Spotlight Series: Colin Harris – MLA Pauper

Welcome back Final Fantasy fanatics!

Time for another installment of the Spotlight Series!

In this episode I’m putting the spotlight on a personal favourite, but with a twist.

Time to put the spotlight on….. Mono-Lightning!

Now, there’s a few articles I could write (and I will eventually especially about MLC in Standard and other variations, especially after Opus 4 drops), but I’m trying out my pet element in the format flavour of the month: Pauper!

Now, I haven’t played nearly enough of this format to have a full idea of what decks to expect, but the assumption is that the following should appear at some point in an event;

Mono-Earth: Monks/WRO,
Ice: Based Aggro with heaps of Dull/Freeze (Lightning is a great second element here)
Wind: Based unblockable (probably with Fire)
Water + Ice/Fire: With Ghis/Quistis and Zargabaath/Gadot to chain heaps of quick forwards (Water/Fire has the bonus of Gekkou>Izayou>fire Ninja).

Shout out here to the Sazh Control that won the side event at Aus Nats (yeah I don’t get it either).

Back to the deck under the spotlight. I’ve been wanting to see what Lightning offered beyond the obligatory 6 Odin deck and explore whether the purple menace can stand on its own, how it would go about winning games, or if it was at best a support element.

Some major factors that played on my mind are; the list of staples that don’t exist in the format, whether in my deck, or in opponent’s decks.









Well that’s a bonus….









Ahhhh crap.

As much as I love the absence of Minwu and Aerith, the loss of Lulu is a massive hit in the ability to play a slow, controlling game that doesn’t get messy with combat.
Also, losing key forwards like Edea 2-099, Kain 1-127, and Al-Cid, who acted as attacking removal spells, also doesn’t help the cause.
The first step to addressing the loss of such a large portion of staples is to look for similar effects in a number of categories.

These include:

  • Forwards that have abilities that deal damage, reduce power or have a clean break
  • A Backup that can recycle the backline like Lulu (this is to avoid losing Fusoya on top of the others)
  • Backups with self-breaking abilities.

















These 3 cards pretty much cover all the lost power, as best as can be expected, for the deck we have planned.

Cannoneer is the Lulu Pauper deserves. Obviously fantastic with Fusoya, a one-of shot of 7000 can be much more relevant than infinite 5’s. The fact it clears 2 spots on the backline can allow for more intensive backup plays following its departure.

Zangetsu, although edge-less still packs a punch, and the small cost pings that Simulacrum can throw out might just be enough to finish off a larger threat, while also helping increase density of minor shots (along with Ninja 2-115) to feed this engine.

Don’t get me wrong, at only 7K, Angeal Penance is prone to trading with most other forwards and has no problem getting shot by little Odin and Brynhildr. But when combined with any number of Lightning 1-142 and Cait Sith 1-132, there’s a reasonable chance for Angeal Penance to get in some damage and hopefully snipe a forward in the process.

It might seem like a “too-cute” thing, but 7K with Haste is still pretty good in a format sans giant haymakers.

The rest of list gets filled out by an array of removal like: Zalbaag, Seymour and the likes to keep the density of answers as high as possible.

The list as it stands:

MLA (Mono-Lightning Aggro)

Forwards (22)

Backups (19)

Summons (9)

I’ll be jamming some games of this locally next week and on OCTGN (which I’ve just downloaded again after a few years away).

You can find the deck on FFDecks at
Drop a comment/feedback on any ideas you might have concerning this list or Pauper in general.

I’ll be looking to expand my social media footprint soon to further push my Shivan4RR footprint. This will include Twitter for regular updates on events I’m at, thoughts I’m having, decks I’m brewing, and articles I’m writing.
I might even explore a dedicated Facebook page as well. Depends on how busy I am crushing my brother in locals. I’ll keep you guys posted.

Til next time, may your plays be purple, and may the Spotlight not fall on any misplays….

- Colin Harris (Shivan4RR on FFDecks and OCTGN)

Colin Harris is a 20-year veteran with high finishes across many games including MTG Pro Tour experience. He likes walks on the beach and well-costed removal spells