Thursday, September 1, 2016

Pauper on Paper

So if you're like most magic players you have boxes of unused cards. Piles that are full of fun cards which don't quite make the cut in your Commander deck. Cards that aren't good enough for your modern deck and just rotated out of your standard deck. You've given up on whatever aspect of magic maybe due to the cost of things and you sold your most powerful cards. Well I have the perfect solution...


Pauper is a casual format where only commons are allowed. This restricts the power level as well as the buy in on a very sweet format. The rules are very similar to most other constructed events. Sixty cards with a fifteen card sideboard. One very important thing to note however is that Pauper is only officially sanctioned on Magic Online. What this means is that only cards printed at common online are available to add into your deck. This does however usher some other cards in as well as it kicks out. For example Hymn to Tourach and Sinkhole are not commons online and because of that they are not legal. However Battle screech was printed in Vintage Masters an online only set, as a common and because of that it is also legal. So with the basics down let's jump right in.

Established Decks:

Mono Blue Aggro

2 Gush
4 Force Spike
4 Counterspell
4 Preordain
4 Ponder

1 Bonesplitter
4 Vapor Snag

4 Spire Golem
4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Faerie Miscreant
4 Delver of Secrets

17 Island

This deck operates on a tempo style of game play with cheap efficient creatures. There's great synergies with Spellstutter Sprite and Ninja of the Deep Hours and efficient disruption with Force Spikes and Vapor Snags. 

Mono Green Aggro

4 Nest Invader
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Quirion Ranger
2 River Boa
1 Shinen of Life's Roar
2 Silhana Ledgewalker
3 Skarrgan Pit-Skulk
3 Vault Skirge
4 Young Wolf

4 Groundswell
3 Hunger of the Howlpack
2 Mutagenic Growth
4 Vines of Vastwood
4 Rancor

16 Forest

This deck does what green does best. Which is just smash in with dudes. The pump spells can catch your opponents off guard and many times they can easily kill them. Vault Skirge itself can creature huge life total swings with a single pump spell and Skarrgan Pit-Skulk can make blocking impossible for the opponent. 

Boros Metalcraft

4 Glint Hawk
4 Kor Skyfisher
4 Thraben Inspector

1 Angelic Purge
2 Firebolt
4 Kuldotha Rebirth
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Raise the Alarm
2 Rally the Peasants

4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Prophetic Prism

4 Ancient Den
4 Great Furnace
2 Forgotten Cave
1 Kabira Crossroads
1 Mortuary Mire
1 Mountain
1 Plains

2 Secluded Steppe
4 Wind-Scarred Crag

Here we see some very sweet synergies as well as powerful cards to help carry the deck. Ichor Wellsprings being used in contention with Kuldotha Rebirth to throw up Goblin tokens and Rally the Peasants to help finish them off. As you can see here the dual lands used in pauper are going to be most commonly be the gain life lands like Wind-Scarred Crag. Mana bases are tough to build with commons sometimes and three color decks are possibly the least successful due to the mana constraints. 

UB Control

1 Curse of the Bloody Tome
2 Pristine Talisman
1 Tragic Slip
2 Think Twice
3 Mystical Teachings
2 Exclude
1 Essence Scatter
1 Echoing Decay
2 Doom Blade
1 Disfigure
2 Diabolic Edict
2 Deprive
1 Crypt Incursion
4 Counterspell
1 Capsize
4 Accumulated Knowledge

1 Preordain
2 Evincar's Justice
4 Chainer's Edict

3 Swamp
4 Radiant Fountain
7 Island
4 Dismal Backwater
4 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Bojuka Bog

Now I know some of you like winning the game with no creature in play so here is the deck for you. The deck relies on the win condition of Curse of the Bloody Tome and Evincar's Justice. You may or may not have noticed by now but flashback spells and buyback spells are among the strongest in the format. Expect to see them played and putting them in your deck. 

There's much more but I've listed these just to show some of the variety in the top decks of the format. 

This Saturday night at Fanatix! 

Building a Deck

Now with a few examples of pauper decks shown I wanted to go ahead and walk you through the process of building a deck. The first thing I do a lot of times is find a card that seems particularly fun to play with. 

Cinn's Enlistment

So this card stands out for me because it's a 2 for 1 with a repeatable effect. Both of those things being very important in the deck construction. Without good card quality your deck will fall to the wayside while your opponent buries you in card advantage. So now we try to tackle how to build with this card. 

1. The card is four mana so it wont be holding up a very aggressive deck. So i'll need to buy my time until I can get these going.
2. The card can be replayed by discarding lands and it gets cast out of the graveyard.

So with that and not too much thought I think about a small creature in the same set as this card. 

Tilling Treefolk

Okay so now the gears are turning. Maybe some self mill would be good. I can get Cinn's Enlistment return the lands and start recasting it. What else mills? A quick Gatherer search reveals Satyr Wayfinder, Grapple with the Past, Mulch, Commune With the Gods. Okay okay cool. So what about my graveyard? I need other things to recast as well to keep things going.

Search (Flashback)
Search (Retrace)
Search (From Graveyard)

So this leads me to a few new discoveries. Battle Screech, Marshaling Cry, and Travel Preparations. Now I found several other cards but I felt like these came closest to achieving what I wanted my deck to do. So with those in mind I have Battle Screech to think about. The flash back requires some more white creatures. Now usually what I do is find several sweet synergies and then look for strong support cards to help fill out the deck. So one of the best cards in pauper in white is Squadron Hawk. This is a good an early play that helps me flash back Battle screech I like it. Now other thoughts run through my head. What about Tilling Treefolk? Is there any good way for me to get value from him? Now looking back through the other lists helps here as well and I see Secluded Steppe. Aha! A good way to get lands in the graveyard and get value from my Ent. So after a bit of tinkering, browsing through decks, and searching Gatherer I come to this list. 

4 Thraben Inspector
4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Squadron Hawk
3 Tilling Treefolk

4 Grapple with the Past
3 Raise the Alarm
2 Commune With the Gods
3 Travel Preperations
4 Journey To Nowhere
4 Battle Screech
2 Cinn's Enlistment
1 Marshalling Cry

4 Blossoming Sands
2 Selesnya Sanctuary
4 Secluded Steppe
4 Tranquil Thicket
3 Forest
5 Plains

So there's a lot of things going on here and several decisions made due to other decks in the format. Commune with the gods can get value out of Journey to Nowhere. Thraben Inspector ups the creature count and makes Grapple with the Past and Battle Screech better and Raise the Alarm helps me live to the end game. I won't be building a sideboard just yet but just keep in mind your sideboard should be built to better your deck against primarily the decks you can't beat and those you will see the most often in your playgroup. So there you have it! I haven't (Change that to HAVE This is the playlist the videos will be uploaded to as record more. Thanks!) got a chance to play any games with this just yet but I have brewed a prior deck as well as posted a Deck Tech online. I would invite you to check those videos out and let me know what you think. Hopefully I will be posting some videos of the deck we made today soon and we will see how it runs.

 I'm usually at Fanatix on Fridays and look forward to playing some pauper with you guys soon. Until next time be sure to check out for information on upcoming pauper events!


-Clio Canfield

List of all the Pauper differences online:

My Decktech

My Playlist with that deck.

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