Hello! My name is Adrian Gwarzalez and I am one half of the world’s premier Pauper podcast, Color Commontary. With my credentials out of the way, let’s get into my new favorite format on Arena: Standard Pauper.

For those of you who don’t know, Pauper is an all-commons format defined by Wizards as follows:

“In this Magic Online format, all cards must have been printed at common rarity in a Magic Online set or product. Common promo cards are only legal if the card meets that qualification. If a common version of a particular card was ever released on Magic Online, any version of that card is legal in this format.”

Typically this format is played on Magic: the Gathering Online. But recently it came to Arena for a second time with a further restriction: the cards must all be Standard legal. As such, the last part of that definition turns into “common and legal in Standard.” That is Standard Pauper, and it’s available on MTG Arena until January 4.

With both of these restrictions, I can already hear you scoffing that this format must be at best woefully underpowered or at worst simply unfun. I am happy to say that neither is the case. Not only is the Arena event free, but you have a chance to score some sweet prizes in the form of a full-art Llanowar Elves or an alternate art Firemind’s Research. Now that your scoffing has turned to salivating, let’s get to decklists!

Dimir Control

I personally have had a lot of success with a Dimir Control list. I have completed six 5-x records, which has netted me four copies of Firemind’s Research plus a little Vault progress. As of time of writing I have a ten-to-one win/loss record since I started tracking my stats. You can see my full decklist at https://mtgarena.pro/decks/ub-pauper-4/. And you can watch me play the deck here:

The deck borrows heavily from folks who did well in the last event, but I have given it a small facelift to suit my own tastes. It seeks to control the early parts of the game with efficient removal like Fungal Infection and Moment of Craving, while building towards the mid to late game with cards like Divination. Once it hits five mana, you can go to town with Watcher in the Mist or Deadly Visit, which allows you to set up future draws thanks to the Surveil mechanic. I have also had some pretty sweet plays with Salvager of Secrets getting back Divination or relevant piece of removal.

My own little twist is Macabre Waltz, which is perfect for grinding out long games. Using Waltz to get back a Salvager and another creature and then having that extra insurance is really key. Devious Cover-Up lets you get back four cards late in the match while countering your opponent’s play, and helps you prevent decking yourself.

The other style of UB control deck is actually very good against my build as it includes a hexproof creature in the form of Cold-Water Snapper, which my deck is (fittingly) cold to: https://mtgarena.pro/decks/doomed-snapper-pauper-1/. In both of these lists you can see the strength of Surveil, and I think that these decks are the most powerful in the format. The format is full of low-to-the-ground aggro decks, and these Dimir decks pack a lot of removal and even a sweeper in Mephitic Vapors.

White Weenie

White Weenie, although very soft to the UB decks, is probably the second best deck in the format. I have played against it quite a bit, and it looks like it is very strong against the random assortment of decks folks might throw together with just their starting collection. The deck also has cards that match up well with Mephitic Vapors in the form of Martyr of Dusk and Hunted Witness.

Curving out is the name of the game. If the board goes uncontested you quickly pump out an army and swing for a lot of damage with Angel of the Dawn’s ability. The deck has a lot of snowball potential, and if aggro is what you like this could be the deck for you.   

Boros Aggro

Nipping right on the heels of the mono white deck is a Boros Build. Here we can see the deck leverage Boros’ ability Mentor with Hammer Dropper, Wojek Bodyguard, Blade Instructor, and Barging Sergeant. The deck also gets a little bit more in the way of reach and removal with Viashino Pyromancer and Shock.

Red Deck Wins

Rounding out the aggro decks is Mono Red. I think this is the worst of the bunch as it lacks the staying power of white’s creatures. I couldn’t find a list that ran it, but the most interesting thing this deck does is use Act of Treason to clear the way. I don’t think Boggart Brute is particularly good either, as it is easy to trade with or remove.

Izzet Wizards

The closest thing we have to a tempo deck, Izzet Wizards is pretty sweet on paper. This deck seeks to leverage a high instant and sorcery count to outpace its opponents and plays a Man-o’-War-esque card in Academy Journeymage. The deck also boasts some reach in Viashino Pyromancer, and has some explosive turns with Goblin Electromancer.

Golgari Saprolings

If midrange is more your thing and Slimefoot is more your king, look no further than Golgari Saprolings. The deck has some powerful plays in Saproling Migration, and is the closest thing we have to an Aristocrats-style deck with Thallid Omnivore. Some builds opt for less removal to play Costly Plunder, squeezing more value out of the tiny plants.

Rakdos Rats

Last but not least, we have Rakdos Rats. I saw some concern leading up to the event that Rat Colony would dominate, but I have yet to drop a game to them. The deck has explosive starts as landing four uncontested Rat Colonies by turn 4 is certainly powerful. The deck is soft to Cosmotronic Wave and Mephitic Vapors, however. If you like to cheese, this deck is the one that does it best. There are also a few blue builds floating around that use Take Flight.

Overall, the event is a lot of fun and where I have spent all my Arena time lately even after earning all of the promos. The format does seem pretty open, and you have nothing to lose as the event itself is free. I would wholeheartedly recommend trying it out if you want to break up the Ladder grind, and as a resident Pauper commentator I certainly wouldn’t mind if they had Pauper events up for longer. If you are interested, the event runs until January 4th, 2019.

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