10. Celebrate the format around others

Be the Pauper champion in your playgroup. This is not saying that you have to be the best Pauper player around, but rather to celebrate what the format is all about. This can range from talking about cool deck lists that you see 5-0 a league, to asking your game store to create a Pauper channel in their discord server. By talking up the format in front of others, it lends social proof to your efforts at growing the scene. If they see you loving it, then they can picture themselves potentially enjoying it too.

Ponder by Dan Scott

9. Explain what the Pauper Format Panel is

The Pauper Format Panel is a relatively new thing for the format, but it’s been one of the best developments in recent years. It’s made up of prominent Pauper community members from around the world, as well as Wizards of the Coast Principal Magic Designer Gavin Verhey. This organization oversees any B&R decisions that happen for Pauper, with Verhey providing thorough video explanations. Transparency is a wonderful thing.

8. Advertise

If your LGS is good with it, put up some advertisements. I’m talking actual signs for people to notice in your gaming space. When cultivating my old store’s scene, I designed these fliers to catch the attention of store-goers. I chose to utilize familiar card arts that would draw people in from other formats, like Modern or Legacy. 

Ancient Stirrings by Vincent Proce

7. Build a battle box

If you have the financial ability to do so, put together a few extra Pauper decks, or as many as you can comfortably budget for. This gives people a chance to try out the format before buying into it. If you’re building out a full battle box of several decks, make sure to include decks of different archetypes, because people come to the format for different reasons. It’s worth recognizing that it’s easier to lend cards to people you know and trust, so if you’re not comfortable with this step, then it won’t make or break your efforts.

6. Talk about accessibility

Shortly after I finished building one of my dream decks, Legacy Death & Taxes, it evolved into a Yorion companion deck. That meant that I needed to put another $300+ into it, if I wanted to keep up with what’s happening in Legacy. Meanwhile, Pauper is one of the most financially accessible formats around. You can get into a Tier 1 Pauper deck for around $60-80, and even less if Wizards of the Coast decides to reprint Dust to Dust someday. The generally inexpensive price tag on commons means that you can ride the ebbs and flow of your build, and tinker with all sorts of things to find that competitive edge.

5. Clear up common misconceptions

Like any Magic format, people can have some misconceptions about Pauper. By talking through them with people, you can help them get a clearer picture on what it’s all about. For instance, Pauper isn’t as much of a “Brewer’s Paradise” as some might hope. If you’re going to brew something, it needs to keep up with decks that play heavy-hitters like Lightning Bolt, Brainstorm, Snuff Out, and Priest of Titania. The more times you encounter a common misconception, the better you’ll get at addressing them.

Thraben Inspector by Matt Stewart

4. Get your LGS on board and put on a tournament

If your Magic community is centered around a game store, then getting their support is huge. They can put events on their calendar, dish out prize support for winners, and talk about the format with other customers. Speaking from experience, it’s best to start out small when building out a tournament circuit. If you schedule events every week, then you might sputter and burn out before you really get going. Once every two or three weeks can be enough to cultivate it without burning people out.

3. Talk about gameplay

Pauper gameplay is one of the best reasons to play Pauper, and should definitely factor into your conversations. While it’s nice to get decks for cheap, that isn’t worth a thing if the format isn’t fun to play. Pauper gameplay is exciting and dynamic, with plenty of decision-making throughout a match. An inexpensive deck with Brainstorm might be what gets them in the front door, but it being fun to play will be what keeps them coming back.

2. Be consistent

As with any community organization, consistency is key. This can range everywhere from having events on the same night of the week, to sharing cool decklists with your friends when League or Challenge results come in. By staying consistent in your efforts, it’ll help get the point across to the people you want to reach.

Galvanic Blast by Marc Simonetti

1. Stay positive and patient

Growing a Pauper scene doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take time, and it might not even work out in the end. But what’s important is how you handle your own journey in making it happen. Regardless of how many people show up at first, staying positive will give you the drive to keep going. That’ll help you navigate the highs and lows of the process, and keep you focused on the main goal of growing your scene.

Travis is a writer and photographer from the wooded foothills of New York, currently living in South Carolina. He plays nearly every Magic format, but has a special love for Legacy, Premodern, and Canadian Highlander. He has loved Magic since Starter 1999, but he champions having a healthy mental and financial relationship with the game. When not playing games, he enjoys cycling, tea, and dog parks. You can follow his exploits here on Twitter and Instagram.

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