrifter it can be found with the Augur of Bolas. It’s not an ideal turn 3 play but shines in the mid to late game. Let’s take a look at some control and removal. 2x Counterspell. Which is 2 to counter target spell. BAM! It’s the OG, yo ya you know me. We’d run four of these if we could but the mana would be atrocious. So instead we’ll include 4 Prohibit which is one of the best counters in the format. At its base it costs 1 and Blue making it easy to cast in two color decks. Prohibit is great in the early game. And it excels at counter wars due to the low blue requirement. We’ll also be running 3 think twice. 1 and a blue to draw a card and flash back for 2 and blue. This lets us churn through the deck and works from the graveyard. A pair of Chainer’s Edict. Thanks to it being printed at common in Vintage Masters, Edict is Pauper legal and has been making waves in the format. For black and 1 target player sacrifices a creature and flashback at 5 and 2 black makes this two removal spells in one. It takes out creatures you can’t target and against decks with very few threats it can hit the only one they have on board. What else is there to say about this card. It’s great! They should have never downgraded it to common. But their lack of foresight is out ambition. 2x Evincar’s Justice. It’s just 2 black and 2. And has the incredibly broken Buyback for 3. Meaning you may pay an additional 3 as you cast this spell. And if you do, you get to put right back into your hand as it resolves. Evincar’s Justice deals 2 damage to each creature and each player. This makes it the best sweeper we can run. Justice chews through a wide array of creature based decks and in the late game you can use Buyback to increase your clock. Be sure to watch your own life total as this deck is prone to taking damage in the early game. 3x Disfigure it’s and instant for black that gives target creature -2/-2 until end of turn. One of the best one mana removal spells there is, it handles most every one drop and gets around regeneration effects. Also useful in combat against other large creatures as a way to have angler emerge victorious. We’re also going to want to slip in a pair of Tragic Slip. Woh, watch out for that open grave. This will often be the second removal spell cast in a given turn. Using an edict to take out something and then slip in to kill their real threat is a common play pattern. Do not be afraid to burn this on a offending X/1 if needed. A single ghastly demise, a spell I just love. 1 black for an instant that destroys target non-black creature if its toughness is less than or equal to the number of cards in your graveyard. Dimir Alchemy will usually have a full graveyard, which turns this into a poor mans Swords to Plowshears. No we don’t get to exile but one mana to kill almost anything is just too good to pass up. A pair of echoing decay, for black and 1 this instant gives target creature and all other with the same name as that creature -2/-2. Similar to Disfigure except it can take out token armies in one foul swoop. Another nice way to contain threats. The removal train continues with 1x Doom Blade, you know this as the core magic card deemed to powerful for the core. Hits almost everything in the format that isn’t Gurmag Angler. It’s point and click removal. One Diabolic Edict, another edict effect. But this one has the advantage of being cast at instant speed. This can matter against decks like Tribe Combo, Izzet Blitz and Hexproof. Frankly it’s just a good card that you can use immediately after alchemy. And of course a single Agony Warp. 1 black and blue to make your opponents black and blue. Agony warp gives target creature -3/-0 until end of turn. And target creature -0/-3 until end of turn. A fine removal spell that can be used to stem the damage. Splitting the targets means being able staunch the bleeding and remove another threat. The two color mana requirement makes it harder to run as many copies, and thats why we only got a single one here. So what does our mana base look like? Well we of course got one Bojuka Bog that’s basically a free inclusion for graveyard hate at this point. A full playset of Dismal Backwater, out on color dual lands. 3x Dimir Aqueduct. As the aqueduct gives us an addition mana in fewer land slots. With 3 aqueducts the deck is capable of producing 26 mana from 23 lands, this matters in the late game where you want to flashback alchemy and do something else in the same turn. After that it’s 9x Islands and 6x Swamps. Look at that price tag, I love it. So what’s in this decks sideboard. Obviously just as flexible as the main, if not more so I recommend we include 3x Duress Which helps fight combo decks and lets us plot out how to leverage removal and counters. 3x Hydroblast. Red and blue are enemies you know. 2x Dispel to fight other counterspell decks and decks with Temur Battle Rage. Not to mention Fling and Inside Out A pair of Stormbound Geists. Look at these, they’re good against delver as a blocker and other decks with Chainer’s Edict as a way to negate that spells efficiency. It could easily be main deck in some meta games. Play around with them you’re gonna love em. Another key is a pair of Vodalian Zombie. We usually side this in against Stompy for blocks. Two Into the Roil, a flexible answer to non-creature, non-land permenants. And one more Chainer’s Edict for when you need one more Chainer’s Edict. Comes up more often than you think. In today’s Pauper meta control often has an uphill climb with no real sweepers and no cost efficient card advantage aggro just ekes too far out. But Dimir Alchemy is the bubbling brew to do unto others what you’d never want them to do unto you. Control and remove, sweep when needed and delve deep into that Gurmag Angler to beat your enemies, black and blue. So Rich I hope very much that this video has been of some help to you. You can help me out by ringing my bell. And by letting me know in the comments what Pauper deck you’d like to see a tech on next. This last weekend was an amazing Pauper experience at GP Indi, where over two-hundred fifteen player showed up on Sunday to play in the Pauper Double Up event. This was so many people, these events usually have 40-60 if they’re big players. We had over two hundred fifteen showing up to play Pauper. we broke the computer system. There were huge delays in getting things posted, they lost player’s names. They made it up to us with some free playmats But nonetheless is was an epic event, and now this weekend is the challenge between GP Houston and GP London This Sunday at noon at both GP Houston and GP London are the Pauper Double Up events, and let’s see not only if both of these can beat the record of GP Indi but which one is going to beat the other More Pauper players at GP Houston or more Pauper players at GP London. And this is far from the only Pauper you’re going to see at a GP because Sunday Pauper events, Sundays at noon will take place at all GPs in the first quarter of this year, and I think it’s going to get expanded beyond that. You’re just going to need to show up GPs, first quarter of 2018, all of them. Sunday at noon, Pauper Double Up events. Starting at GP Memphis there will be daily Pauper events Pauper’s happening at GPs Turbo Town Pauper events, all the time, take your Pauper deck down to a GP, and get some games in. And you might just end up getting paired off against me We’ll just have to see Let’s do that um, and, if you are coming to GP London You can hang out with the Professor, you can come play at one of these huge Pauper events they’re real celebrations. And listen, thank you so much for taking the time, because I know how busy you are I’ve watched you in Santa Clara, we wanted to get you there, and we just couldn’t get near you. Um, so. Well I’m sorry about that. But I’ve told my security guards that they can let you up to me this time, and I’m really sorry for how they handled you Rich, I’m embarrassed, and I will pay for the suit I will pay for the suit. Fantastic The Professor everybody, thanks so much for being here Pauper, come to GPs and play Pauper with The Professor.

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100 thoughts on “MTG – Get dirty! With Dimir Alchemy, a Powerful Control Deck in Pauper for Magic: The Gathering

  1. So, a question for everyone out there who are experienced in pauper: Why run Prohibit over Mana Leak? Prohibit seems more limiting in my eyes. That said, Ive never played Pauper so I'm not experienced.

  2. Nice deck!
    Apologies for the ignorance but “many (maybe not that many) Magic: the Gathering players ask – where is that elusive bell on the Youtube page? Is it available to a non-subscriber of the channel?”
    Cheers!

  3. God i just despise Maria. That cancerous grin and just awful awful unfunny laugh and "Insightful commentary". Wish I could watch the GP's but not now.

  4. Do you know am effective website that buys cards or can direct me to a place in my city that buys cards? I have a lot of cards to sell some of them worth quite a bit. But I would like to sell my whole collection that I no longer play.

  5. I wanted to submit a decklist to you of a bloodbriar deck for pauper ive made.
    2x act of treason
    3x tormenting voice
    3x fiery temper
    2x font of ire
    3x insolent neonate
    2x alchemists greeting
    3x fanatical firebrand
    2x vessel of volatility
    4x bloodbriar
    2x hooting mandrils
    2x vessel of nascency
    2x grapple with the past
    3x costly plunder
    2x terrarion
    2x explosive apparatus
    4x bloodfell caves
    2x unknown shores
    4x rugged highlands
    4x evolving wilds
    5x mountain
    4x forest

    Any feedback from you or anyone would be appreciated. I feel like this deck could use some tuning. Thank you all.

  6. UG Tempo. Delver+Nimble Mongoose+Werebear. You run bounce cards and control spells. The goal is to drop early threats and then pop! Threats off the board and get in.

  7. I've never heard anyone pronounce augur or Evincar this way before, and now that I type the word out for the first time, does anyone else find it strange/ominous that Evincar is a near anagram for Ravnica?

  8. Prof loved the video — thanks to you I got into pauper and I love it. Also your guides are super, duper helpful. It is also good to know that others share the same cynical and realistic views on WOTC and strengthens the good feeling when people such as yourself share the views. love this channel.

  9. So I've been waiting to find a control deck before hopping into pauper. Given your comments on the versatility of the deck and my experience being exclusively edh, any suggestions on cards to grab playsets of to try out? Not really sure what format Staples are but if it's only five or ten more to have better options for more matchups that's cool.

  10. Thanks a lot for being at GP London. Lost all the games but learned a lot about the format see you at the next GP. 🙂

  11. I can't agree with some of things that you said in this vid Professor (more than I mentioned). Clear draw-go teachings have 3 good ways to win game (EJ, CotBT or/and sprout swarm), and they are not that "poor", but for some weird reason, normal 60card teachings doesn't work so well.
    About mulldrifter… strongly disagree. This crit is almost always good to play if you are running creatures and blue cards (2 or even just 1 copy). It's just 1 for 3.
    Could you explain why less than 4x alchemy, edict's and think twice?

  12. many magic players like me ask the same question, why isn´t the professor making a video about the last ban on T2???

  13. He finally made a video of the pauper deck I play. It was bound to happen I guess. This a great control deck. Usually only lose with bad draws or getting overrun by slivers or elves if you don't have enough early answers.

  14. need a mono blue pauper deck tech plz. ive looked at the top 10 pauper decks im sure my blue counter deck should be the best but it would set my mind at rest to maybe see a mono blue deck tech for pauper so i can compare it to mine. if you need a list of whats in my deck then let me know then ill make one up for you plz and ty.

  15. hey professor, enjoy watching your videos. i bought a jace planeswalker deck from ixalan a few months back and was wondering if there were any good cards to upgrade it and help provide better synergy for a modern format.

  16. I have a question about different counterspells. Why do I never see rune snag in deck lists? I get that prohibit always counters a 2 cmc for 2 mana no matter what point of the game you are in. But I always like rune snag when it was in standard, and in a deck that is milling itself a bit with forbidden alchemy, couldn't rune snag be just as good as prohibit, but more versatile? Rune snag is often going to make them pay 4, if not more, later in the game. Or is the absolute guarantee from something like prohibit just more important than rune snags versatility?

  17. I took a deck very similar to this to GP Indy and I thought it was still too slow for the format, though it could be that I just suck lol.

  18. I'm going to be "that guy"… 4:10
    https://www.google.com/search?q=Define+Augur&oq=Define+Augur&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.1967j1j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    Correct me, if I'm wrong.

    Aside from that, this is a magnificent deck. In fact, I'm inspired to try out the format.
    Cheers!

  19. Thanks Professor for doing these videos. You were the reason why I got into pauper and after a year of playing magic….this is probably my favorite format…..I just wished there was a bigger scene in San Diego…….

  20. Thank you for being such a pauper advocate. I've been waiting years for it to catch on in the paper world. Now I can finally brush the dust off my Affinity and Mono Black decks and play them in real life since pauper events are regularly firing at my LGS down here in Fresno CA. You have a large amount of my gratitude for this, prof! Let's all work to keep up the momentum and get an official non-MTGO paper ban-list and regs so that it can be even more accessible to aspiring budget players!

  21. Building this on MTGO at the moment, just want to offer a little ultra-budget tip: Vodalian Zombie can be substituted for Zombie Outlander, the former costs over a ticket while the latter is less than a tenth of one. The only functional difference is that Prof is running a Merfolk Zombie in an old frame, which is slightly cooler than a Zombie Scout from Conflux. They're both 2/2s with pro-green that cost UB.

  22. I personally prefer the UB Teachings list; Teachings for Teachings, now THAT'S Magic! And I just love winning via Buying Back Evincar's Justice.. Good stuff.

  23. that first statement isn't entirely true – otherwise hymn to tourach and sinkhole would be in pauper black control. Even if it probably would be banned in the format after just one major event…

  24. I have no idea if it's possible, but I'd love to see an artifact pauper! Affinity is cool or if there's others 😀

  25. Just picked up the pieces and built it. Im looking forward to starting out in pauper. Thanks for the advice proff!

  26. During my 1st ever standard format. Masques/Invasion block and 6th edition. Everyone in the local meta loved Blastoderm, so I mainboarded 4 Vodalian Zombies in my then $150 aggro and creature thief deck. That lil zombie got me dirty looks aplenty and several packs of prize support.

  27. Hi Professor. Is it true that chainer's edict has not been printed as a common and so cannot be used in paper pauper only in mtgo?

  28. I prefer to also swap two islands for halimar depths for more deck stacking and nice option for mini tutoring

  29. Maybe you should avoid listing individual card prices? Evincars justice is not 17 cents anymore. More like 2$, and thats online tix prices

  30. Why is Chainer's Edict better than Diabolic Edict? Yeah it has flashback but for SEVEN. Diabolic is also an instant.

  31. Cryptic serpent would be a good creature for this deck as well.
    It has “This spell costs 1 less to cast for each instant and sorcery card in your graveyard”

  32. Sorry I gotta be "That guy" but… Prof you are an English major right? How is it you don't know how to pronounce Augur? it is "AWE-GER" ~portend a good or bad outcome. But nice try with the frenchy version at 4:11 AWAR of Bolas ?
    Sorry fer bustin yer balls, love yer vids. P

  33. Prof your an English professor how can you not pronounce card names correctly and forbidden alchemy is not better then mystical teachings

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