Pauper: Dimir Terror Deck Tech & Sideboard Guide
24/09/22 0 comments
If you like Tempo strategies and powerful threats at low cost, Dimir Terror is probably the right deck for you.Edit Article
Initiativebanned last Monday, Pauper has returned to its normal Metagame stage before the release of Dominaria United — which means it's a good time for us to assess what available options from the new set have already created or can establish some practical impact on the competitive landscape. Among the cards in the new set, one definitely stands out:
Dimir Terroris currently the most efficient way to take advantage of it, so let's delve deeper into the archetype and its space in Pauper today.
Tempodeck similar to the classic Dimir Delver — low-cost creatures with a fast clock, cheap or free disruption, card selection and counterspells with a small number of lands — and your objective is to delay the opponent's plans and keep the board clean for enough turns to win the game.
four copiesof Spell Pierce in the Maindeck, this might look crazy as it loses utility as the game goes on. However, Pauper today is a mana-intensive format: players want to tap out at early-game to play artifacts, want to spend tons of mana later on to cast bombs, or need to perform a sequence of specific spells to win the game and, on all these occasions, Spell Pierce is a solid answer. Also, along with Tolarian Terror, any removal on that creature alongside Spell Pierce now costs
4more mana — a steep price to pay in the current format, making it commonly as effective as Dispel or Negate in protecting your threat, while significantly disrupting several strategies' early game plan, such as against Bogles, Boros Synthesizer, Affinity, Burn, Mono Red Blitz, etc.
SideboardTo explain my Sideboard choices, I'll try to separate them into categories, as there are a relatively high number of one-ofs.
Alternate Card Choices
sixteenspells that grant us new cards — so its inclusion seems redundant — it also has the terrible drawback of pushing our few winconditions to the bottom. It can be useful in case the Metagame is back to attrition, and we need more creatures to dodge Chainer's Edict and the like. Finally, Thorn of the Black Rose is
excellentin a grindy format and gives us a good card advantage if we manage to keep the crown. However, with so many fast archetypes and/or decks which fills the board with small flying threats in the first turns, it seems like a bad idea to tap out to end up giving a value engine to your opponent.
Turboversion of the archetype, where you cast Tolarian Terror or Gurmag Angler as early as turn 2. While I find this proposal interesting, I don't think either of them is in a position to "win the game on their own if cast as early as possible" as was the case with Initiative, so for now, I don't recommend running Dark Ritual — a dead card at all other times — just for that purpose. Mental Note is a nice option, but as I mentioned earlier, I don't like the idea of taking the risk of milling my few threats — so today I prefer to play it safe and bet on Consider.
Mulligan and Postures
Turbo Xeroxarchetype — which means it's easier to find what you need as you play through its cantrips. Therefore, a hand with a decent number of them, two lands and any means of interaction and/or threats are enough to guarantee a keep against unknown opponents. Many of the keeps from decks like this, however, have a
high risk, high rewardfactor: if you get the right interaction choice against an unknown opponent in your starting hand, you're off to a good start. But if, for example, you're full of Snuff Out against a Burn, or a Spell Pierce against a creature-based list, you're in trouble and need to find the ideal answer with your cantrips, which might delay your development while advancing the opponent's if not done efficiently. Things change a lot when you already know what your opponent is piloting, like in Game 2 — you must consider whether the interactions in your hand will be enough to hold the game to the point where your cantrips find more answers and more threats. This varies a lot from one game to another, and if you are either on the play and on the draw, then there is no general tip on how you should approach your keeps in this case. Just remember that casting cantrips in the early game costs mana and/or a precious resource from your hand that can be better used to get what's needed in grindy matchups or delay your plan too much against aggressive strategies, so relying exclusively on them to find the initial interaction tends to be a bad idea, especially without Preordain.
PostureTempo decks are naturally malleable in terms of the posture you adopt in each game and at each moment — they don't play a linear role that tells you exactly how you need to act. For each game, you need to keep in mind and reconsider whether that is the time to be more aggressive, or to adopt a more reactive line and conserve resources, and so on. In general logic, you don't want to give the Midranges too much time to grow as they will have more answers and a superior board position than yours in the long run, while also not rushing too fast against very explosive Aggros as their clock will be faster than yours. In value-oriented games, you prefer to act first and respond later: protecting your threats is key, and preventing that card advantage engine from hitting the board is a must. On aggressive games, you need to slow their clock down for the first few turns to give yourself enough time to stabilize and punish them for not keeping up. However, there are some exceptions, like against Bogles where an Armadillo Cloak can turn the game around, and therefore you must be a bit faster. Experience will make a huge difference in understanding what the ideal posture is for each game. So train with the archetype before entering a League or a Challenge.
Mono Red BlitzIN:
NOTE:I'm still evaluating how much it's really worth removing Counterspell on both play and draw, rather than switching between it and Spell Pierce depending on who goes first, as Spell Pierce becomes useless if the game drags on for too long. It is also possible that Spell Pierce should be replaced by Hydroblast in Games 2 and 3. The game against Affinity is hard to describe: it depends on what comes first from the other side (setup and card advantage or threats) and what answers you have available (removals or counterspells). If your answers fit well with your opponent's initial proposition, you'll likely have a good start and the upper hand when you start deploying your creatures. However, Affinity is a value bomb these days, and a
pretty difficultone to respond properly to everything it does. Be patient and know how to interpret the possible outs they may have against your threats and/or spells.
Dimir Terrorprobably suits your needs and is proving to be a worthy competitor in the Pauper Metagame. As the weeks go by, we'll see how the format develops after the last wave of bans, and if there really is room for this deck category today. Thanks for reading!