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By: DimeCollectoR, Jason Moore
Apr 04 2017 11:00am
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Hi folks! 

While we are considerably far off from getting a full spoiler of Amonkhet, we have received a glimpse at the set's general direction, flavor and some of its mechanics. We've even gotten a few interesting commons to talk about! Will these cards be applicable to Classic Pauper, and if so, to what degree? Let's dive in and see if we can come up with a reasonable answer!

Unwaveringly Average 

While some have declared online that Initiate's stats are more or less in line with the power level of Pauper, I have to say that I disagree. The only three-mana creatures with 2 toughness in the format generate some kind of immediate effect when they enter the battlefield or when they die (Chittering Rats, Phyrexian Rager, Stormbound Geist). Initiate fails to meet this standard, perishing to every one mana and up kill spell that sees play (this is going to end up being quite a detriment in my eyes). 

As far as combat is concerned, it's nice that the human warrior from Amonkhet attacks profitably into Augur of Bolas. This positive attribute is tainted, however, by the fact that he also trades down with Pauper's potential rookie of the year Burning-Tree Emissary. The speed of the format, as partially dictated by Emissary, will further make it difficult to ever get around to embalming this guy to have any considerable impact on the game. 

The vigilance portion of the card is deceptively potent, and very much resembles the combat effectiveness of Dark Ascension's Loyal Cathar. The opponent does not feel good trading their creature for “half” of our card so Initiate will be able to attack with impunity a good deal of the time, while simultaneously keeping their attackers at bay. This does not necessarily paint the whole picture though. The second half of our card does not enter the picture until later in the game, and it takes up a whopping five mana (which can only be cast during our turn). So at the risk of immediately contradicting myself, opponents will in fact be more willing to trade their creature for Unwavering Initiate than we might have been expecting them to. 

If my initial appraisal of Unwavering Initiate ends up being inaccurate and the card achieves a high level of popularity in our format, we might eventually see an uptick in the viability of removal spells like Magma Spray, Pillar of Flame and Complete Disregard. These cards may already find themselves on the rise, since Mono Green Stompy currently dominates the 5-0 metagame and never seems to leave home without four copies of Young Wolf

Something More Solid 

 

My immediate instinct is to consider this card in Pauper Hexproof decks. I have to say that I like it there for a couple of reasons. 

Firstly, it only costs a single mana so it will be relatively easy to “slip through” and/or quickly get our Bogles out of sweeper danger. Next, the card replaces itself somewhat by generating a guy. This is most relevant to Hexproof because it adds a populace to the board for the purpose of soaking up edict effects. Cards like Chainer's Edict represent some of the most potent answers to the Hexproof deck's “Voltron” strategy, so Cartouche of Solidarity achieves multiple goals at once by not only beefing up our threat and cooperating with Ancestral Mask and Ethereal Armor, but also by throwing a wrench in the works of black-based control decks. 

If granting +1/+1 wasn't enough, the bestowing of first strike on our creature can be an absolute nightmare for opponents who were hoping to trade a few of their blockers for our big threat. 

It should now be clear that by nullifying not only edicts, but also 1 damage sweepers and gang-blocks, this card is capable of swiftly and pitilessly closing every window of escape that our opponents possess. It is a card that stops the opponent from stopping us in essence, as it functions as a potent form of countermeasures against most of the format's opposing contingency plans. 

The more I write about this card, the less I see any reason whatsoever to avoid putting this into a Hexproof deck. There is so much potential upside, all for the very low cost of W. This card is a solid base hit, and over time might end up proving to be a home run. 

As of right now we don't really know the significance of the card subtype “cartouche” so I'm just going to leave that alone. We should be sure to keep an eye on it, however, for the purpose of identifying future synergies. 

Remember the Name 

A number of Pauper players have already experimented with variations of Zombie tribal before. Playing a key role in many of these decks are the cards Ghoulcaller's Chant, Ghoulraiser and Nameless Inversion. There are actually a decent amount of cards with the zombie creature type stumbling around in Pauper, including Gray Merchant of Asphodel and Gurmag Angler. With Amonkhet approaching we can be sure that even more zombies are on their decaying way. 

(In Oketra's Name) offers an efficient enough rate that splashing white for this anthem-style effect might actually yield positive results. We've clearly seen the impacts that Rally the Peasants has had on established archetypes like Kuldotha Boros already, and (unlike Rally) this thing provides the benefit of boosting toughness to keep our guys alive. If we somehow need to run non-Zombies alongside our primary creature threats, the instant fortunately doesn't end up punishing us all that much. 

Personally I feel that In Oketra's Name will require a bit more support from the new set to make it into the arena of commons only, but that level of support could certainly be showing up in future spoilers. If all we end up getting are overly expensive creatures with embalm, then I'll likely be persuaded to pass on this little number altogether. 

As far as I can tell, this covers all of the interesting/promising Amonkhet commons so far. Here's hoping for a lot more! 

An Initial Thorny Sketch 

For those who read my last article, I want to let you know that Thorn of the Black Rose has not disappointed in the slightest.

 

Here is the list I've been testing here and there. It's a deck that can keep the board clear for us to secure monarch, but also doesn't fold to less-interactive (yet undoubtedly lethal) strategies like Burn. 

BW Black Rose
By Jason Moore - 75 Cards Total
Creature
2 Gurmag Angler
4 Kor Skyfisher
4 Lone Missionary
3 Phyrexian Rager
4 Thraben Inspector
3 Thorn of the Black Rose
17 cards

Instant
1 Doom Blade
1 Grim Harvest
1 Tragic Slip
3 cards
Sorcery
3 Chainer's Edict
1 Duress
1 Evincar's Justice
4 Night's Whisper
9 cards

Enchantment
2 Dead Weight
4 Journey to Nowhere
6 cards
Land
2 Mortuary Mire
4 Orzhov Guildgate
7 Plains
4 Scoured Barrens
5 Swamp
22 cards
 


Sideboard
2 Battle Screech
1 Circle of Protection: Green
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Doom Blade
2 Duress
1 Echoing Decay
1 Evincar's Justice
1 Gurmag Angler
2 Leave No Trace
2 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Thorn of the Black Rose
15 cards

 

So far the deck's been working quite well! I just might be back with more info on it soon. 

Dime's Up 

Have any thoughts about Amonkhet and its cache of commons? You can always comment and let me know! 

You can also follow me on Twitter (@DimecollectorSC) for MTG-related updates and info! 

Bye for now!