Temporal Fissure and Cloudpost are banned in Pauper
While the bannings of Invigorate, Empty the Warrens and Grapeshot in Pauper left me sad and confused, the most recent update to the ban list has me extremely excited. It seems obvious that the banning of Temporal Fissure will increase the relative power of Delver decks, the banning of Fissure in conjunction with the banning of Cloudpost opens up a lot of space in the format to play slower, more controlling decks. The best deck no longer stops you from playing the game around turn four and there’s no longer a default best start for the manabase of control decks.
These bannings will obviously have a lot of impact on my exploration into the Pauper format. I had some notes from a few dailies with Goblins recorded, but a good percentage of the matches I played were against decks that won’t survive the ban or will see some serious change post-banning. Perhaps most importantly, I believe that my list is in need of a good amount of change itself.
A fairly dramatic shift in the metagame is all but guaranteed, which impacts how one must think about deck and card selection. With Cloudpost out of the question and known combo decks out of the picture, I would wager that removal spells, while already good in the format, will gain a lot of stock. The only place where they’re weak is against the hexproof deck, which if popular will invite Edicts into the format which will likely prevent hexproof from ever actually being the best deck. Not to mention that Counterspells out of Delver are tough for hexproof as well.
If removal-heavy decks become better, as I predict they will, this bodes poorly for Goblins. While working on the deck I encountered a few Burn and Monoblack decks and the matchups have felt close to unwinnable.
That said, the purpose of this exercise isn’t to say what’s playable and what’s not. It’s to try new things and offer some insight. Since my last column I’ve adopted the 4x Kruin Striker build of Goblins, eschewing Goblin Matron, which didn’t add as much to the deck as I had hoped. I believe that the Striker Version will be the best version of the deck going forward, as Goblin Matron really doesn’t really help the deck grind anybody out (it is, after all, a 1/1) and Striker leads to the deck’s fastest, most consistent wins.
Skirk Prospector usually shows up alongside any list with four Strikers, but the card has proven completely underwhelming to me. The idea behind it is that you can use it to generate a lot of Kruin Striker/Foundry Street Denizen triggers without a lot of lands, but I’ve found that this will only win you a very small percentage of games that you wouldn’t win otherwise while leaving you with a pretty unimpressive 1/1 the rest of the time.
Two cards that I’ve been experimenting with are Mutagenic Growth and Mogg Fanatic. Growth has treated me very poorly and Fanatic has tested pretty well. The rationale behind Growth was that it helps fight removal, such as Electrickery, and to push through Kruin Striker. In practice, I boarded it out in basically every matchup. This deck just wants to play a creature every turn, attack, and play a small number of burn spells. Growth was off-plan, weak to bounce spells and at best a wash in a racing scenario.
Mogg Fanatic might not look like the most impressive option, and it’s certainly a much worse card than it once was, but it helps the Delver matchup quite a lot and plays remarkably well with Death Spark. Being a removal spell that enables Mogg Cohort is a pretty big game. Most lists play Goblin Arsonist if they want this sort of effect at all, but I find that the ability to shoot something whenever you want without needing to draw a Goblin Sledder is a relevant upside.
This is the 75 that I would recommend for week one of new Pauper:
The set of Mogg Fanatics come at about a dime apiece, so the cost of the maindeck doesn’t really change. The Gorilla Shaman in the sideboard, on the other hand, is an outrageous six tickets, which will increase the decks cost from around 35 to 37 considering that I cut a Pyroblast, which is less relevant in the format. Truth be told, the Shaman is just a stand-in until I can figure out exactly where the format is going, and a card that hates on Affinity and opposing Viridian Longbows seemed okay for the time being.
Depending on how the meta shakes up and the deck’s new position in the metagame I could easily see playing some number of Martyr of Ashes in the sideboard. It’s already a fairly common sideboard choice, and it does something that none of your other cards come close to doing against decks that are better at swarming than you are.
Closing Thoughts on the Deck
I played some variant of Goblins in over a dozen dailies, and cashed right around half of them. Cashing one in three dailies leaves you about even, if slightly positive, so half put me up some tickets. That said, I never managed a single 4-0 with the deck, and the deck’s bad matchups are not only abysmal, but likely to become more prevalent. The cost of the deck is a little high for something that I don’t really see as being able of pulling off many 4-0s.
It’s possible that I’m just missing something, but I’ve spent a good amount of time trying to come up with a good sideboard strategy against removal heavy decks, but it just seems like they either stumble hard or kill you easily. As I said, I predict an increase in popularity of such decks, and I would make coming up with a solution to this problem that is better than “ignore it” a prerequisite to picking up Goblins.
The only important note on playing the deck that I haven’t covered is to make sure to manage your Death Sparks well. I tend to have some kind of video going on my other screen while I MODO and I’ve unwittingly ended up with a Lightning Bolt directly on top of my Death Spark more than once. If played correctly, Death Spark can crush the mirror, Delver, Elves and any other deck with a significant amount of x/1s, but it takes smart play to do so!
If anybody has any questions on the Goblins deck, any thoughts on what Pauper will look like going forward, or any feedback on how I go about analyzing decks for this series, as always, comments are encouraged!
Thanks for reading.
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