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The Power of Pauper: Commonly April


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 taking a look at the Pauper metagame and where things are at in the moment. In addition we have a bunch of Challenges to review!

Without further ado, let's dive right in.

April Pauper Metagame Check-In

It's honestly sort of fitting that we do a metagame check-in right before the release of Outlaws of Thunder Junction on MTGO. I do think there will be some cards from that set that will find their way into various Pauper decks, but it felt like a good time to take a look at the format and see where we are since the beginning of the year. I've been collecting this aggregate data since the beginning of the year and it has proven to be rather interesting. You can find this data sheet here.

Let's start by looking at some graphical data followed by checking in on the six most popular decks of the format at the moment.

Definitely some interesting data here. At the moment, Pauper is very much dominated by aggro decks, but Control/Midrange and Tempo are well represented. Combo is present but more at the bottom end of things.

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Easily the most represented deck still of the entire format, Burn has continued to, well, burn its way through Pauper as best as it can. Despite its massive presence as the most played deck since the beginning of the year, the long term data has shown that Burn's overall non-mirror win rate is pretty negative with only a 46.5% non-mirror win rate. This is a deck that does everything it can to make sure it wins Game 1, but can really struggle in post board games as nearly every deck in the format has the ability to counteract it in some fashion. Still, it's a popular deck for a reason because it's fast and aggressive. It's certainly something to keep in mind when approaching the format.

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Golgari Gardens comes in second place in terms of popularity at a little over 100 fewer decks than Burn. This deck has traditionally looked much better in previous metagames, and it's popular because it does Top 8 and win events fairly well. It's a difficult deck to play well, because of all the options it has available to it, and its win rate is slightly less than 50%. This is one of those decks that suffers hard from its learning curve, as Midrange piles like it often fall into the position of needing to understand the metagame to approach the metagame.

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Azorius Affinity still remains in the Top 5, but its presence as of late has been exceptionally minimal as players have begun switching over to the Boros Synthesizer variants that play All That Glitters. Azorius' win rate has settled at a mild 50.3% non-mirror win rate, and it's pretty obvious that players have been able to grok the matchup well enough that they've figured out how best to attack this deck. I don't believe that means that Glitters itself is safe from a ban, it most certainly feels like it is not, but just that Azorius seems to have dropped off as the predominant Glitters deck.

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Dimir Terror continues to be the predominant variant of the Tolarian Terror decks, which is honestly super interesting given the shift from Mono Blue Terror over time. Dimir's win rate is fairly middling though at a 50.5% non-mirror win rate. Still, I think this is the best version of Terror as a deck, given that it is capable of several free spells like Snuff Out to destroy creatures backed up by powerful countermagic. If there ever was a best "control" shell of the format right now I do believe this is it.

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On the Tempo end of things, Dimir Faeries proves to be the most resilient tempo deck in all of Pauper. Again, a lot of this is due in part to it being backed up by plenty of strong free spells and the interactions between stuff like Spellstutter Sprite and Ninjutsu. It's currently sitting at a 53.4% non-mirror win rate, which is fairly reasonable. This deck has a proactive game plan, and it genuinely makes for very interactive games of Magic, which can be interesting for a lot of folks.

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It's not super surprising to see another All That Glitters deck rounding out the top six decks of the format, because that deck is slowly becoming the more popular version of the Glitters decks in the form of Boros Synthesizer. Boros interestingly enough much like Azorius has a rather poor win rate of 49.1% non-mirror, and this past week's events certainly did the deck no favors as players have begun to really figure out best to attack the deck. What makes this version of the deck seemingly strong is the fact that it plays out much like a normal Boros Synth deck with all the various value pieces that deck typically employs, but at the tail end of a game, it can very easily wait until the opponent is shields down to deploy Glitters and bring home a win. I think this is a deck to absolutely keep an eye on when choosing a deck.

I do believe that Pauper is in a very weird and interesting place at the same time. Every time a different spin on Glitters does something, people tend to cry that it's breaking the format, but in reality the data seems to suggest that this isn't the case. Leagues are obviously a different animal here as players will often play decks that are fast or otherwise super powerful with the intent of speed-running through Leagues, while the Challenges seem to be far more measured.

It's going to be interesting to see what will happen in the coming weeks with the format as Outlaws of Thunder Junction may impact that. I don't think much is going to change entirely, but it's a certain possibility. I'm very curious for sure and excited to see what comes next, and not in the mindset right now to ask for anything to be banned from the format, because I don't think we're giving it enough time to allow things to cycle around and change. Pauper as an eternal format often goes through a lot of upheaval when something truly breaks, and I think this is the first time we really see meta shifts evolving the format on a weekly basis than being just consistently broken.

I also think players could stand to play more universal hate and less cards like Dust to Dust, which only deals specifically with artifacts. Honestly, I'm rather surprised more players aren't jamming something like Generous Gift into their white piles. Catch-all removal can be quite strong.

Pauper Challenge 32 4/12

The first new Challenge that Daybreak added was an early morning event on Fridays! This event had 52 players in it thanks to the data provided by Daybreak Games.

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

Boros Synthesizer was the most popular deck of the event and it's win rate was pretty good. Goblins Combo did exceedingly well as did Turbo Fog, while Azorius Affinity didn't even crack into the cutoff here.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Goblins Combo 1st Hamuda
Boros Synthesizer 2nd McWinSauce
Dimir Faeries 3rd Beicodegeia
Boros Synthesizer 4th NMT_Sco94
Jeskai Ephemerate 5th DenisevichAlexey
Turbo Fog 6th ziofrancone
Azorius Gates 7th carrot_eater
Dimir Terror 8th Mogged

Fairly interesting and diverse Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was Goblins Combo that won.

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This is a pretty sweet list. I love seeing Fanatical Offering in these decks because the card really is quite powerful.

In Second Place we had Boros Synthesizer.

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Solid and clean Boros list here, utilizing All That Glitters as a strong finisher. Definitely powerful.

Also in this Top 8 we had Dimir Faeries.

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Very straightforward list here. It is neat seeing new cards break it into the format in small ways and it seems Extract a Confession has done just that. Pretty cool.

Pauper Challenge 32 4/13

The next Challenge we have to talk about is the 32 player Saturday event. This event had 55 players in it thanks to the data provided by Daybreak Games.

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

Boros Synthesizer was the most popular deck of the event, but it's win rate was not as good overall. Dimir Faeries was also popular but didn't do so hot either. Golgari Gardens and Dimir Terror did very well here.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Golgari Gardens 1st galeogiao
Goblins Combo 2nd Hamuda
Orzhov Midrange 3rd totemsilence
Azorius Gates 4th twister66
Dimir Terror 5th pepeteam
Dimir Terror 6th ezocratto
Boros Synthesizer 7th gazmon48
Dimir Terror 8th DobleP

Very interesting Top 8 indeed, with no Boros or Azorius Affinity in sight here. At the end of the event it was Golgari Gardens that won.

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Very solid looking list here. Main deck Nihil Spellbomb is super interesting, and you can see how much enchantment hate they have here for Glitters in the sideboard.

In Second Place we had Goblins Combo.

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I think what I like about this deck at the moment is that it very quickly can get on board with its combo and win the game very fast, and that in of itself is interesting.

Also in this Top 8 we had Azorius Gates.

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I too am of the mind that people are playing Dust to Dust a bit too much and 3 copies sideboard here feels like a lot especially versus Boros Synthesizer, since it's able to deploy it's game plan out of nowhere and it hinges more on an enchantment.

Pauper Challenge 32 4/14

The third Challenge is the 32 player Sunday event. This event had 50 players in it thanks to the data provided by Daybreak Games.

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

Burn was very popular here and it's win rate was great. Orzhov Midrange did very well as did Dimir Terror. Despite a good finish the overall on Boros Synthesizer wasn't great.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Grixis Affinity 1st Mogged
Burn 2nd Capitano_CL
Grixis Affinity 3rd LuffyDoChapeuDePalha
Dimir Faeries 4th Beicodegeia
Burn 5th Mahers
Azorius Familiars 6th JakeHelms
Boros Synthesizer 7th NMT_Sco94
Gruul Ponza 8th Arkany1

Very interesting Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was Grixis Affinity that won.

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Pretty interesting to see how the Affinity decks in general keep swinging about the format at the moment. I like this list quite a bit though, it seems quite good.

In Second Place we had Burn.

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Straightforward and clean list here. All the classic hallmarks of the current red Burn lists we've seen out of this since the banning of Swiftspear.

In the bottom half of this Top 8 we had Familiars.

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Oh I very much like this list. It's not shock that I think Meeting of Minds is a pretty insane card when you're able to convoke it for 1-2 mana. It gets really busted really fast.

Pauper Challenge 64 4/14

The final Challenge of the weekend was the 64 player Sunday event. This event had 75 players in it thanks to the data provided by Daybreak Games.

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

Golgari Gardens was super popular here but it's win rate was poor overall. Boros had a very middle of the road win rate, while Burn did quite well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Ephemerate 1st immvp
Turbo Fog 2nd RitualSinkhole
Jeskai Ephemerate 3rd Foresterf
Bogles 4th romerito1
Boros Synthesizer 5th nekonekoneko
Burn 6th Selkcahs
Golgari Gardens 7th LuffyDoChapeuDePalha
Dredge 8th Lennny

Kind of a neat Top 8 honestly. At the end of the event it was Jeskai Ephemerate that won.

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This is a pretty good looking list overall. Lot of math going on here with the numbers on things.

In Second Place we had Turbo Fog.

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I like this list quite a bit. It's definitely incredibly interesting. Turbo Fog being a sweet deck in 2024 is what I'm here for.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Dredge.

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I still would love to build this deck in paper. It's just a really groovy deck. I'm glad that this found a home somewhere in the format.

Around the Web

  • Heartyshow has a new video on Burn vs Slivers. Check it out here.
  • Alex Ullman has another weekend recap for us. Check it out here.
  • StompyMTG has some Mono Red Goblins! 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!

RUG Ponza is pretty cool.

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This Naya Turbo Aggro pile is pretty 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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