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The Power of Pauper: How Familiar


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 journey into the Pauper format by examining a pretty sweet deck based around the card Sunscape Familiar. That's right, it's Familiars time! In addition to that we've got Challenge data from this past weekend to discuss, our first impressions of the effect of March of the Machine on the format, and a Spice Corner!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Cost Reductions, How Do I Adore Thee?

In our journey into Pauper, we are continuing to go through many of the format's top decks and how those decks function. This week we're going to be looking at a deck that works off the basis of abusing cost reductions and blink effects, utilizing the card Sunscape Familiar.

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Known as "Familiars" due in part to the existence of Sunscape Familiar, this deck is largely an Ephemerate and Ghostly Flicker shell that abuses the cost reduction aspect that multiple Familiars can enable. This is abused heavily with cards like Snap (which when cast for one mana can untap two lands and ramp a bit with lands like Azorius Chancery in play) and Mulldrifter. The deck also has a slight life gain sub theme with the card God-Pharaoh's Faithful.

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By abusing these effects, Familiars strings together so much value that it often draws more cards than its opponent and also usually has more life to spare to make the game as grindy as possible. The deck has a number of ways it can win the game, including simply attacking in the air with Mulldrifter to infinitely looping Archaeomancer with Ghostly Flicker and a basic land with multiple Familiars and Sage's Row Denizen in play.

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Furthermore, this deck has received actual new cards from March of the Machine that people are now beginning to try in the deck, from cards like Saiba Cryptomancer (as a protection spell) and cards like Meeting of Minds (Convoke draw two cards where most of the creatures in the deck don't really want to attack is pretty sweet).

This is a powerful deck, and it has a lot of really cool and grindy fun things it can do. There are some truly dedicated players to this archetype as well, so be sure to check out players like Gn42 who posts videos with the deck on YouTube (video from last weekend below).

March of the Machine Initial Impressions

March of the Machine is now released on Magic Online and we've had our first weekend with the new cards. While the overall impact of the set actually seems rather low we have seen some new cards show up in decks like Familiars and even Affinity (Final Flourish), but the biggest impression is that Wrenn's Resolve is exceptionally good.

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This card was highly looked at during the end of spoiler season due to the fact that it was another four copies worth of the same card in Reckless Impulse. We're already seeing now that Burn lists are heavily adopting the card and building around having eight of this effect. This looks very powerful upon initial impression, but will be interesting to see how the metagame may adjust to it.

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Beyond Wrenn's Resolve we have yet to really see much else besides cards like Saiba Cryptomancer and Meeting of Minds, so it may still be too early to really get a feel for how this set will impact Pauper as a format.

Pauper Challenge 4/22

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 44 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 (thanks to karl191 for all their hard work).

Both Affinity and Burn were pretty popular here, and Affinity's win rate was quite good, while Burn's was below the middle. Familiars also did very well, as did Dimir Terror.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Affinity 1st SenpaiBlank
Affinity 2nd Madamix
Dimir Terror 3rd _against_
Mono Blue Faeries 4th AliEnWaRe_
Naya Gates 5th Alvatar
Kuldotha Burn 6th Laessoe
Familiars 7th Gn42
Turbo Fog 8th Kirblinxy

Interesting Top 8 here. Reasonable variety of things here, but at the end of the event it was an Affinity vs Affinity with the winner being... Burn! (No it was actually Affinity)

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Pretty straightforward list here. Krark-Clan Shaman is definitely one of the more powerful cards in the format right now it seems. Very strong for sure.

Let's look at the Second Place Affinity list.

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New card Final Flourish showing up here is pretty sweet, in addition to Gearseeker Serpent. Looks like a fun list for sure.

Also in this Top 8 we had Naya Gates.

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The red splash here is more than just a single card, so we see some stuff like Flame Slash and Smash to Dust, while also including a small black splash for Suffocating Fumes. I love Armadillo Cloak here as a "gives trample and lifelink" for Basilisk Gate type card.

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

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This deck is always pretty wild to see. One of the fun ways this deck can win is to put the opponent low on cards in library and kill them with Words of Wisdom. It's a slow and super grindy deck for sure!

Pauper Challenge 4/23

The Second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday event.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here. There was no data for this event, so no idea how many players played and no fancy graphs.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dimir Terror 1st Lennny
Mono Blue Faeries 2nd plaza23
Burn 3rd PauloCabral_Br
Jeskai Gates 4th Gift_given
Bogles 5th yPrincipe
Familiars 6th Gn42
Bogles 7th hockeybro26
Affinity 8th Backoff

Quite an interesting Top 8 here. Multiple copies of Bogles is pretty amusing to see. At the end of the event Dimir Terror was the winner.

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Really sleek deck here. Very clean design and some strong deck building. Looks super fun.

In Second Place we've got Mono Blue Faeries.

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This deck is an exceptionally powerful deck if you're looking for what is arguably a really good deck in the current format. Definitely, something to keep an eye out for.

We did have a Burn list in the Top 8 here so let's look at it.

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As we discussed earlier, seeing the effects of having eight copies of Reckless Impulse is just simply a thing Burn is going to have the ability to do. This seems incredibly powerful for sure.

As noted, we had some Bogles in the event. Let's look at the higher-placing one.

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This is super clean looking. Has a lot of ways to attack the most common removal that is leveled at Bogles. Seems very powerful for sure.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Alex Ullman has a great review on March of the Machine. Check it out here.
  • Great video on Meeting of Minds in Familiars! Check it out here.
  • Another great video on new cards from March of the Machine! Check it out here.
  • League video on Black Pox in Pauper. Check it out here.
  • Black Garden video here by Pauperganda. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

Black/White Pestilence is pretty sweet!

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What I'm Playing This Week

Pauper did not fire last week at The Game Haven, so I'm hoping to help get it fire this week! Familiars is built and I'm playing that this week!

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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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