Historic - WAR Pauper Life Gain

18 24
18 18 0 24


A quick lifegain deck, this adds some key commons cards from WAR to improve play consistency.  Had 3 losses and 15 wins in the Arena "No Escape - Pauper" event with the hardest match being against a tribal hexproof deck.  Matches that went easier than expected were green stompy, which couldn't out-damage the amount of life gain by the time [[Ill-Gotten Inheritance]] and [[Epicure of Blood]] were out.

Deeper Dive:

Common decks in a pauper event tend to be agro, which deals poorly with life gain--if it hasn't won by turn 5 or 6, they tend to be unlikely to win.  Going most-in on life gain cards allows quick stabilization against agro decks and an early life lead against anything slower.  Late-game solutions are necessary for longer games, both in creature removal and in damage dealing power.

Win Conditions:

This deck expects to win by draining the opponent, not by attacking.  [[Ill-Gotten Inheritance]] and [[Vampire Neonate]] are expected to do the majority of the damage, while the rest of the deck is intended to extend the game and hold off incoming damage.  More than 20% of the deck is devoted to removal ([[Divine Arrow]], [[Gideon's Reproach]], [[Ob Nixilis's Cruelty]], and [[Lich's Caress]]), giving time to get the draining cards out and to get some [[Epicure of Blood]]s to increase the amount of draining damage done.

[[Healer's Hawk]] is an early game play, expected to damage a few points and take a few life.  Additionally, they frequently will hold off 2/x fliers, as the opponent can't attack into a 1/1 lifelink without trading life 1:1.  With [[Epicure of Blood]] late game, the Hawk can both prevent incoming damage and drain life.

[[Bulwark Giant]] is also a stalling tactic, being difficult to attack through, while also supplying the important life gain when it enters the battlefield.

Play Tips:

Treat the [[Healer's Hawk]], [[Vizkopa Vampire]], and [[Bulwark Giant]]s as removal--given a chance to trade them 1:1, be willing to take it.  Also be willing to block with [[Epicure of Blood]], but if so, be wary of [[Divine Arrow]] (or similar combat-based removal) from the opponent and be sure to have instant-speed removal to prevent combat tricks from removing the Epicure.  Also, watch life totals carefully--it isn't hard to get 2 [[Ill-Gotten Inheritance]] onto the board.  Remember that if the opponent is at 9 life, popping one on their turn will win the game.

[[Epicure of Blood]] and [[Ill-Gotten Inheritace]] are the most important cards in the deck.  Be careful of playing them when they might be countered, and consider if it's worth holding until a safer time.  Or, consider trying to play them into potential counters if it seems likely that the opponent can force a discard.

Given a choice between a [[Healer's Hawk]] and a [[Vampire Neonate]], early game should play the hawk and expect to use mana until significantly later in the game.

Final Thoughts:

I hope you enjoy the deck.  If you try it, add a comment and let me know how it goes!


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Last Updated: 12 Nov 2019
Created: 01 Jun 2019
538 121 0

Mainboard - 60 cards (12 distinct)

Creature (18)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (18)
Land (24)

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Main/Sideboard Rarity Count
60 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0