What is this deck ?

This is a UWr version of the pauper Familiars deck. The aim of the deck is to win though a 3 card combo: Ghostly Flicker + Mnemonic Wall + Sage's Row Denizen . By flickering the wall, you mill two cards from your opponent's deck and get your flicker back for another round. This combo in itself is pretty bad because Ghostly Flicker is expensive, thus you can't go infinite and combo kill your opponent in one turn...unless you have two Sunscape Familiar on the board, in which case you can float blue from an Island , flicker that island and the wall and repeat until the opponent has 0 cards in their library.

An alternative combo is possible if you can assemble two Sunscape Familiar and Mnemonic Wall + Sage's Row Denizen + Snap if you have a bounce land on board. Indeed, if that is the case, then you can float the mana from a bounce land and an island, cast Snap on the wall with two mana still floating and untap the bounce land and the island, which allows to replay the wall, which costs 3, get the Snap back and repeat this process until the opponent has 0 cards in their library. This is unlikely to be how you win most games as, if you end up in this position, you could probably grab a Ghostly Flicker from your graveyard, but it might come in clutch when the variance is not on your side.

Obviously, there are more ways to win with this deck: you may have some games where you're on the Mulldrifter beat down plan or you could just wait for your opponent to mill themselves by flickering your Mortuary Mire , ensuring you have more cards in your deck than they do.

So, all in all, this is at least a 5 card infinite combo, with two of them being identical. Sounds pretty bad, right ?

How can this deck actually win ?

The entire deck is built around the combo Ghostly Flicker + Mnemonic Wall , which allows you to flicker one artifact, land or creature to reuse its ETB for just 3 mana (or less, with Sunscape Familiar ).

Finding the combo pieces

The deck needs to assemble its combo quickly, so it has a lot of card draw and filtering:

  • Preordain is often equivalent to seeing 3 cards in this deck, as you're often lacking specific pieces of the combo, so it's an auto include

  • Deep Analysis is some of the best sorcery speed card draw available in Pauper, so it's obviously included here. The sorcery speed does not hurt the deck at all because we rarely interact with our opponent.

  • Mulldrifter is an obvious choice in this deck: it's not uncommon to pay its evoke cost and flicker it along with a Mnemonic Wall for that sweet 6 mana 2/2 flyer which draws 4 cards as an ETB.

  • Sea Gate Oracle is there as extra copies of Mulldrifter and as an early blocker. Its Sleight of Hand ETB is almost always equivalent to the card draw from Mulldrifter but its 3 toughness is very important when playing against aggro decks.

  • Arcum's Astrolabe has replaced Ponder in the deck, as it can be flickered for card draw and allows the red splash for the sideboard.

With this much card draw, it's very likely you'll get to see most of the deck if you manage to get the ball rolling, so the 5 card combo seems a lot more reasonable now, doesn't it ?

Surviving or how this deck preys on aggro decks

Who would have thought that such a slow combo deck could survive against the hyper aggressive decks present in Pauper ? Well, here's how it survives:

Game 1

  • God-Pharaoh's Faithful is your best friend in game 1 vs non-elf, non-sliver aggro decks running out there, thanks to the life gain and body it provides. Unfortunately, elf decks can deal way more damage than you can heal thanks to Timberwatch Elf and sliver decks can ignore your life total thanks to Virulent Sliver . Still, against non-sliver decks, it can provide a win con if you can assemble Ghostly Flicker + God-Pharaoh's Faithful + Mnemonic Wall which represents "infinite" life if you have two Sunscape Familiar on board.
  • Stonehorn Dignitary is your best friend against any sort of deck that needs to hit you with creatures to win. This obviously includes most aggro decks, but also includes a lot of control decks which often rely on creatures to get the job done. Assembling Ghostly Flicker + Mnemonic Wall + Stonehorn Dignitary is synonymous with victory against decks that can't kill you without creatures.
  • Snap is a do-it-all. Bounce the opponent's creature and untap two bounce lands, effectively ramping you or bounce one of your creatures to reuse its ETB when you haven't gotten your Ghostly Flicker yet.
  • Sunscape Familiar yes, this card is essential to surviving: it's an 0/3, so it blocks most of the small creatures from aggro decks and it accelerates you into your Mnemonic Wall which is an 0/4 and allows you to get the ball rolling.

Post side

You get a lot post side versus aggro decks:

What about control ?

Fortunately for this deck, most control decks in Pauper are geared towards creature matchups, so they pack few counterspells and graveyard hate, which often spell our doom.

Game 1

  • Mortuary Mire is there to save your butt in case the control deck brutally murders your combo pieces: you can flicker it to get them all back on top of your deck. This is the main reason you're not afraid of removal from a control deck unless it exiles
  • Other than that, you're strong vs control in game 1 as long as they don't counter all your Ghostly Flicker and Mnemonic Wall , which is unlikely

Post side

Post side is tough against blue and red control decks, as they'll probably pack counterspells like Dispel and Pyroblast against you. Here's how we get around that:


Iceberg Cancrix

This is a new card straight from Modern Horizons which is basically Sage's Row Denizen for snow permanents instead of blue creatures. This is in the maybeboard because it's an alternative to Sage's Row Denizen that is cheaper and dodges Lightning Bolt . Indeed, since our mana base is snow, the combo stands if you play this card: you can still mill the opponent by flickering an island and Mnemonic Wall . Here's a short comparison between Sage's Row Denizen and Iceberg Cancrix . First, the pros of the crab over the vedalken:

  • it's one mana cheaper

  • it has 4 toughness, which makes it dodge Lightning Bolt , which means it's actually a useful blocker early on

  • it triggers on Arcum's Astrolabe entering the battlefield

And here is the con:

  • it forces you to flicker a land or Arcum's Astrolabe . This means one Ghostly Flicker equates one trigger from the crab, but with the vedalken, you can get two triggers by flickering Mnemonic Wall and another creature, like a Mulldrifter . This is a big downside of the crab because it makes a huge difference when you're not going infinite, as the second flicker target generally helps you either dig through the deck quickly to start going infinite or by getting counterspells, Stonehorn Dignitary or Sunscape Familiar back from the graveyard.

Overall, I'm not a huge fan of running Iceberg Cancrix instead of Sage's Row Denizen unless you're running 4 Iceberg Cancrix . If you're running multiple of them, you can jam them out fearlessly, start milling early on with your land drops and your Arcum's Astrolabe and protect yourself with its 0/4 body. Since I have not found the deck lacking in its early game survival, I'm keeping Sage's Row Denizen on the main list for now, but I'll be trying the crab out and see whether it makes the deck better.


  • Augur of Bolas feels like a good flicker-able cantrip, but our combo only needs one instant and the rest are creatures
  • Pondering Mage also feels like a good flicker-able target with a good body, but the Ponder effect is less good than the other ETBs in the deck. Furthermore, it's very expensive.


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