Disciples of Bolas, reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I’ve been busy with a non-MTG blog that I own, Kolat Information Network, as Fantasy Flight Games relaunches Legend of the Five Rings at Gen*Con.
Also at Gen*Con is a Magic event that I will be participating in, a Pauper tournament. I’ve recently be quite enamored with Pauper lately.
What is the Pauper format?
From Wizards website:
In this Magic Online format, all cards must have been printed at common rarity in a Magic Online set or product. Common promo cards are only legal if the card meets that qualification.
If a common version of a particular card was ever released on Magic Online, any version of that card is legal in this format.
Example: Counterspell was a common card in Seventh Edition Core Set online. Counterspell was reprinted in Masters Edition II with an uncommon expansion symbol. Both versions of the card can now be used in pauper.
Other than that, the usual rules for constructed decks apply:
- Minimum of 60 cards in the main deck
- (There is no maximum size for main decks)
- Up to 15 cards in your sideboard, if used
- No more than 4 of any individual card in the main deck and sideboard combined (with the exception of basic lands)
The following cards are banned in this format, which was last revised on November 16, 2016:
While originally designed as a Magic Online only format, its popularity has grown to the point that many players have adopted it in paper form.
What makes Pauper so appealing?
There are number of reasons what Pauper is so appealing.
The first reason is due to the cost of the format.
- A tier 1 Standard deck will set players back $200-300 dollars currently.
- A tier 1 Modern deck will set players back $500 dollars or more.
- A Pauper deck, since only commons are legal, costs $10-$20 USD. Even most tier 1 decks cost less than $40 total. That’s insane value!
Ah the power. You would think that commons are not powerful.
That is where you’d be wrong.
While commons are the basic building blocks of most decks, many are quite powerful.
- Oblivion Ring
- Delver of Secrets
- Chainer’s Edict
- Gurmag Angler
- Gray Merchant of Asphodel
- Lightning Bolt
- Galvanic Blast
- Vines of Vastwood
- Nettle Sentinel
- Burning-Tree Emissary
- Urza Lands – Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant, Urza’s Tower
Some of these were so strong that they have been moved up in rarity over time.
Despite the fact that the format uses only commons, the depth of game play is quite high. All the different archetypes can be found in the Pauper format:
Let’s go over a list in each archetype.
Mono Green Beatdown decks, also known as Stompy, have been around a long time. This list recently 6-0 an MTGO Pauper Challenge event. The deck still has a low, aggressive creature curve and a few tricks to help finish off the opponent.
1 Agony Warp
3 Chainer’s Edict
1 Compulsive Research
1 Crypt Incursion
1 Devour Flesh
1 Doom Blade
1 Echoing Decay
2 Evincar’s Justice
2 Innocent Blood
3 Mystical Teachings
2 Remove Soul
2 Think Twice
1 Whispers of the Muse
Control decks have been very powerful, up to a certain point in Magic’s history. With cards like Counterspell and Chainer’s Edict in Pauper, the control level of this deck resembles more old school decks.
Midnight Gond by JackMitchellBurns
This combo deck uses token production, lifegain and untap effects to spam the board and gain near infinite life. The deck’s main combo is the use of Presence of Gond enchanting a Midnight Guardto make as many tokens as you want. It has a secondary combo to gain life using Soul Warden amd Soul’s Attendant plus any token generator.
1 Arrogant Wurm
3 Crypt Rats
1 Dead Weight
1 Fume Spitter
4 Golgari Brownscale
3 Grave Scrabbler
2 Gurmag Angler
1 Krosan Tusker
1 Phyrexian Rager
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Spore Frog
2 Stinkweed Imp
1 Tilling Treefolk
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Circle of Protection: Blue
2 Circle of Protection: Green
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Doom Blade
2 Earth Rift
1 Ray of Revelation
1 Wretched Gryff
The major ramp deck in pauper belongs to Tron. All of the cheap artifacts that filter for color mana and draw cards are also legal here.
Let the Common Wars begin
Pauper is a fantastic, fun and deep format.
If you are interested in the format, talk to your FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) about running Pauper events.