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The Power of Pauper: Dreaming of Ephemeration


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 continuing our look at the Pauper format with a focus on the card Ephemerate and how much that card has impacted Pauper overall. In addition to that we've got several Challenges to look at, one of which was a Showcase Challenge. We've also got a few paper tournaments to look at!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Ephemeration in Color

We're continuing our journey into various decks in the Pauper format and this week we're going to be diving into an archetype that has a lot of variety to it, and that's decks that primarily use the card Ephemerate as a their main gameplay engine.

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Since it's printing in Modern Horizons, Ephemerate has become a driving force in the Pauper format, influencing and directly working with multiple archetypes. We already covered one of those archetypes in the form of Azorius Familiars, but Ephemerate in general has a ton of gameplay that extends beyond just Azorius based decks, and in some cases doesn't even include Blue in the mix. That being said, one of the primary decks of this archetype is traditional Jeskai.

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This deck feels very much like a spiritual successor to the old Jeskai Astrolabe deck that existed when that card was legal. The biggest addition to this deck was Cleansing Wildfire as used in conjunction with the artifact "Bridge" lands from Modern Horizons 2 as a way to ramp in games. The deck uses Wildfire when being cast on a Bridge (which is indestructible) to get the extra land off of it, because that clause is not tied to whether the land is actually destroyed or not. This allows the deck a goofy mana ramp option.

Ephemerate itself provides a powerful engine that allows the game to be locked up simply by blinking something like Ardent Elementalist alongside Stonehorn Dignitary or Goliath Paladin to continually either force the opponent to skip combats or race through the Initiative loop quickly.

Another common sub-archetype of Ephemerate decks is the Orzhov Ephemerate deck. This version eschews blue and instead plays Black/White with plenty of removal and value ETB creatures.

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Ephemerate here in this kind of deck is more of a value card than an actual engine in this deck. The deck doesn't have a way to recur the card back to hand like the Jeskai decks do, but the cards it is blinking are powerful that they can close the game on their own. Couple this with the powerful removal the deck plays and it's easy to see how this deck came about.

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Of course, these are not the only two shells for Ephemerate, the card has seen play not only in Boros variants, but also in decks like Familiars and even Tron decks. It's a powerful part of the format and is something to keep aware of for sure.

Paper Event - Nerdz Cards - Super 2K

This event comes from a store in Brazil called Nerdz Cards, and it was a 2K Pauper event. This event had 30 players overall in it.

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

Let's look at the Top 8. This is in no particular order since MTGMelee often does not get Top 8 placings right (usually because TO's don't often use Melee to run the Top 8)

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Burn Top 8 LucaO1
Golgari Gardens Top 8 Rafael Jesus
Affinity Top 8 Jonas Dieter
Burn Top 8 Henrique Lopes
Jeskai Ephemerate Top 8 Daniel Krug
Altar Tron Top 8 Pedro Manzoni
Mono Blue Faeries Top 8 RafaelM
Boros Synthesizer Top 8 Gabriel Rocha

This definitely looked like a super cool event!

Paper Event - C'mon! Warszawa

The other paper event of the weekend was held in Warsaw, Poland! It was known as C'mon Warszawa, and it looked to have 33 players overall in it.

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

Let's look at the Top 8. Again this is in no particular order due to MTGMelee not having appropriate Top 8 placings.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Gruul Ponza Top 8 Filip Klos
Altar Tron Top 8 Dawid Czaczkowski
Golgari Gardens Top 8 Ivan Buriak
Jeskai Gates Top 8  Jakub Pajak
Bogles Top 8 Rafal Gano
Turbo Fog Top 8 Rafal Grzywocz
Dimir Terror Top 8 Bombaj
Burn Top 8 Karol Chmielewski

It's so great to see these kinds of Pauper events from across the globe. If you're near either area it might be worth checking out!

Pauper Showcase Challenge 7/1

The first major event of the weekend was the second Pauper Showcase Challenge of the season. This event requires Qualification Points to enter and the Top 8 feeds into the Showcase Qualifier at the end of the season. This event had 200 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.

Dimir Terror was the most popular deck of the event and it had a really solid win rate in conjunction with that popularity. Affinity and Burn both had sub-50 % win rates, despite Affinity doing quite well overall. Outside of this the rest of the format seemed pretty diverse. Golgari and Orzhov Midrange decks did rather poorly here, while Gruul Ponza and Jeskai Ephemerate both had solid win rates.

Let's take a look at the Top 8

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Affinity 1st Phill_Hellmuth
Kiln Fiend Aggro 2nd Gerschi
Gruul Ponza 3rd _Shatun_
Dimir Terror 4th Finespoo
Boros Synthesizer 5th Oss-28
Dimir Terror 6th yuxiaoyu
Dimir Terror 7th _Stream
Burn 8th PauloCabral_Br

Lot of Dimir Terror in the Top 8 here, but the end of the event was decided by Affinity.

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Very clean and solid list here. Cast into the Fire in the sideboard here as a four of is wildly interesting.

In Second Place we had Kiln Fiend Aggro.

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This deck is exceptionally aggressive for sure. It's clean and fast and just tries to get the opponent dead as fast as possible.

Also in this Top 8 we had Gruul Ponza.

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I think if anything in pretty much every red deck having a few copies of Cast into the Fire is just going to continue to be very good.

As noted there was a lot of Dimir Terror in this event, so let's look at the highest placing list.

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Lorien Revealed continues to be a true powerhouse in these decks, and definitely has found a home here. Very powerful card indeed.

Pauper Challenge 7/1

This Challenge event went on at the same time as the Showcase Challenge was happening on Saturday.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Gates 1st magicofplayer1
Boros Synthesizer 2nd TrueHero
Cycle Storm 3rd Tyerube1618
Gruul Ponza 4th _Shatun_
Familiars 5th EhDM
Dimir Terror 6th Oscar_Franco
Jeskai Ephemerate 7th ezocratto
Golgari Gardens 8th AliEnWaRe_

Pretty interesting Top 8 actually. Quite a bit of diversity here. At the end of the event it was Jeskai Gates that won.

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Very clean and powerful deck. I love the main deck copies of Prismatic Strands. Such an incredibly strong card in the format right now.

In Second Place we had Boros Synthesizer.

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This deck is quite cool. Lot of powerful things are happening here. Barbed Batterfist is kind of a cool card when you think about bouncing it and getting repeated 2/2s.

Also in this Top 8 we had Cycle Storm.

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This deck is really cool honestly. It seems a pretty fun puzzle to figure out and has a lot of interesting stuff it can do.

Further down the Top 8 we had Familiars.

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I love this deck for sure. It's a favorite of mine because of how grindy and interesting the gameplay is. Lorien Revealed seems quite good for this deck as well for sure.

Pauper Challenge 7/2

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday event. This event had 70 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.

Affinity and Dimir Terror were the most popular decks, with Affinity snagging a 52% win rate and Dimir coming just in below 50%. Jeskai Ephemerate performed very well, and we had some showings of Elves that didn't do so hot.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Ephemerate 1st Heisen01
Affinity 2nd msskinbolic
Boros Synthesizer 3rd jessy_samek
Gruul Ponza 4th bolov0
Dimir Terror 5th Alvatar
Burn 6th AMirrorDarkly
Affinity 7th Bullz0Eye
Mono Blue Faeries 8th Selesnian

Reasonable spread of decks here for sure. At the end of the event it was Jeskai Ephemerate that won.

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We talked about these shells earlier, but I think the most impactful card for this deck is likely Cast into the Fire now. This gives the deck so much power versus specific matchups as everyone is using Artifacts to some extent now.

In Second Place we have Affinity.

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Very stock-looking list here for the most part. There is a split on the Frogmite slot between Somber Hoverguard and a Gurmag Angler both of which seem pretty good.

Further down this Top 8 we had Burn.

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This deck continually looks to be one of the fastest and most aggressive decks in the format, and while it has its moments it is seeming to not be so overpowered that people aren't figuring out how to beat it.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Mono Blue Faeries.

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Just incredibly clean deckbuilding for sure right here. Solid 4-ofs of everything except Vapor Snag. Very strong and proactive deck for sure.

Around the Web

  • Pauperganda has a video on the Best Black Deck in Pauper. Check it out here.
  • The Card Market deck of the week is Mono Blue Faeries. Check it out here.
  • Alex Ullman has a new article recapping last week's events. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

Mardu Gates is pretty cool. Cauldron Familiar!

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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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