Thursday, April 16, 2015

Answering Combo in Standard Pauper

Last time, I wrote about the new combos in Standard Pauper. It seems like the whole community is buzzing about it. It's on Twitter, showing up in articles, and making appearances in the weekly PREs and practice matches. So you better be prepared to play against it, even if you've jumped on the bandwagon and are playing it yourself. Fortunately, as DrChrisBakerDC put it, the combos are quite fragile.

It's important to remember that the combo actually relies on three different cards to activate, and a fourth card for either combo to actually do anything. This means your opponent will need time to assemble these pieces, and you have multiple avenues of attack. But at its heart, both combos are reliant on untapping a single creature. Which means you can answer the combo by:

1. Taking out the creature. Point your removal of choice at Midnight Guard or Zephyr Scribe, and when it fits the Graveyard, the combo is dead in the water. The Scribe is particularly fragile with only 1 Toughness, but you'll need something a bit more potent to take out the Guard. Unfortunately, there's a wealth of ways to protect creatures - Gods Willing and its variants primarily, but also Glint, which is seeing play right alongside the Zephyr combo. Which means you might want to try...

2. Using counter magic. Counter either creature before it enters the virtual battlefield, or counter whatever spell your opponent uses to protect it. Cancel is probably the best, but Negate and Nullify are also worth considering. Of course, this forces you to hold up mana over multiple turns. Which means the better solution might be...

3. Removing the combo pieces before they're cast. Black has a whole suite of discard effects now, including the newly reprinted Duress, which not only lets you see exactly what your opponent has in hand, but also take out any of the non-creature cards or protection spells. But any of these first three options are better than...

4. Using specific hate cards against the Artifact. Both combos rely upon a mediocre Artifact to combo off, and you could certainly include cards like Naturalize or Shatter to destroy them. The biggest problem with this option, however, is that these cards don't have a lot of good targets in the format right now, and so might be a bit too narrow to include.

So while these two new combinations are both popular and fun, they are most dangerous when people aren't prepared for them. But forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes. Don't let these combos get you down. Stop them in their tracks!

1 comment:

  1. That's why I chose to put the combo as a plan B on my deck, complementing all the other interactions between Impact Tremors, token generators and Midnight Guard. Putting pressure on the opponent makes it easier to combo off later if I need to and I don't need to play Taigam's Scheming . I think the plan is solid, but I'm having a hard time figuring out the correct list.