blue/red vs needleburn

by wickeddarkman on 07 March 2023

Main Deck (60 cards)

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Deck Description

The deck listed in the maindeck is a pauperdeck that, piloted by someone named kilde, got a 5-0 at pauperleague 01/03/2023.

If you look at it and feel a sense of deja vu, there are two possible causes. First it's an older list which has been modified a bit through the 11 creatures and it has gone 5-0 a number of times by different pilots.

The second cause is because it's the second time that I list it. This is done in connection with several builds of halfdecks (think of them as pro versions of jumpstart)

I got 4 halfdecks that can be combined in 5 ways and one prospect of the project is that they are being evolved by evolution and I use pauper cards that are legal in premodern.

The time has come to see how far evolution has taken the project which is why I'm starting to test against actual pauper decks.

In the first post I reported how the two halfdecks "blue" and "black" works together, and the answer is "not really well"

Part of the whole process is that I always face my testdeck opponent with my hand revealed all the time, so he knows exactly what I'm holding, which makes games extremely tough. This is done because some players out there are extraordinary good at reading you and thus know when you're holding on to something. Testing against such an opponent all of the time breeds extra resilience into the project.

So far two of the halves are generation 3 (black and red) while the two others (green and blue are generation 2)

So when blue and black got coupled together and only won 3 out of 20 games part of the reasons for the low result is the "omniscience" of the opponent as well as the whole thing being tested prematurely.

This time the two halves are blue and red:

10 games where I start playing first.

Game 1:
This game didn't go well, it started decently with firebolt and lavadart, but my opponent had a lot of monastery swiftspear hit the battlefield fast and early. I lose.

Game 2:
I get a fountain of youth in the opening hand as well as a seal of fire, a lava Dart and a lotus petal. I got the resources to take out any creature the opponent casts and I gain a life almost each turn. Unfortunately my opponent draws burnspells instead of creatures. I'm one turn away from turning the game around when I lose.

Game 3:
Seal of fire, mog fanatic, lava dart and ghitu slinger makes for a good opening hand against my opponents creatures. I pick up a mana leak and intent to save it for later. At a critical point in the game I decide to flashback a deep analysis, confident that my counterspell will keep me safe and as a result I draw into fountain of youth. My opponent then starts to burn me with spells like rift bolt and flame blast while always making sure to keep 3 mana open. That damn burn deck can play around mana leak! I get within 2 life left, but this time luck is on my side and from that point on I gain life enough to survive and win the game by swarming my opponent with creatures. I win.

Game 4:
Interesting game. I draw fountain of youth in my opening hand and from turn 2 I gain a life every freaking turn. Needle burn manages to draw no creatures during the whole game, but manages to to kill me by bolts alone because I draw no counterspells. It's nice to know what it takes from the lifegain to pull through. I lose.

Game 5:
Choking tethers and merchant scroll in my opening hand. My opponent opens with voldaren epicure, so I decide to use choking tethers to tap it on my turn 2. I draw betrayal and then mogg fanatic during my own turn, so I kill the voldaren and fetches repulse. I've decided to try out the stall this time. My opponent just bolts me so I draw with a hardcast deep analysis and hit gold. Fountain of youth. Next turn I start gaining life, my opponent uses a blood token and then, with two cards in hand does nothing. I can't believe my luck. Since I'm at 5 life I assume he has a firebolt. I could try to draw some stuff with the deep analysis in my grave, but I play it safe. Opponent plays voldaren, uses needle drop and cracks the blood token. Then with two cards in hand does nothing. I use betrayal to hold back the voldaren, however, three turns later I die to two burn spells. My opponent had run out of steam for a little while. I lose.

Game 6:
I draw no mountains. I lose.

Game 7:
I manage to set up a small defence, and the opponent decides to bolt a goblin tinkerer to keep two blood tokens intact. I lose.

Game 8:
I actually go aggro versus burn. I get my opponent down to 2 life and still have a defence against a sudden monastery swiftspear. But since I'm at one life myself the game is lost when the opponent topdecks a burnspell. I lose.

Game 9:
Fountain of youth in opening hand. The game really drags out. I got the board because of two seal of fire in play and 2 lava dart in the grave. But when I finally start playing creatures I'm hit by several searing blaze that my opponent had stranded in the hand until that point. If I hadn't drawn creatures I would have won this one, but I lose.

Game 10:
Fountain of youth in the opening hand. Unfortunately my opponent has a ton of creatures in no time, and I die to both them and a barrage of bolts. I lose.

I won just one game, but that single fountain of youth in the red halfdeck is almost enough to turn the whole game, so my prediction that the black/red couple is going to tear burn apart might be true. Other aspects of this couple made it seem a lot more powerful than the blue/black couple like being able to bounce ghitu slinger, and even though the removal from the red half seems inferior to the black halfdeck, it makes really large holes in the opponent when they have no creatures. Compared to the blue/black couple the overall feeling was that almost all games felt close.

10 games where the opponent starts the game:
Let's see if drawing a card will make any difference.

Game 1:
Really long game because my opponent is stranded with 4 fireblast in hand and 2 mountains in play. Eventually I get bolted to death. I lose.

Game 2:
Games are certainly getting longer and more complex by that extra draw. In this game I almost got to cast wildfire Emissary with tidal visionary in play. I lose.

Game 3:
Long game. I lose.

Game 4:
Short game. Monastery swiftspear and searing blaze is a pretty nasty thing to face.
I lose.

Game 5:
Short game. I get a lot of bolts to the face. I lose.

Game 6:
Long, boring, I lose.

Game 7:
There are games where dwarven forge-chanter can be a real pain. I can't help being a little impressed by the card. I lose.

Game 8:
I need to be more reckless with the counterspells. I keep holding on to them in an attempt to hit big stuff like fireblast, but both rites of refusal and mana leak can be played around by my opponent. I need to start countering the ordinary burn as well. I lose.

Game 9:
I lose.

Game 10:
I get the opponent down to 9 life. I lose.

Simply not impressive enough. While it felt like the games were longer, and my opponent was sometimes close to death, this couple managed to have worse results than the first one. I only won 2 out of 20 games. I've had a better average against my 51 modern testdecks, so this is bad.

During the first 10 games fountain of youth played a big role, while the next 10 games saw no signs of it. It hasn't accidentally called out of the deck, this is very typical singleton behaviour. A singleton can hide for 32 games in a row (that's my currently measured record) so you can't rely on them. Of course, having multiple singletons with the same mechanic is more reliable, but in this couple there was only one lifegain card.

So far the couples have had one thing in common that I can put the blame on. One half is less evolved than the other. One is generation 3 and the other is generation 2. If this is anything that I can pin the results on, then the couple with two generation 3 halves should be doing a lot better, while the couple with two generation two halves should be even worse.

Deck at a Glance

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Mana Curve

Mana Symbol Occurrence


Card Legality

  • Not Legal in Standard
  • Not Legal in Modern
  • Legal in Vintage
  • Legal in Legacy

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