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The Power of Pauper: Swiftless


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 fallout from the banning of Monastery Swiftspear in the first week, as well as look at the Challenges from the past weekend.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Swiftly Into the Unknown

It's been a week and some change since the banning of Monastery Swiftspear in Pauper, so let's do a look at where things are sitting with the format based on the Leagues and Challenges from over the past week.

The first big thing to consider from this ban is exactly how is Mono Red Burn doing in terms of shifting to accomodate the lack of Swiftspear.

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There's not a huge amount of results on this one thus far, but the biggest thing to note about Burn is the abandonment of cards like Reckless Impulse and Wrenn's Resolve, at least within the first week. These cards were truly at their best with Swiftspear, due to the fact that a single one could represent 3-4 points of extra damage due to Prowess triggers from the Swiftspear itself, multiplied if you had multiple Swiftspears in play. These cards ensured that you didn't run out of gas but also that you didn't stop damaging your opponent because of the extra points granted to the Prowess creatures.

Without the best Prowess creature though... these cards don't do the same thing and don't fill that same upward velocity they had before. Sure, they can help draw more cards through your deck, but getting that extra benefit out of that was really the biggest reason to have them. Not having that same velocity means the cards just don't play that well like they did before. Instead these decks have leaned more on going wide with cards like Kuldotha Rebirth and Goblin Bushwhacker, while also having the potential to have a 2/2 right off the bat with Great Furnace into Goblin Tomb Raider.

The upside here is that it slows these decks down a ton. The old "multiple Swiftspear" then flurry of spells to close the game out no longer exists and the deck does have to consider what it spends mana on now. Furthermore, sweepers are a bit better versus the deck again as many of the creatures simply die to 2 damage or -2/-2 mass removal again, while Swiftspear did not die so easily to that.

That being said, with Burn in this state, what about the rest of the format? Well, I think it's rather expected that many of the other top decks that were floating around pre-ban have very much stepped in to fill that void, namely a lot of the blue decks. Azorius Affinity, Jeskai Gates, Terror in multiple forms, etc. have all become big parts of the format in big ways. Much of this is very much due to the fact that Mono Red being stepped down a bit means a lot less copies of stuff like Pyroblast floating about, but those decks that can adjust are already adjusting to that. The winner out of these is likely Jeskai Gates and Azorius/Jeskai Affinity as both of those decks have solid threats that don't get stepped on by Pyroblast effects and they too can run those same effects.

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The other big winner sofar it seems like is Golgari Gardens. This deck was already very good pre-ban due to the recent printings it has gotten from sets like Lost Caverns of Ixalan like Fanatical Offering and Tithing Blade, but being able to continually prey on the decks doing well is what this deck does best, so I expect we'll continue to see this deck perform quite well in the future.

There is some concern obviously about the format swinging over to the other side of the dichotomy and going very blue heavy, and I think there's certainly some merit to that fear. Without balancing the format on both sides it's certainly possible long term that decks like Terror and Gates could be the big long term winners. I definitely think more than a week will be necessary to see where the format ends up long term at this point, but I'm willing to let the format breathe a bit and see what pops up next.

Pauper Challenge 12/9

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 52 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 was again a popular deck in the event, but its win rate was quite poor overall. Azorius Affinity did very well as did Golgari. Gates/Dimir Terror and Mono Blue Terror also did very well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Azorius Affinity 1st LasVegasChaos
Jeskai Gates 2nd twister66
Mono Blue Terror 3rd renaar
Dimir Terror 4th abijhavs
Orzhov Aggro 5th AliEnWaRe_
Golgari Gardens 6th onebigpin_
Dimir Terror 7th msskinbolic
Turbo Fog 8th Kirblinxy

A pretty widely varied Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was Azorius Affinity that won.

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Azorius definitely seems like a deck that is going to prosper in the format at the moment, as it seems very strong. All That Glitters in general is a really powerful card.

In Second Place we had Jeskai Gates.

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I am liking the black splash here as it seems quite good versus a number of the decks replacing the original Burn lists with Swiftspear. Swiftspear did a great job of avoiding this kind of removal such as Suffocating Fumes or Arms of Hadar, but the other threats in the decks drop hard to this kind of removal.

Further down the Top 8 we had Orzhov Aggro.

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This deck is sweet. Lot of strong removal and creature options for sure here. The combination of Monarch + Initiative is strong for sure.

Pauper Challenge 12/10

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday event. This event had no data for it, so we don't know how many players were in it.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Walls Combo 1st Terminus0
Turbo Fog 2nd RitualSinkhole
Burn 3rd Bullz0Eye
Golgari Gardens 4th Aster17
Golgari Gardens 5th onebigpin_
Izzet Terror 6th djbmppwns
Golgari Gardens 7th NickNorman
Jeskai Affinity 8th Jose Guillermo

Lot of Gardens in the Top 8 here. At the end of the event though it was Walls that won!

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I dig this deck quite a bit. It's super fun and very interesting to play, as it plays a lot like old school Legacy Elves. Super fun deck to figure out for sure!

In Second Place we had Turbo Fog.

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I find it amusing that Generous Ent is the sole creature here. Very amusing indeed. It's a land cycler that can also be a creature when you stuff it back into your library with Stream of Thought. Super funny!

Also in this Top 8 we had Burn.

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Burn here focusing on the go-wide game plan in addition to some reach provided by Seal of Fire. It will be interesting to see how these decks continue to evolve over time.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Alex Ullman has a recap of this past weekend's events. Check it out here.
  • Kalikaiz has a video on Poison Storm. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

Sacrifice is 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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