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The Power of Pauper: The End of 2023


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 celebrating all that was 2023 as it relates to Pauper! In addition to that we've only got one Challenge to discuss because the Sunday event did not fire due to the holidays in the US.

Furthermore, this isn't just my final Pauper article of 2023, it's my final article of 2023! I want to thank everyone who is reading all of my articles, because it's really awesome getting to see how people are enjoying them.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Year That Was 2023

2023 was quite a year for Magic in general, but especially for Pauper. A lot happened for Pauper in 2023, so let's go through some of the big hitters.

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth

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I think one of the biggest changes to the Pauper format this year definitely came in the form of The Lord of the Rings. The introduction of cards such as Lorien Revealed and Troll of Khazad-dum alongside new powerful effects like Lembas were huge shifts in Pauper. Lorien Revealed alone shifted many of the format's existing blue decks and was partially responsible for the creation of the Mono Blue Terror decks.

Commander Masters and the Amount of Downshifts

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Masters sets usually come with several downshifts, and it's in these sets that usually something breaks (see stuff like Peregrine Drake), but Commander Masters added such a huge amount of cards to the format with its downshifts that its downshifts created all sorts of brand new decks. Cryptic Serpent completed the other half of the threat base needed to make Mono Blue Terror a deck, and All That Glitters enabled things like Azorius and Jeskai Affinity to exist.

This set still has a bunch of cards that people are still figuring out, stuff that is sort of unfair cards like Dread Return. The long-term ramifications of this one have fully yet to be finally seen I feel.

The Release of "Name Sticker" Goblin on MTGO

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Another big event that precluded the banning of Monastery Swiftspear just this past December, the custom implementation of "Name Sticker" Goblin on Magic Online by Daybreak Games was a bit of a rocky road to getting the card to how it works now. Many of the Pauper community were fairly helpful to Daybreak during this time, providing a lot of feedback to them via their Discord, to which Daybreak was exceedingly receptive to in working through this very first-ever custom implementation of a card to make this available for both Pauper and Legacy.

As it turns out, since the banning of Swiftspear, this card doesn't see much play now. Such is life!

Wilds of Eldraine and Lost Caverns of Ixalan

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The end-of-the-year Standard set offerings very much had a real impact on Pauper as a format, introducing several cards that work with several different archetypes. Both of these sets had some strong offerings, but Lost Caverns of Ixalan certainly did a lot with cards like Tithing Blade and Fanatical Offering.

The Creation of this Column

For myself personally, one of the big things this year in Pauper was the conception of this column! I started this column on April 7 of this year, and it has been great to see how much we've had to talk about week to week about the Pauper format. I'm very much looking forward to 2024 for Pauper and what kind of cool and interesting new cards we'll get to play in the format!

Pauper Challenge 12/23

As noted before the only Challenge event that fired this weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 49 players in it thanks to the new data by Daybreak and the efforts of the Castle of Commons Discord.

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

Burn was up there as well as Terror, but despite two Top 8s, Burn's overall win rate was dragged down a bit. Terror's win rate was quite good and the rest of the field here was hovering below and above 50%.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Mono Blue Terror 1st FerMTG
Burn 2nd msskinbolic
Jund Dredge 3rd medvedev
Jeskai Affinity 4th Hamuda
Jeskai Ephemerate 5th DenisevichAlexey
Burn 6th _DissonancE_
Dimir Faeries 7th Make_it_Right
Azorius Gates 8th carrot_eater

Definitely an interesting and mostly varied Top 8 here. At the end of the event, it was Mono Blue Terror that won.

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Highly straightforward and clean list here, plus the cleanest mono-color manabase you'll ever see.

In Second Place we had Burn.

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I think these new incarnations of the Mono Red Burn deck are reasonable. They're easier to play against it looks like than the previous iterations with Swiftspear without having to go too overboard on life gain or blue blasts.

Also in this Top 8 we had a sweet DREDGE deck.

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I am loving seeing Dread Return utilized in such a fashion! The basic gist of this deck is to self-mill with a lot of the creatures, but you can also bin cards like Generous Ent and Troll of Khazad-dum very easily. Then you just jam Dread Return into Lotleth Giant and defeat your opponent that way. Pretty cool!

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

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I like this list a lot, very clean and solid. Faeries has always looked very fun and interesting to play and new effects like Lorien Revealed have continued to improve the deck.

Around the Web

  • Bryant Cook is cooking up some Cycle Storm! Check it out here.
  • StompyMTG has a video on Kuldotha Burn. Check it out here.
  • Kalikaiz has a video on Jeskai Glitters Affinity. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

There are now several League postings every day so I'm going to pull from those now!

I really love these Orzhov Midrange piles. They look like so much fun.

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This one is cool. A very Turbo-esque Synthesizer deck.

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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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