This afternoon, Wizards of the Coast announced that it was officially sanctioning the Pauper format and moving to unify the list of cards legal in the format. All cards that have been printed at the Common rarity in either paper or on Magic Online will be legal in the new Pauper format. However, three new cards will be added to the Pauper ban list: Hymn to Tourach, Sinkhole and High Tide.

Pauper has had a long and confusing history as a format, with discrepancies between the definition of what “all Commons” meant resulting in a lack of consensus about the actual legality of cards in the format. All of that will end on July 2, 2019, when the new Pauper format will be available on Magic Online. Every card that has been printed as a paper Magic card at Common will be legal, including cards like Forked Bolt that were only Commons in supplemental products like a Duel Deck, as will cards that were only released as Commons on Magic Online. Cards that are now legal in Pauper but do not have versions available on Magic Online will be added to the program via Treasure Chests where appropriate.

The new unified Pauper format will maintain its current ban list but will add three new cards: Hymn to Tourach, Sinkhole and High Tide. The July 8, 2019 Banned and Restricted announcement will include no additions to the Pauper ban list, but Wizards will keep a close eye on the format in the coming months to monitor for any unhealthy trends.

Pauper legality will be searchable on Gatherer on July 9, 2019.

A Massive Change to Pauper

The largest impact of today’s announcement will be the sheer volume of cards that will be available in the format—minus the three cards that have been preemptively banned. This update will add 400+ cards to the format, including powerful cards like Merchant Scroll, Desert, and Ashnod’s Altar.  A  second huge impact will be the official sanctioning for the format. It will finally be possible for a player to grind Pauper events for byes at Grand Prix, or for a local game store to run a large-scale Pauper event with full Planeswalker points awarded to players.

Pauper players have been calling for these changes for years and today’s announcement represents a huge shift in the approach that Wizards of the Coast is taking to the format. It provides a level of legitimacy for Pauper, especially in paper, that had been missing until now. Stores had differing pools of legal cards and ban lists, with two of the notable options being ChannelFireball using the Magic Online legality and ban list with Card Kingdom’s Rags to Riches using a unified (both online and paper) pool of Commons and an in-house ban list.

The full extent of these changes is hard to calculate, but they all appear to be beneficial to Pauper as a format. With this newfound sense of legitimacy, we may very well have large Grand Prix-scale events for a format that was confined strictly to the realm of Magic Online just weeks ago.

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