Friday, December 4, 2009

Adventures In Pauper

So I found myself on MTGO, which I've just recently got into, with 20 bucks to spare and a promise that I'd draft Nix Tix M10 tonight (I won 2 packs and got a Master of the Wild Hunt, so happy me). So I had about 8 bucks. What can you do on MODO for 8 bucks?

The answer is Pauper. Pauper is a format that only permits commons (or to be specific, cards that were printed as common at one point). There's a wide variety of Tier 1 and 2 strategies, as can be seen at this webpage.

I decided to go for Classic Pauper, and I decided to go for G/W Slivers. Unfortunately the Muscle Slivers would have taken up my 8 bucks right there, so my second choice was the old-school Orzhov Blink, which has fallen out of favor since M10.

The deck cost a grand total of 6 tix of clever bot-buying, and here's what I ran:

4 Blind Hunter
4 Chittering Rats
3 Phyrexian Rager
4 Ravenous Rats
3 Aven Riftwatcher
3 Mulldrifter
3 Shrieking Grotesque

4 Duress
4 Echoing Decay
4 Momentary Blink

9 Swamp
4 Orzhov Basilica
4 Plains
4 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Island

4 Circle of Protection: Black
4 Circle of Protection: Red
3 Oblivion Ring
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Aven Riftwatcher
1 Mulldrifter 

The only change I made from the list I started with was -1 Phyrexian Rager and +1 Shrieking Grotesque, and I'm fairly happy with the choice. Pauper can descend into creature stalls, and when 2/X's are the norm, races take a while. So a critical mass of fliers was pretty good.

I haven't got any matchups at the moment, but I have been enjoying it. One addition I'd like to make to the deck is Soul Stair Expedition, since it seems very powerful in this deck. They finally kill your blinkers, and you simply bring them back again. The ultimate recursion package.

Last Gasp and Okiba-Gang Shinobi were two cards I also purchased, since I figured they might be useful. I'm considering Duress in the side over Relic, and putting Last Gasp in main, since Kor Skyfisher shuts down a lot of my offence.

What I like about Pauper is that it's both very cheap, and it's competitive. It also seems to speak to the 'core' of Magic, since the commons are very in tune with the color pie.

Orzhov Blink is a deck of advantages. Gaining life, draining life, and gaining card advantage with Ravenous Rats and Mulldrifter, it's a strange kind of control deck, but a fun one to play. I think my next move will be to take out the Chittering Rats (which put a strain on the manabase) and the Duresses in order to add Last Gasp and Soul Stair Expedition, and see how it goes.

I think you'll be seeing a few more posts about Pauper in the upcoming weeks, since it's certainly piqued my interest. I'd also like to play a U/B Control list I saw floating around the tournament practice room, and if I want to, I can purchase it for the price of a lunch (as long as I don't add Daze to the deck).

So if you're on MTGO, give Pauper a try. It's great fun, and very cheap to get started. And you never know what fun you could have!


  1. Welcome to MTGO Pauper! It's the only format that stays both fresh and affordable for me.

    If you're interested, I could give you my Boros Blink list for some testing.

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