The Scoop: Casual Contemplation – Doing the Swampwalk

I don’t usually play Pauper format. In fact, I never have. Even when I built this deck, I set the challenge for myself to make a Pauper deck that could compete in Casual Modern with friends. And, for the most part, it was a success. Even now, I look back on it with pride, as I purposefully leave it unsleeved to signify its Pauper-ness. It’s been a long time since I constructed the initial build of this deck, so I can’t recall why I decided to go with Swampwalk as the weapon of choice. But, it ended up being a fun way to mess with an opponent who isn’t ready for land-enchanting shenanigans.

Your creatures will love to trudge through lands unhindered once you make the lands icky.

The point of this deck is simple…enchant opponent lands to make them Swamps, to in turn make it difficult for them to play spells and to make your creatures unblockable. The deck doesn’t function quite as well against Black, but it can be incredibly troublesome to all other colors, especially when a deck is running more than one color. Their lands become as good as “colorless”, essentially, while you’re unblockable attacks get exponentially higher.


  • Creatures
    • Blistergrub x4
    • Bog Raiders x4
    • Sewer Shambler x4
    • Quag Vampires x4
    • Whispering Shade x4
  • Instants and Sorceries
    • Tragic Slip x4
    • Vendetta x2
  • Enchantments
    • Dark Favor x3
    • Unholy Strength x3
    • Contaminated Ground x3
    • Evil Presence x3
  • Lands
    • Swamp x22
  • Sideboard – (Remove Victim of Night, Evil Presence, maybe Contaminated Ground, Whispering Shade, and 1 Dark Favor against Black decks)
    • Bone Splinters x4
    • Tormented Soul x4
    • Elusive Tormentor x3
    • Undying x4

The creatures all have Swampwalk. Simple. But, I particularly care for Blistergrub, Sewer Shambler and Quag Vampires. Blistergrub is mildly effective and useful in group games as it doubles as a decent blocker, Sewer Shambler offers the ability from the graveyard to beef up other creatures, and Quag Vampires can be a quick turn-1 aggressor or a late-game finisher.

The instants and sorceries are devoted to removal. Tragic Slip is one of my favorite Black cards, and in my experience, this deck has never been short on creature death. People don’t like unblockable creatures piling up for their opponent to swing with. Vendetta was more of a faulty flavor piece…just committing to the anti-not-Black of the deck. And, in true Pauper fashion, I refuse to use Murder and other popular removals because they have been uncommon in several prints.

The enchantments are the butter to the Swampwalk bread. Contaminated Ground and Evil Presence provide the Swamps for walking and mana “de-fixing”, and Dark Favor and Unholy Strength help quickly increase the power of the early game Swampwalkers. A 5/3 unblockable is no slouch.

Ideal Scenario

  1. (Swamp) Evil Presence.
  2. (Swamp) Contaminated Ground.
  3. (Swamp) Blistergrub.
  4. (Swamp) Sewer Shambler, Unholy Strength on Blistergrub. Swing with Blistergrub for 4.
  5. (Swamp) Bog Raiders. Dark Favor on Sewer Shambler. Swing with Blistergrub and Sewer Shambler for 9.
  6. Swing with Bog Raiders, Blistergrub and Sewer Shambler for 11.

Obviously, this deck isn’t designed to be efficient against another Black deck, but it has its own answers that may help it survive. Start with Swampwalk…All of my creatures are unblockable from turn 1 with no need for assistance, and this only nullifies Evil Presence, because Contaminated Ground still causes life-loss on its own. Still, I developed a Sideboard to exchange the neutralized cards should you be facing a Black deck. The Sideboard possesses some conventional unblockables, non-color-based removal, and some “protection” for your creatures should you need it. I went Bone Splinters for the removal because Blistergrub and Sewer Shambler provide benefits going to the graveyard, and you can use the spell in combination with Undying to cause removal and beef your creature.

The deck has held its own in the limited play its been given. I don’t know exactly how it would do against other Pauper decks, but it seems to do alright in Casual Modern. At the very least, the deck can tell Blue to suck it…as it’s not the only color that can make its own army of unblockables.


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