Welcome to Pauper’s Pit! This column is going to dedicated to my continuing search for what can be the most accessible format for new and returning players. Just getting started and want something (relatively) inexpensive to build that’s fun for casual? Pauper. Have boxes and boxes of old commons laying around? Pauper. Have friends that have more cards than they know what do do with? Pauper.
This column will be focusing first on the five decks, each based on the stages of the metagame clock for deck designs, then stretching out from there. What’s that? Not everyone knows about the metagame clock? In short, it was proposed that there are, functionally, five types of deck, with one being better than the one before it and worse against the one immediately following it. It’s like one big rock-paper-scissors game. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on Beatdown, Midrange, Combo, Control, and Agro-control. What each of those does is really best summed up by an article at SCG by Will Rieffer and Mike Mason from back in 2008: http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/694_The_Metagame_Clock_Revisited.html
I’m not going to focus too much on it as I just wanted to use it as a context for what decks I’ll be showing. Who am I?
A short bit about me as a magic player.
I am not a competitive player. Don’t get me wrong. I like to win. But I am, as they say, a Johnny. Magic, to me, is a creative experience and, if I can win in an unexpected way or with something I built myself, all the better. Not all of decks are going to be tier 1. I doubt many of them would be tier 3, if such things existed. But I like to think they’re fun, functional, and improvable to other people’s style of play.
And now about pauper:
For those of you not familiar with Pauper as a format, this is per the mothership’s website at https://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/resources.aspx?x=magic/rules/pauper.
Pauper is a Magic Online format in which all cards used must have been printed at the common rarity in a Magic Online set or product. Common promo cards are only legal if the card has been printed at the common rarity in a set or product. Other than that, the usual rules for Constructed decks apply (a minimum deck size of 60 cards in the main deck, an optional 15-card sideboard, and so on). If a common version of a particular card was ever released on Magic Online, any versions of that card printed at other rarities are also legal in this format.
Example: Counterspell was a common card in the Seventh Edition core set, which was released on Magic Online. Counterspell was reprinted in Masters Edition II with an uncommon expansion symbol. Both versions of the card can be used in the Pauper format.
Example: Hymn to Tourach, another uncommon from Masters Edition II, is not legal for use in the Magic Online Pauper format. Even though Hymn to Tourach was printed as a common in The Fallen Empires set, that set was never released on Magic Online
The Pauper banned list is:
So let’s get started, shall we?
Today, we’re going to start with my favorite deck and current MtGO pauper deck of choice.
The Millions (and Millions) of the Gaurd’s Fans
How the deck works.
Millions, surprisingly, is a Green/White combo deck. Most every card in the deck is designed to support, enable, or prevent your opponent from stopping your combo from going off. Let’s start with the combo itself.
This unassuming pair of three drops is one of the few infinite combos in pauper. How it works is thus:
Enchant Midnight Guard with Presence of Gond. Tap Midnight Guard. Create a 1/1 Elf Warrior Token. This triggers Midnight Guard, causing it to untap. Repeat ad absurdum. This leaves you with an arbitrarily large number of Elf Tokens that must have an answer by next turn.
How does the rest of the deck fit in?
Aside from the obvious mana ramp cards, you have 2 Essence Warden and 2 Soul Warden. While you could play one color over the other, I find having two in each makes it less likely you’re not going to be able to drop one if needed. Also, when at least one of them is in play and you combo off, congratulations. You just gained an exceedingly large amount of life.
Lastly, you have 2 Timberwatch Elf. These are a good plan B. If you find yourself with multiple Presence of Gond, tacking one onto an Essence Warden while Timberwatch Elf is in play gives (at least), a 3/3 chump blocker every turn while netting you one life.
As I usually just one and done casual games with this, I hadn’t focused too heavily on sideboards. From my own experience, storm decks (another combo deck) may give you issues. Beatdown decks are usually stopped by the combo, and Midrange is hampered by Ranger’s Guile. Mostly more protection for your Midnight Guard. The Evolution Charm operates as both land search and an extra Midnight Guard, should your opponent kill one.
Well, that wraps up our first article. As always, I look forward to your feedback. Join us next time in EDH for my Ten Guild Challenge. If you’re still here, thanks for reading.