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The Power of Pauper: ELVES!


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 look at another deck in the Pauper format that's one of the format's long mainstays. That deck is ELVES! In addition to that we've got two Challenges to discuss.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Elvish Shuffle

We continue to keep looking at various decks in the Pauper format, as we continue our journey through all the format has to offer. This week we're going to taking a look at a deck that has existed for quite a long time in Pauper, a kindred strategy focused on one of the game's most prolific creature types (outside of Goblins, of course). I'm talking about the other little green (green as in card color) creatures... ELVES!

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Elves as a deck in Pauper is much more of a "ramp/aggro" deck than it is in other formats where cards that enable the deck to be a combo deck exist more. While Elves certainly can delve into a combo region (combining its power with the common ways Walls Combo wins with Freed from the Real) the more predominant versions of the deck lean harder into the "ramp into Elves, and win with more Elves" game plan. And honestly, that game plan is pretty good.

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Flooding the board with creatures is a solid way to win the game, and nearly all of the rest of the cards of the deck are doing their best to just find you more creatures. Cards like Winding Way and Lead the Stampede exist primarily to get more creatures in your hand so you can keep refilling and deploying to the board. Elves is pretty much the ultimate go-wide strategy, but it also sort of goes tall. Cards like Elvish Vanguard just get bigger and bigger and Timberwatch Elf makes Elves as big as your board state as well.

This deck is an interesting dynamic because we have seen this deck creep back into the limelight as of late, from several 5-0 leagues to even winning some events. This is pretty much despite the fact that the deck really hasn't gotten much in the way of new cards in the past year at the very least. Much of this deck still looks the same, while other decks have gotten newer tools. It's kind of nice to see an older stalwart of the format still putting up results.

Pauper Challenge 1/20

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the 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 datasheet here.

Both Dimir Faeries and Dimir Terror were the most popular decks, with both having solid win rates. Of the decks above the cutoff, Grixis Affinity had a very poor overall win rate despite a Top 8 finish.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dimir Terror 1st abijhavs
Dimir Terror 2nd Purgatory_01
Burn 3rd Make_it_Right
Red Tron 4th _Shatun_
Boros Synethesizer 5th LordEgg
Burn 6th Wizard_2002
Dimir Terror 7th O_danielakos
Grixis Affinity 8th kasa

Quite a bit of Dimir Terror in the Top 8 here. The finals was between two Dimir Terror decks.

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This is more of our traditional Terror list that we've become accustomed to seeing out of the archetype. Behold the Multiverse is a cool Draw 2 effect here.

In Second Place we also had, well not quite Dimir Terror.

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This list is not quite "Terror" per se, as it doesn't even have the signature card in it, but it's pretty close to the rest of the deck. One big thing here is stuff like Dark Ritual to power out Thorn of the Black Rose quickly.

Also in this Top 8 was Red Tron.

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We talked quite a bit about this deck last week. It's a really sweet-looking deck and a fresh and interesting take on Tron.

Further down the Top 8 we had Boros Synthesizer.

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This is a really solid-looking list. I like Foundry Helix here as a card. It's quite strong at pushing through damage and also gaining life at the same time.

Pauper Challenge 1/21

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

Dimir Terror was the most popular deck of the event, but its win rate was not so good. Jeskai Affinity looked good here, while Burn had a below 50% win rate despite a Top 8 finish.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Turbo Fog 1st RitualSinkhole
Orzhov Midrange 2nd Czacza
Dimir Terror 3rd Mogged
Grixis Affinity 4th LuffyDoChapeuDePalha
Dimir Faeries 5th Make_it_Right
Jeskai Affinity 6th outZEROo
Dimir Faeries 7th Beicodegeia
Burn 8th a_p_s

Quite a bit of Control/Tempo variants in the Top 8 here. At the end of the event though, it was Turbo Fog that won!

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I really love this deck quite a bit. It's so technical and interesting to play. You need to have a lot of technical patience to play it for sure.

In Second Place we had Orzhov Midrange.

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This deck is super cool. Tithing Blade has enabled so many cool new decks with Kor Skyfisher and friends and it's just really interesting to see that come to light.

Further down the Top 8 we had Dimir Faeries.

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Really solid and straightforward list here. This deck's game plan is super proactive, deploying threats and protecting them.

At the bottom half of the Top 8 we had Jeskai Affinity.

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This deck is so clean and very strong. Having the extra power of All That Glitters combined with how easy it is to turn on Galvanic Blast is very good.

Around the Web

  • Pauperganda has a sweet new video. Check it out here.
  • Kalikaiz has a video on Xerox Familiars. Check it out here.
  • Alex Ullman is talking about one of the new cards from MKM in Escape Tunnel. 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!

Rakdos Madness is sweet.

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This is a wildly neat take on Tron.

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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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