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The Power of Pauper: The Future of Gardening

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 how some of the new Ixalan cards will be impacting Pauper, with a specific look towards Golgari Gardens. We've also got two Challenges to discuss.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Garden Growing!

Lost Caverns of Ixalan is coming pretty soon here, and with it we're talking about how much of that set will be impacting Pauper in small ways. One of those ways is specifically in looking at Golgari Gardens as a deck with the new Ixalan set, and a lot of that focus is on one new inclusion.

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As we talked in our set review, Draw 2 effects like this in the same vein as Deadly Dispute are always going to be very good in Pauper. This one is definitely above the cut of most of these kinds of spells (outside of Dispute which is the current gold standard of these) since like Dispute it creates a token out of the exchange. There are a number of cards you want to sacrifice in Pauper to these effects, namely cards like Ichor Wellspring or Lembas, and specifically in Golgari Gardens there's also other effects that make tokens like Khalni Garden.

Prior to this set, the deck was not only playing Dispute but it was also playing Reckoner's Bargain, and I think that this new spell will likely entirely supplant Bargain in this deck.

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The big upside of a Map token here is pretty evident. It's easy to have a creature to use it on as between its typical creatures the deck again has stuff like Khalni Garden, so you're more than likely always going to have a creature to Explore with. Explore is a pretty powerful mechanic as well. It's going to reveal the top card of your library and if it's a land, you're getting to draw it, that's great. Card draw is awesome. That land might be a Khalni Garden that makes another creature.

If it's a nonland card though you gain an interesting choice. Always with nonlands you're going to put a +1/+1 counter on the creature. This is relevant in a lot of ways. You might be able to make your Crypt Rats a 2/2, which can let it repeatedly wipe X/1s without killing itself. You might make your Thorn of the Black Rose a 2/4 and make it a bit of a beefier defensive threat. You might even make your 0/1 Plant token into a 1/2, which means it can do things like steal Initiative away or Monarch. You're also getting a choice about where to put that nonland card. If it's a card you know you don't need then it can go into the graveyard which clears out a dead draw. If it is a card you want, putting it back on top and then drawing it with an additional effect is strong.

I don't see the Golgari deck fully leaning onto this, because Deadly Dispute is quite strong and is again, a gold standard for a reason. But I do see some number seeing play in this deck of Fanatical Offering because of how incredibly flexible the Map token and Explore mechanic is. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how players adjust to playing this in their decks for sure.

Pauper Challenge 11/4

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 57 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.

Mono Blue Terror was the most popular deck here and it did very well in terms of win rate. Dimir Faeries also did very well, as did Affinity. Burn did poorly here.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dimir Faeries 1st ezocratto
Jeskai Gates 2nd carrot_eater
Mono Blue Terror 3rd Purgatory_01
Mono Blue Terror 4th AliEnWaRe_
Orzhov Gates 5th Kirblinxy
Mono Blue Terror 6th Brivenix
Grixis Affinity 7th Beicodegeia
Mono Blue Terror 8th Giaws

Quite a bit of Mono Blue Terror here in the Top 8. However at the end of the event, it was Dimir Faeries that won.

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Very clean and straightforward list here. Agony Warp is a pretty cool spell in this kind of deck, as is Murmuring Mystic.

In Second Place we had Jeskai Gates.

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This deck having the ability to play to both the red and blue matchups has allowed it to really flourish, making some things really interesting in the current format as Gates has certainly become a predominant strategy at the moment.

Also in this Top 8 we had Orzhov Gates.

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Oh this deck is cool. Getting to use stuff like Breathless Knight and even stuff like Scrapwork Mutt is pretty cool. I'm digging this list.

Pauper Challenge 11/5

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 for this event.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Gates 1st carrot_eater
Jeskai Affinity 2nd PaoloSanto
Dimir Terror 3rd pepeteam
Jeskai Gates 4th ziofrancone
Dimir Faeries 5th ezocratto
Azorius Affinity 6th LasVegasChaos
Dimir Faeries 7th bernardocssa
Grixis Affinity 8th Hamuda

Not a huge amount of variety here honestly. At the end of the event it was the Gates player from the Saturday Second Place who won.

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I actually really appreciate how much fun and interesting The Modern Age is in this format. Sagas in general are interesting design space to me, so having one that is Pauper playable is pretty cool.

In Second Place we had Jeskai Affinity.

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Merging the All That Glitters game plan into things that Grixis Affinity would typically be doing is pretty cool. Fling seems really cool when you want to push through the last bit of damage from your big creature.

Also in this Top 8 we had Dimir Terror.

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Interesting for sure still seeing this deck around despite the popularity of Mono Blue. Still, having a bunch of countermagic and spells that destroy creatures in some fashion is quite good.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Alex Ullman has a wrapup of last weekend's events. Check it out here.
  • MTGO player Kirblinxy has a video on Golgari Gates. Check it out here.
  • Pauperganda has a video on Jeskai. Check it out here.
  • StompyMTG has a video on the Top 5 Cards from Ixalan. Check it out here.
  • Kalikaiz has a video on Goblins Combo! Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

Orzhov Reanimator!

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Okay this Turbo Fog list is SPICY. Mirkwood Bats as just a way to attack with the Gates?!?!?!

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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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