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The Power of Pauper: One Ring to Rule 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 taking a trip to Middle-earth with the new Lord of the Rings set and what it means for Pauper.

In addition to that we've got two Challenges to talk about!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Lording Over the Rings

We are mire deep in spoiler season, so it's now time to see what Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is going to hold in store for Pauper. One important thing we do have to discuss about this set is the addition of "The Ring Tempts You" mechanic. When it was first revealed a while back, there was a bit of uncertainty as to whether this mechanic would exist on cards legal in Pauper. We now know thanks to this spoiler season that are some cards at Common that utilize this mechanic.

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The way that this mechanic works is whenever the Ring tempts you, if you don't already have the Emblem, you get the Emblem and you choose a creature you control to become the Ring-Bearer, then you gain the first ability on "The Ring". Every subsequent time you get tempted by the Ring you add on the next ability on "The Ring". You also get to select a new Ring bearer or choose the existing Ring bearer to remain that status. Once you cap out at four abilities, the Ring tempting doesn't do much other than allow you to change the Ring bearer (or add a new one if the Ring bearer dies).

First off, I don't think this is actively as strong as Initiative was (and still is) in Pauper. However, there is one interesting way that this mechanic can affect Pauper and that is due to how the first ability on the ring interacts with creatures. It makes those creatures legendary. One of the most played removal spells in Pauper is Cast Down, which destroys non-Legendary creatures. The Ring making a particularly unfriendly creature Legendary and making it immune to Cast Down is interesting for sure.

The Ring tempts cards are definitely however going to need to rely on the effect of the rest of the card for sure though. With that said, let's look at some cards for Pauper.

Eastfarthing Farmer

I actually really wonder how much Food support exists in Pauper because this could be the card that makes it interesting. It's also worth noting that Gingerbrute exists and is both a Food and a creature, so that is a thing. Honestly, I really like this card a lot and it seems kind of fun as a card that could maybe help create a new archetype.

Slip On the Ring

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Ah yes, the old Flicker effect. These effects are generally very strong in Pauper, and this one having the Ring mechanic tacked onto it might be interesting enough. Being able to repeatedly trigger the Ring tempting is neat for sure, and this can also save your Ring-bearer.

Took Reaper

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Oddly enough this is a Ring Tempts card that is probably not playable because the mechanic actively wants you to have a creature in play to use it with, so having a creature die to enable it doesn't seem all that good.

Birthday Escape

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Drawing a card for a single mana is pretty much on rate. Whether the Ring being tacked on here makes this good enough is another question entirely. It probably isn't, but you never know.

Claim the Precious

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Another card where having the Ring tacked on makes you wonder. Three mana removal is not super played right now over the two mana removal spells (outside of Unmake but that's an exile effect), but getting a Ring trigger out of the card seems interesting enough.

Mirkwood Bats

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This card seems kind of silly honestly. It definitely screams powerful (actually it screams like SCREEEEEEEEEE) and there are a ton of cards that make and sacrifice tokens in the format that it has a huge opportunity to just end games. Very interested to see where this goes.

Troll of Khazad-dum

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Not a bad Reanimator-esque card at all here, given that it also comes with inherent ways to pitch it to the graveyard with Swampcycling. I could see this in those decks. A 6/5 with super menace is reasonable for sure.

Uruk-hai Berseker

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An ETB effect on a creature with the Ring Tempts? And a 3/2 to boot? Yeah this is fine. Ephemerate shenanigans go nuts here.

Breaking of the Fellowship

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I don't know if this effect is any good or not, but the Ring tempting on the back half makes me pause on a lot of these. I doubt this is playable though, but 1R is pretty aggressive mana cost.

Cast into the Fire

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This card seems powerful for sure. Being able to exile artifacts is big, and then you are able to kill small things as well. Seems very good indeed.

Mushroom Watchdogs

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Oh hey, another Food card! I do think there could be room for a Food based deck in the format, and this set might just be the one that creates it.

Revive the Shire

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Similarly to the Dogs, this is another card that enables the Food archetype. Sort of like a Regrowth for permanents with a Food token on the back half here. Definitely very interesting.

Wizard's Rockets

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Terrarion with a mana sink-esque upgrade here. I could see this maybe see play in decks that wanted Terrarion (which is usually Tron based decks) since it's mana sink that makes multiple mana.

Pauper Challenge 6/3

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 53 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.

Burn and Gruul were very popular, with Burn having a very low win rate overall. Gruul did not so well in addition, despite having a top finish. Bogles did very well as did Mono Blue Faeries.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Golgari Gardens 1st AliEnWaRe_
Bogles 2nd Terminus0
Mono White Aggro 3rd Luca5937
Gruul Ponza 4th LasVegasChaos
Mono Blue Faeries 5th _DissonancE_
Altar Tron 6th saidin.raken
Mono Blue Faeries 7th Aldreen
Golgari Gardens 8th _GGN_

Pretty solid Top 8 with some various archetypes here. At the end of the event it was Golgari Gardens that won it all.

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This deck has continued to show that it's a very strong deck in the current format. It's critical mass of removal combined with the ability to damage out the opponent with the Initiative on the top end is very strong.

In Second Place we have Bogles.

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This deck also has some strong points in the current format, most of all is just presenting strong threats that can't be hit with damage based removal (or stuff like Cast Down). It's definitely got the chops for the format right now.

Further down the Top 8 we have Altar Tron.

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This deck is kind of sweet. It utilizes the loops of Myr Retriever to make a bunch of mana with Ashnod's Altar and Golem tokens with Golem Foundry. Definitely a really cool version that is hard to play on MTGO because of all the clicking.

Pauper Challenge 6/4

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 sheet for this event.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Boros Bully 1st _against_
Golgari Gardens 2nd Danielpena397
Dimir Terror 3rd qbturtle15
Burn 4th ElkVinci
Walls 5th Willisberto
Golgari Gardens 6th _GGN_
Affinity 7th LuffyDoChapeuDePalha
Gruul Ponza 8th _Shatun_

Really nice variety overall here. At the end of the event it was Boros Bully that won the event.

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This deck is incredibly aggressive and low to the ground, with its primary top end being cards like Guardian of the Guildpact (which seems absolutely insane right now against Burn) and Battle Screech (a true classic playable). Definitely a strong deck.

In Second Place we had Golgari Gardens.

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As noted before, this deck continues to put up a lot of really strong results. My favorite thing here is Spinning Darkness. That card is really goofy and super sweet.

Further down the Top 8 we had Walls Combo.

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I am obviously a big fan of this deck when it does well. It's a really goofy deck but it is quite fun to play.

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

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

Golgari Aggro is super sweet.

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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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