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The Power of Pauper: Checking in on Pauper 2024


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 going to be taking a good look at the Pauper metagame since the beginning of the year, specifically in how the metagame relates to the Challenges on Magic Online. In addition to that we've got THREE Challenges to talk about from last weekend.

In addition, I'm going to be at Magic Con Chicago this weekend! If you run into me, feel free to say Hi!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

A Pauper in February

We're now a month and a half into 2024, so it feels like a good time to take a look in on the Pauper Challenge Metagame and what the metagame looks like since the beginning of the year! For this data, I'm using the Challenge data I compiled myself. You can find this aggregate data here.

Let's start by taking a look at the graphical data!

Without a shadow of a doubt, at a whopping 14%, the most popular deck at the moment is Burn. This doesn't surprise me. The deck has consistently been the most popular deck for a while and the Swiftspear ban didn't change that. However, the overall win rate of the deck at the moment is a 48.8% non-Mirror, which is not super good overall. This deck has a huge target on its back and that popularity means that being a known quantity in the format makes it relatively easy to prepare for it. Still, the deck's presence is immense and felt immensely by the rest of the format.

The next highest deck in the format in terms of popularity is Dimir Terror. Again however, the win rate of the deck is pretty sub par below 50%. It's a deck that is popular due to its perceived power level, prompting a lot of people to pick it up because the play style is enjoyable to a lot of folks.

Golgari Gardens is next up here, and it's our first deck with a positive win rate overall. I think Golgari is great because it has a lot of solid board control options and strong finishers. This is definitely a deck to keep on your radar.

Jeskai Affinity is next and also has a positive win rate, which is interesting given that Azorius Affinity also appears in this cutoff and it has a really poor win rate overall. A lot of Jeskai's power level comes directly from having Galvanic Blast and Thoughtcast which can be quite strong.

Rounding out the Top 5 decks of the format is Dimir Faeries, another deck with an above 50% win rate. This deck has always looked quite powerful to me. It's got a strong proactive game plan and has some strong creatures.

Overall, the format is interesting at the moment. Much of the format is very highly slanted towards Aggro decks at the moment given how popular Burn is. I still think the format looks pretty reasonable, especially since Burn is a lot easier to deal with in the absence of Swiftspear. It will be interesting to see going forward what the format looks like in another month or two though. I don't believe any changes need to be made just yet personally.

Pauper Challenge 2/17

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 59 players in it thanks to the data provided by Daybreak Games.

You can find all of the decklists for this event here and the datasheet here.

Quite a bit of Burn here, but its win rate was pretty poor overall. Golgari Gardens and Azorius Gates did very well here, while most of the other top decks seemed to suffer.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Goblins Combo 1st Hamuda
Azorius Familiars 2nd DenisevichAlexey
Jeskai Ephemerate 3rd Foresterf
Ephemerate Tron 4th Hampuse1
Cycle Storm 5th Mikhathara1994
Turbo Fog 6th RitualSinkhole
Azorius Gates 7th carrot_eater
Turbo Fog 8th Tunaktunak

Interesting Top 8 and also worth noting the TWO copies of Turbo Fog in the lower half of the Top 8 here. At the end of the event, it was Goblins Combo that won.

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Seeing Fanatical Offering here makes a ton of sense to me given how much this deck sacrifices creatures and artifacts, and the Map token can be relevant for sure. I also like the Mesmeric Fiends here.

In Second Place we had Azorius Familiars.

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I love Murmuring Mystic in this deck. It's such a powerful way to win the game. Meeting of Minds is also just flat out nuts every time I've played with it in this deck. You draw so many cards off of it.

Further down the Top 8 we had Ephemerate Tron.

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Solid looking list here. Rhystic Circle is a cute Circle of Protection effect in the sideboard here. Really neat stuff.

Also in this Top 8 we had Cycle Storm.

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I definitely dig this list. Cycle Storm is a deck we haven't seen a ton of in a hot minute, so it's cool to see it popping back up. It's a really unique deck for sure.

Pauper Challenge 32 2/18

The Sunday Challenges again had two Challenges on it, one of which was the Min 32-player event. This event had 44 players in it thanks to the data provided by Daybreak Games.

You can find all of the decklists for this event here and the datasheet here.

Burn was the most popular deck again, and despite having a strong top finish it's win rate was pretty low. Madness based decks did very well here, while Goblins Combo did poorly.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Burn 1st Magic4ever_MTGO
Azorius Affinity 2nd Purgatory_01
Grixis Affinity 3rd LuffyDoChapeuDePalha
Dimir Terror 4th Ale_Mtg
Burn 5th ecobaronen
Jeskai Ephemerate 6th immvp
Golgari Gardens 7th DobleP
Boros Synthesizer 8th Cabezadebolo

Pretty cool Top 8 here. At the end of the event, it was Burn that won.

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Very clean and straightforward list that resonates with what we've come to know as the defacto Burn deck of the format for the moment. This deck has quite a bit of power to it for sure.

In Second Place we had Azorius Affinity.

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Eight Inspectors is very good for this deck for sure. It makes much more Artifacts for Affinity purposes and also for Metallic Rebuke as well as All That Glitters.

Further down the Top 8 we had Jeskai Ephemerate.

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Solid looking list here. I like the fun ramp functionality of Cleansing Wildfire and the Bridge lands.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Boros Synthesizer.

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Eight Inspectors also showing up here as well. Seems like Novice Inspector has really found its place in Pauper, which makes total sense to me.

Pauper Challenge 32 2/19

The second Challenge event on Sunday was the min 64-player event. This event had 69 players in it thanks to the data provided by Daybreak Games.

You can find all of the decklists for this event here and the datasheet here.

Burn was super popular here and it had a fairly positive win rate overall. Boros Synthesizer did well as did Dimir Faeries. Madness also did pretty well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Golgari Gardens 1st NickNorman
Jeskai Affinity 2nd lostonkato
Dimir Faeries 3rd Niederschatten
Gruul Ponza 4th Skpchino
Boros Synthesizer 5th viashinoperuano
Dimir Faeries 6th Beicodegeia
Burn 7th fingers1991
Ephemerate Tron 8th RClint21

Pretty reasonable Top 8 here. At the end of the event, it was Golgari Gardens that won.

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This deck always looks like it has such strong board control options. It's a very powerful deck for sure.

In Second Place we had Jeskai Affinity.

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It's interesting how split this deck is between the Inspectors to where it's still only running four of them. Sort of amusing really. I don't think there's any "name a card" functions in this format that would prevent either or really.

Further down the Top 8 we had Gruul Ponza.

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Straightforward list here. Very clean and powerful.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Dimir Faeries.

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Proactive and solid list. Lot of a strong board control options and a strong Tempo game plan.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Alex Ullman has an article on the Swiftspear ban and why it worked. Check it out here.
  • Pondering Pauper had an episode recently on Mono Red. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

As League results are now spread out across the week, let's dig in and find something spicy!

Bant Ephemerate is sweet.

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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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