Red/gruul vs needleburn

by wickeddarkman on 12 March 2023

Main Deck (60 cards)

Sideboard (0 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 fourth 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.

Blue and red had much longer games, but worse results as it only won 2 out of 20 games.

Blue and green were the third couple and have been having the worst score so far, winning just 1 out 20 games. This is likely because both halves are generation 2.

This time the two halves tested are red and gruul.
It was the plan to actually run black and red now because of the color wheel, but I discovered that if I switched their order I will need to switch less paperstrips between the decks, saving a lot of work.

I've discovered that I'm happy with this as I save the theoretically best couple for last (both are generation 3) and red and gruul should be interesting to see in action because it is having a good chunk of creatures and removal.

Red and gruul is a little illegal as it contains 5 firebolt. So far I haven't come up with a good way to adjust the halfdecks when they contain more than 4 of a card. It will be something I'll put more effort into solving.

10 games where I start playing first.

Game 1:
Burn is slow enough this time for me to draw into fountain of youth. The game lasts 11 turns before I die, and for most of it I survive on having just 2 lands. I only faced a voldaren epicure with 1 seal of fire and 3 firebolt in the opening hand. I lose.

Game 2:
My opponent uses his omniscience to set up a trap. Considering that needle burn contains monastery swiftspear it has surprisingly few instant effects, so I place all my eggs in a ghitu slinger trying to kill the swiftspear. The opponent saves it with a lightning bolt. Later I try slowing him down with landdestruct as he only has 2 lands, but ofcourse he draws a land. I lose.

Game 3:
Burn gets a turn 3 kill. I lose.

Game 4:
Thermokarst makes this game last 12 turns. I lose.

Game 5:
Aftershock (by the help of tinder wall) also makes the game last 12 turns. I lose.

Game 6:
Both decks act a little slow. Game lasts 11 turns. I lose.

Game 7:
Burn has a turn 3 kill. I lose.

Game 8:
Burn has a mulligan. Kills at turn 11. I lose.

Game 9:
I stall burn slightly with aftershock, making the game last 4 turns. In hindsight if I hadn't try to stall I would have lasted 5 turns. Part of the stall was also gaining 1 life with fountain of youth. I lose.

Game 10:
I hang on until turn 6.

Some games needleburn just draw the right stuff and I die at turn 3, but there is a limited number of hands capeable of performing this. I think the burn design could be taken much further than this at going face and it could contain more instants. In most games something freezes it up, either it's too many lands, too few lands or it's one of the 4 problem cards, fireblast, needle drop, searing blaze and skewer the critics. These 4 cards are very situation dependent and I'm wondering just a little if that isn't intentional. A lot of the time the deck first lands it's kill after turn 11 which isn't very good, especially considering it's up against such low generations as those my halfdecks are currently at.

10 games where my opponent starts.

Game 1:
I kill needleburn in 7 turns. It draws many lands and creatures and I have a lot of burn.
Since my opponent sees my hand he tries to set things up so I have to use multiple bolts to take out monastery swiftspear, but he doesn't draw any instants. I draw some nice aggro and get plenty of them, so I have full board control. I win.

Game 2:
This game I get wasted in 5 turns. I manage to cast a wildfire Emissary but a precast rift bolt and a searing blaze clears it out. I lose.

Game 3:
This game also lasts 5 turns but so much is happening that it felt longer. I lose.

Game 4:
Complex game. I last 8 turns and was building up my army while burn was waiting for a bolt. I lose.

Game 5:
Burn is slowed down by a forgotten cave, so when I got a good start with mogg fanatic and seal of fire I decide to gamble 3 life to gain a total of 4 squirrels to go beatdown. It pays of. I win.

Game 6:
Exciting game. Burn mulligans twice which gives me a giant edge. However my own draws bring no defence before turn 4 so I'm getting smashed by a single voldaren epicure several times as burn plays searing blaze. It's over in 5 turns. I lose.

Game 7:
I manage to have board control, but burn got too many bolts. It's over in 5 turns. I lose.

Game 8:
5 turns because of a bad defence. I lose.

Game 9:
I'm forced to double bolt a dwarven forge-chanter to get rid of it.
As a result burn has an advantage since the rest of my opponents hand is burn.
It takes 5 turns. I lose.

Game 10:
6 turns. I got the defence against creatures, but was late on the aggro. I lose.

2 out of 20 wins places this couple at the medium end of the scale. While this couple has the best odds of going landdestruction on burn, it only managed to stall things.
It also felt really close at getting enough aggro to both attack and have blockers, but searing blaze can be really punishing.

To be honest I've hoped for a better winrate with this, but that wasn't in the cards.
Ofcourse having an omniscient opponent is rather uphill as he will know when I have the burn to waste his creatures, and often he would wait at casting monastery swiftspear and dwarven forge-chanter until he had the burn to rescue them via prowess.

Next up:

The final couple.
Black and red.

For those who hasn't followed the project that much, go to my main page and click on the decktag: compleated

You will find that each of the couples have evolved individual traits and synergies within 2-3 generations. They also have different immunities to the 51 modern testdecks I fight.

In the past I've usually reached a near competitive level by generation 8, but have never gone further than that number of generations because I've launched projects into other directions. This time I'm going to aim at generation 10.

Deck at a Glance

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Mana Symbol Occurrence


Card Legality

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

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