Tuesday Night Takeover

Uncle Istvan Equipment Pauper EDH

“Serve well, and you shall die well.”

Art:Uncle Istvan by Daniel Gelon

Uncle Istvan is a huge meme within the magic community and in my opinion a horror icon, so when I had the opportunity to do this and in the month of October I absolutely had to! Uncle Istvan is super strong in combat so we can harness that ability and swing for the fences and buff him up, you thought a guy with an axe was scary, wait till he flys! Without further adieu lets get it!

The Deck:

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Uncle Istvan Equipment Pauper EDH!

Commander (1)
Uncle Istvan

Creatures (11)
Changeling Outcast
Basilica Screecher
Cuombajj Witches
Crypt Rats
Dauthi Marauder
Drifting Shade
Thorn of the Black Rose
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Twisted Abomination

Instants (9)
Cast Down
Doom Blade
Feign Death
Go for the Throat
Grasp of Darkness
Supernatural Stamina
Undying Evil
Victim of Night

Sorceries (6)
Dirge of Dread
Disturbed Burial
Night’s Whisper
Read the Bones
Sign in Blood

Artifacts (31)
Accorder’s Shield
Bone Saw
Cathar’s Shield
Bladed Bracers
Darksteel Axe
Golem-Skin Gauntlets
Leather Armor
Skyblinder Staff
Springleaf Drum
Amorphous Axe
Arcane Signet
Armory of Iroas
Blight Sickle
Cloak of the Bat
Cranial Plating
Fellwar Stone
Spare Supplies
Torch Gauntlet
True-Faith Censer
Vanguard’s Shield
Vorrac Battlehorns
Wedding Invitation
Haunted Cloak
Jalum Tome
Network Terminal
Whispersilk Cloak
Brass Knuckles
Trailblazer’s Torch

Enchantments (7)
Endless Scream
Kaya’s Ghostform
Skeletal Grimace
Blessing of Leeches
Phyrexian Boon
Lands (35)
Bojuka Bog
Command Tower
Desert of the Glorified
Evolving Wilds
Forge of Heroes
Mortuary Mire
25 Swamp
The Dross Pits
Tocasia’s Dig Site
Witch’s Cottage

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Why Uncle Istvan?

Uncle Istvan is a key card in our deck, while we have some other card we can use as a voltron target but we typically target our good old uncle here! We are really strong in combat whether it be attacking or blocking so we are able to swing or not swing pretty freely whether he is buffed or not!

Deck Overview:

This section contains information about cards in the deck and how they function within the deck! As well as highlighting some of my favorite cards in the deck!


We have a few other creatures that are strong alternative voltron targets like Changeling Outcast and Dauthi Marauder which are both not as good as Uncle Istvan but are absolutely strong options! Thorn of the Black Rose is a great ETB card that can give us the monarch and some extra cards! Gray Merchant of Asphodel is a really strong card that can give us a leg up against more aggressive strategies! Cuombajj Witches is not only a good way to kill creatures but can also help you build some good political will with your opponents!


Since we want the Uncle to be on the field for as long as we can we have cards that can help us against single-target removal like Feign Death and Supernatural Stamina which are great ways to buff and bring back Uncle Istvan! We also have a bunch of instant speed removal like Grasp of Darkness, Cast Down and Go for the Throat which are all cheap and efficient two mana removal spells!


Our sorcery package is where most of our card draw lies, which are Read the Bones, Sign in Blood and Night's Whisper which are all strong draw spells which is a great way to keep up the tempo! Cannibalize is a pretty interesting card since we can remove one of our own creatures and buff up Uncle Istvan! Cannibalize is a sweet way to get those last couple point of damage in!


Our artifact package is where a lot of strong damage and supporting cards are for our deck. We start with just a few mana rocks like Arcane Signet and Fellwar Stone. We don’t have a ton of rocks since we lean more towards cheap equipment! There are way too many equipment to discuss so we are going to highlight some of my favorites!

For buffs we have a bunch of sweet cards like Amorphous Axe, Cranial Plating and Greataxe all of these can make Uncle Istvan a huge threat very quickly! Since Uncle Istvan can’t take damage we can take a ton of advantage out of cards like Trailblazer's Torch which can make blocking even more of a nightmare for our opponents! On the defesnive side we can use Vanguard's Shield to make Uncle Istvan into a huge defensive creature! We also never want to stop attacking so blocking can be hard but not with Cathar's Shield which not only makes Uncle Istvan more tanky but vigilance is key for this deck!


Just like our instant package, our enchantment package focuses on protecting Uncle Istvan or whatever our voltron is. Kaya's Ghostform, Blessing of Leeches and Skeletal Grimace all of these are cheap and can come down very early! Phyrexian Boon is a really cool card that we can use as a removal spell or a buff, while we typically lean towards the buff it is a great option to have! Fear is a classic MTG card that at the right table can make our voltron creature unblockable! Endless Scream is a great buff that we can take huge advantage of in the late-game, not too mention this card is a huge flavor win!

Land Base:

Being in mono-black means that we can safely run 25 swamps! I found in testing that even though we have a pretty low cost overall that 35 was the perfect balance between flooding and being deprived! The Dross Pits, Desert of the Glorified and Polluted Mire are all really cool lands that we can draw out of if we draw them and don’t need them! Mortuary Mire is a great way to recur a creature!

Strengths of the Deck:

  • Can one-shot quite easily
  • 16 life games
  • Decent amount of card draw / interaction

Weaknesses of the Deck:

  • Very weak to artifact hate
  • Our deck is very “glass-cannon”
  • Uncle Istvan is a key creature and we will struggle if they are not on the battlefield

Deck Stats:

Sample Hands:

Main Win Conditions:

Our main win condition is attacking whether it be going for a commander damage kill or by buffing up an other key creature! We have no infinite combos or loops in the deck!


Uncle Istvan is absolutey a horror icon! One of my magic’s earliest memes this card is pretty awesome and im glad that Pauper EDH gave this meme / mostly forgotten about card a new place to shine! This deck is a ton of fun and a great way to get into the halloween spirit! Thanks for reading to the end and thanks for all of your support!