Hey everyone! We are back again with the second of three installments in my macro-archetype series in Pauper! This week, we will be discussing the control decks in Pauper. Again, we will be using Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa’s definitions for these articles. So, I give you Control in Pauper!

There are three main types of control decks found in Magic: draw/go, tap-out control, and non-blue control. In this article, we will dive into examples of each of these and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of these decks in Pauper.


Draw/Go decks are the typical control decks people think of. The keep their hands full of cards, including counterspells and draw effects, and then grind you out with one win condition, or even no wincons at all!

These decks usually consist of one-for-one trades, which can be accomplished by different types of counterspells, discard spells, and removal.

UB Teachings

Creatures (1)
Twisted Abomination

Spells (36)
Agony Warp
Arcane Denial
Chainer’s Edict
Crypt Incursion
Curse of the Bloody Tome
Diabolic Edict
Doom Blade
Echoing Decay
Essence Scatter
Evincar’s Justice
Mystical Teachings
Pristine Talisman
Remove Soul
Think Twice
Lands (23)
Dimir Aqueduct
Dismal Backwater
Dimir Guildgate
Radiant Fountain

Sideboard (15)
Curse of the Bloody Tome
Sea Gate Oracle
Waterfront Bouncer

UB Teachings is the best example of a draw/go style deck in Pauper. They win with a very slow, grindy wincon with Curse of the Bloody Tome and then use a lot of cards that one-for-one their opponents or draw even more cards, like Think Twice.

Tap-Out Control.

The next type of deck we will talk about is the tap-out control deck. Unlike draw/go, these types of decks like to do things at sorcery speed. In Pauper, we can see this type of plan in the Acid Trip deck. This deck utilizes creatures that bounce a permanent to their hand, like Dream Stalker, to abuse cards like Reality Acid.

Acid Trip

Creatures (19)
Dream Stalker
Icatian Javelineers
Kor Skyfisher
Sea Gate Oracle
Lone Missionary

Spells (20)
Last Breath
Journey to Nowhere
Reality Acid
Serrated Arrows
Spreading Seas
Momentary Blink
Lands (21)
Azorius Chancery
Kabira Crossroads
Secluded Steppe
Tranquil Cove

Sideboard (15)
Circle of Protection: Red
Holy Light
Kor Sanctifiers
Relic of Progenitus
Stormbound Geist


Non-Blue Control.

So, non-blue control decks are a little out of the ordinary because blue is obviously the best color for control style decks—it gives you both of the things you need, card draw and permission spells like Counterspell. So, what do the non-blue control decks do? Well, in Pauper’s case, they control your hand with cards like Duress and the board with cards like Disfigure and Cuombajj Witches.

Mono-Black Control

Creatures (19)
Phyrexian Rager
Chittering Rats
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Gurmag Angler
Crypt Rats
Cuombajj Witches

Spells (18)
Chainer’s Edict
Sign in Blood
Tendrils of Corruption
Lands (23)
18 Swamp
Barren Moor
Bojuka Bog

Sideboard (15)
Bottle Gnomes
Choking Sands
Echoing Decay
Font of Return
Wrench Mind

Even though it isn’t blue, it still does a lot of things that a control deck does—it draws cards with Sign in Blood and Phyrexian Rager and then controls the board with many different types of removal.


If you want to play control in Pauper, you have a lot of different ways to do it. Draw/go. tap-out, and non-blue control decks are all viable in the meta and it will be interesting to see how the banning of Cloud of Faeries affects the meta. I think these decks will be just as strong in the post-Cloud of Faeries environment.

If you want to read more about the control macro-archetype, you can check out Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa’s article.

If you ever have any questions or comments, go ahead and throw a tweet my way, @kintreesprit!

Thanks for reading!

Lexie Mettler is a Level 2 judge from Fort Wayne, Indiana. By day she is a student, by night she streams MTGO and practices for tournaments all over the Midwest.

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