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The Power of Pauper: Take Me Home, Thunder Roads

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 off to Thunder Junction and what cards from that set look sweet for Pauper! In addition to that we've got a few events to look at from over the weekend, as well as some discussion on the Pauper Format Panel.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Outlaws of Thunder Junction for Pauper

We've got another Standard set on the way in the form of Outlaws of Thunder Junction! This Wild Wild West has got some new mechanics in it, such as Plotting, Committing Crimes, and Sprees. Many of these mechanics are interesting things for sure. Committing a Crime is one of the more interesting ones, given that it's just shorthand terminology for any time you are targeting an opponent's cards or an opponent themselves.

Let's see what is in store for Pauper from this set! If there are any cards you think I missed, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

The Desert Lands

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One of the big things from this set is the advent of an entire cycle of ten tap lands (one for each color pairing) that all have the Desert subtype in addition to all of them committing a crime upon ETB by dealing 1 damage to target opponent. I am not 100% sure if these are any good in Pauper, but there is something to be said about a land that deals damage to an opponent. Most of the tap lands in the format have basic lands types for things like Lorien Revealed and Generous Ent, so a big issue there is that these lands can't be fetched by those cards. However, I could see these being played in more aggressive decks as uncounterable reach for their deck. 1 damage adds up over time in addition to other damage, so that could be interesting to see.

Dance of the Tumbleweeds

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The Spree mechanic is a modal Kicker-like mechanic where you pay the base cost and then choose one or more of the additional costs to cast the spell. You can't choose nothing, so it has to be one of the options. This card is neat because it can fetch one of the aforementioned Desert typed duals directly into play for 2G, or for 4G it can make a big creature late game, or it can do both for 5G. The versatility there is interesting for sure.

Explosive Derailment

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Another Spree card. This one either kills a creature for 2R or an artifact for 2R, but can do both for 4R. I'm always interested in versatile cards, but things like Cast into the Fire might be better than this.

Geyser Drake

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Kind of an interesting effect if you're interested in playing at instant speed on your opponent's turn, by reducing the cost of any of your spells by 1 on those turns. I don't know where this could go, but it's intriguing.

Highway Robbery

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This is the set's "Draw Two for 1R by doing a thing." I don't know if this is better than other variations of this, but it's worth noting that Plot is interesting. Plot is paying an up front cost and then exiling the card at Sorcery speed, and then you can cast it on a later turn at Sorcery speed. This could allow setup turns that would be interesting, but it's probably not better than other effects like this that already see play.

Mystical Tether

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I actually think this card is kind of cool. A Banishing Light that you can add 2 more into to cast as though it had flash is really sweet as an effect. It lets you hold up mana, and while it's costly, it can do some work if you need to hold up mana for something else and this comes up. Very curious card indeed.

Phantom Interference

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This is a neat card honestly. Being able to make a 2/2 evasive threat or counter a spell is cool, but late game being able to do both is super neat.

Raven of Fell Omens

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There are a LOT of cards in Pauper that commit crimes. Lots of them. Having a card that also drains even at once per turn for committing a crime is wildly interesting to me, especially on a 1/2 flier for 1B.

Reckless Lackey

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This is one I've certainly seen a lot of discussion on. A 1/2 with first strike and haste for R is already good stats on rate, but then the fact that you can cash it in any time (even at instant speed) for a Treasure token and a card is quite good. I expect this one will see play for sure.

Rodeo Pyromancers

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This feels a bit pricy at 4 mana value to cast and do things with, and you're only getting RR on the first spell. It might be interesting but I sort of doubt it.

Thunder Salvo

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It's too bad it's not any target!

Holy Cow

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The Pauper Format Panel - A Discussion

I've been recently seeing some discussion/discourse about the Pauper Format Panel. While I don't normally engage in this sort of thing, I feel very strongly about the fact that the Pauper Format Panel has consistently been one of the best things about Pauper from a format management perspective. The transparency and willingness to engage with the community overall by members of the PFP and to a greater extent Gavin Verhey has been absolutely incredible, and the changes made from their end have been very positive overall for me.

One of the common pieces of discourse I've seen as of late though is regarding individual members on the panel, and a supposed "devotion" to the format. I have seen arguments that people have made that the members of the panel don't either "play Pauper" or are seen putting out content about other formats instead of Pauper. I'm going to be as blunt as possible about this: these arguments are incredibly shortsighted. Scrutinizing these people who take time to engage with each other and Gavin to discuss this format is incredibly silly and makes absolutely no sense. It serves no purpose in giving the panel appropriate feedback and not only that feels utterly cruel to suggest someone doesn't understand the format because they aren't "seen" playing the format.

I'm someone who struggles a lot with impostor syndrome. It's a thing I've been very open about in the past. Please remember that words can hurt, especially suggesting someone doesn't know what they're talking about. The Pauper Format Panel members all have a diverse wide array of interests that aren't just solely devoted to Pauper as a format. They are allowed to have these other interests, obviously, as people. I myself not only enjoy Pauper, Legacy, and Vintage, but I also have a small fondness for smaller formats like Pioneer and to an extent Commander. I am allowed to enjoy a game of Commander with a friend or two. It doesn't mean that I don't know anything about the formats that I predominantly enjoy. The same holds true for our friends on the Panel.

It takes nothing to be kind and provide honest feedback to the PFP. The PFP through Gavin Verhey has mentioned that a "State of the Format" is coming within this month (source Tweet) so we should have some patience and understanding. Metagames take time to evolve and in Eternal formats especially are often slower to evolve. Not only is making off the cuff changes possibly problematic, but you have to understand what the implications of a change can be and what measures are available to understand that change. This is the work the PFP does, on a very consistent basis. A while back, I mentioned a panel that some members of the PFP alongside Gavin did at MC Chicago. A lot of information was shared at this panel about the details of the work the PFP performs and just how often they are discussing the format and possible ongoing changes/evolutions of the format.

It cannot be overstated that we can let the PFP perform their duties while giving them constructive feedback about the format's state. This doesn't need to include any sort of qualifiers about the panel itself, it should just be kind and constructive.

Pauper Challenge 32 3/30

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 60 players in it thanks to the data provided by Daybreak Games.

You can find all of the decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Dimir Faeries was super popular in this event and it had a reasonable win rate. Azorius Affinity had a poor win rate in this event. The other winner above the cutoff here was Jeskai Ephemerate.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dimir Terror 1st Captain_Tsubasa
Dimir Faeries 2nd Niederschatten
Dimir Faeries 3rd outZEROo
Burn 4th Make_it_Right
Jeskai Ephemerate 5th Foresterf
Jeskai Affinity 6th Marbo
Izzet Faeries 7th Brivenix
Cycle Storm 8th Tyerube1618

Quite a bit of Dimir in this Top 8, with some smattering of Jeskai decks and Burn. At the end of the event it was Dimir Terror that won.

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This is a strong looking list for sure. Extract a Confession is an adorable card, so it's cool to see it show up here. I like it.

In Second Place we had Dimir Faeries.

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Another deck playing at least one copy of Extract a Confession here, alongside a really strong shell here.

Also in this Top 8 we had Burn.

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Very fast and clean looking list here. These lists have done a good job of solidifying their game plan to this really blazing fast deck. However, it's got a lot of ways to combat this post-board so it's starting to really settle in now.

At the bottom half of the Top 8 we had Jeskai Ephemerate.

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I like this list a lot. It's quite strong and very interesting. It's fun seeing a Control-like deck do well.

Pauper Challenge 32 3/31

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday 32 player event, which had 56 players in it thanks to the data provided by Daybreak Games.

You can find all of the decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Azorius Affinity was the most popular deck but it's win rate was dragged down a bit despite a strong Top 8 finish. Most of the rest of the cutoff was pretty evenly spread out, with Bogles having done really well and Dimir Faeries done well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Boros Synthesizer 1st bolov0
Madness 2nd AdryannTheHero04
Azorius Gates 3rd kasa
Azorius Affinity 4th SorryImSoTilted
Bogles 5th medvedev
Jeskai Affinity 6th Walker735
Azorius Affinity 7th jonahc18043
Azorius Familiars 8th Gn42

Very interesting Top 8 here. At the end of the event it was Boros Synthesizer with All That Glitters in it.

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This deck has gotten a bit of attention lately as a move from Azorius to this more Boros heavy build. It definitely looks strong, but I have heard that hitting something like a Glitters off a Synthesizer trigger is pretty poor. We'll have to track this deck and see what happens.

In Second Place we had Madness.

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This deck is super fun looking. I love seeing things like Alms of the Vein and Fiery Temper.

Also in this Top 8 we had Azorius Gates.

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Solid looking list here. It's a strong game plan and very straightforward.

Down at the bottom of the Top 8 we had Azorius Familiars.

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I like this list as I do most Familiars lists. They all seem super fun to me, as it's just one of my favorite decks in the format.

Pauper Challenge 64 3/31

The final Challenge event of the weekend was the 64 player Sunday event. This event had 70 players in it thanks to the data provided by Daybreak Games.

You can find all of the decklists for this event here and the datasheet here.

Golgari Gardens was the most popular deck, and despite a strong Top 8 finish it's win rate was dragged down a bit. Of the decks above the cutoff, Dimir Terror did the best as well as Bogles.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dimir Terror 1st Andrea94
Dimir Terror 2nd Mogged
Orzhov Midrange 3rd PR0boszcz
Bogles 4th Jose Guillermo
Golgari Gardens 5th NickNorman
Bogles 6th yesicabyalexisf
Jeskai Affinity 7th Walker735
Dredge 8th Lennny

Interesting Top 8 here. The finals was decided with Dimir Terror versus Dimir Terror.

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Slightly different lists between both, with the first list resembling the deck that won the Saturday event with cards like Extract a Confession, and the second list more resembling an older variation of the list.

Also in this Top 8 we had Orzhov Midrange.

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This list is sweet. It's interesting to see both Inspectors here without having Kor Skyfisher though.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Dredge.

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I love that this deck exists, to be honest. It's nice that Dread Return found a home in a really interesting deck. This is something to keep an eye on as things go forward though. The better cards we get down the line, we get better Dread Return functionality.

Around the Web

  • Pauperwave has a report from Paupergeddon winnder Bragioto Pietro. Check it out here.
  • Alex Ullman is talking about Dust to Dust in the current Pauper metagame. Check it out here.
  • StompyMTG has a video on All That Glitters. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

As League results are now spread out across the week, let's dig in and find something spicy!

This Goblin aggro variant is pretty sweet. Goblin Sledder!

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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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