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Modern Horizons: Top 10 Pauper Cards


Modern Horizons is officially out on Magic Online and releases in the paper world on Friday, which means it's time to break down the impact of the set on various constructed formats. First off Armchair General joins Seth to break down the best Modern Horizons cards for Pauper! Do you have some thoughts about what Modern Horizons cards could make an impact in the all-common format? Let us know in the comments! Then make sure to return in coming days for discussions of Modern and Commander!

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Modern Horizons: Top 10 Pauper Cards

Armchair's Text Takes

Alright, with the power of Modern Horizons, I was honestly expecting a lot of interesting commons to sweep in and flip the format on its head (and prayed for a common Wirewood Symbiote). That didn't really happen, but we did get some sweet gems all the same! Here's my take on how some of the cards might get used in the near future.

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The first three cards I will tackle kind of go together, so I'll be addressing them together. White weenies is already a pretty good deck in pauper, even if it isn't quite a top tier deck yet. With Modern Horizons, white weenies get the additions of Answered Prayers, Recruit the Worthy, and Martyr's Soul. One issue this kind of deck tends to have is that a good Electrickery of Nausea ends your entire day. All three of these cards, I feel, help against those sweepers. Answered Prayers gives incidental life gain attached to an almost useable flying body that is on the upper end of flyers in the format. It also can dodge some removal while it is an enchantment, so it might be just what the deck needs to come back from the wipe. On that note, Recruit the Worthy helps in that same scenario, allowing you to crank out bodies, even if you find yourself painfully flooded. While four mana for a single 1/1 isn't the best, the fact you can keep doing it whenever you have nothing else to do and at instant speed makes it a definite maybe in any go wide white deck. That said though, Sprout Swarm is also pauper legal, but rarely sees play. Maybe the creature type and colors will make a difference? Martyr's Soul fills a different role than the other two, serving as a decent 5/4 threat that some decks can put out turn three for effectively free.

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The next card I am painfully excited for because I am a sliver fanboy. Enduring Sliver! While it might not seem that great compared to another lord (let's not get greedy and demand anymore!) it does something that the lords can't. It allows us to build up when we can't build out. Between the ability to actually outsize, say, a Gurmag Angler, it also has the benefit of giving the deck something to do late game in the form of a mana dump. Now, with how slow it is it might not fit in with the aggro blitz style of a sliver deck, but I am still optimistic that it could see use.

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Next, we have two black cards on the list, Defile and Headless Specter. Defile MIGHT see some play in mono-black, but with all of the edict effects and other removals they run, I am not sure if they need it. I don't play the deck that often and the few times I have, I have never found myself needing more removal. It might end up replacing one of the other choices, and that wouldn't even surprise me since it is basically a black Skred in how it is used. Headless Specter I can certainly see as being played in a black devotion deck. With BB in its cost and the potential to make your opponent lose cards while being a flying threat in a deck that sometimes has an issue chipping the opponent down for the win, it definitely seems like it might bridge the gap from tier one to two for the deck.

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The only blue card on this list of mine is a bit of an odd choice, Smoke Shroud. Now, before you all call me insane, I think the decks that run Ninja of the Deep Hours can possibly slide one or two in to give their card draw evasion. The other thing is that I can see this possibly creating a ninja, creature-based control deck in black and blue. If only Throatseeker had been printed as a common, right?

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Before I touch on the two cards I think are most likely going to see use, I'd like to throw Cave of Temptation into the ring as well. After all, what multi-color creature deck wouldn't love this? The most likely decks I can guess are Slivers and maybe in Bogles since it is potentially a pump 'spell' and a way to fix mana.

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For green, we have arguably the most playable card in the set. If you guessed Winding Way, congrats, you win a Vizzerdrix (no, not really!). Strictly speaking, yeah, it doesn't dig as deep as Lead the Stampede. It costs one mana less though, which is a massive difference in the kind of decks that run it. Two mana in an opener is a lot more reasonable to expect than three when you are running only 18 lands. Not to mention the option to say lands instead if you wanna make sure you keep hitting your land drops.

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Arcum's Astrolabe. Yup, I expect that card to be used and I am almost positive it will be in Kuldotha Boros. I think this will be used to replace one of the two cantrip artifacts because of the simple fact that it only costs one. I can easily see this one card causing the deck to split into snow and non-snow builds and I am incredibly excited to see how the community takes to that decision.

While there are some more interesting pauper cards, I feel these are the ones we're most likely to see in the short term. Have any thoughts or others you'd like to throw into the ring? Let me know! And if you wanna catch me playing some pauper (and occasionally Legacy) why not join me streaming here?


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