Alright everyone, I’m back this week talking about one of my favorite format—Pauper! And, as everyone knows, I am a huge combo player, as I am am avid Scapeshift player in Modern. So, commons have combo? That’s crazy!

Back in December, I talked about another Pauper deck, Tireless Tribe combo. And this week, I am going to talk about a nice reanimator deck: Grixis Exhume.

Grixis Exhume

Creatures (8)
Gurmag Angler
Ulamog’s Crusher

Spells (30)
Careful Study
Faithless Looting
Tormenting Voice
Wild Guess
Dragon Breath
Lands (22)
Dismal Backwater
Swiftwater Cliffs
Terramorphic Expanse
Evolving Wilds

Sideboard (15)
Lightning Bolt
Ingot Chewer

Some notes about the decklist:

  • I prefer Preordain over Ponder, but only had access to two Preordains.
  • Duress could be switched with Dispel in the main – it just depends on whether you’d want to be reactive or proactive in your game one matchups.

Anyway, deck looks pretty sweet right? So, let’s talk about what the deck is trying to do.

Dragon Breath, Ulamog’s Crusher, and Exhume

Dragon BreathUlamog's CrusherExhume

So, these two cards are the number one combo in the deck—the goal is to get both into the graveyard, cast Exhume, and then have a hasty, annihilator 2, 8/8 on the board and have your opponent not play Magic for the rest of the game. So, how do we go about assembling this combo?

Faithless Looting and Careful Study

Faithless LootingCareful Study

For this deck, it is obvious that Careful Study and Faithless Looting are the top contenders when it comes to enabling this combo and drawing cards. Most of the time we want to put two cards into the graveyard, so Careful Study and Faithless Looting are the best plays we can make in the game, even outside of Pauper – especially because they are only one mana. This effect is powerful, especially in this deck.

Tormenting Voice and Wild Guess

Tormenting VoiceWild Guess

While not as effective as Careful Study or Faithless Looting, Wild Guess and Tormenting Voice are both suitable options to getting one of out big guys or the Dragon Breath into the graveyard. They are both solid turn two plays to follow up whatever we do turn one. Honestly, these guys draw cards while also fueling the graveyard for our combo.

So.. what about Gurmag Angler?
Gurmag Angler

Oh, my good friend Gurmag Angler—you also have a sweet spot in this deck! Not only are you a good Exhume target if you ever go to my graveyard, but you are another cheap threat that I can play early, especially because we are discarding so many cards with effects like Faithless Looting and fetching up basics with cards like Evolving Wilds.

Not only is Gurmag Angler a good threat, but if we can only put a Dragon Breath in the graveyard and not a big guy (see cards like Wild Guess and Tormenting Voice), it also gets sweet value off of that card. Haste is a very, very nice ability. Especially in a deck that is trying to get a big threat to attack as early as possible.

So, that’s the deck! Sure, it might be a little fragile to any deck that has super cheap counterspells or edict effects, but that is why we have a sideboard.

The sideboard is equipped to fight the counterspell and edict decks, with cards like DuressDispel, and Negate while also having some game against the aggro decks with cards like Electrickery and Lightning Bolt while having Ingot Chewer for Affinity.


This deck is a blast—it’s probably one of my favorite decks in one of my favorite formats. Pauper is a vast and diverse format—you have decks for anyone and everyone that are affordable. This deck ran me less than $15 on Magic the Gathering: Online and is also less than $15 in paper. To everyone who hasn’t started playing Pauper, I highly recommend it. It’s as complicated and skill intensive as any other format while also being fun and affordable.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or just want to chat, tweet at me on twitter; @kintreespirit!

I hope everyone enjoyed this weeks article. Thanks for reading!

Lexie Mettler is a Level 2 judge from Fort Wayne, Indiana. By day she works for her local game store, by night playtests and practices for tournaments all over the Midwest.

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