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Pauper Primer: Aggro

Last time, we tackled what most people consider the 'un-fun' side of a format, the control decks. Today, we will go with something a bit more straight forward, aggro! Now, aggro is a bit broad, so we are going to focus on the decks who only have a plan to smash cards into the opponent as hard as they can with minimal gimmicks. The more tricky aggro decks we'll cover later.

The Aggro Ones

Red, surprisingly, has two decks that fall into this category. First, we have this one, the creature based variant. Like many of the decks in the list, this is going to be fairly straight forward. You play creatures, many of them, and just run them at the opponent to try and get them killed. Or, at least low enough for the burn to finish them off. We run a total of twelve creatures that are 2/2's, but can only attack under certain conditions (Goblin Cohort, Jackal Familiar, and Mogg Conscripts). Foundry Street Denizen will get nice and big with all the other red creatures we're playing. If we play it turn one and play two creatures on turn two, we can swing for three. Goblin Bushwhacker (though we'll normally kick it) rounds out the one drop creatures and lets us have absolutely explosive turns when we have a decent sized board. In the two drops, we have two different haste creatures in Mudbrawler Cohort which is a 2/2 so long as you have another red creature and Valley Dasher who must attack every turn. The only other two drop creature we run is Burning-Tree Emissary, which allows us to play more creatures in a single turn to run our hand out faster. To finish up the game we have around a dozen or so burn spells to close the game out.

Against this deck, removal, beefy creatures, and life gain will all turn the game in our favor. With the removal, we can make it so their creatures don't get their value, life gain allows us time to stabilize, and the big creatures will let us just block them.

Then there is Red Burn, a classic in every format it seems. The deck is thirty-three or so spells to hit our opponent in the face, Ghitu Lavarunner to get in some potentially hasty hits with a 2/2, Thermo-Alchemist to make our spells hit for extra damage each cast, and Curse of the Pierced Heart to chip away at our opponent and give a sense of inevitability. There are a few flex slots where you can put different cards in, some preferring Gitaxian Probe, extra Skewer the Critics, and Firebrand Archer.

Against this deck, life gain, life gain, life gain, and MORE life gain... and maybe a Hydroblast to both 'gain' life by stopping a burn spell, but also giving us a way to get rid of the Curses. If you can't gain life, pray you can outrace the opponent.

Now, the more classical Stompy. We have some built-in evasion, trample, self-pump and all around value. Quirion Ranger acts as both a way to let us work around our small mana base and untap our creatures for pseudo vigilance. Basking Rootwalla can potentially be free and a 3/3 in a pinch, working great with Wild Mongrel which turns excess lands into extra power and the like. Nest Invader seems a bit off at first, but beyond effectively being a 2/2 for one, it allows us to trigger Morbid on demand for Hunger of the Howlpack. The game plan is simple; play creatures, pump the ones with evasion, swing in until death.

Against this deck, anything to kill creatures or gain life will do us well. Fogging can also help, but in general that just postpones the inevitable since their creatures don't go away. A well placed Prismatic Strands or two can go a long way.

Now, Seth's favorite deck is even in pauper! Yes, Bogles is here and waiting for you to take the un-targetable and make them nice and huge. It is really that simple, we play a creature the opponent can't target and we make it so big they can't do anything about it. The things you need to look out for though include enchantment removal and them pumping their creatures to trick you into killing the one we have all the enchantments on. On that note, Chainer's Edict is the worst card for us to see, so if you see black in your opponent's deck, bring in Young Wolf to give yourself something else to sacrifice.

When fighting against Bogles, bring in all the sacrifice effects you can, enchantment removal, and if you're white, Standard Bearer. Making it so that their one creature goes 'bye bye'? Good. Getting rid of the crucial enchantment so that you can block the opponent? Good. Making it so that they can't play any of their enchantments in the first place so that they're just stuck with a useless hand of enchantments? Priceless.


Rounding out the aggro decks, we have Affinity, everybody's favorite artifact based beat down. This is probably the least simple of the aggro decks, relying on synergies and mechanics as opposed to straight up running creatures at the opponent. We have three different creatures with Affinity, even if Gearseeker Serpent doesn't have the keyword. We can get big creatures for as low as zero mana if it's done right and it will let us just run over the opponent's smaller creatures. Not to mention Gearseeker Serpent being potentially unblockable. With how our deck works, with the right hand, we can run out both Frogmite and Myr Enforcer as early as turn two! Carapace Forger is a 4/4 nine times out of ten for only two mana, nice and simple with its brother, Aurkiok Sunchaser, letting us have a 3/3 flyer. Atog is where our real power comes from. We run both Fling and Temur Battle Rage in the deck, so once we have a critical mass of artifacts, we can just force a nearly unstoppable kill using it. Chromatic Star and Prophetic Prism help us by cantripping and filtering mana and Springleaf Drum gives us a touch of ramp and with more mana fixing. The other two spells we have are Galvanic Blast for both removal and for a bit of extra reach and Thoughtcast to keep us going with steam by drawing us more action.

Against this deck, artifact removal is going to be the easiest solution we can bring in. Take out their lands and slow them down so much we can get far enough ahead they can't do anything to us. A few counterspells or damage prevention options to handle surprise Atog kills will go miles as well.

With that, that is all of the 'simple' decks in the format. For everything else, they are a touch too much for a quick overview like this. So, when next we meet, I will be going over a specific deck. If you want more Pauper fun though, feel free to join us on Wednesday nights at 5 pm Easter at Until next time, keep on playing!

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