Magic: the Gathering

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Pauper: 5C Walls Combo - Deck Tech and Sideboard Guide

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Pauper has entered its "green era". In today's article, we'll discuss one of the best decks right now, Walls Combo. I'll go through each card choice in this deckbuilding process, and show you a sideboard plan for the main matchups in this format.

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Tabata Marques

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About the Deck

Walls Combo is one of the most popular Pauper decks right now, and has performed well and consistently during the first two weeks of Modern Horizons 3. Much of its success is because of the current metagame, which favors this archetype, but it's also because this deck is, truly, one of the best combos in the format, and just got new tools to become even better.

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This deck centers around defender creatures, and abuses Axebane Guardian's and Overgrown Battlement's abilities to create massive amounts of mana as fast as possible. Then, it uses this resource to get the other combo pieces in this list.

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To enable the infinite mana combo, you just need Axebane or Overgrown, and Freed From the Real or Galvanic Alchemist to enable the mana loop. Freed and Alchemist are similar cards that let you untap the enchanted/paired barrier to create more mana and repeat this process, but, to do this, you'll need a certain number of barriers. That's the only way you'll create extra mana to "float" in your mana pool until you get as much mana as you want.

Drift of Phantasms is a "tutor" you'll use to get key cards from your deck, including your combo pieces, with its transmute ability. The most interesting detail about this creature is that, besides being a barrier with flying, your opponent will hardly be able to interact with its transmute.

After you guarantee infinite mana through your combo, you'll use your tutors to find your win condition, which is usually Valakut Invoker, but this deck can win in other, less conventional ways too. For instance, you can venture into dungeons infinite times with Secret Door, or even put all your Generous Ent in play and move on to combat, which might seem quite odd, but has won me many games.

Vivien's Grizzly is another excellent one-of in this deck that wins you the game even if you don't have any other win conditions on the board nor ways to get them from your deck. It will "draw" your entire deck with your infinite mana.

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You can also enable your combo with Overgrown, but, to do that, you'll need Orochi Leafcaller on the board to turn your green mana into mana of other colors.

Lead the Stampede and Winding Way are this deck's main sources of card advantage, and will usually put something useful in your hands, though they fail at times. Shield-Wall Sentinel is another card that adds more consistency to this deck, upgrades Axebane's and Overgrown's abilities, and is another tutor in this strategy.

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A few other creatures are also essential to develop your game plan. Saruli Caretaker fixes your mana and accelerates your curve with other creatures, and is even more efficient with Quirion Ranger on your side. Tuktuk Rubblefort and Crashing Drawbridge get your combo going by giving haste to your creatures, and also have defender.

Now, as a new addition to this archetype, we have Tranquil Landscape. It might not be that significant of a change at a first glance, but this new land added more consistency to the Walls mana base. So now it not only uses its splashes more efficiently, but also its sideboard cards, which are mostly splashes and really help you in important matchups.

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Reaping the Graves is also incredibly significant for this deck's strategy, as you can use it to get back important pieces your opponents removed, tutor it with Drift, and it also enables a mini loop of Drift of Phantasms. With infinite mana or just enough mana, you can transmute Reaping, transmute a second card you need, put the Reaping into play and get back the Drifts you discarded to use them again later.

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Mulligan and Game Style

As any combo deck, you'll prefer starting hands with mana dorks, tutors, and at least 1 land that lets you progress your game plan. Lead and Winding are also critical for your starting hand, as well as *Shield-Wall. Avoid hands with many doubles that don't do anything, or cards you can't cast straight away. You should also avoid hands with too many lands or cards that you can't cast because they cost different types of mana.

A good starting hand looks like the following:

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This is a hand that potentially can win the game on turn 3 if your opponent doesn't have any way to interact with it. Everything you need to do is play your cards in the right order to guarantee your combo on turn 3. Start on turn 1 with Saruli's mana, then, on turn 2, put Quirion in play accelerating Overgrown and Orochi, and on turn 3 enchant Overgrown with Freed From the Real. That's how you get infinite mana to get your Valakut from your deck and win the game.

Sideboard Guide

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Vs. Land Destruction

This is, undoubtedly, a very favorable matchup for Walls. Quirion Ranger is one of the best cards against Ponza because it basically kills your opponent's land destruction and Walls doesn't care much about their land drops as long as you can develop your game plan without any issues. The most recent Gruul lists use very few removals, which makes it even easier for you to win with Walls.

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Vs. Grixis Affinity

This is also, undoubtedly, the worst matchup possible for Walls nowadays. Krark-Clan Shaman simply destroys any of your hopes of following any of your plans, and Galvanic Blast kills any of your barriers.

Even though your sideboard helps a lot, and might even give you a decent shot, this matchup is so bad that not even that will be enough.

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Vs. Orzhov Blade

Orzhov Blade is once again in this metagame as an option against green decks and Affinity. This deck creates a lot of value with the interaction between Kor Skyfisher/Glint Hawk and Tithing Blade, and also has a great package of removals and other impactful cards. The recent addition of Refurbished Familiar gave this deck another powerful interaction through its bounce.

I consider this matchup more balanced, and Walls has a slight advantage. The best strategy is to take advantage of Blade's slower start to try to play your combo as fast as possible, or force them to give you an opening so you can close the game yourself. You can do this with Reaping the Graves, and force your opponent to remove your creature, making them believe they'll stop your combo. Actually, they'll only give you an opening so you can actually play your combo safely.

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Vs. Kuldotha Red

If Affinity is a terrible matchup, the same goes for Kuldotha. Facing Lightning Bolts and Chain Lightnings is quite sad, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Kuldotha is an aggro deck, so it'll need to deal damage to close the game. Survive long enough and try to protect your cards: you'll have a decent shot at winning if you do.

A really helpful interaction is Quirion and Gingerbread Cabin, which will give you a bit of life.

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Vs. Walls Cascade/Combo

There is another version of Walls that has been performing well in the format nowadays. Cascade Walls abuses cascade creatures and Avenging Hunter to create value and literally mow its opponents down with an absurd board and an aggressive approach. It also focuses more on ramp. This version's sideboard lets this deck play out more like a combo, but its main strategy is more like an aggro ramp deck.

No matter the version you're playing against, you'll behave the same way. Whoever gets to inevitability first will win the match. Against Cascade, you have to manage your life, and against combo you'll have to be faster and play your combo sequence very carefully, besides drawing well. Standard Bearer is the most relevant card you can side in for these matchups as it disrupts Quirions and stops the combo.

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Final Words

Walls Combo is one of my favorite decks and is certainly a solid option for Pauper nowadays, which makes me even more excited about Modern Horizons 3link outside website's Pauper. It is also well-prepared to deal with the biggest threats in this format. If you appreciate a good combo deck, consider giving Walls a chance.

What do you think of this deck? Tell us your thoughts in our comment section below!

Thank you for reading, and see you next time!