22, Jan, 24

Brutal Turbo Fog Deck Wins Major Event Via Decking!

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Article at a Glance

After the banning of Monastery Swiftspear in Pauper, players were hopeful that the metagame might see a bit of a shakeup. Unfortunately, that largely has not been the case. Part of the goal of the ban, beyond weakening the absurd starts from the mono-red aggro deck, was to slow down the format at least a little bit. Even if mono-red is less oppressive as a whole, this has largely been unsuccessful.

Other fast, proactive strategies utilizing All that Glitters and Tolarian Terror still make up a huge portion of the metagame. As such, other decks have been forced to adjust to the speed of the format. Decks that have trouble keeping up, like Flicker Tron, rarely make appearances in competitive events.

For some players, though, this is the perfect chance to exploit the combat-focused metagame and attack from an entirely different angle. That’s exactly what the winner of Sunday’s Magic Online Pauper Challenge managed to do, utilizing an off-the-wall strategy that seemed like a great metacall for the weekend. This deck is none other than Turbo Fog, perhaps one of the more dreaded archetypes to play against throughout Pauper’s history. This deck is extremely slow and is predicated on the opponent’s inability to ever deal enough damage to win the game.

Staying Alive

Moment's Peace

The goal of this deck is quite literally to lock your opponent out of combat until they mill out. In order to execute this gameplan, this deck makes use of a plethora of important cards that help keep you alive. First and foremost, this deck plays a bunch of Fog affects that prevent the opponent from dealing any combat damage.

Fog is the cheapest of the bunch with the simplest effect. Tangle costs and extra mana to cast but keeps the opposing attacking Creatures tapped for another turn cycle. Moment’s Peace is the best of the bunch, as the Flashback ability buys you two full turns of combat damage.

Working in conjunction with your Fog effects, Weather the Storm does a great job guaranteeing that you never get burned out. This deck’s philosophy is that as long as you can survive long enough, you should be able to win the vast majority of your games, and Weather the Storm plays a pivotal role here. Finally, Desert is a nice tool against decks like Faeries with lots of low-toughness Creatures. As a Land, there’s little downside to running it, and sometimes, the card can singlehandedly prevent your opponent from attacking, especially in multiples.

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Pulling Ahead

Growth Spiral

While in the process of keeping your head above water, there are plenty of tools in this deck to help provide card advantage and keep the Fog effects flowing. Cards like Accumulated Knowledge and Behold the Multiverse are efficient enough that you can often cast a Fog effect as well on the same turn.

Lorien Revealed works double duty here, since it gives you the option of generating card advantage later in the game while making sure that you can hit your Land drops in the early game. Growth Spiral helps make sure you can get an early mana advantage to help you cast multiple spells in a turn.

Speaking of Land drops, while not necessarily classified as card advantage per se, Simic Growth Chamber does tap for two mana in one card, which helps make sure you can maintain that mana advantage during the game.

Perhaps the most interesting card in this deck, Arcane Denial, plays an extremely important role with its versatility. In general, Arcane Denial doesn’t see much play when compared to the likes of Counterspell because if you counter an opponent’s spell, they get the benefit of drawing two additional cards while you only draw one. In this deck where you are simply trying to lock the opponent out of combat, though, giving your opponent extra cards often doesn’t matter.

The one card you draw is often more valuable, as it continues to dig for more Fogs and Weather the Storms. Not to mention, you can always counter your own spell with Arcane Denial and draw three extra cards as a result. Arcane Denial therefore pairs perfectly with Weather the Storm, since you can counter only a single copy and still draw three cards.

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Winning the Game

Stream of Thought

Once you have established firm control of the game, the way you win the game is by milling your opponent out with the likes of Stream of Thought. Stream of Thought allows you to mill your opponent for four cards while shuffling up to four cards back from your graveyard into your library.

This deck makes use of two copies of Stream of Thought, allowing you to use one copy to shuffle the other back into your library, then rinse and repeat until your opponent loses via decking. Typically, this win condition would be a bit vulnerable to counter magic. Fortunately, Stream of Thought has Replicate, meaning you can sink extra mana into the card to put additional copies on the stack. If you are patient enough with Stream of Thought and Arcane Denial, winning the game should be trivial.

After sideboarding, you can also board in cards like Murmuring Mystic to attack from a different angle, after your opponent has taken out all of their removal spells. This can be a nice way to catch your opponent off guard, especially against decks with lots of counter magic and graveyard hate.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Spellstutter Sprite

As expected, this deck is a decent metacall against decks that reliably win through combat. However, what’s also nice about this strategy is that it beats up on a lot of the midrange decks that try to pray on aggressive archetypes. For instance, the Azorius Gates strategies don’t put much pressure on you in the early game, which gives the Turbo Fog deck full control of the game.

In order to truly gain an edge against this deck, you need to do one of a few different things. First, this deck is extremely weak to early pressure backed up by counter magic. Decks like mono-blue Faeries or mono-blue Delver of Secrets have great recipes for success. Being able to establish an early clock and repeatedly counter the cards that matter from the Turbo fog deck can be a nightmare to deal with.

If you are playing a hyper-aggressive deck like mono-red aggro, sometimes it’s possible to simply race the Turbo Fog deck with pressure and burn spells before they can get their feet under them. Assuming you really want to gain an edge, though, cards like Flaring Pain can be nearly impossible to beat if you develop a big board of Creatures in short order.

These types of sideboard cards can be an Achilles heel for Turbo Fog players. The thing is, though, Moment’s Peace decks don’t make up a big portion of the metagame, especially given Flicker Tron’s absence. As such, players were likely caught off guard by the deck. There were also 0 mono-blue players in the entire top 32, making it an even better metacall for the tournament. Given this deck’s recent success, if you’re looking to play a Pauper event any time soon, definitely keep Turbo Fog on your radar.

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