MTG Deck Tech: The Mongoose is Loose (Pauper)

Artwork from the 'Magic: The Gathering' card Nimble Mongoose. Artwork from the 'Magic: The Gathering' card Nimble Mongoose. WOTC / TERESE NIELSON

Nowhere is it written that a Magic: The Gathering deck has to break the bank and, with this $17 pauper format deck, it doesn't!


One of the nice things about Magic's pauper format is exactly what the name implies:  It's cheap.  With decks that contain only common cards (or, at least, cards that have at one point been printed at common), it's a fun challenge to come up with decks that work.  With our latest creation, a deck we're calling "The Mongoose is Loose," we've come up with a deck that finds success while being a joy to play.

Inspired by "cheese" decks from the mid-1990s, this deck relies on small casting cost creatures and a mix of buffs and direct damage to get the job done.  On turn one you want to go one of two ways: either plop down one of your one-drop creatures or drop a forest and enchant it with a Wild Growth for a nice curve boost on turn two.  After that, you don't have to go too wide to have a good chance at victory.  In the early game you will want to control the board with direct damage from cards like Shock and Fireball to clear the way for your one- and two-drop creatures.  Once they get through, toss on a Giant Growth or Blood Lust for that extra boost of hurt.  If they can't get through, that's why the deck runs a playset of Rancor.  As for Nimble Mongoose, don't worry about being unable to buff it with your spells due to the card's built-in shroud ability.  Not only does Orcish Oriflamme still pump it, you should be able to quickly achieve threshold with all of the deck's small casting cost spells so it can pump itself as well.  And, for a little defensive protection, the deck runs two copies of Spore Cloud from Fallen Empires for both its fog and board control effects.  Trust us, your opponent's won't expect it.

In the sideboard we've included Electrickery as a potential board wipe for your opponent as well as two more copies of Spore Cloud for added insurance.  Blue decks can be quite troublesome in pauper, so we've also thrown in three copies of Red Elemental Blast as well as a playset of Nacatl Outlander thanks to its protection from blue ability.  There are also three copies of Plummet to help with pesky fliers and one copy of Tranquility to take care of Circle of Protections and other such nuisance enchantments.

Considering the deck's sub-$20 price, it performs rather well even if it's not perfect by any means.  If you want to up the budget a bit, you would probably want to swap the Shocks out for Lightning Bolt and may want to consider a playset of Slippery Bogle.

For those who are curious, we've had this deck built around the office for quite some time now and break it out every now and then during those times where someone else has a pauper deck.  In truth, it does have some very close calls.  But it does perform rather well overall and has a tendency to surprise opponents with its rather old-school playlines and tricks.

Are you running this deck at your LGS or on MTGO?  If so, leave us a comment and tell us how you fared!

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