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Pauper Dimir Faeries Deck Guide

Today I want to talk about a strategy I’ve pegged as one of the rising stars in Pauper: Dimir Faeries. The list I am going to be talking about comes from the September 20th Pauper Challenge where it won the dang thing. After playing the deck I found it to be rather powerful but requires being on top of the potential threats in the metagame to be a real contender. This is due to the fact that it has a few flex slots to run high impact cards that matter in specific situations. Dimir Faeries plays like a cross between Dimir Control and a Delver of Secrets deck. It wants to sculpt a powerful hand but rather than winning with inevitability it tries to end the game by attacking. The biggest weakness of Dimir Faeries is that it has to play from an advantaged position to truly shine.

Oscar-Franco – Dimir Faeries

Winning

Dimir Faeries wins in one of two ways:

First, it either resolves a Gurmag Angler and chunks down a life total in a few short turns.

The other main route to victory is using small flying creatures along with Ninja of the Deep Hours to whittle down an opponent’s health before they finish the job or Angler performs mop up duty.

In order to achieve this, it relies on a steady stream of card advantage from its cantrips and Ninja of the Deep Hours. This allows Dimir Faeries to have answers ready to help keep the path clear. Ninja of the Deep Hours is key to making Dimir Faeries work. The ability to rebuy an Augur of Bolas or Spellstutter Sprite – or even a Thorn of the Black Rose – gives the deck additional access to their enter the battlefield abilities.

What?

While other builds have added a copy of Moonblade Shinobi to supplement Ninja of the Deep Hours, Oscar Franco opted to run Okiba-Gang Shinobi in the fifth ninja slot. In the early turns, Dimir Faeries wants to hit its land drops without falling too far behind on board. Unless you are up against an aggressive deck, playing out an Island for a Ponder, Preordain, or Faerie Seer is how you want to start. These spells help you to find the right pieces of interaction early. I do not like tapping out for threats in Dimir Faeries and would much rather delay developing my board if it means holding up a Counterspell or Cast Down. If you know for a fact you are going to facing a beat down, you may want to consider leading on a Swamp or Evolving Wilds to turn on your removal. Being able to cast an Augur of Bolas to block while keeping a Snuff Out back can go a long way to protecting your life total. Do not be afraid to use the alternate cost of Snuff Out on an early beater as it will save you more life in the long run.

If there is one level up with the deck, it is correctly leveraging your cantrips with Augur of Bolas. Often it is correct to leave a good spell on top to guarantee a hit on Augur. At the same time if the cards seen with Ponder are less than stellar, I would not hesitate to risk putting three cards from the top of my library to the bottom. Augur of Bolas plays especially nice with Brainstorm. Brainstorm might be the most misunderstood cantrip in Pauper. It is an absurdly powerful card when paired with fetchlands that put lands onto the battlefield untapped. Until recently it was only fine in Pauper. Ash Barrens changed that. The ability to cast Brainstorm and then cycle Ash Barrens at the end of your opponent’s turn has moved Brainstorm closer to its legacy in other formats. The result is your hand has gotten significantly better and you are going to be making your next land drop. Thanks to the abundance of cantrips and hand sculpting, Dimir Faeries mulligans rather well. You want to avoid hands that could lead to Brainstorm locking yourself but any hand with access to two lands – at least one of them that can produce blue on turn two – is likely a keep. You do want to avoid keeping too many late game cards – Angler and Thorn – in the opener. Dimir Faeries thrives against control and midrange decks. Unlike some other top decks in the format, it does not have any lopsided matchups, but rather it has the tools needed to fight against Tron, Boros Monarch, and other Spellstutter Sprite variants. It is able to do this thanks in part to the sheer volume of countermagic available to the deck. Cast Down has also been huge player, giving the deck a relatively cheap answer to cards like Dinrova Horror and Gurmag Angler.

Say More

Against everything but the most aggressive decks in the format, you want to keep the board clear of cards that can apply pressure and leave your mana up early. When squaring off against aggro strategies, Dimir Faeries will need to commit Augur of Bolas in order to absorb some blows. You will want to double block, often with a 1/1, but it is best to do this when you have removal in

hand to answer a potential combat trick. Agony Warp is at its best when facing down decks that love to attack as it is usually a two-for-one. It also is quite good at killing Guardian of the Guildpact out of Boros decks. Thorn of the Black Rose is a fantastic source of card advantage if you deploy it properly. You never want to risk casting it early against an aggressive deck or against a Spellstutter Sprite deck. You also never want to use it first against a Palace Sentinel deck, instead using it to steal the crown for yourself. Against Tron or other non-attacking decks, you want to slam it and protect the monarch to keep the cards flowing.

Dimir Faeries has few glaring weaknesses. First is the mana base. Like most two-color decks in Pauper, Dimir Faeries leans heavily on lands that enter the battlefield tapped. A tempo blow in the early game, it requires that Dimir Faeries has to delay its board development for the sake of leaving up the mana for Counterspell. It also makes Counterspell one of the hardest cards to cast in the deck (and I could see dropping one for a copy of Prohibit, for example). The deck also wants to hit all of its land drops until the late game and with 20 lands that means sometimes burning Preordain or Ponder in order to find a land drop. While it is far from ideal, I would not hate finding a home for a copy or two of Dimir Aqueduct. The above configuration of Dimir Faeries can also struggle against aggressive green and red Burning-Tree Emissary decks. The lack of a true sweeper means that if these decks start with an Emissary heavy draw it can be hard to claw back into the game. Postboard, the additional copies of Gurmag Angler and Thorn of the Black Rose can help to blunt the assault.

Sideboarding

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