Hello everyone, and welcome to the first (and hopefully not the last) edition of What’s Paupin. My name is Chris Ross and I’ll give everyone a quick look at my Magic background. I started playing Magic around 1999. I continued to play until Torment, when I took a short break do to me moving and finding a new store. I restarted during Mirrodin, and then I quit again. I restarted the last day of Kamigawa block's life and never really quit again after that. I’ve had some mild success; I’ve split in the finals of a GPT. I have a top eight in a JSS. Now for the most part, do to time constraints, I almost exclusively play Magic Online which brings me to the reason I’m writing this article to begin with. I love playing Pauper.
That’s easy; it’s a fun, competitive format that’s cheap to get into.
Pauper is a format consisting only of commons. It’s supported by magic online as a classic format, but if you really look online, people hold Standard tournaments -unsanctioned by wizards- for event tickets.
How does Pauper play?
Well, basically Pauper plays like Legacy, just a few steps slower, due to the lack of cards that are playable. But depending on what you’re playing, games can still end on turns three to five.
What’s the Meta like?
As of now the meta is pretty fresh. The most played deck as of right now is mono Black Rats, a Control deck that I will write about another time. Other tier one decks include: Izzetpost, mono Blue Faeries, Goblins, Storm, mono Red, Affinity, and Orzahov control, along with a host of other fun and powerful decks to play.
Other fun things to note?
Pull those Cloudposts out baby because Pauper plays them. They are the fastest way to get a lot of mana and since they printed Glimmerpost they can make eight mana a pop. Just about every Control deck plays them unless they are creature based, such as the Faeries deck. There are only three mass removal effects in the format: Evincars Justice, Sandstorm, and Rolling Thunder. Rolling Thunder being a slight odd ball, because it’s an X spell that targets the creatures and players it’s dealing damage to.
What am I playing?
I have three decks as of right now: I play a landfall-based Boros Pauper deck and a R/G (or Gruul) "big mana" deck that plays Cloudposts and Sprout Swarm (it’s nuts), and the deck I’m going to talk about today is a Gruul Aggro deck.
Below is the list and prices for the cards in the deck.
Grand Total $23.21
Why did I pick this deck?
Well when you know very little about a format, it’s usually safest to play an aggressive deck. So I put together the best one and two drops in the game together and this is what I came up with. It has the former “best two drop ever” in Wild Mongrel. When I see it can’t help but play him… and I usually do. This deck also has a lot of options against the format. It can end games relatively quickly if not stopped, and with the format's lack of mass removal, that’s a rarity.
I’m going to explain my card choices and thought process behind each card and its relevance to the metagame.
Lightning Bolt: Is an obvious include to any Aggro deck with Red.
Firebolt: This card has won me at least three games as a finisher lately. It works double duty and sometimes your opponents just forget you played it, making it a sneaky little bugger in the late game. Also you can discard it to Mongrel and still use it later.
Basking Rootwalla: This has multiple uses. Against mono Black it’s a free 1/1 that becomes a 3/3. It discards to pump your Mongrel during combat. Lastly it has an onboard combat trick, and anything like that always has a potential use.
Goblin Bushwhacker: This card's purpose is for an explosive turn four or three. It can push that last bit of damage in or just give another creature you played that turn haste.
Wild Mongrel: Is the second best two drop ever, right behind that stupid [card Tarmogoyf]goyf[/card]. Also it makes those late game lands into decent pump spells.
Mire Boa: This card is a meta choice. I thought since Mono Black Control was rising in popularity that that an unblockable (Swampwalk) creature was a good addition. Also, in a pinch, it’s a great blocker since it has regeneration.
Keldon Marauders: This guy here is a tossup actually. It’s a good card that can equal an easy five damage, and at its worst it’s worth two damage. I’ll address what I mean about this card being a tossup later.
Wild Nacatl: This card was a no brainer. It’s almost always a 2/2 by turn two, and crashing for one mana it’s just too good not to play. It also explains why I’m playing a one-of Plains, because what’s better than a 2/2 for G...? A 3/3 for G!
Vines of Vastwood: This is a good pump spell but can turn out to be a great Counterspell too. If mono Black or Red want to kill one of your creatures during combat, or a Sparksmith is looking to shoot at your Basking Rootwalla, you can blindside them with it.
The sideboard choices were pretty easy.
Gorilla Shaman: You need this card, PERIOD!!!!! Affinity is a powerhouse and starts out much faster than any other deck outside of Elves. The Shaman can shut them down by destroying their lands which does double duty by setting them back and also turning off metalcraft.
Pyroblast: It’s just in the board for the mono Blue or Izzet match up. They play counters… why can’t you?
And the other two Vines of Vastwood are for mono Black.
So how does the deck play?
This deck is good, and it has good game against almost every deck in the format except Affinity. Postboard I’d say this deck is a heavy favorite. I’ve beaten Goblins, with ease. Smashed the IzzetPost deck, and I’ve crippled mono Black. As long as you realize “who’s the beat down,” you should have no problem.
Want a matchup break down?
You got it!
Affinity: This matchup is extremely hard game one. It kind of depends on your draw and theirs, but I’d say game one is 35% in your favor. Postboard it shoots up to 67% or better depending on draws.
IzzetPost: I’d say it’s an easy 65% and only gets better after you sideboard in Molten Rains.
Goblins: 72%. Your guys are just better and if you use the burn spells as removal they don’t get many options.
Storm: This is just an outright race, so it’s roughly 50%. It can get better post board assuming they are playing the land enchantment version.
Mono Black: Assuming they aren’t playing Evincar's Justice this matchup is way easy: 70% or better. Their cards kind of suck if you don’t have a hand to attack (which is frequent). Postboard it gets a bit better because their removal doesn’t do anything when you Vines their target.
Those are the matchups I have the most experience with.
Like I have said there are a lot of cards I could play. I’ll tell you a few of them.
Horned Kavu: Now this beast is a 3/4 for two mana. It has the drawback of returning a red or green creature to your hand. But is that really a drawback? I mean return that Keldon Marauders for another two damage. Return that Bushwhacker to make your 3/4 a 4/4 haste. It seems like this card has a lot of potential but I haven’t tried him out yet.
Mogg War Marshal: Now he is a Goblin, but when he comes into play he makes a token, and when he leaves another token joins the team. He seems pretty good with Bushwhackers as well. He may replace the Keldon Marauders one day but I just don’t know.
Mogg Fanatic: It’s always been a staple in Red Aggro decks.
Thrill of the Hunt: Yes, I know it only gives one guy +1/+2 until end of turn, but I am playing that singleton Plains, making it worth a bit more due to flashback.
Scab Clan Mauler: He’s a 3/3 that has trample for two. Seems pretty good in my opinion.
And that’s what I’m playing right now. I hope my input was informative and I hope that you readers dip your foot in the card pool known as Pauper. Thanks for reading What’s Paupin,’ and I hope to do this again really soon.