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The Power of Pauper: Colossal Dreadmaw Returns!

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 looking into Lost Caverns of Ixalan. In addition to that we've got two Challenges to talk about and a Pauper Qualifier.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!


We've got another Standard set coming in the form of Lost Caverns of Ixalan. This set returns us to the plane of Ixalan and some new mechanics as well as one returning mechanic in Explore.

One of the primary new mechanics that we see on at least one cycle of cards in Pauper is Discover X, which is sort of like a fixed version of Cascade. The big difference is that if you can't cast the spell that the Discover ability finds it gets put into your hand.

Another set of mechanics has to do with descending or Descend 4 or 8. Descending is sort of like Revolt in that it looks to see if you put a permanent card into your graveyard from anywhere during that turn. Descend 4 or Descend 8 is a mechanic that looks to see how many permanent cards are in your graveyard (in the case of the two abilities it is 4 cards or 8 cards). This has another variant called Fathomless descent which is variable based on the number of permanent cards in your graveyard.

There is also a mechanic called Craft which lets you turn permanents into other things by paying their Craft cost and exiling something that the Craft ability requests (such as Craft with artifact, etc.)

Let's take a look and see which of these cards could see play in Pauper.

The Discover Land Cycle

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It's pretty important to talk about this cycle as a whole it feels like. This is a whole cycle of Cave typed Lands (and marked with a rarity of L since I believe they appear in the Land slot in a booster) that all Discover 4 at sorcery speed for four generic mana and a color.

Personally I think that these lands are likely too slow for Pauper to absorb. Pauper as a format is much faster than these lands can be and they aren't going to make much of a splash in the format because of that. I think the design space is interesting and they are cool looking, but Pauper probably is not going to do much with these.

Broodrage Mycoid

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This is interesting on the back if you can descend enough per turn. Remember that Descend won't trigger if you sacrifice something like a token (as tokens aren't cards) so you have to really limit yourself on actual cards going to the graveyard. However, we did get Crawling Infestation recently so that's a possible interesting card to work with this.

Cogwork Wrestler

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This card is interesting especially since it's a one mana artifact creature with Flash that can -2/-0 something. At one mana in Affinity this seems sort of good. Definitely interesting for sure.

Fanatical Offering

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This is not quite Deadly Dispute, but it's another draw-two effect that sacs an artifact or creature for 1B and those have long time been relevant in Pauper. The Map token is a unique bonus that could definitely see play in stuff like Golgari Gardens as sometimes the Explore effect is a card. This is definitely powerful and I'm curious to see how well this shows up in the format.

Glorifier of Suffering

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This seems really strong on rate overall. The fact that it can target itself is pretty good really. Ephemerate on this with stuff like Ichor Wellspring and friends seems very good.

Goblin Tomb Raider

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This seems very very good in general on rate, especially since Voldaren Epicure exists and that makes a Blood token right off the bat to grant this thing haste. Lots of ways to turn this on and it seems quite strong.

Inverted Iceberg

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A two mana draw a card artifact is interesting enough. This one has the upside of possibly becoming a 6/6 late game. I don't know if this is good but it's pretty cool.

Mephitic Draught

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A repeatable draw effect on an artifact is always powerful especially when there are tons of ways to sacrifice it. This seems very good indeed.

Oteclan Landmark

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Another effect that ETBs as an artifact and does a thing (in this case scries), but then flips to a 1/4 flier on the back that grants flying. The craft ability here is rather cheap so this could possibly see play? Unsure.

Relic's Roar

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This is incredibly interesting because of Infect. Putting this on a Glistener Elf adds Dinosaur and Artifact to its existing Creature and Phyrexian Elf Warrior for the purposes of Embiggen. This makes it a 4/3 and then Embiggen immediately pumps it by +6/+6.

This could actually revive aggressive Infect as a deck, which is interesting enough.

Skullcap Snail

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A majority of these kinds of two mana effects don't usually exile without a downside, so having Mesmeric Fiend that JUST exiles a card is kind of a thing. I might need one of these for my Pauper cube honestly.

Tithing Blade

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An edict effect that later turns into a drain effect is rather interesting enough. I don't know if this is super good, five mana is steep to craft it, but it's interesting.

Poison Dart Frog

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He's so cute! He's scampering all over, OH NO, OH NO MY EYES!

Pauper Challenge 10/28

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday Challenge. There was no data for this event so we do not know how many players there were.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here. Because there was no data, let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Gates 1st MVanni
Dimir Faeries 2nd Backoff
Jeskai Gates 3rd carrot_eater
Azorius Affinity 4th LasVegasChaos
Jeskai Gates 5th _GGN_
Grixis Affinity 6th LuffyDoChapeuDePalha
Dimir Faeries 7th cicciogire
Dimir Faeries 8th serajh

Lot of Gates and Faeries here. In fact, the finals was Jeskai Gates vs Faeries with the winner being Gates.

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Straightforward list here and very clean. This deck continues to have really solid results, having tipped the scales a bit of the format in its favor.

In Second Place we had Dimir Faeries.

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This also looks super clean and powerful. It has some really proactive play to it. I love seeing cards like Okiba-Gang Shinobi in decks for sure.

Also in this Top 8 we had Azorius Affinity.

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Very stock-looking list here, but this deck doesn't need any cute frills to it. It's a lean machine of destructive power.

Pauper Qualifier 10/28

This past weekend also had a Pauper Qualifier event. These events require only QPs to enter and the top two finalists get qualifications to Regional Championship events. This event had 202 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 datasheet here.

Dimir Faeries and Burn both shared the popularity vote here, but Burn's win rate was down below 50% while Faeries had a solid win rate. Mono Blue Terror did very well as did Gates. Golgari and Azorius Affinity both did less than stellar.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Mono Blue Terror 1st Oscar_Franco
Dimir Faeries 2nd Backoff
Familiars 3rd EhDM
Inside Out 4th gianlupo
Jeskai Gates 5th Gn42
Jeskai Gates 6th Tulio_Jaudy
Jeskai Gates 7th _joacof_
Mono Blue Terror 8th i_b_TRUE

Fair amount of Gates here in this Top 8. At the end of the event though it was Mono Blue Terror that won the event.

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Jace's Phantasm is still a super interesting sideboard card. Strong one-mana flier is pretty cool.

In Second Place we had Dimir Faeries.

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Very similar to the list from the Challenge the same morning. The suite of removal seems quite strong in this deck for sure.

Further down this Top 8 we had Inside Out Combo.

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I love the idea of Wedding Invitation being a card that draws cards but also makes its big creature unable to be blocked for a turn. Seems great.

Pauper Challenge 10/29

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday event. This event had 73 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 datasheet here.

Dimir Faeries and Mono Blue Terror were both very popular, but both had sub 50% win rates. Azorius Affinity did well as did Grixis Affintiy, and of course Gates.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Grixis Affinity 1st LuffyDoChapeuDePalha
Dimir Terror 2nd Mogged
Mono White Heroic 3rd MagicTonga
Gruul Ponza 4th hockeybro26
Dimir Faeries 5th Misplacedginger
Dimir Faeries 6th Beicodegeia
Jeskai Gates 7th Gn42
Walls Combo 8th Terminus0

Dimir Faeries did have some Top 8 appearances despite getting dragged down. At the end of the event, it was Grixis Affinity that won.

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Straightforward and super clean list here. This deck has got some strong gameplay to it still despite its younger sibling of Azorius being present in the format.

In Second Place we had Dimir Terror.

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Interesting to see a Dimir list running around despite Mono Blue having been so omnipresent in the format. This list looks quite strong overall still.

Also in this Top 8 we had Gruul Ponza.

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The land cyclers like Generous Ent really changed this format entirely on its head and gave so many decks like this one options to fetch lands.

Around the Web

  • StompyMTG has a video on the Pauper Qualifier. Check it out here.
  • Kalikaiz has a video on Golgari Gardens. Check it out here.
  • TheMaverickGirl has an article on Boros Synthesizer. Check it out here.
  • The Card Market deck of the week is Dimir Faeries. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

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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