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Massive Changes to Pauper!


So, as we all know by now, pauper is officially going to be a sanctioned format by Wizards. This is great and just gets better because they also announced that they will be making a comprehensive list instead of the weird situation we have where some cards that were printed as commons aren't legal because they were never 'printed' as a common online. Now, there is a touch over 400 cards added to the format this way, many unimportant, but we're only going to touch on a few.


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Let's start off with the three cards that Wizards decided needed to be pre-emptively banned first. The first two, Hymn to Tourach and Sinkhole are fairly obvious in their need to be banned. High Tide though, feels like them being afraid of a combo that doesn't exist. Yes, it can be used to combo in legacy, but that deck also has several methods to untap all of its lands, zero mana countermagic, and game-ending payoffs. Pauper lacks all of the pieces needed to make it a broken combo deck, in my opinion. With the banning of Peregrine Drake and Cloud of Faeries, there is almost no easy to use engine that would allow one to combo off with double blue. Well, no easier than using a few bounce lands generally would at least. The only two ways I can personally see making it work as of right now is with a Freed from the Real set-up and an arcane deck looking to abuse Psychic Puppetry. If I am wrong and there are more obvious ways to abuse it I'd love to hear it, but until I see some really convincing arguments beyond "it's a powerful legacy card" I will continue to feel Wizards was far too ban happy with this choice. I mean, if the criteria for being banned is just being strong in legacy, let's ban Delver of Secrets, Lightning Bolt, most of the one blue cantrips, and half of Elves. If that sounds insane to you, you might have an idea of how I feel about them banning High Tide based on what it MIGHT do, but with nothing to back it up. Before you ask, I do honestly feel that High Tide are exactly on the same level as those listed cards.


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Beyond that, we have a nice handful of gems that are almost surely going to see play. The biggest one is likely Ashnod's Altar. I repeat, the bannings with this decision make zero sense. Now, before you go complaining, "But Armchair, you can't abuse that in pauper!" I would like to point out that a green persist creature, Ivy Lane Denizen, and the altar is an infinite three card combo that I took maybe ten seconds to think of once I knew it was going to be legal. If I was able to think of that with little effort, somebody else will break it more. Sure, it's just big mana, but isn't that all High Tide is which was banned without being given a chance? Yes, I am still salty and that isn't going to change until they actually give it a chance. I swear though, I am done ranting about it (probably).

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Next card is one they actually almost did ban, Merchant Scroll. Honestly, this would have been a fine ban to me, because in my eyes it is another tutor to increase the consistency of the blue-control/combo decks which are already fairly strong in the metagame. As it is though, this will likely strengthen Ghostly Flicker decks, but we can't be sure just yet. 

For those of us that love goblins, rejoice! Goblin Grenade is going to finally be legal for use. Now, I'm not a hundred percent sure if it will be enough to bring goblins up to the tiered level, but I do hope that it works out for the little buggers.

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The next two I will put together for no other reason than I always think of them together. They are Feldon's Cane and Tormod's Crypt. Yes, they do opposite things to a large degree, but they affect the graveyard en mass. Feldon's isn't as big of a deal since a few cards sort of already existed to shuffle one's graveyard back into the deck, but now that kind of effect exists outside of blue. Crypt though is a nice change for budget purposes. Yes, Relic of Progenitus was already a card, but this offers a cheaper option in both mana and cost.

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The two final cards I am going to touch on are Red Elemental Blast and Blue Elemental Blast. For those of you familiar with the cost of Pyroblast and Hydroblast, will probably recognize these as great options to fix the crazy expense of those two cards and possibly gives red decks a better chance against the blue dominated meta-game by having access to up to eight removal/counters against them.

This is just a hot take for now and there is probably more that will be relevant but hopefully, the metagame will diversify from these changes instead of having four different deck archetypes being fifty percent of the winning meta while giving my boy High Tide a chance instead of killing it before it even has a chance (told you). If you wanna yell at me while I play, feel free to follow me on Twitch. Until next time, have fun and happy brewing!


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