What is this deck ?

This is a UW version of the pauper Familiars deck. The aim of the deck is to win by abusing the combo: Ghostly Flicker + Mystic Sanctuary . By flickering the Sanctuary, you can get Ghostly Flicker back on top of the deck. If the second target of the flicker has and ETB allowing you to draw, you can get your flicker back and go another round. Usually, we're going to abuse this with Sage's Row Denizen, which will mill the opponent in the process or God-Pharaoh's Faithful, which will net us life every time. 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 the Mystic Sanctuary, flicker it and a Mulldrifter or Sea Gate Oracle and repeat that as many times as you wish. With a Sage's Row Denizen, you can repeat until your opponent has 0 cards in their library and simply pass the turn back.

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 or Mystic Sanctuary, 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 + Mystic Sanctuary , which allows you to flicker one artifact, land or creature to reuse its ETB for just 2 effective mana (or less, with Sunscape Familiar).

 The loops

This deck has a lot of loops, I'll list here all of those I know. This list includes loops for the archetype and not necessarily this list. All of them require 2 Sunscape Familiar on board so I'll omit them. Assume Mystic Sanctuary must be online.

  • Ghostly Flicker + Mystic Sanctuary + Mulldrifter means the deck is drawn : flicker sanctuary and drifter, put flicker on top before drawing. End result is draw 1, no mana used up.

  • Ghostly Flicker + Mystic Sanctuary + Sea Gate Oracle. Same loop as Mulldrifter, except you don't net anything tangible. You get to know your whole deck and choose the card on top of your deck. Depending on the exact circumstances, you can win instantly from this position. With enough mana and a way to draw, you can find Sage's Row Denizen and win, for example.

  • 2 Ghostly Flicker + Mystic Sanctuary + Mulldrifter means infinite mana : flicker sanctuary + island/plains, put flicker on top then flicker sanctuary + drifter, draw both flickers. Be careful with this loop: you need at least four islands to get infinite blue mana. End result is you just untapped an island/plains.

  • 2 Ghostly Flicker + 2 Mystic Sanctuary + Mulldrifter so this represents infinite mana with the previous point, but in this particular case, it can represent infinite spell recursion as well. Be careful again, you need three islands other than the two sanctuaries! Flicker both sanctuaries, put flicker and another instant/sorcery on top then flicker drifter twice. End result is you recurred an instant/sorcery in your graveyard to your hand. Alongside Deep Analysis, Compulsive Research or Thought Scour for example, you can mill the opponent out. A common route is also to recur Snap, send the opponent's board back into their hand and counter everything coming back down with Prohibit.

  • Ghostly Flicker + Archaeomancer (or wall) goes infinite without netting anything. Flicker archaeomancer + island, return flicker to hand. With Sage's Row Denizen or God-Pharaoh's Faithful you either win instantly or get infinite life.

  • Snap + Mnemonic Wall + 2 Azorius Chancery (or any blue bounceland) is equivalent to the above loop. This loop is impossible with Archaeomancer

  • Ghostly Flicker + Archaeomancer (or wall) + Mystic Sanctuary + Mulldrifter + Thought Scour. This loop also requires 4 extra islands, not three! This represents infinite Thought Scour recursion. Flicker sanctuary + island, put flicker back on top, then thought scour targeting the opponent, draw flicker, flicker sanctuary + archaeomancer/wall, put thought scour on top and flicker in hand and flicker sanctuary + mulldrifter and you're back where you started. End result is your opponent milled 2 cards.

 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 Mystic Sanctuary for that sweet 5 mana 2/2 flyer which draws 3 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 fairly good, as it ensures you won't mill yourself when comboing. However, Mulldrifter is the all-star with Mystic Sanctuary. Its 3 toughness is however very important when playing against aggro decks.

  • Ponder is the second best 1 mana cantrip available, so we're playing it.

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 + Mystic Sanctuary which represents "infinite" life if you have two Sunscape Familiar on board.
  • Prismatic Strands is your best friend against any sort of deck that needs to deal damage to win. This obviously includes most aggro decks. This card buys you at least two turns and recurring it with Mystic Sanctuary is just gross for your opponent.
  • Snap is a do-it-all. Bounce the opponent's creature and untap a bounce land and an island, 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, allowing you to get the ball rolling.

Post side

You get some stuff post side versus aggro decks:

  • Prismatic Strands is a very good white fog

  • Blue Elemental Blast is great versus any kind of red deck. They're likely to side in Pyroblast to interact with you and it counter some removal or deal with some of their creatures.

  • Essence Scatter is your best counterspell against most aggro decks. If you really the need for one, that is

What about control ?

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

  • Mystic Sanctuary is an uncounterable, unkillable Mnemonic Wall so it's perfect vs control

  • Deep Analysis allows you to punch right through counterspells and fill the tank before you start going off

  • Other than that, you're strong vs control in game 1 as long as they don't counter all your Ghostly Flicker and Mulldrifter, which is unlikely thanks to your Prohibit.

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:

Possible small tweaks

There are a few small tweaks which can be made to suit the deck to your preferences/local meta that should be known.

One of them is to run the fourth Deep Analysis main instead of a Sea Gate Oracle. This is good if you're expecting Spellstutter Sprite decks. This also frees up one sideboard slot.

You could run an Echoing Truth main instead of a Snap. I feel Snap is overall better, but I've run Echoing Truth in the main before and it can be a huge help sometimes where Snap would not be enough.

You could run an extra fetchland and exchange the Ponder for Brainstorm.

You could run an extra main deck counterspell instead of the fourth Snap.

The numbers in the sideboard can be tweaked: I've played 3 Dispels, 4 Blue Blasts in the past; you could go up one Negate or one Essence Scatter; you could try running 3 Nature's Chant, etc.


  • Scour All Possibilities is actually much better than it looks: with one Sunscape Familiar on board, it becomes a strictly better Preordain and the extra mana rarely matters vs control decks
  • Mystic Remora is great against control decks, as our deck is pretty threat light, if we're able to slam this down, they'll have to pay if they don't want us drawing cards, which can be deadly if you're purposefully pacing your threats so as to jam multiple in one turn
  • There is some consideration to using Mnemonic Wall or Archaeomancer in the deck. If I were to go back to them, I would up the number of bounce lands to either 3 or 4 and play some Stonehorn Dignitary. There is also some consideration to running Ephemerate in that case.
  • You can also run alternative kill conditions, such as Thought Scour or Compulsive Research which are lethal if you can recur them an infinite number of times.
  • Something you may notice as odd in the maybeboard is 3x Gorilla Shaman. These would be for the sideboard, to up the Affinity matchup which is otherwise pretty tough. In addition to them, there would be a mountain in the sideboard.


  • 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.


Updates Add

I've changed the board a bit. I'm trying Stonehorns in the sideboard, even without Archaeomancer/Mnemonic Wall, to fight against Affinity. Not 100% convinced yet, but it's worth a shot.

I also swapped the number of SGOs with the number of DAs to help against Delver decks.


Date added 1 year
Last updated 2 months
Exclude colors BRG

This deck is Pauper legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.51
Folders Competitive Tier 1, Paupertron Ideas, Pauper
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