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The Power of Pauper: Ponzarrriffic!

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 talking a bit about how Modern Horizons 3 is shaping one deck in particular in this burgeoning metagame, and that's Gruul Ponza! In addition to that I'll be talking a little bit about the cool Basking Broodscale deck that's popping up as well. Without MTGO decklists, we don't have a ton of current info unfortunately.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!


One deck in Pauper as of late that got a very large boost in playability and new cards is Gruul Ponza. This deck primarily functions on the axis of developing its own mana with ramp effects like Utopia Sprawl and Wild Growth to cast cards like Thermokarst and Mwonvuli Acid-Moss to delay the opponent's mana development. It's a pretty straightforward strategy of destroy your opponent's mana and then cast big cards like Annoyed Altisaur and Avenging Hunter to close the game out on the opponent.

Modern Horizons 3 did a very interesting thing to this deck overall. It provided a really powerful new card to it, one that interestingly enough is immune to effects like Pyroblast and also very VERY hard to deal with in general, and that's Writhing Chrysalis.

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Chrysalis does a few cool things for this deck. It's a big beater that immediately refunds two of its mana on cast, and as noted before because of Devoid it's immune to things like Pyroblast. When Chrysalis hits the board is when things get interesting. Not only is the card setting you up for future turns by providing you two colorless mana to use in places, but it's 2/3 body is also extremely deceiving due to the trigger of putting a +1/+1 counter on whenever you sacrifice an Eldrazi. Cast this and your opponent tries to bolt it? Sac a Spawn that it made and make it a 3/4. Oh and did you ever notice that this card has REACH?! Yeah, this is a thing.

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Chrysalis is such a powerful card that it definitely is seeing play in these decks, giving the deck a huge upswing in mana development while also creating an incredibly powerful board state at the same time. In fact, there's been some rumblings of pretty much dropping the land destruction effects in general and going full on in to Gruul Ramp with this deck, an idea which is not at all unpopular. Another Modern Horizons 3 card that could help with that, one that we see in the list above is Malevolent Rumble.

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This card looks insanely good for these decks wanting to have permanent based mana ramp and creatures it wants to ramp into. In most decks like this, this is even better than effects like Winding Way where you know for a fact you're always going to be able to snag a permanent card out of the top 4. Now granted, Winding Way lets you nab multiple cards and there's still a good reason to play that in certain decks, but in decks like Gruul where you want to hit your high impact cards, Rumble does a great job of doing that. In addition, this card ALSO creates a Spawn token, which can be used to boost your Chrysalis' in play while being used for mana for future spells.

This is definitely a deck to keep an eye on. It's powerful and both Chrysalis and Rumble are strong effects to add to this kind of shell.

A Cool New Deck - Broodscale Combo

Another super cool deck that's come out of Modern Horizons 3 is one we touched on loosely last week with the Paupergeddon article, and that's the combination of Basking Broodscale and Sadistic Glee.

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I talked about this in my set review for Modern Horizons 3, because the power of being able to repeatedly trigger Broodscale with an effect like Sadistic Glee is incredibly powerful, and it turns out I was right in a lot of ways over this combination of cards. It turns out there's a lot of powerful ways to approach this shell and utilize this. One such way that has seen a lot of success is a Jund based shell.

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The big selling point in the Jund based shell is of course two other cards we just talked about in the form of Writhing Chrysalis and Malevolent Rumble, but other big things here are cards like Cleansing Wildfire + the Bridge lands (leaning on what Jeskai Ephemerate does, target your own Bridge land with Wildfire and then you get a free basic land and a card draw out of it) and of course Deadly Dispute. Dispute turning cards into more cards and Treasures is always quite good, but even better in a deck that wants to sacrifice creature tokens from things like Khalni Garden in order to get the party started. Of course, if you're playing Dispute, naturally cards like Ichor Wellspring and Chromatic Star come right along.

Another big selling point in this list here is Duress. Because of how this combo works, getting rid of a Broodscale in response to a Sadistic Glee can shut you down pretty hard. Duress helps clear the way here, making it so you don't get caught with removal on your threat.

This is a sweet deck, and I hope to see it more around. It's definitely a deck I would like to build in paper.

Around the Web

  • Heartyshow has a video on Madness vs Affinity. Check it out here.
  • Alex Ullman discusses Accursed Marauder. Check it out here.
  • TeasdaleMTG is talking all about Sneaky Snacker in Dimir Terror. Check it out here.
  • Pauperganda is going Infinite with Gond! Check it out here.

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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