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The Power of Pauper: I've Gone Mad!


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 discussing a burgeoning deck in the format in the form of Madness! I'm also going to be talking a bit about MC Chicago and the Pauper Panel held there by our friends on the PFP. We've also got some Challenges to look at.

Without further ado, let's dive right in.

Mad Mad Mad World

I always enjoy seeing new decks pop up in the Pauper space. This year has been a good one for that as well so far, as we've seen things like Dredge show up. One such deck I've been seeing pop up in Challenges and League play is a deck mostly based on the Madness mechanic. Specifically the primary cards we're looking at here are Kitchen Imp, Alms of the Vein, and Fiery Temper.

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What this combination leads to is an interesting Rakdos-based aggressive strategy, utilizing cards like Faithless Looting, Scrapwork Mutt, and Demand Answers to pitch these cost efficient Madness effects to make them cheaper overall. Even Vampire's Kiss has a basis in this since it creates Blood tokens which allow you to discard cards. This makes for a very interesting sort of "Burn-like" deck that plays a bunch of aggresssive cards, but also has some cost efficient threats to go with those aggressive cards. In addition, pitching something like Alms of the Vein at instant speed is really interesting.

It's always cool when new decks like this enter the format and make a bit of a splash. Not much out of this deck got an insane upgrade, but Demand Answers from Murders at Karlov Manor certainly boosted its playability a bunch. Looking forward for sure about how this deck will continue to evolve.

Magic Con Chicago and Pauper!

This past weekend was Magic Con Chicago! There was a bevy of Pauper stuff going on this weekend, including a Pauper Cup event. This event looked to be seriously well attended with 125 enrolled players. This was a seven round Swiss event with Top 8 played out on Sunday. Unfortunately due to MTGMelee things, we don't have an exact full Top 8 or winner, and some of the decklists are missing but you can find those here.

What was even better however, was a very fun panel on "Why You Should Play Pauper" given by head of the Pauper Format Panel Gavin Verhey and PFP members Emma Partlow and Paige Smith. This was a fantastic introduction to Pauper in general for those seeking to understand it, and thanks to Paige's foretought on the subject she has made available the slide deck and notes from the panel. You can check that out here.

I didn't get to play any Pauper this weekend, but I did attend the panel and it was nice. Even as someone who already is well aware of the format and its specifics, it was great to see how these three talked about it and you can tell their investment and excitement about Pauper in general.

Pauper Challenge 32 2/24

The first Challenge of the weekend was the 32-player min event on Saturday. This event had 63 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.

Burn was the most popular deck, but its win rate was pretty bad despite one top finish. Azorius Gates did very well as did both Boros Synthesizer and Azorius Affinity.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Azorius Gates 1st MVanni
Azorius Gates 2nd carrot_eater
Boros Synthesizer 3rd AliEnWaRe_
Dimir Terror 4th pepeteam
Izzet Terror 5th SpockVidaLoka
Burn 6th Mahers
Azorius Affinity 7th PauloCabral_Br
Golgari Gardens 8th CAM_13

Very interesting Top 8 here with half of it in Terror/Gates. At the end of the event, it was a pair of Gates decks in the finals.

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Some minor differences here, specifically main deck Destroy Evil in the main deck of the winning list and some slightly different sideboard options. Sideboard for both decks is pretty heavy on Blasts overall.

Also in this Top 8 we had Boros Synthesizer.

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Novice Inspector continues to keep its hold on these archetypes and it isn't hard that having this redundant access to this effect is just so very, very good.

Further into the Top 8 we had Dimir Terror.

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Very clean and straightforward list here. This deck is doing its game plan and clearing the way for its powerful threats.

Pauper Challenge 32 2/25

The second event of the weekend was the min 32-player Sunday event. This event had 44 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.

Burn was quite popular here as well but again, didn't convert well to win rate. Dimir Terror did very good as did Gates.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dimir  Terror 1st Hamuda
Azorius Gates 2nd Mnaga
Poison Storm 3rd pat0presidente
Dimir Terror 4th TopLeitche
Azorius Gates 5th lampalot
Dimir Faeries 6th Beicodegeia
Walls Combo 7th Terminus0
Izzet Terror 8th Jinjaa

Lot of Terror here and Gates. At the end of the event, it was Dimir Terror that won.

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Rotten Reunion seems like a super sweet card in this deck. Generate creatures plus getting rid of cards in the graveyard? Sweet stuff.

In Second Place we had Azorius Gates.

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Very similar list to the finalists on Saturday. Decks that can play both Blasts have an interesting position in the current format.

Also in this Top 8 we had Poison Storm.

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This deck is so very cool. I might have to build this one because of how neat it is.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Walls Combo.

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Much more of a classic Walls list, but some neat sideboard choices here. Mirrorshell Crab is a really sweet card overall, as is Pick Your Poison.

Pauper Challenge 64 2/25

The final Challenge event of the weekend was the min 64 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.

Burn was exceedingly popular here and despite a top finish its win rate was again dragged down. Dimir Terror did well as did Azorius Affinity. The real winner was below the cutoff.

Let's take a look at the  Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Golgari Gardens 1st NickNorman
Azorius Affinity 2nd newbarola
Burn 3rd _against_
Azorius Affinity 4th PauloCabral_Br
Azorius Familiars 5th Gn42
Azorius Familiars 6th saidin.raken
Azorius Familiars 7th IAB_MaGiC
Dimir Terror 8th JakeTMS

All three players on Azorius Familiars in this Top 8 were the only Familiars players in the entire event. Insane. At the end of the event though it was Golgari Gardens that won.

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This deck is another one I'd like to have in my back pocket. It's proactive and very powerful at doing what it does.

In Second Place we had Azorius Affinity.

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Really solid and straightforward list. Saiba Cryptomancer is a cool card here to give hexproof if you need it.

Also in this Top 8 we had Burn.

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Burn gravitating now more toward an artifact build is interesting for sure. This looks really powerful though.

As we indicated, Familiars did very well. Let's look at the highest-placing one.

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This deck has a bunch of different slight flex spots and variations but the core of the deck is pretty rock solid and it does a great job of what it's intentions in the game are. It's a really fun deck and I enjoy it.

Around the Web

  • Kalikaiz has a Dredge video! Check it out here.
  • Pauperganda has a video on Simic Deathtouch. Check it out here.
  • Our good friend Alex Ullman has a weekend recap for us. 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?!

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Gruul Sticker? NO GRUUL DIE!

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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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