It’s been a little over a week now with the very first SCG Con event in the books and so much went on! It appears to have been a huge success, with the SCG Con website now reading a follow-up is due in December. Between an Invitational, an Open, multiple Classics, and even more numerous side events, there was a great deal going on. I myself went to play some Pauper, primarily in the Sunday Pauper Classic. With all the predictions I made before the event, how did the actual turnout reflect things?

For starters, the Challenge side events seemed to have a much smaller turnout that had some people worried for Sunday, with what appeared to be only about 20-30 people per event on Friday. If I said I wasn’t expecting many black decks, such as Dimir Control and Mono Black, the Challenge events seemed to not reflect that too much. While I still saw a decent variety, I noticed a pretty high number of these decks. I wondered if this would be reflective of the Classic come Sunday and unfortunately with some unfortunate illness hitting me pretty hard, I wasn’t able to gauge the field further during Saturday’s Challenge events.

When I arrived at the event, still recovering from my sickness, I went to register and asked how many players they had. Having been seeing updates on Reddit stating the afternoon before there were only about 30-40 registered players, there was a lot of worry as to how many people were actually going to show up. Thankfully we ended up with over 100 players (I read it as 125 based on tables at the player meeting but standings listed it as 123 total) which meant we had more than each of the Standard and Legacy Classics—a pretty sizeable achievement.

I sat down for my first match and looked all around the table on either side of me. I saw black decks, green decks, some Delver, even a Slivers deck. Across from me was online regular David Lee, aka ThrabenValient, who was rocking Boros Monarch sporting all kinds of cool Pauper swag. He beat me handily after some rough no-land openers on my end, but the quick defeat gave me more opportunities to look around at the field. Once I got to look around I saw all kinds of decks. More Elves, Stompy, a bit of Tron, some Inside Out Combo including one piloted by known MTGO grinder greenprinny in the flesh, and other grinder Jherjamesb on his trademark Mono Blue Millver. Even beyond that I saw decks like a Wall of Glare brew that got some talk on Reddit and even ran into an older rogue deck Enchantment Control piloted by someone who fell in love with it after watching grinder Mathonical’s deck tech videos on it.

Suffice it to say the tournament was a huge success with a large showing of variety. Surprisingly, some of the decks I expected to see hardly showed up. Looking around me I didn’t see anything that looked like Izzet Blitz or Mono White Heroic at all. Also I saw a little Tron but not anywhere near as much as what myself and others would’ve expected. As it’s been mentioned to me before, it can be hard to tune Tron to a blind metagame as well, so they may not have been able to go as far as they wanted based on this.

What I certainly didn’t expect was some of the decks we saw. After I lost that first round I proceeded to win every match I played which included, in order, Mono Black Zombies, Stonehorn Tron, the aforementioned Enchantment Control, Affinity (piloted by The Professor no less!), Stompy, and Mono Blue Delver. This got me into the top 8 and in the quarterfinals I found myself squaring off against Tortured Existence, a graveyard toolbox deck that does a number of different things. While the deck is strong, it can be notoriously difficult to pilot, especially online, so while it was more likely to see something in paper, I don’t think many expected it to turn up here.

Abzan Tortured Existence (8th Place SCG Pauper Classic by Christopher McDonnel)

Creatures (22)
Crypt Rats
Fume Spitter
Golgari Brownscale
Grave Scrabbler
Gurmag Angler
Horror of the Broken Lands
Kor Skyfisher
Satyr Wayfinder
Stinkweed Imp
Tilling Treefolk

Spells (15)
Abundant Growth
Dead Weight
Tortured Existence
Commune with the Gods
Lands (23)
Evolving Wilds
Jungle Hollow
Scoured Barrens

Sideboard (15)
Faerie Macabre
Horror of the Broken Lands
Lone Missionary
Qasali Pridemage
Standard Bearer
Wickerbough Elder
Circle of Protection: Red
Journey to Nowhere
Snuff Out

Once that first round finished with myself emerging victorious, I watched as three players on builds of Boros Monarch, Mono Black Control, and Dimir Alchemy all fell prey to Izzet Delver. This meant there were three in the top four, something echoed as well at GP Vegas this past Saturday. When all was said and done, I walked away with a trophy plaque and some other prizes and headed on my way, leaving the empty hall behind. When I got home and found the results listed online I saw even more decks popping up. It looked a bit standard fare, consisting mainly of the kinds of lists you’d expect to see filling out the top of the MTGGoldfish Pauper page, but the event was a smash success nonetheless.

The rumblings I heard following the event gave every indication that Pauper will be back for more big events in SCG’s future, and likely with ChannelFireball as well following a Championship event that featured over 200 players! With continued large showings and people showing up with all kinds of different decks, it’s hard to tell where the ceiling is going to be for the format. The growth is real and continuous. And with this growth comes the very real need for Wizards to acknowledge and sanction the format. Myself and many others walked away with but a single participation Planeswalker Point regardless of how well we played. It’s high time that changes and the format gets the recognition it truly deserves. Hopefully it happens by the time the next SCG Con event happens because I know I’ll see you there, ready and raring to sling some commons!

Kendra has been playing Magic since Urza block and never looked back. Playing a variety of formats and being known for championing Pauper in particular, the Elf Queen can be found hanging out on Twitter as well as streaming on Twitch, always seeking to better the community at large.

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