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The Power of Pauper: Time for Second Breakfast!


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 talking all about the release of Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth on MTGO! In addition to that we've got some news about the League changes on MTGO as well as the Challenge data from this past weekend.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Rings of Power

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set is now officially live on Magic Online, so we're finally getting to see what Week 1 of having this set in Pauper is looking like. For the most part, much of the format has remained the same, but we have seen some very interesting cards see play across various decks. One of the biggest of these it seems is Lorien Revealed.

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This card was not quite in our set review on here, because I believe it may have been one of the cards revealed with the full spoiler. On the surface, a draw 3 for five mana doesn't seem all that powerful, but it is the secondary mode of Islandcycling that actually pushes the card over the top a bit. There's two big reasons for that. The first of which is that the Islandcycling ability fetches one of these:

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Being able to fetch a typed "dual" land is quite good, something that not even Ash Barrens can do. In decks playing these cards, Lorien Revealed is actually just better than Ash Barrens is since it can fetch a dual land, even if that dual lands is entering the battlefield tapped. The second upside here is that this is yet another way to pitch a Sorcery to the graveyard. This is exceptionally relevant for cards such as Tolarian Terror and Gurmag Angler, making this card a pretty huge slam dunk in Dimir Terror strategies.

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Another card that we saw a lot over last weekend's paper events (especially at Paupergeddon) was Lembas. Primarily we saw it a lot that weekend in Altar Tron variants, but the card has a lot of other usages and homes too.

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The fact that this is a card that not only scries and draws a card (when most of these effects usually just draw a card for two mana) is quite strong. It also can be sacrificed for life gain or to cards like Kuldotha Rebirth, at which point it shuffles back into the library, which is quite good.

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Finally, one of the third bigger cards we saw in a few places over the weekend was Cast into the Fire. This card seems exceptionally strong in Pauper. To put things in perspective, Affinity is definitely considered one of the format's top strategies and one of the most powerful things that the deck does is recursive threats with cards like Blood Fountain, meaning if you can kill one of their creatures typically it's going to come back later on. Another important aspect of that deck is the usage of Kenku Artificer in conjunction with the Modern Horizons 2 Bridge lands to make an indestructible threat. Having a card like Cast into the Fire which has strong versatility to exile artifacts, but can also take out small creatures is very powerful and I expect we'll see much more of that card in the future.

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Unfortunately, still no Food aggro deck. Come on folks, let's see it happen! I think the support is there, especially with Gingerbrute.

I think this set probably has a pretty minimal effect on Pauper overall sofar, but I think it will prove to be a good set for the format as well. The Ring mechanic seems to be pretty awful outside of Limited (where honestly, it's a pretty interesting and flavorful mechanic in Limited), so I don't expect much out of that for Pauper, but I do think good roleplayers and interesting build-arounds exist in the format for sure with this set.

League Changes to MTGO - No Longer!

Last week we reported that there were going to be changes upcoming to the MTGO Leagues for Pauper. It has been announced by Daybreak that after a lot of feedback from the community at large that these changes would not be implemented, so there is going to be no changes to League entry or prizing!

Kudos to Daybreak for their quick response on this one!

Pauper Challenge 6/24

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday event. This event had 51 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.

Gruul Ponza was the most played deck but it's win rate was actually pretty abysmal. The best performing decks of this event were Mono Blue, Dimir Terror, and Affinity. Burn did not do well either despite having a lot of players on the deck.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Dimir Terror 1st discoverN
Affinity 2nd LuffyDoChapeuDePalha
Dimir Terror 3rd Oscar_Franco
Mono Blue Faeries 4th Luca5937
Mono White Aggro 5th Stonedforkmystic
Mono Blue Faeries 6th _DissonancE_
Mono Blue Faeries 7th Backoff
Boros Synthesizer 8th _Bathutinha_

Quite a bit of Mono Blue here all in all. At the end of the event though it was Dimir Terror that won the event, utilizing a new card we talked about earlier in Lorien Revealed.

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Lorien Revealed seems to be a very reasonably strong card for this deck given that it acts as a land drop that can find Ice Tunnel (which is incredibly important really) but also a late game draw three. Seems quite good in a durdly control deck.

In Second Place we had Affinity.

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Pretty powerful list overall here, and we do get to see new card Lembas as we discussed earlier. I like Lembas here for sure.

As noted there was a lot of Mono Blue in this event, so let's look at the highest placing one.

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Very straightforward, clean, and powerful. This deck certainly has a stock list to it, and it doesn't need any frills to win games or look cute. It just initiates its game plan and crunches the opponent out of the game.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Boros Synthesizer.

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Another Lembas deck! I think this is another great place for that card. We also see new card Cast into the Fire as well here, which seems ultimately really good against the format where Affinity is a good deck. Being able to exile threats instead of destroying them especially since it can hit the indestructible Bridges is very strong.

Pauper Challenge 6/25

The second event of the weekend was the Sunday Challenge event.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here. There was no recorded data for this event so let's jump right into the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Affinity 1st O_danielakos
Dimir Terror 2nd sebastianpozzo
Jeskai Ephemerate 3rd ezocratto
Golgari Gardens 4th Leobertucci
Familiars 5th HughC
Dimir Terror 6th pepeteam
Burn 7th FerMTG
Dimir Terror 8th __Noob__

This time around there's a lot of Dimir Terror here and instead of it winning, Affinity won instead!

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Closer to normal stock lists here with no cards like Lembas. This shell is just a really good deck in Pauper and continues to be powerful.

In Second Place we did have Dimir Terror (a reverse!)

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More Lorien Revealed... It's probably nothing.

Also in this Top 8 we had Jeskai Ephemerate.

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I really like this deck myself. It's proactive and powerful, and it has some really strong cards in it. Also seeing here again new card Cast into the Fire.

Further down the Top 8 we had Familiars.

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This list is also trying out some copies of Lorien Revealed and playing the relevant snow tap-duals to fetch with it as well. Very interesting indeed.

Around the Web

  • The Card Market Deck of the Week is Grixis Affinity! Check out the article here.
  • We got a video on Altar Tron with Lembas. Check it out here.
  • Pauperganda has a video on Azor Aggro. Check it out here.
  • Three Must Try New Pauper decks from LOTR. Check out the video here.

The Spice Corner

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

Monowhite Ephemerate is kind of sweet.

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Presence of Gond + Midnight Guard is something I can get behind.

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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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