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The Power of Pauper: The Trickery of the Fae


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 delving into the world of the Fae... and some Ninjas. And some counterspells. That's right we're going to be talking about Faeries and Faeries variants in this week's article! Strap in and get ready to go pear-shaped! We've also got some Challenge data from this past weekend.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The World of Faerie

We're continuing our journey into the world of Pauper by now focusing one of the format's long defining decks. There's a number of different variants of this deck, and it is generally fairly interesting that the deck's name has generally stuck as Faeries, despite the fact that much of the deck's creature base is of another creature type in Ninjas.

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Ninjutsu in general is a powerful linchpin of the Faeries strategy. The deck deploys cheap evasive cards that have some effect (like scrying or even drawing a card) and then turns those cards around into bounces for deploying a Ninja that deals both damage and generally draws a card as well. Primarily the two seen in most of these variants are Moon-Circuit Hacker and Ninja of the Deep Hours.

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The key here is that these cards draw more cards. This lets the deck gather more resources and play a reactive style tempo game in order to progress to the end game and win. The Ninjutsu effect is also really good at bouncing repeatable effects you want to cast, most notable Spellstutter Sprite to be able to recast later to try to counter a spell.

The majority of this deck's variants operates on this axis. Deploy a cheap evasive threat, attack, and use Ninjutsu to bounce it, draw a card, and then recast the evasive creature to gain its effect again. It's a very powerful effect, and the major reason that mono blue tends to be the go-to version of this deck is primarily based in the fact that its mana is insanely good. It doesn't need to run tap lands to lose tempo, and it doesn't need utility lands. It just needs Islands, which makes it very powerful indeed. This alone has propelled the Mono Blue variant to the top of the format as one of its true best decks right now.

However, there are a few different builds of this same basic strategy. Not all of them are playing the same set of Ninjutsu creatures here. In fact often enough the Dimir variant doesn't play all of them.

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This variant leans more on a controlling style of gameplay as opposed to raw tempo, using its removal and counterspells to clear the way for their cheap threats that draw them more removal and counterspells. It also highly abused cards like Thorn of the Black Rose to gain the Monarch in games to outdraw the opponent.

Another variant of this deck that operates much like the Dimir one is the Izzet variant.

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Izzet functions a lot like Dimir does, utilizing slow, controlling elements like Lightning Bolt and Skred as its weapons of choice versus other creature decks. Because it is in red though, it also gains access to both Red and Blue blast effects, alongside cool cards like Fire // Ice.

Faeries is definitely a strong option in the current Pauper format to look into. It rewards deep decision-making and tight gameplay, and it is generally going to be a fun and tense strategy to learn.

Pauper Challenge 5/20

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 48 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 (big thanks to karl191 for this data sheet).

Burn and Gruul were the most popular decks here, with Gruul doing very very well overall. Burn had a middle of the road win rate here. In addition, Familiars did very well as did Jeskai Ephemerate.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Gruul Ponza 1st Skpchino
Jeskai Ephemerate 2nd Foresterf
Dimir Terror 3rd ecobaronen
Familiars 4th Gn42
Bogles 5th billster47
Mono Blue Faeries 6th _DissonancE_
Burn 7th boom_bust
Gruul Ponza 8th _Shatun_

Very interesting Top 8 here. Good spread of different decks here. At the end of the event though it was Gruul Ponza that won.

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These lists are always just about the cleanest things to look at. Nice solid 4-of's across most of the board (but then you get to three Skred), and it's just a really solid strategy right now. Attack their lands and attack their creatures with powerful removal and it's going to be very strong.

In Second Place we've got Jeskai Ephemerate.

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I like how Cleansing Wildfire is just a two mana ramp + draw a card when it targets one of the Bridges. One of the more amusing interactions with that card for sure.

Also in this Top 8 we had Familiars.

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Fairly solid-looking list here. I like Dawnbringer Cleric here quite a bit as a repeatable source of life gain with other upside utility.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Burn.

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Very clean and straightforward list here. It has a game plan and it knows how to execute it for sure. I like the singelton copy of The Autonomous Furnace as a source of card draw.

Pauper Challenge 5/21

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday event. There was no data on this event, so we don't have fancy graphs or know how many players were in it.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Affinity 1st LuffyDoChapeuDePalha
Jeskai Ephemerate 2nd immvp
Mono White Aggro 3rd jwaves
Ephemerate Tron 4th RClint21
Dimir Terror 5th qbturtle15
Walls Combo 6th QueMario
Burn 7th Ixidor29
Simic Ponza 8th Leobertucci

Definitely an interesting spread of decks here. Pretty much unique decks all across the board. At the end of the event though it was Affinity that won it all.

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Frogmite just being gone from these lists is super interesting, but both Gearseeker Serpent and Somber Hoverguard having evasion in some fashion is really important to sometimes being able to close a game out.

In Second Place we had Jeskai Ephemerate.

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This archetype has so much board control and removal, it's quite solid in that respect. Definitely a powerful deck to consider right now in the current format.

Also in this Top 8 we had Mono White Aggro.

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This deck is highly aggressive, putting a lot of power on the board and using its spells like Prismatic Strands and Journey to Nowhere as a board control option to delay death until it can defeat the opponent.

At the bottom of the Top 8 is a cool treat... Simic Ponza!

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Temporal Spring as a land destruction spell is absurdly cool. I am digging everything about this list as it looks incredibly super fun.

Around the Web

  • Card Market has an article on Poison Storm. Check it out here.
  • A great primer on Naya Gates by Pietro Laudati! Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

Boros Ephemerate is a pretty sweet list.

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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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