pie chart

Pauper Nightmare

Pauper BR (Rakdos) Control


Incinerate!! Terminate!!!


  • Introduction

  • Playstyle

  • Cards

  • Sideboard Guide

  • Mulligan Considerations


When I got into Magic I played regularly with a friend who played a BR control deck. He loved not only to destroy my creatures but rather to smother them in a constant rain of Incinerate and Terminate announcing each spell with a sadistic glee.

As I really like to build pauper decks in paper, I wanted to build a pauper version of my old archenemy from back then. But rather than only make it a paper version and play it occasionally I wanted to hand it in to Dan's pauper gauntlet on magicgatheringstrat.

I had to make few changes to the deck to adjust it to the pauper card pool. But I think that the heart and feel of the deck is transferred rather well. Because this deck gave me a very hard time when I got into Magic I call it the Pauper Nightmare. I hope It makes it to Dan's Pauper Gaunlet and will be successfull. Here comes the deck explanation and the sideboard guide:

Play style

It is a typical control deck that wants to have an answer to the opponent's cards. It goes after the opponent's hand withMesmeric Fiend, Augur of Skulls and Blightning and controls the board with removal. It closes the game by attaking with creatures such as Twisted Abomination and Gurmag Angler or by dealing direct damage with a big Rolling Thunder. Playing against the deck should feel like there is no place where the opponents cards are safe from being attacked.

I see the biggest problem for this deck in matches against hard controll and bogles.

Strong control decks can gain more card advantage and protect their win condition better. On the other side, the control player will have a lot of work to keep all removal that goes after their wincons out of the way. If the wincon is not a creature it must be handled with duress. The good thing about must this deck is, that a lot of removal and is damage based and can be used to deal damage to the player. So it is not entirely dead in such a matchup.

Bogles is a very difficult matchup. It blanks all removal. The creatures have to be handled with Electrickery or Chainer's Edict. It's also possible to get strong auras with duress. But if a creature is enchanted and a accompanied by another creature it's becoming an uphill battle. As soon as there is lifegain involved it is very difficult (almost impossible) to win the game.


Terminate: That card destroys almost every creature in the format (also guardian of the guildpact!) at instant speed for little mana. Despite the color restriction a top card!

Incinerate: This card is not as good as I wish it was but very important for the feel of the deck. Therefore I still want to include two copies in the deck.

Lightning Bolt: Among the best cards available to the pauper players. It's efficient removal that can also go after the opponents life points. Red decks need a very good reason not to run this spell.

Chainer's Edict: This deck can have problems with creatures with bogles and his hexproof friends. Chainer's verdict can help here. Furthermore, this spell is card advantage if the games goes long enough. In my paper version I will have Devour Flesh instead for flavour and budget reasons.

Tragic Slip: This is also a very mana efficient card if it can be activated by another removal. I think it should also work well against delver.

Firebolt: This removes efficiently early game critters and generates card advantage later in the game. It is also a very flexible spell because it can go after your opponents life points.

Blightning: That's a very interesting spell that I added to the deck to make it pauper legal. It damages the opponent directly and can generate card advantage. No opponent wants to get hit by this card with cards in hand. I am not sure though about the right number of blightning in the deck.

Rolling Thunder: It damages the opponent. It can destroy several creatures. The potential of this card is enormous. It needs a lot of mana but the payoff can be enormous. This deck wants to go to the late game and make good use of this spell. Because there is no acceleration and because I can't use it in the early game, I only play one copy of this card.

Grim Harvest: I run only few creatures and even fewer that serve me as a win condition. Grim harvest helps me to grind out games with my disruptive creatures or to bring them to an end with an unstopable twisted abomination. This spell would also work well with crypt rats. But I don't want to play crypt rats without a constant supply of life. Crypt rats works better in UB Trinket.

Faceless Butcher: I used to hate this card when I played against it. It can remove most creatures until it gets handled. I Is very important to the deck for the play style(every spell destroys/takes a card). It can eat tokens and reset counters on creatures.

Mesmeric Fiend: The little brother of faceless butcher attaks the opponents hand and can act at least as a counterspell for the opponents next removal. In the best case it can take an important control spell or combo piece.

Augur of Skulls: This is a very versatile card. It blocks against aggro and discards against control. At least it will act as a counterspell for a removal.

Twisted Abomination: This is a very resilient finisher for the deck. It survives a lot of removal and combat. It blocks and attaks efficiently. And it can fetch a land in the early game. Together with grim harvest and enough mana, this card is very hard to sstop.

Gurmag Angler: A big guy for chesp mana. With all the cards going to the bin, this finisher can be cast very early. I have him only once in the deck because this deck doesn't fill the yard fast enough. Furthermore, the angler is not as resiliant as the abomination.

Lands: I play 22 lands because I need at least 2-3 lands in my start hand. Because i have steep color requirements for terminate et al. I play the kahns of Tarkir lands, terramorphic expanse and two guild gates.The terramorphic expanse and the barren moores help me against flood in the mid- to late game. The rest is filled up with basics.

Sideboard Guide


+4 pristine Talisman +4 Duress -2 Tragic Slip -4 Terminate - 2 Chainer's edict

Still some dead cards remain in the deck. But the sideboardcards should be very potent and allow to attack the hand and gain life.


no changes

Stompy should be a good matchup with so much instant removal. Focus on their creatures with instant removal but don't get too greedy. Destroy everything you see at the end of their turn and don't wait for card advantages too long. Most of the time it is the best to destroy creatures during your turn or at the end of your opponents turn because it forces your opponent to cast their spells In a way they don't deal damage to you. If your opponent is very fast you can exchange Blightning with Duress to take out their pump spells form turn 1.


no changes

Eventually 4 x Blightning can be exchanged for 4 x duress because it is slow and maybe too late. See also the remarks for stompy.


Depends a lot on the speed of the deck and the size of creatures. Blightning is not very effective if your opponents hand is empty till turn three. They can be replaced with Electrickery or Evincar's Justice if needed. In general this matchup should be favorable if played correctly. Your cheap removal matches well your opponents cheap creatures :)

Eye Candy:

+4 duress - 2 tragic slip - 2 Incinerate

The best strategy is to keep their side of the table empty. You should do that during your turn. The once you start a battle against counters and their protection you enter a dangerous territory. If they winn the

MBC: no changes

Keep the board clear for the merchants arrival!


+2 electrickery +4 Duress -3 blightning -3 terminate

The opponents gameplan has to be disruptet as fast as possible. Trade spells vs. creatures from the first moment on. Tragic slips and electricky help a lot to keep the faeries at bay.


+3 Evincar's Justice -3 blightning

UB creatureless Control:

  • 4 Duress +3 pristine talisman + 2 smash to smithereens - 4 terminate - 2 tragic slip - 3Chainer's edict

The smash to smethereens is for the opponents pristine talinman.


+2 smash to smithereens - 2 incinerate

RUG Tron:

-2 Incinerate - Lightning Bolt + 4 Duress

Tron doesn't have to many wincons. The creatures can be handled easily. The big burn spells have to be discarded.

Turbo Fog:

-4 terminate -4 chainer's edict -2 tragic slip -1 Faceless butcher +4 duress +3 Evincar's justice +4 pristine talisman

Removal doesn't help here and gets borded out. It gets replaced with the Evincar's Justice Engine and Duress. Duress is used for jace's errasure, fogs and card draw.

Turbo Exhume:

+4 duress - 4 firebolt

Duress as early as possible and take exume or tormenting voice. Finish the opponent as soon as possible.

White Weenie:

no changes

If necessary 2 Evincar's justice can be added for two tragic slips.


+2 electrickery +3 Evincar's justice -4 chainer's verdict -1 terminate

This matchup should be much easier after boarding. Try to establish a reacing situation but don't risk your creatures.


No changes

Keep the familiars of the table and use discard to attak the hand. If the opponent can combo off, keep removal ready for the faeries.

Bogle Enchantments:

  • 4 duress +2 electrickery - 4 terminate -2 incinerate

Very difficult to play against if the bogles player is good. It gets better after boarding but is still difficult. Try to use a well timed electrickery to get a two or three for one. If the bogles player tries to hold back the creatures to put everything at once on the field, you can attack the hand with discard effects to take out crucial cards. The best card is mesmeric fiend.


+4 Duress - 2 Incinerate - 2 Lightning Bolt

Try to empty their hand quickly if possible.


-2 lightning bolt - 2 incinerate +4 duress

Try to discard the opponents hand fast so your creatures can enter the stage safe and go on the beatdown plan. As an alternative you can take out creatures and grim harvest and try to go for the burn route with pristine talisman and Evincar's Justice.

Not listed aggro: no changes

Not listed control: +4 duress - 2 incinerate - 2 firebolt

Not listed combo: no changes

Others: Good Luck!

Mulligan Considerations

Finally I want to write a short text about mulligan consideration.

  1. This deck has a high demand on colored mana at the deginning of the game. Sometimes you want to play Terminate on turn two and on turn three anotherTerminate followed by a Tragic Slip or Terminate and Incinerate on turn 4. This is an extreme example but it might show what I mean by high color requirements of this deck. This means you should always look at your startimg hand and think how you can play the spells you see there. Because most control spells are very cheap you should at least be able to cast two with the lands in your hand. I feel the most comfortable when I see a guild gate or a bloodfell cave in my starting hand.

  2. This deck needs lots of Mana. There are many good cards to control the early game but at some point you need to have enough lands to pay flashback cost to generate card advantage and to play an Twisted Abomination with regeneration mana open. I most appreciate hands with three lands to cast my Terminate and Blightning as soon as possible. 4 lands are also fine if the other 3 cards contain a card with flashback. In a 2-land-hand I am looking at the quality of the mana fixing to at least cast all my 2-mana control spells. The worst 2-land-hand I am willing to keep is a hand with two mountains, a Twisted Abomination and very good mix of control cards to bring me back such as Lightning Bolt that is paired with a Tragic Slip.

  3. Because this deck plays only few creatures that don't like to block early in the game you need at least one or two cards to control the board in the first three turns in your opening hand. Of corse it helps to know what you are up against in the games two and three when it comes to evaluate the control cards in your hand.


Updates Add


Date added 4 years
Last updated 4 years

This deck is Pauper legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.42
Folders Pauper
Ignored suggestions
Shared with