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Dark Star -- Tron, Rakdos-style

Pauper* BR (Rakdos) Control Tron


Terminate is probably the best spell in Pauper that nobody plays. Two-mana instant-speed unconditional creature removal with no drawback -- that's crazy-good! The problem is, it doesn't really have a home. There's no Red/Black shell for it so it just has to sit on the sidelines, feeling useless.

Well, no more! Backed with the power of not-unfair-at-all Tron mana, Terminate can finally live the dream, blowing up everything from Frogmite to Gurmag Angler to Ulamog's Crusher without breaking a sweat while the rest of the deck works on getting our opponents dead. While Tron traditionally likes to splash a lot of colors, I'm sticking to just Red and Black to make sure our color-intensive removal spell doesn't get stuck in hand too often. So come with me, if you please, on our trip down Rakdos lane, where the air smells of cinder and death and nobody leaves unbloodied.

Site of the Eclipse

Everything comes back to our ramp package so we might as well start with the standard Tron stuff: Urza's Mine , Urza's Power Plant , Urza's Tower , and the full four Expedition Map s are a given, as are the Prophetic Prism s for fixing. That's all pretty typical, but we're also running all four Pristine Talisman s for some low-cost lifegain. We hurt ourselves kinda a lot in this deck so gaining life back is absolutely crucial against aggressive decks, and a bit more ramp doesn't hurt.

While we're here, we might as well go over the rest of the lands quickly: Bloodfell Caves (more lifegain), a Bojuka Bog (amazing in some matchups), a Haunted Fengraf (for value), and some Rakdos Guildgate s, Mountain s, and Swamp s to round us out. Nothing too spicy here.

The Dark Texts

You can't Tron it up in Pauper without card advantage and there's actually some pretty good draw in Rakdos colors. Read the Bones is our premier draw spell. It looks like a Divination but don't let the life loss fool you: this card is pure gas. That Scry 2 is absolutely amazing at digging us through our deck, helping us assemble Tron when we need the mana and blasting past land pockets when we need the right finisher. 2B is a bit on the high side but what's the point of playing Tron if you aren't willing to spend a little more mana for a strong effect?

Night's Whisper is the backup for Read the Bones . It's a little better before we have Tron and a little worse afterwards, so we're only packing 2 copies. Also, I didn't want to go too hard on the lifeloss.

Finally, we have a new friend join us at the summoning party: Ghitu Chronicler . Chronicler is sneakily good. 1/3 is actually a really good statline for blanking aggro so we can play it early just to buy us some time, or we can kick it after assembling Tron to get back whatever we need, be it card draw, removal, or a wincon. Either way, it also acts as Edict protection. Just think of it as a really slow Snapcaster Mage in Red and you'll get an idea of how powerful it can be. I threw this card in on a whim and it has wildly overperformed.

Burn the Unbeliever

We are a very slow deck and like all slow decks, we need a solid suite of removal to get to our endgame.

Terminate was the genesis of the entire deck, so of course it's in here as a full 4-of. 2 mana, kill anything, then get it back with Chronicler and kill another thing. Easy peasy.

The best spell in the game by popular vote is here as well: Lightning Bolt . One mana to kill most 3-CMC-and-under creatures, plus you can sometimes win games by Bolt-Chronicler-Bolt? Fantastic.

To deal with Bogles and large threats, we also have two copies of Chainer's Edict . We don't need the full 4-of since Terminate can deal with everything that isn't Hexproof, but we definitely want this effect in the main 60 since we can cast it from our graveyard more easily than most decks.

Going Nova

Ok, so we've ramped to high heaven, drawn all the cards, and killed everything our opponent's played. Time to bring down the hammer. We have three options.

The first is the boogeyman of Pauper, the one, the only: Ulamog's Crusher . Even one swing with this bad boy can be absolutely devastating to our opponent and there's pretty much no way to come back from two swings.

Next, we have the flashiest kill: Rolling Thunder . This one's nice because we can plausibly one-shot our opponent if the game goes on long enough, or we can wipe their board and send a good chuck at their face only to bring it back for a second go with Ghitu Chronicler .

Finally, we have the grindy kill: Evincar's Justice . Again, we can cast it early to clear the board and then get it back later with Chronicler, but it isn't too hard to cast this once or even twice a turn with Buyback once our engine is online. We then use Pristine Talisman to break the synergy. Some decks are completely incapable of beating this card once the board reaches a certain point.


For the sideboard, we have a few suites.

Anti-Control: Duress and Pyroblast , the full 4-of for both. We also have a copy of Ill-Gotten Inheritance as a sneaky wincon if we can slip it past their counterspells.

Anti-Aggro: Evincar's Justice . The pain is a real drawback in this matchup but we really need the board wipe.

Anti-Burn: Peace Strider . Eats most of their creatures and undoes a Bolt effect.

Anti-Graveyard: Nihil Spellbomb . Blows up their 'yard while keeping ours intact, plus it saves us a few bucks over Relic of Progenitus .

Anti-Fog: Flaring Pain . Just one copy. We don't want to fire off a massive Rolling Thunder only to have our efforts foiled by a Circle of Protection-like effect.

The Dark Star Sets

And that's the deck. Thank you for reading this far. Did I miss anything obvious? Is there a better sideboard option for Burn? I'd be happy to hear any suggestions you might have about tuning this thing up.


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83% Competitive

Date added 6 months
Last updated 6 months

This deck is Pauper legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.38
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