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The Power of Pauper: Assemble the Urza Tron!


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of The Power of Pauper! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're continuing our journey by looking at some of the Tron based decks in Pauper! In addition to that we've got two Challenges to talk about as well as a Spice Corner.

Assembling the Urza Tron Machine

We're continuing our journey into the world of Pauper as we slowly work our way through the variety of strategies this format has to offer. This week we're going to be focusing on three lands that have long been a true mainstay of the format. These three lands are popular in formats such as Modern, but here they promote a very interesting and wide array of strategies. Of course, I'm talking about the Urza Tron lands.

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The Tron lands are a powerful strategy that have been a continual mainstay in the Pauper format for a very long time, as long as there has been things to cheat into play with the mana advantage that these lands provide. The presence of Tron in the format has directly led to a few bans even in the format, as cards like Bonder's Ornament and Prophetic Prism have had direct correlations with Tron as a deck.

There are a number of different Tron strategies in the format, ranging directly from cheating large creatures into play early to more combo-oriented versions utilizing cards like Myr Retriever as a central combo piece.

The first variant we'll be looking at that exists in the current format is a more creature heavy variant.

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This variant directly uses the massive amount of mana to put large threats into play, such as Ulamog's Crusher and Boulderbranch Golem. This approach allows the deck to leverage attacking the opponent with strong threats that often have either evasion or some other powerful ability to demolish the opponent, while also having supplemental life gain (Fangren Marauder, Boulderbranch Golem) to outpace the opponent's clock. The deck is also capable of finding its lands via both Ancient Stirrings and Crop Rotation, but also has access to draw mana filtering through Chromatic Sphere and Chromatic Star. Because many of its creatures are very large, it can also easily leverage Breath Weapon to manage small go-wide strategies.

Another variant of this deck is the Ephemerate build.

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A lot of this deck's spells may look somewhat out of place with its reliance on the Tron lands being three colorless lands, but the deck plays cards that filter the colorless mana into different colors (Energy Refractor) and is able to utilize that massive amount of mana that the Tron lands provide to gain value off of various "Enters-the-battlefield" cards like Mulldrifter, Mnemonic Wall, and Dinrova Horror. One of the ways this deck wins is by utilizing a Ghostly Flicker loop with Mnemonic Wall and Dinrova Horror to deny the opponent of its permanents and hand and force the opponent out of the game that way. Out of the sideboard the deck can use Stonehorn Dignitary to make the opponent skip their combat step repeatedly.

The final variant we'll be discussing is the Altar Tron variant, which is more of a combo variant.

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This deck is more of a combo-centric build, utilizing loops with Ashnod's Altar and Myr Retriever in order to generate a massive amount of mana. This mana can be funneled into casting spells that sacrifice artifacts for value (Chromatic Sphere/Chromatic Star) and also continually triggers Golem Foundry, allowing the player to create a large number of 3/3 Golem tokens to win the game with. This version has a number of differing variations to it, as some builds can also use cards like Reckless Fireweaver to continually do damage, or the usage of cards like Foundry Inspector to reduce the costs of spells to cycle through the deck. This variation's major issue stems from the fact that it's hard to play on Magic Online due to the loops required to make the deck work. It sees a lot more play in paper due to that aspect alone.

Tron as a deck is one of the decks of the format that seemingly evolves the most with the format and in the context of the format. It promotes a lot of differences of varying strategies and the format is also capable of managing the deck more and more these days. Cards like Cleansing Wildfire existing in the format have given decks tools on destroying lands, and decks like Gruul Ponza existing have given entire archetypes capable of having the ability to directly counter it. Tron has the ability to continue to push the envelope of the format, and it's always interesting to see how it evolves.

Pauper Challenge 4/29

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 51 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Castle of Commons Discord.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here (big thanks to karl191 for all their hard work).

UW Familiars was the most represented deck of the event, but its win rate was middling at best with a 40.91% non-mirror win rate. Burn was next and did quite well, as did Mono Blue Faeries, Affinity, and Bogles.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Burn 1st PauloCabral_Br
Mono Blue Faeries 2nd Backoff
Mono Blue Faeries 3rd AliEnWaRe_
Bogles 4th LasVegasChaos
Dimir Faeries 5th Brivenix
Bogles 6th eduardojmp
Familiars 7th JakeHelms
Affinity 8th LuffyDoChapeuDelPalha

Very interesting Top 8. Lot of Fae-based decks here, and at the end of the event it was actually a split finals between Burn and Mono Blue. Let's look at the Burn list first.

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This is definitely showing off the impact that Wrenn's Resolve has truly had on the Burn decks of the format. We are starting to see the loss of cards like Kuldotha Rebirth in sheer favor of having eight of this effect. It's certainly incredibly powerful and allows the deck to push through and draw cards at an incredible rate.

As noted, in Second Place we've got Mono Blue Faeries.

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This deck continues to have very strong results, and it's not hard to see why. It's got a very powerful proactive game plan and a solid reactive tempo plan when it needs to shift roles. This is a great deck to consider right now if you're looking for something fair, fun, interactive, and powerful.

Also in this Top 8 we have Bogles.

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This deck quite frankly seems to be quite powerful and I think a lot of it has to do with format context. A lot of the most played decks in the format right now are either Familiars (which often plays a fairly steady game plan but can often be somewhat slow vs Bogles) and Burn (which can't easily remove Bogles' creatures), so a deck that can gain a lot of life with cards like Spirit Link and Armadillo Cloak while also having actual evasion in having trample and first strike can help close the game out. Definitely interesting right now for sure.

Also in this Top 8 we had Dimir Faeries.

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The big difference here is that Dimir gives access to a number of pieces of removal, from Cast Down to Snuff Out, but also grindy threats like Thorn of the Black Rose and Gurmag Angler. These definitely add an angle of grindy gameplay to the deck.

Pauper Challenge 4/30

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday event. This event had 62 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Castle of Commons Discord.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here (big thanks to karl191 for all their hard work).

Burn and Mono Blue were the most popular decks here, with both having very reasonable win rates. Affinity had a slightly less than 50% win rate, and Bogles had a very poor win rate. Also on the map here was UW Familiars and Gruul Ponza.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Burn 1st Beicodegeia
Mono Blue Faeries 2nd Ixidor29
Gruul Ponza 3rd _Shatun_
Familiars 4th Gn42
Jeskai Ephemerate 5th Foresterf
Kiln Fiend Aggro 6th _dr4gun0v_
Burn 7th Magic4ever_MTGO
Gruul Ponza 8th LordEgg

Very interesting Top 8, actually here. Some varied archetypes showing up, however at the end of the event it was yet another Burn vs Mono Blue matchup with Burn taking the top spot (no split this time).

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This continues to definitely be an extremely powerful strategy in the format. I would really be interested in seeing some aggregate data of this deck's performance for a while since March of the Machine released especially. Would be interesting data I feel.

As noted, in Second Place we've got Mono Blue Faeries.

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There's some fun stuff in the sideboard here, from cards like Mantle of Tides (which is pretty sweet when you're drawing multiple cards) to Sunken City (a lord effect on an Enchantment is pretty solid vs some of the sweepers of the format).

Also in this Top 8 we had Gruul Ponza.

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This deck has a lot of ramp power behind it. It utilizes this ramp to deny the opponent its lands (with its land destruction package) and then ramps into Cascade spells to continue doing that. It's a super interesting deck for sure.

Further down the Top 8 we have UW Familiars.

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New card Meeting of Minds shows up here, showcasing the power of the card in this shell. The sideboard here too also has some cool spice with cards like Goliath Paladin. This shell is pretty flexible, so it's cool to see some neat flex spots.

Around the Web

  • We had another video on Familiars featuring Meeting of Minds. Check it out here.
  • Heartyshow had a solid video on Goblins Combo vs Boros. Check it out here.
  • TeasdaleMTG has a video on Gruul Ponza. Check it out here.
  • PaperPauperPlayer has a deck tech on Familiars. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 deck lists over here.

Golgari Gardens is a super sweet deck.

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Straight Mono Blue Terror is wild, with how much countermagic exists here.

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Bant Ephemerate shell with Meeting of Minds! This deck is SICK.

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thanks for continuing to support the column and join us next week as we continue our journey into Pauper!

As always you can reach me at all my associated links via my Link Tree! In addition, I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the MTGPauper Discord Server.

Until next time!



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