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The Power of Pauper: Fun Things to do in Paper Pauper


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 some interesting decks and things that only exist in paper Pauper! In addition to that we've actually got THREE Challenges from this past weekend to take a look at.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Cool Things About Paper Pauper

While a good majority of Pauper is definitely played on Magic Online, there is some interesting things that you can do in the paper world of Pauper. Both of these worlds are not exactly 1:1 in a lot of ways, primarily because there's a small number of cards that simply aren't available on MTGO but also because there are decks that are harder to actually play on MTGO.

Decks That Play Slower

One such category of decks that primarily only exist in paper Pauper are those decks that are functionally impossible to play on Magic Online due to the fact that they require a lot of game actions (in MTGO terms "clicks") to play well, and they are generally slower decks in general. One such deck here is Tortured Existence based decks (otherwise known as "Tortex").

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One of the strengths of Tortex is the ability to place shortcuts on the game that you can't do on MTGO at all. One such loop is the usage of Tortured Existence to cycle your available mana with Golgari Brownscale, gaining 2 life each time it returns. On MTGO, this is a lot of clicks that in paper you can simply propose "I have 5 mana available. I'm going to do this 5 times and gain 10 life." This reduces much of the gameplay time that would otherwise be clicks and yields on MTGO that are a lot harder to process.

Tortex in general is also a very slow and grindy shell of a deck, due to the fact that much of its game plan centralizes around gaining life and stabilizing against the opponent's game plan over a long term pace of play before winning via chip damage or making it simply impossible for the opponent to win. While this deck sometimes sees play on MTGO, it definitely has its issues there and generally remains a paper deck.

Another deck in this same vein is Altar Tron.

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This is another deck that often requires a lot of clicks to play well with its loop, that loop primarily being utilizing Myr Retriever to loop back and forth with Ashnod's Altar. The upside of this deck is that it plays *slightly* better on MTGO, but you have to definitely play very tightly and well to perform the loop appropriately. This deck has a better position of having ways to win the game with the mana loop on MTGO, but it really works best in paper, where it's easy to establish the shortcuts with the opponent.

Decks with Cards Not On MTGO

There's decks that exist in paper that aren't on MTGO, because a number of those decks tend to revolve around cards that don't exist there. When I say this, I am generally meaning the set Unfinity, because of the primary absence of the Sticker mechanic. This tends to be one of the biggest divides of paper and MTGO Pauper, simply because the mechanic simply won't ever exist on the latter outside of the custom implementation that is "Name Sticker" Goblin.

Outside of the Sticker Goblin however, there are other ways in paper to utilize Stickers. One such way is to utilize it as an aggressive mechanic by getting Power/Toughness stickers.

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There are a good number of Sticker sheets that have Power/Toughness stickers that cost two tickets to place that are reasonably powerful stickers. Examples include ones like the "Cursed Firebreathing Yogurt Sticker" and "Wild Ogre Bupkis Sticker".

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In addition to being overtly aggressive, there's also applications for Power/Toughness stickers specifically for creatures that have the mechanic Infect.

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Being able to boost the P/T of something like a Blighted Agent can be quite powerful in closing a game out really quickly, enabled by the strength of cost effective cards like Command Performance as a way to get stickers on permanents.

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There's a few other instances of using these effects with things like Finishing Move such as Food-centric shells.

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There are always a lot of interesting things that can exist in paper Pauper, let me know in the comments if there are any other sweet decks you can think of that only exist in paper!

Pauper Challenge 2/3

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 65 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 and Gardens were the two most popular decks of the event, with Burn having a fairly middle-of-the-road win rate and Gardens having just below 50%. Turbo Fog also showed up in force and had a strong Top 8 finish despite the sub 50% win rate as well. Dimir Terror looked great here as did Grixis Affinity and a few other decks. Mono Blue Terror didn't look at good overall.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dimir Terror 1st O_danielakso
Dredge 2nd Kirblinxy
Izzet Terror 3rd AliEnWaRe_
Jeskai Ephemerate 4th immvp
Jeskai Affinity 5th Videgain
Burn 6th _Shatun_
Turbo Fog 7th RitualSinkhole
Goblins Combo 8th MisterAsiago

Very neat looking Top 8 here for sure. At the end of the event it was Dimir Terror that won.

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Very clean and strong-looking list here. I like Crawl from the Cellar in these lists. Looks super fun.

In Second Place we had Dredge.

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It's certainly pretty cool to see decks like this popping up and actually doing well in events, mostly because it's something relatively new to the format and players are finally figuring out the strength of Dread Return it seems.

Further down the Top 8 we had Jeskai Ephemerate.

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Union of the Third Path is a really unique and interesting card here that lets you gain some life at Instant speed. Kind of a neat trick, honestly.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Turbo Fog.

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This is a deck I find super fascinating because of how powerful it has become in the past few years thanks to newer printings from sets like Lord of the Rings. I definitely expect to continue to see this do well in the current format.

Pauper Challenge 32 2/4

Surprisingly enough this weekend we had two Challenges on Sunday, one of which was a Minimum 32 player Challenge and the other a Minimum 64 player Challenge. The 32 player Challenge had 46 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 the most popular deck of the event, and it's win rate was quite good. Dimir Faeries did very well in addition, while Dredge and Jeskai Affinity did just below 50%.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Burn 1st Magic4ever_MTGO
Dimir Faeries 2nd Beicodegeia
Burn 3rd MichaelArmando
Burn 4th ecobaronen
Walls Combo 5th Gn42
Izzet Terror 6th Skpchino
Bogles 7th Cachorrowo
Burn 8th nuninman

Half of the Top 8 being Burn here is interesting. It won the event.

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Fairly common looking list of what we've seen Burn look like since the banning of Swiftspear. Seal of Fire is quite powerful as a reach option so that's interesting.

In Second Place we had Dimir Faeries.

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Solid straightforward list here. The proactive game plan here is quite powerful.

Further down the Top 8 we had Walls Combo.

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I am digging this particular version of the deck, as a big fan of Walls in general. Scholar of Athreos as another way to win the game that can't be hit by Hydroblast is very real.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Bogles.

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Wildly interesting to see a Bogles list that isn't playing All That Glitters. That alone is very interesting and very curious.

Pauper Challenge 64 2/4

The third and final Challenge of the weekend was the 64 player Sunday Challenge. This event had 84 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 again the most popular deck, and it's win rate was quite good. Dimir Terror performed rather poorly, while Golgari and Dimir Faeries did very well. Turbo Fog also did super well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Ephemerate 1st cicciogire
Boros Synthesizer 2nd __Noob__
Dimir Faeries 3rd Beicodegeia
Burn 4th ecobaronen
Burn 5th LikeAFerro
Azorius Affinity 6th LasVegasChaos
Madness 7th FerMTG
Turbo Fog 8th RitualSinkhole

Pretty nice looking Top 8 here in all reality. At the end of the event it was Jeskai Ephemerate that won.

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Very powerful list here. Cast into the Fire has proven to be a very strong card overall in the current format, due largely in part to how flexible it is.

In Second Place we had Boros Synthesizer.

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It's pretty sweet that an Equipment of all things has become a good part of decks like this in Barbed Batterfist but the sheer fact that it comes with a body to attack with is what really makes it great.

Further down the Top 8 we had Azorius Affinity.

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This is a very straightforward and strong list for sure. Jeskai has its moments but Azorius is a little cleaner in mana and able to draw and counter spells well.

At the bottom fo the Top 8 we had Madness Aggro.

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I've been seeing this deck pop up quite a bit and it looks super fun. Being able to drop cards like Fiery Temper and Alms of the Vein on opponents is incredibly sweet.

Around the Web

  • Bryant Cook is doing some Rakdos Reanimator. Check it out here.
  • Pauperganda has Creatureless Infect. Check it out here.
  • Kalikaiz has a video versus Gn42. Check it out here.
  • Alex Ullman has a recap of last weekend's events. 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!

This Gardens deck is kind of sweet.

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This deck is super cool.

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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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