Magic The Gathering is a zero-sum game.

If your opponent is attacking you, you are doing it wrong.

If your opponent is resolving spells, you are doing it wrong.

If your opponent is having any fun, you are doing it wrong.

Unification Update

It happened. The mad folks at WotC decided that Pauper is a real format.

The obvious question to ask in light of this format-altering announcement is "what can I add to my Teachings list"?

The short answer is Desert . And that's amazing.

(mostly) Blue-Black Mystical Teachings

Executive Summery: Counter or remove everything that matters. Don't be afraid to take some hits. Plan your lands carefully, and above all else, keep the round timer in mind.

Playing Teachings control is not about playing Magic. It's about preventing Magic from really being played. As the format's purest incarnation of control, your objective is to cling to life long enough to grind your opponent out of relevant resources. Unlike control decks in other formats, we do not enjoy the luxury of powerful finishers ( Torrential Gearhulk , Jace, the Mind Sculptor ). This means that we need to survive far, far longer. Attrition is the name of the game.

Every small edge you snag redoubles in value as the game draws out. An extra card might not feel like a lot on turn five when both players are holding a full grip, but it's potentially the difference between a win and a loss when both players are top-decking. In order to maximize the utility provided from each of our individual spells it is critical to gauge the most profitable moment to cast them. Sometimes this means taking 8 damage off of an additional combat step before dropping Evincar's Justice , or allowing a moderately threatening spell to resolve if the potential follow-up is worst (against monarch decks, Palace Sentinels and Thorn of the Black Rose must be countered at all cost).

Perhaps the greatest strength of Teachings is it's adaptability. As a tool-box control deck, your individual 75 can and should to altered to accommodate the expected metagame. This said, lets dive deeper into some card choices.


Getting to play with Desert is a huge shot in the arm for Teachings. This card can absolutely dominate decks running aggressive x/1s (Delver) without costing a spell slot in the deck. However this stresses an already trying mana base with even more colorless sources. For a deck that wants both both and by turn 3 at the absolute latest, this can make planning out your lands and hand quite difficult. Do not be afraid to mulligan a hand without ample colored sources.


Whatever you can ignore, ignore. Otherwise kill it. Assuming it even resolves.

This is where the most "flex slots" exist. Your choice of counterspells and removal depends entirely on what you expect to face. Got a playgroup filled with Stompy and Delver? Load up on Echoing Decay ! Mono-Black making a resurgence? Might want to trim that Doom Blade . Is everyone at the LGS playing Tron? Consult a lawyer about the ramifications of arson in your state.

If you decide to play Auger of Bolas, you should probably leave Innocent Blood at home. Also take it out when you bring in creature (obviously).

Winning the game

Winning the game is overrated. Watching the person across the table from you grow increasingly frustrated with their lack of progress is the true calling of a Teachings player. However since the round timer does exist, running an actual wincon does become necessary.

[Note for those playing on MTGO: the clock is an additional wincon. Learn to play (and click) quickly and you'll be surprised by how many matches you win on time]

My current iteration of the deck does not include the commonly played Evincar's Justice + Pristine Talisman loop as a plan B. After much deliberation i cut the package from the deck entirely, freeing up 5-6 slot for cheaper interaction. If the metagame returns to x/2s and going wide, it may warrant putting them back in the deck, but as things stand the cards are either too slow or entirely irrelevant. Devious Cover-Up is almost impossible to interact with Game 1, making it a strong choice as a contingency. Sprout Swarm is still the deck's primary wincon however, and should be utilized whenever possible to minimize time loss.


Disclaimer: The sideboard displayed here is what I will be bringing to my next FNM. The cards selected are deliberate choices versus a metagame full of aggressive reds decks (RDW, burn). For best results, use your own observation to determine the most important tools. Graveyard hate is left out of my 15, but is probably a wise addition against an unknown field.


Updates Add

For the first time in three years of playing the deck, I have removed Evincar's Justice and Pristine Talisman.

These cards served two purposes: Controlling aggro decks, and acting as a secondary win condition, both of which are now achievable through more efficient means.

At the time of posting, the three most commonly played decks on MTGO (also where im playing this list right now) are:

  • Burn
  • Tron
  • Boros Snow-aggro

Evincar's Justice does not perform particularly well in any of these match-ups. (granted, looping it to kill a burn player is tremendously satisfying). While gaining life each turn versus burn is obviously excellent, having to chose between tapping out and letting the artifact rot in your hand until turn six is less so.

Likewise versus Boros, their biggest threats (Seeker and Skyfisher) both easily avoid the slow sorcery. Desert and Innocent Blood both do a good job at killing small creatures without spending large amounts of mana/tempo.

I have included Crypt Incursion in the main board in this iteration as a way to gain additional life. The times it will randomly exile a combo piece verses Tron is also non-zero.

Likewise, Evincar's Justice has become obsolete as a win-con with the printing of cards like Devious Cover-Up and Ash Barrens (to facilitate the splash for Sprout Swarm).


Top Ranked
  • Achieved #30 position overall 8 months ago
  • Achieved #1 position in Pauper 8 months ago
Date added 3 years
Last updated 8 months

This deck is Pauper legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.22
Tokens 1/1 Saproling
Folders Useful Forums, Pauper, Pauper, zReading List, Pauper, Pauper Ideas, edh, Pauper, Paup, Funnn, See all 24
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