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The Power of Pauper: Not Gruul? Then Die!


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 diving into a deck that's certainly gained a lot of popularity in the past few months and that is Gruul Ponza! In addition to that we've got two Challenges to talk about.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Gruuling in the Name Of

Do you like destroying people's lands and also their hopes and dreams? Are you affiliated with Dinosaurs, Treefolk, Pirates, and Dragons? Do you just enjoy making your opponent cry their eyes out with salty tears?

Well then I have the deck for you! Come on down to Domri Rade's Commons R' Us for the most glorious pile of land destruction cards of all time! It's Gruul Ponza!

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That's right. This deck has certainly had a real popularity boost recently and it isn't hard to see why. Everything this deck does is just downright infuriating to its opponents. Between land destruction spells like Mwonvuli Acid-Moss and Thermokarst to the sheer amount of ramping into monstrously huge creatures this deck really does have it all. This deck also recently got some new toys for it in the form of cards like Generous Ent (which can act as both a 5/7 with reach AND a card that gets you your copy of Highland Forest if you need it at the same time) and Cast into the Fire (which as seen a ton of play in red decks obviously).

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The goal of this deck is pretty simple. Utilize Wild Growth, Utopia Sprawl, and Arbor Elf to ramp into land destruction effects in order to set the opponent back while deploying your own big threats. At some point you're casting Annoyed Altisaur and cascading into the stuff like Avenging Hunter and starting the Initiative train. And if your opponent has creatures? Skred can deal with them.

It's definitely a very interesting deck in the current format and it has a lot of powerful things it can do. This is a deck for you if you are thinking of just blowing people out and making it so they can't play Magic. And that friends... is called Magic.

Pauper Challenge 7/8

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 55 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.

Dimir Terror was the most popular deck here and it had a pretty solid win rate overall. Affinity despite having a Top 8 finish got dragged down a bit. The real winner here was below the cutoff at three copies with Jeskai Gates.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Gates 1st Backoff
Jeskai Gates 2nd Magicofplayer1
Jeskai Ephemerate 3rd ezocratto
Affinity 4th eduardojmp
Gruul Ponza 5th Make_it_Right
Dimir Terror 6th colabat_
Dimir Terror 7th Stonedforkmystic
Dimir Faeries 8th outZEROo

Lot of Dimir here and a lot of Jeskai, and Jeskai really brought its A game with the finals being a Jeskai Gates vs Jeskai Gates matchup.

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This variant shaves a bit on a creature but has Cast into the Fire and Behold the Multiverse main deck which seems rather solid. Overall a pretty strong list.

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Dispel over Spell Pierce here and no Cast into the Fire. I do like the Electrickery in the sideboard here though.

As noted there was a lot of Dimir Terror so let's look at the highest placing one.

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Lorien Revealed is honestly really pushing this deck a ton and a lot of people are playing it hard because of the power of that card. Definitely makes for an interesting uptick in decks considering Burn was so very much the baddie a few weeks ago.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have Dimir Faeries.

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Again we see Lorien Revealed, which is not surprising. The conversion rate of the card from Brainstorm enabler to "Draw three" is just solid especially in a deck like this where it fuels Delve as well.

Pauper Challenge 7/9

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday event. This event had 79 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.

Dimir Terror again was the most popular deck followed by Burn, but neither had stunning positive win rates. Affinity did much better here, and Jeskai Gates did exceptionally well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Affinity 1st Walker735
Burn 2nd FerMTG
Jeskai Gates 3rd Capiplaf95
Mono White Aggro 4th jwaves
Goblins Combo 5th Hamuda
Walls Combo 6th TheManLand
Burn 7th medvedev
Dimir Terror 8th SuperCow12653

This is kind of a cool Top 8. Nice amount of variety here for sure. At the end of the event it was indeed Affinity that won the event.

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Very interesting to see Lorien Revealed show up here as well, given that weirdly only cycles for the single basic Island in the list. Honestly, only a one of is fine in that regards since if you do have to cycle it you are ensuring that you always have blue mana.

In Second Place we had Burn.

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I've certainly seen Improvised Club about in these lists too. Seems quite good for a way to sac a Synthesizer or a Goblin token from Kuldotha Rebirth to deal four damage to something.

Further down the Top 8 we had Goblins Combo.

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Four main deck copies of Troll of Khazad-dum is kind of wild, but honestly I am not super surprised given the deck is playing Exhume. Seems like a solid Plan B to win the game if your Goblin combo [[First Day of Class] thing doesn't work.

Also in this Top 8 we had Walls.

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Walls is the best deck and I will take no comments at this time.

Around the Web

  • Pauperganda has a video on Big Green Budget. Check it out here.
  • Gavin Verhey talks about his experience playing at Paupergeddon! Check it out here.
  • The Card Market deck of the week is Caw Gates! Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

5C Gates is some real energy.

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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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