Deep Analysis – Common Bond

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:

Cloud of Faeries
Cranial Plating
Empty the Warrens
Frantic Search
Peregrine Drake
Temporal Fissure
Treasure Cruise

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.

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:

  • Aggro
  • Control
  • Aggro-Control
  • Combo
  • Ramp
  • Midrange

Let’s go over a list in each archetype.

Stompy by Hrymfaxe

4 Nest Invader
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Quirion Ranger
2 River Boa
1 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Skarrgan Pit-Skulk
3 Vault Skirge
3 Young Wolf
4 Burning-Tree Emissary

4 Vines of Vastwood
4 Hunger of the Howlpack
1 Epic Confrontation

4 Rancor
1 Bonesplitter
1 Viridian Longbow

16 Forest


2 Epic Confrontation
2 Feed the Clan
4 Gleeful Sabotage
2 Gut Shot
4 Scattershot Archer
1 Young Wolf

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.

Blue Black Control by Taviscaron

4 Augur of Bolas

2 Pristine Talisman

1 Curse of the Bloody Tome

1 Agony Warp
1 Capsize
3 Chainer’s Edict
1 Compulsive Research
4 Counterspell
1 Crypt Incursion
1 Devour Flesh
1 Disfigure
1 Doom Blade
1 Echoing Decay
2 Evincar’s Justice
2 Innocent Blood
1 Murder
3 Mystical Teachings
2 Preordain
2 Remove Soul
1 Repeal
2 Think Twice
1 Whispers of the Muse

2 Swamp
6 Island
1 Lonely Sandbar
4 Dimir Aqueduct
2 Dimir Guildgate
3 Radiant Fountain
4 Dismal Backwater


2 Annul
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Complete Disregard
1 Curse of the Bloody Tome
2 Dispel
2 Duress
2 Gurmag Angler
2 Negate
1 Shrivel
1 Wail of the Nim

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

3 Selesnya Evangel
4 Midnight Guard
4 Pallid Mycoderm
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Veteran Armorer

2 Scatter the Seeds
3 Gods Willing
4 Sprout Swarm

1 Spidersilk Armor
2 Journey to Nowhere
4 Presence of Gond

3 Forest
7 Plains
3 Selesnya Sanctuary
4 Khalni Garden
4 Selesnya Guildgate


3 Circle of Protection: Red
4 Gleeful Sabotage
4 Scattershot Archer
4 Valeron Outlander

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.

Tortured Existence by fartak

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

4 Commune with the Gods

4 Tortured Existence
3 Vessel of Nascency

11 Swamp
4 Forest
4 Jungle Hollow
2 Golgari Rot Farm
2 Evolving Wilds


2 Caustic Caterpillar
2 Chainer’s Edict
1 Dead Weight
2 Duress
2 Faerie Macabre
2 Gnaw to the Bone
2 Liliana’s Specter
1 Ravenous Rats
1 Wickerbough Elder

If you like grinding out wins, a midrange deck like this is probably just what the necromancer ordered.  The deck reminds me of the Survival of the Fittest / Oath of Ghouls decks of the late 90’s.

Angler Delver by vivorilla93

4 Delver of Secrets
2 Augur of Bolas
1 Sultai Scavenger
1 Eldrazi Skyspawner
4 Gurmag Angler

4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Brainstorm
1 Agony Warp
1 Chainer’s Edict
4 Counterspell
2 Daze
1 Deep Analysis
1 Deprive
1 Disfigure
1 Doom Blade
2 Ghastly Demise
1 Gush
3 Mental Note
4 Thought Scour

2 Swamp
4 Evolving Wilds
8 Island
4 Dismal Backwater

2 Annul
1 Aura Flux
1 Crypt Incursion
1 Dispel
2 Hydroblast
1 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Rancid Earth
2 Shrivel
3 Stormbound Geist

Aggro Control decks have had some powerful decks in the right environment.  Delver of Secrets and Gurmag Angler puts on some serious pressure backed up by card draw, removal and counter magic.

Tron by Oveja

4 Fangren Marauder
4 Sea Gate Oracle
4 Mulldrifter

2 Firebolt
4 Ancient Stirrings
2 Chainer’s Edict
2 Pulse of Murasa
2 Rolling Thunder

4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Expedition Map
4 Prophetic Prism
2 Prismatic Lens

3 Haunted Fengraf
3 Unknown Shores
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower


1 Ancient Grudge
1 Circle of Protection: Blue
2 Circle of Protection: Green
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Dispel
1 Doom Blade
2 Earth Rift
1 Electrickery
1 Hydroblast
2 Pyroblast
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.


Comments are closed.