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The Power of Pauper: Ixalan Strikes Back!

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 the initial impact of Lost Caverns of Ixalan on the Pauper format! In addition to that we've got two Challenges to look at.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!


Lost Caverns of Ixalan is already here on Magic Online, and we're already starting to see some of the fruits of the set start to bear in various decks. This set seems to definitely had a much bigger impact on Pauper in general as it's directly affecting a number of the already popular decks in the format.

So far based on looking at how the new cards are integrating, the three big most popular cards happen to be Mephitic Draught, Tithing Blade, and Fanatical Offering.

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All of these cards were pretty early on identified in my set review as playables in the format, and we've seen so far that my hunch was accurate. These effects are quite strong because they are tied to artifacts, a very common card type in the format, and the first two as permanent cards in general work quite well with cards like Kor Skyfisher.

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Skyfisher and Glint Hawk being able to bounce Tithing Blade seems like a really powerful repeatable edict effect. We've also seen these cards in decks that can't even bounce them, but they become good fodder for cards like Deadly Dispute and Fanatical Offering.

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Fanatical Offering in general has also definitely begun to see play in decks like this and Golgari Gardens, which is where I primarily expected it to see play. Instead of replacing Reckoner's Bargain though, players are figuring out ways to push in all of these effects, albeit in reduced card numbers (2-3 Bargain and usually 2 Offering in addition to the 4 Deadly Dispute). These effects are so strong in Pauper that having multiple cards that do them is very powerful indeed. Offering in general seems to be very much boosting Golgari Gardens quite a bit already, making the deck look very strong.

Tithing Blade in addition has also shown a new way to approach All That Glitters based Affinity decks.

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Again, Glint Hawk serving as a way to bounce Tithing Blade is really incredibly strong.

The other card that I think was to be expected but it definitely got a lot of discussion was Goblin Tomb Raider.

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I think there was some real questioning about whether this card was easy enough to enable or not, but turns out in the Mono Red Burn/Kuldotha Burn decks can make some concessions to make the card work.

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Cards like Great Furnace and Lotus Petal are really good at enabling the Tomb Raider, as are things like Experimental Synthesizer. I have no doubt that this deck could very easily deploy two of these on Turn 1 and have them ready to attack.

So far Ixalan's impact on the format is quite interesting because much of the impact is centered on decks that were already fairly good, but caught between the war between blue and red decks, and that metagame appears to be heavily shifting now with decks like Gates taking prominence and Black based decks beginning to have a solid impact as well.

It will be interesting to continue to keep an eye on things, but so far it may seem like Pauper is turning back upwards thanks to Ixalan. We'll have to process these changes longer term of course, but it looks pretty good.

Paupergeddon Autumn Edition 2023

This past weekend was also the Paupergeddon Autumn Edition event in Roma, Italy! This event boasted a big 502 players overall, which is absolutely incredible!

You can find much of the information for this event over here and here. This was a two-day event that took place over Saturday + Sunday with 12 rounds of Swiss and cut to Top 8.

According to the Paupergeddon Instagram account, this is how both Day 1 and Day 2 broke down in this event.

As we've come to see in many big events, a good amount of the format here is Mono Red Burn, with followups by Boros Synthesizer and Glitter Affinity. However, the conversion rate to Day 2 is quite interesting at 98 players, with Gardens and Jeskai Gates moving up into a prominent position, while Boros drops a bunch and even decks like Mono Blue Terror losing a lot of ground. Gruul Ponza drops off entirely here, and while there's a lot of small one-offs, it's pretty clear how the metagame looks here.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Jeskai Affinity 1st Alvisi Federico
Golgari Gardens 2nd Loss Tommaso
Golgari Gardens 3rd Truffaz James
Dimir Faeries 4th Audizi Alessio
Burn 5th Barbagelata Diego
Golgari Gardens 6th Mannella Stefano
Familiars 7th Trivella Marco
Familiars 8th Moretti Alessandro

Golgari Gardens absolutely came in hot in this Top 8, making up 3/8 of the Top 8, while Familiars also had solid showings. At the end of the event though, it was Glitter Affinity or Jeskai Affinity that won.

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This deck as always looks quite good and I would be very comfortable taking this into a Pauper event for sure. The addition of red and gaining stuff like Galvanic Blast + Experimental Synthesizer is very solid and does a lot to provide reach for the deck.

The other finalist of this Top 8 was on Golgari Gardens.

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As we talked about above, Fanatical Offering definitely is coming in clutch in these Gardens decks. I think it probably makes them a lot better and more well positioned than they definitely were before.

Pauper Challenge 11/18

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 57 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 datasheet here.

Burn was the top represented deck and it had just a bit over 50% win rate, but all the rest of the decks here except for Mono Blue Terror performed way better.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dimir Faeries 1st Niederschatten
Grixis Affinity 2nd Hamuda
Burn 3rd Hampuse1
Burn 4th Diego_Brando
Ephemerate Tron 5th Heisen01
Orzhov Affinity 6th Mogged
Dimir Control 7th outZEROo
Burn 8th Playmobil

Lot of Burn here, but at the end of the event it was Dimir Faeries that won.

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Very proactive and straightforward deck here. I like the Murmuring Mystic in the side as an additional game plan that can generate go-wide threats.

In Second Place we had Grixis Affinity.

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Mephitic Draught and Tithing Blade are definitely two cards we talked about above and they look quite good in this kind of deck. Being able to convert an edict effect into a persistent life drain is very good.

Also in this Top 8 we had Ephemerate Tron.

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Lorien Revealed finding its way into this deck too makes a ton of sense given that you can open hands on purely Urza's lands and maybe you might need a dual of some sort. Runaway Boulder is a cool card.

Pauper Challenge 11/19

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday event. Due to not having data, we don't know how many players were in this event.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Burn 1st MatheusPonciano
Golgari Gardens 2nd NickNorman
Jeskai Gates 3rd carrot_eater
Jeskai Gates 4th Supremoguy
Mono Blue Terror 5th Oceansoul92
Mono Blue Terror 6th vivorilla93
Jeskai Gates 7th CuSO4
Boros Gates 8th Sentoe187

Lot of Gates deck in the Top 8 here, but it was Burn that managed to win the event.

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The new Goblin Tomb Raider looks quite sweet here as we talked about earlier in this article. It's very easy to turn on especially since it works with an artifact land too.

In Second Place we had Golgari Gardens.

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The white splash here for Circle of Protection: Blue is quite neat. Also, more Mephitic Draught and Tithing Blade!

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Boros Gates.

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Normally we don't see the Gates shell in these colors, but it's pretty cool. Militia Bugler looks great as a way to nab some of your more important creatures (it even gets Guardian of the Guildpact) and Bitter Reunion is super sweet.

Around the Web

  • Card Market has a Quick Hit from Ixalan! Check it out here.
  • Kalikaiz has a video on Bat Blade Storm. Check it out here.
  • StompyMTG has a RDW video. Check it out here.
  • Pauperganda has a video on Midnight Guard Combo. Check it out here.
  • Our good friend Alex Ullamn recapped this past weekend. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

Orzhov Pestilence? Let's go!

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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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