Pauper Mono-Green Ponza: Flash in the Pan?

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

In case you haven't noticed yet, I live in the realm of anti-meta decks. I thrive off the creativity of the Pauper community and the whimsical nature of their lists. In case you haven't also noticed, I will never not be enamored by the nostalgia and power of Magic: The Gathering circa 1995 when Dark Ritual - Dark Ritual - Sinkhole - Hypnotic Specter was a thing - a very hated, hilarious thing. The Land Destruction archetype will always be one of my favorites and Mono-Green Ponza is reminiscent of those days, albeit at a much lower, much more fair power level.

G-Ponza was an anomaly and it was a wild deviation from the Jeskai Snow decks that dominated the meta from late summer to early fall; however, it made a humble impact by taking 2nd place in the BGA Fest Pauper 50k, in Moscow on October 19th. In fact, Mono-Green decks took both top spots in that event, pushing the Astrolabe decks into a cluster from 3rd-8th place with yet another Mono Green list.

The relative effectiveness of Ponza is typically something you wouldn't expect to see run the table at an event like this and I attribute its success to the rest of the field being built either as Jeskai Snow or build to beat Jeskai Snow. In other words, it came out of left field. In other, other words, this is my kind of deck. Also, circa 1995, I would rather have fun than win. Maybe that's just me - *shrug*.

Let's take a look at the deck:

G PONZA, by Mazurin Pavel:

Simple. Straightforward. Potent. These are the crucial elements of a good, fun deck, as far as I'm concerned. You can keep your chess-like Control strategies and your face-burning gameplay. I'll just be sitting here, decimating your resources and using your tears to salt the earth upon which you stand. Too much? Probably.

G Ponza is one of, if not the only Pauper decks I have seen to hard-cast Ulamog's Crusher and, after running this deck a handful of times, it does so fairly easily. This big beastie is the typical win-con here and that's why this deck is full of ramp. Full. Of. Ramp. If you're not casting destruction, becoming the Monarch, or raising a critical spell back from your graveyard, you're putting every possible land you can find into play.

A suspended Search for Tomorrow, Acid-Moss, Kodama's Reach, and two grips of Mana Dorks are but a few pieces to the ramp game plan. Reap and Sow gives you the option of both destruction and ramp! I simply love the idea of putting Reclaiming Vines in the mainboard because it answers many of the threats you'll see, or offers yet another land-destruction spell if you've starved your opponent to the point where no threats have been cast.

The only real change I would/will make to this list is replacing both Revive, in the mainboard, with two copies of Moment's Peace. Protecting yourself against combat damage is an indispensable play when your main plan is slow to the start and you're sitting across the table from an empty hand with 4+ creatures coming at you on turn 3. Not to mention the shear amount of Boros Token decks there have been running around lately.

The sideboard that Mazurin ran looks heavily geared towards Bogles and/or Tron, but in this current meta, I would like to see a copy or two of Savage Swipe, to take down some early, overwhelming threats (que the recent rise of UB Delver and overall popularity of Ninja of the Deep Hours), and I think that Gleeful Sabotage would be more damaging than Tranquility against Tron or Bogles because it can target artifacts or enchantments.

Maybe Mazurin's deck only worked in the October meta. Maybe is was just a blip - a flash in the pan. But maybe... just maybe it actually is really good and nobody plays it because of the stigma such obnoxious strategies possess.

Regardless, my goal is to bring this list to a local event, in the near future, and to update you on its progress. In the meantime, let me know what changes you would implement in the deck from this, the most loathsome of all archetypes.

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