Magic finance is all about identifying trends, adjusting our strategies, and making moves that make sense. The hottest thing going in Magic right now is the boom of the Pauper format and you'd be a fool not to think about how you can capitalize on the hype.
Channel Fireball has bought into the hype and announced that Pauper will be a supported side-event format at next year's Grand Prixs. That is huge. Also, as a point of reference, my LGS, RIW Hobbies, got 61 players for a Pauper 1K last week. That is an absurd number for a 1K in Michigan.
People are interested. People want to play. Most importantly, people are playing!
Pauper is an up-and-coming format that seems to have finally landed. I think it has a ton of potential to grow. Either you are buying the premise or not. I've seen the hype. I've seen the interest. I'm in on this trend as being real. Now, what do we do with that information?
Pauper Singles Off the Beaten Path
RIW Hobbies has had a growing Pauper scene for the past few months. At that store, I'm largely responsible for sorting and pulling cards for the inventory. Based on the demand, I've had to adjust the cards I pull and buy.
A lot of the singles are already constructed all-stars from Modern or Legacy. However, the format also has a lot of nuance, and cards that are specifically staples of just Pauper.
Today, I'd like to highlight singles that I'm having a difficult time keeping in stock for the store that you might not even realize are the new hotness. These are cards that I could easily see rising in popularity as the format continues to grow and fostering newfound demand as more and more players start buying in.
Can't keep it in stock. It's basically the only reason to pick Journey into Nyx commons, period. I tend to sell them as quickly as they come in. A card to make sure you don't bulk out!
Another weird card that I wouldn't have thought to pull out of bulk if I wasn't aware that we are constantly sold out of it. The card is actually really good in a lot of the grindy mirror matches.
I wouldn't be surprised to see this card spike super hard. The spells in Pauper are comparable to Modern power level. The biggest difference between Pauper and other constructed formats is that the mana-fixing kind of stinks. Ash Barrens is one of the best fixers in the format and only appears in Pauper decks. It's also a house with Brainstorm.
Two-mana 4/4. That is a great rate by any constructed format standard, and insane in Pauper Affinity. I am always sold out of this card. As soon as I find a few copies they walk out the door as quickly as I put them out.
Chromatic Star is already good in Modern Tron. However, it is also great in Pauper Affinity. I could see this card spiking up in the coming weeks. It works favorable with the Affinity mechanic and Atog.
Daze has plummeted in value after the Eternal Masters reprinting. However, it could pick back up now that it is a fairly played Pauper staple. The inventory continues to dwindle down on Dazes despite the reprint.
Delver is just a great card and a format staple of Pauper. I've been collecting these for a while and I'll likely be cashing out if and when a spike comes.
Another unique Pauper staple that I cannot keep in stock to save my life. There are very few sweeper effects printed at common, and this is one of the best. It has a Commander reprint. If Pauper continues to boom these will be tough to get a hold of and keep in stock.
I didn't even know this card existed but it is a staple of the Elfball deck. They already sell for a decent amount of money. Be sure to pick these out of your bulk commons!
There are enough printings of this card that I don't think it can really go up, but the store is literally sold out of Giant Growth right now. Absurd. That is the kind of volume we are doing on Pauper staples. Sold of out Giant Growth.
Another Pauper control deck endgame card. Ghostly Flicker plus Mnemonic Wall allows you to get pretty much infinite card advantage in the late game. Creatures with comes-into-play abilities are abundant in Pauper and this card plays to that strength.
Gush is a busted card and one of the most inherently powerful cards legal in Pauper. The power of Islands is great when properly harnessed... This is a card that will tick up as the Pauper craze hits full stride.
Another random card that is very good in Pauper. It is great Atog food. It is also great with Kuldotha Rebirth and Glint Hawk. It's sort of a "value cog" in Affinity and Kuldotha Boros, both of which are tier-one decks. Can't keep 'em in stock.
The card is a Legacy and Modern staple. Unsurprising, it is also good in Pauper Burn decks. More demand for a card that is already in high demand. Not even a Masters printing can keep this fiery card down.
Another cross-format all-star that really shines in Pauper. I had a difficult time acquiring this card and stocking it before Pauper. Now that Pauper is the buzzy bees knees? Forget about it.
Not a great card but an interesting sideboard card. Shadowmoor is a short-printed set already and these are kind of difficult to find. For sure, pull these out of bulk because there are plenty of frustrated kids who can't find copies at the LGS!
Another random card that is worth money. Scattershot is a pretty baller sideboard card for Elves against Delver decks that have plenty of 1/1 flying faeries. Again, I can't keep these in stock now that the store has a thriving Pauper scene.
Spire Golem is a staple of the mono-blue Delver decks. It is kind of shocking how good the card is in a deck with an all-Island manabase. Also, 2/4 flying is no joke in Pauper! It attacks and blocks with the best of 'em.
Well, that is my list of Pauper cards not to underestimate! At the very least, these are cards that are difficult for my LGS to keep in stock, which has historically been a fantastic predictor of market trends to come. I never bet against the random casual nonsense cards that the LGS sells through like popcorn at a circus.
From what I've observed, I believe that Pauper is very real and will continue to grow in the coming month(s). It is not too late to be ahead of the curve and find spaces to buy in. However, move quick because the clock is ticking!