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By: JustSin, Dave
Apr 03 2012 9:05am
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The BnR

Hello everyone!  Now I know I usually try to stick to the fun side of Pauper and look at things that can be done in casual play, but this week I felt the need to bring up the discussion of the Banned and Restricted list as it relates to this format.  I had originally intended to have this article completed in response to the announcement of the recent BnR changes, but wanted to finish looking at multicolored Pauper decks first.  Now I do ask that you take it all with a grain of salt and please feel free to add your comments.  The point of this article is to get the discussion going on the topic and see what ideas the community has when it comes to Pauper's BnR.  I'm not so egotistical as to see myself as some end all when it comes to the subject, but did want to voice my opinions.  One of the best things about this game is when people come together and bring about intelligent insight.  Before we get deep into this subject let us take a look at how the competitive scene looked last week...


The Competitive Corner

Ladies and gentlemen!  Boys and girls!  All our worries can be saddled once again as all is right in the world once again!  Yes that is right Slivers are once again back as a competitive Pauper deck!  I know we're all very excited by this, but we should focus on the more pressing issues at hand... This was a pretty nice week for Pauper players as we not only had the usual array of Daily Events, but TNMO was featuring Pauper as well!  There was one deck in particular, which I talked about in last week's article, 5-color control, which was completely original and awesome.  We also had an appearance by RebelPost during the TNMO events!  During the regular events of the week we see, once again, a dominate performance by MUC, which had 32 more showings than the #2 deck!  I won't rant on about this and instead save it for the later part of the article in looking at the BnR, but I'd just like to say... wow.  The rest of the top 10 was pretty much the same as always.  The breakdown was pretty smooth outside of the usual top decks and a number of cool rogue decks showing up as well.

As always the names in red are the decks that went 4 - 0 in their events.  Here's the past week's meta in chart form...

Please note that the results from the TNMO events are listed separately on the far right in the table above (in case you missed that) and are not sorted.  Also there were a couple of decks left off the TNMO list due to formatting.  Those would be:

1. RDW - 1
2. Rebel Post - 1
3. 5c Teachings - 1
4. GreenPost - 1

I always find it interesting that the results of the TNMO events are often times not matched up to what we usually see during the regular Daily Events.  I think the best part about Slivers wasn't just the fact that they have finally showed up again, but that they won enough games to not fall into my rogue category.  We had a full five showings from Slivers at the end of the week and I expect more to come.  We also enter into yet another week without a showing from the RG Aggro/Burn deck that had, for a while, made a decent showing for several weeks on the competitive scene.  We also have seen the deck that I've titled as DimirTrinket (and please feel free to correct me on the name) finally get over last week's bump where it was stuck as a rogue.  Here are this week's rogue decks...

1. GW Tokens - 3
2. Rak Deck Wins - 2
3. RDW - 1
4. Orz Deck Wins - 1
5. MonoBlack Aggro - 1
6. GW Aggro - 1


The Great Debate

A few weeks ago when the rumor mill started and the usual whispers were going around the web about an update to the Banned and Restricted (BnR) List for Magic, I had expected that there would be very few changes.  I think it is a great thing that when Wizards does decide to make changes to the current BnR list that they do not do so with big sweeping gestures.  The game would lose credibility in my mind if we were constantly getting updates from Wizards where 5-10 cards per format were being added/removed.  This is an exaggeration, but I think you get my point.  I also go into all changes thinking that the main focus of Wizards is going to be on formats deemed "more important" by the general population, i.e. Standard and Block.  Perhaps it is my bias, but I always feel like these are deemed the more important formats because they are current.

Ranting aside, I feel that every Magic player sits and eagerly awaits the news regarding their favorite format, with each player speculating and worrying that they're deck of choice may no longer be viable.  I for one, was no different than them.  When the list was finally announced I was and was not surprised that Pauper did not make the list.  Anyone familiar with the game can understand why Wizards decided to make the changes to Block that they did and I'll save the discussion on the 100CS changes for someone else (but needless to say I am curious as to what prompted the change in a format that does not see competitive play).  Since there was nothing of note for my format of choice, Pauper, I decided it only seemed logical that I take a minute to look at what my thoughts where when it came to the Pauper BnR list.  Let's start by taking a look at the current BnR...

The list is of course very small having only Frantic Search and Cranial Plating as banned and nothing as restricted.  To the best of my knowledge Cranial Plating is a card that has been on the Pauper ban list since the creation of the format.  I'm not sure exactly when Frantic Search was banned, but I know it was a reactionary banning.  When I first started getting into Pauper I was forever amazed at the lack of additional cards on this list and would love to at least know if the people over at Wizards are at least considering other cards that may/may not be banned in this format.  That being said I don't think that either of these cards should be removed from the banned list.

I think Cranial Plating is an obvious choice as it would make Affinity completely overpowered.  This equipment has been a heavy driving force in why Affinity decks have been powerful in other formats and I would even go as far as to say that printing Cranial Plating at common was perhaps a mistake.  The key to this banning is the fact that by removing Cranial Plating Wizards has been able to reel in Affinity without completely killing off the deck type.  The same can be said, perhaps, for the recent bannings in block constructed.  The key when banning a card is not necessarily to kill the deck-type, but bring the power level back (sometimes easier said than done).

While Cranial Plating may be an obvious choice for banning some people may not be as familiar with Frantic Search.  This card was an important piece in the FissureStorm deck that uses Temporal Fissure to bounce away all your opponent's permanents.  The current mana engine for the deck is based upon untap cards like Snap and Cloud of Faeries.  With the additional draw provided by Frantic Search this deck was able to completely dominate the meta.  The deck would be able to storm off Temporal Fissure on all your opponent's permanents and lock up the game by bouncing Mnemonic Wall as well every turn to get your storm card back.  This is incredibly un-interactive as well as being significantly slower than facing the other versions of Storm.

So this brings us to the discussion regarding possible future bannings.  When discussing this you have to first start by looking at a possible deck that has become so dominate in the format that it really takes away from not only the competitive ability of other decks, but the basic fun of it as well.  Now I know this means many things for many people, but there are three culprits that sit in our top three from week to week... (and it's important to point out that these three decks make up approximately 50% of the decks that end in the money each week!)

Call it bias, but I'm going to start with the deck that I feel is the biggest hindrance to this format....

In my articles alone I have gone through and tracked four weeks so far of competitive Pauper and what decks pulled in winning records.  Over these four weeks MonoBlue Control (MUC) has been the top deck in three out of four weeks.  This includes two weeks where it was ahead of the second place deck by 20 or more and a Daily Event where every deck that placed was MUC.  I do believe that meets the first item on my list of criteria, dominating the format.  I don't think anyone can argue with the fact that MUC is one of the toughest matches for a lot of decks and that it is very un-interactive.  Draw-go is always a strong deck, but in Pauper we've found ourselves in a format without anything that can fit along the lines of "cannot be countered" at a common rarity.  In a lot of cases the best way to compete against this deck is to jump on the Counterspell bandwagon.  This makes other counter magic decks like Izzet/Dimir Post a good choice because, hell, if you can't beat 'em join 'em!

This is where the tricky part is... how do you slow down the power of MUC without killing the deck all together?  Out of all the decks I find that this issues is most tricky for this deck since there are so many decks and so many "threats" that it could still survive without!  Some decks run locus lands.  Some decks run creature heavy.  Some run almost no creatures.  Some are heavy counter.  Some run minimal counters.  And so on and so on.  So how do you do it??  I have spent a lot of time thinking on this one and I have a few ideas, but I haven't even sold myself on them 100% (this is where I highly encourage you all to input your thoughts and ideas!).

Spellstutter Sprite

I'm going to start with what I consider to be the most likely candidate and work my way down into things, perhaps a bit more "dude you're nuts" for all of these.  For MUC, this means Spellstutter Sprite.  If you take a look at the average MUC control deck they are able to run a minimal number of Counterspells thanks, in part, to the fact that they have these guys to enable more control.  Now I have been complaining about MUC for a while and figured the best way to really understand it is to play it.  Here's your ideal start...

Turn 1: Island, Delver of Secrets, Go
Turn 2: Flip (Delver of Secrets), Island, Cloud of Faeries with (Spellstutter Sprite) in hand

Now I have trolled through many discussions regarding the Pauper BnR list and there was some suggestion as to getting rid of Cloud of Faeries, but this is not the answer.  If we were to ban Cloud of Faeries the first impact it would have would be to completely kill off FamiliarStorm, which is no threat to anyone.  The next thing of note would be the fact that MUC would simply bring in new Faeries to help with the count, such as Zephyr Sprite and life would go on as always with Spellstutter Sprite holding its ground.  Even decks running only Spellstutter Sprite would still be able to make some significant moves as Counterspells.  Now I think this would be a good candidate for the ban based on the fact that there are several MUC decks out there that have been successful without the use of Spellstutter Sprite.  This is an indication to me that this could reel in the number of MUC decks that are plaguing the format and at the same time keep MUC as a dominate control option.  I will admit that in my frustration with this deck I even went as far as to consider the banning of Counterspell outright (which I still think is a sound idea from time to time), but that just seemed wrong in some fundamental way.

Ok now I know that I am probably going to ruffle some feathers with this one, but I feel perhaps it is worth a mention.  I often wonder if this card was properly printed at common, but the fact of the matter is that Delver of Secrets has become a set staple with any control deck running blue.  Look beyond Pauper into any format where Delver of Secrets is legal and you'll see a dominate control deck that runs it!  I would even go as far as saying that it has had as much impact on blue control as Counterspell, with the two working hand in hand to create the starting point of any MUC deck.  With this early drop MUC has the ability to be a control deck, but at the same time act as an aggro deck as well.  If you take a look at the typical MUC deck in Pauper it is very creature heavy, which seems to defy the logic of Delver of Secrets, but that's ok because the deck simply sacrifices lands.

This suggestion moves down on my list because I still wonder, will getting rid of Delver of Secrets slow down the progression of MUC?  The deck can very easily survive the loss of Delver of Secrets, which I consider to be a requirement for BnR placement, but is it enough to change the matchup?  We still see decks show up on Daily Events, which run the classic MUC list including (Quick Sand)s.  It's almost if any MUC deck can be left to sit for years and no matter what cards have been released since, it can still pull out a win.

Gush

My final pick for MUC is one that I went back and forth over.  I already admitted to considering Counterspell for this list and I even thought about Ninja of the Deep Hours.  My final choice was that I wanted to isolate a card in MUC that really dominates the card draw ability of the deck.  The thing that really powers the deck through is the ability to not just counter your opponent's spells, but to keep the hand advantage as well.  Now there are a lot of choices for this and I immediately overlooked the draw spells for single blue since no single choice has been a dominate draw.  Again, I thought hard about maybe even listing Ninja of the Deep Hours as a restricted card, but decided there was a stronger draw spell in the format... Gush....

Now Gush allows for a few different things to happen.  The first great thing about this card is the fact that it can be cast for free!  Draw two cards for free, what's not to like??  And filling your hand with lands when you're perhaps running heavy on land allows you to mix something back away with Preordain.  Sure you have to bounce two Islands, but it's worth it 90% of the time.  This leads to the next point... untapping lands.  I've briefly hinted at the power of cards like Cloud of Faeries in MUC for being able to play multiple spells on low mana (Snap is another one that has started to show up on MUC lists) and Gush allows you to do the same thing in a different way.  If you don't have an Island to drop then Gush will give you one back, basically ramping you +1 mana for that turn.  This mana can leave you open for dropping out a critical Force Spike or Counterspell.

Now next up on the list is going to be the IzzetPost deck.  This is a deck that I personally did not consider to be a hindrance to the format because there are so many answers in the form of land destruction.  Where this deck tends to reach the "to ban" list is basically in the fact that it is a slow, uninteractive deck to play against and that it can start to edge out decks that don't have the access to land destruction such as MonoWhite Aggro.  I did feel that I had to make mention of it since there has been so much discussion regarding the power level of the locus lands.  I will reiterate my personal point of view and basically say that any banning regarding IzzetPost that would completely kill off the deck would open us up to the expanse of more control decks.  Sure this may leave room for rogues like Teachings or 5cc to step up, but what I think it is more likely to do is to bring about even more MUC.

So of course I have to start with the land base.  Right away everyone will jump out and say that in order to slow these decks you need to remove Cloudpost.  Yes that's right I said Cloudpost (but wait man that's not a Cloudpost picture there...) and no, it isn't.  Please note that I'm saying that the popular consensus is to go after Cloudpost, but I feel that this is the incorrect choice.  Once again, banning cards has to hurt, but not necessarily kill a deck and I think getting rid of Cloudpost would do just that.  Now sure, you can probably argue that Cloudpost without Glimmerpost is useless, but it is still a heavy mana base.  I think if this was the case and the deck was found to be harmed without the full 8 lands then the deck could simply go from being IzzetPost to being IzzetTron.

Now along those lines there is another important thing that has to be pointed out.  Completely killing off 8-post decks would not just eliminate IzzetPost, but you also will see the death of DimirPost, RebelPost, GreePost, and BigMana Blue.  To make this choice you have to sit and consider... well is this such a bad thing?  Is the existence of these decks an argument for or against the locus lands?  These decks could be seen as hideous mutations of nature that just shouldn't exist.  However, this is another subject for another time.

Getting back on point I think that if either of these lands had to be banned then it should be Glimmerpost and not Cloudpost.  One of the biggest hold-ups about IzzetControl is the fact that it plays slow and is not very engaging for your opponent.  Glimmerpost is the very reason why this deck is so slow and allows for the deck to not only stall out a game, but possible lock it down as well!  Glimmerpost is a must have for this deck and if you can't find them against aggro then you stand a good chance of losing.  Pauper players continue to underestimate the power of life gain in this format and I'll admit that I have considered simply adding a set of Glimmerpost to decks to get the same life gain as my opponent in these post matches.  In the late game, with all the post lands out, that last Glimmerpost gives you almost half your life back, but it doesn't have to stop there.  This leads me to my next card of discussion...

Yes, Capsize.  As I said earlier I'm going to order these based on what I feel is the most likely candidate and working my way to least likely.  Now I just mentioned that you gain 8 life off of the last locus land, but what makes it truly ridiculous is the continued use of Capsize to keep replaying those Glimmerposts.  With all the extra mana you have available to you with Cloudpost then buying back Capsize is a drop in the bucket.  At this point in time you are probably thinking I'm a bit crazy, but stay with me for this.  Now this is a less likely choice based on the fact that most blue post decks are usually only running a single copy, but that doesn't tend to matter based on the fact that they will have anywhere from 3 to 8 options for fetching it with Mystical Teachings and Forbidden Alchemy.  Not only is Capsize the very means for finding endless life gain, but it becomes a way to lock out your opponent completely as well through continuous bouncing of an opponent's lands.  Sure this is the main strategy of FissureStorm, but the difference comes in the remaining cards.  In FissureStorm the deck can do nothing else, while IzzetPost can lock you out and still control the game in other ways.

The next deck up is Storm, which is another hard thing to address.  Unlike MUC it really isn't an issue of too many choices, but instead it is a matter of what can you remove without completely destroying the deck?  I feel this is a very hard thing to determine because it runs along the same lines of pulling that one loose string in a rug... next thing you know the entire thing has completely unraveled!  I'm going to provide two options for this, the first one is something I'm suggesting and the second is something I have heard others suggest.

grapeshot

So first on the block is my choice, Grapeshot.  When it comes to the storm mechanic there is basically three choices in Pauper.  These include Empty the Warrens, Grapeshot, and Temporal Fissure.  Specifically addressing this deck I think that Storm can win with either Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens and doesn't need both.  We've seen several versions of Strom that do just this and others that use the sideboard to switch from one type to the other.  Removing one of these would not kill the format, but which one?  Some people have argued that Empty the Warrens should be the card to go, but I have to take the other side of the debate.  While the deck can survive with either choice I feel that Empty the Warrens is the less oppressive version.  There are answers to Empty the Warrens even if they are few and far between, but finding direct answers to Grapeshot is another issue entirely.  Keeping the more manageable card would allow for the deck to remain competitive, without being overly oppressive.

Next up is the one I've seen others suggest... Rite of Flame.  Now I will start out by saying that I am not a Storm player because I don't want to sit and take the time to think over my hand, do all that math, and understand what I need to "go off".  This being said I really cannot make an argument either way as to whether removing Rite of Flame would completely ruin the mana count or not.  As an outsider looking in I will say that it looks as if the decks could survive without it.  There are a number of options available for mana ramp and the deck could potentially focus over into black mana in Dark Ritual and Cabal Ritual.  That being said it would seem that the removal of Rite of Flame would have no effect on the deck's performance, which then would make me wonder... well if it doesn't change how the deck performs why ban it?  I am leaving this open to discussion for those who may be more familiar with Storm math.

While the showings from Storm have died down a lot I felt it did need to be included, if only for the fact that it is consistently in the top 3 week to week.  There is a lot of hate for Storm in the game right now and it really is the biggest combo deck available to Pauper.  Hurting this deck too much would throw off the seemingly steady balance between aggro-combo-control, which are trying their best to hold at a 1/3 share each.  So what is the biggest issue with Storm?  This is simple.  The biggest problem with Storm is the fact that the deck has the potential to win on turn 2.  In a format with all commons it seems a little wrong to be able to have that kind of power, but there is something else.  While Storm can win on turn 2 there is yet another deck that is able to (and probably more consistently than Storm) win on turn 2... Infect.  There are honestly some hands that Infect can get that cannot be beaten.  If you're playing against a deck that can win on turn 2 and you're on the draw... well then it comes down to luck on whether or not they have the nuts because there is very little you can do with 1 land.  And yet... Infect is not usually a heavy contender!  Perhaps this is because early creature control is a bit easier to find.  Either way I felt the need to include this deck based on the fact that it has such power...

When it comes to a discussion of BnR and Infect there is only one card to mention, Invigorate.  Infect decks are completely based around a small creature base and a number of non-creature spells that all have the same goal of pumping up those creatures.  Infect's power comes in the fact that it only has to hit an opponent 10 times to win and completely negates life gain, which I won't go into again.  Playing Glimmerposts?  Infect doesn't care.  Gain as much life as you want because in the end it won't matter.  This is what makes Invigorate such a powerful card.  Since life gain means nothing to an Infect deck the card basically reads "Pay 0: Target creature gains +4/+4".  There is really little else that needs to be said about this.  Infect can very easily survive without Invigorate although the power level will be significantly lowered.  In fact I will go as far as to say that Invigorate isn't the best card in the deck and actually that title should go to Glistener Elf, which allowed that turn 2 attack.  This means that removing Invigorate will just make room for another pump spell and the deck can live on.

That being said... I don't think it is very likely to ever happen, which seems nuts at first.  Infect is a strong deck that has the ability to consistently win on turn 2-3, but it doesn't matter.  As it stands now Infect decks are not swarming the environment.  In order for a deck to become the target of the BnR focus it has to be completely overtaking things, which Infect is not.  Perhaps this is the argument for hurting Storm decks since there would still be a strong combo deck in Infect in the meta....


Final Thoughts

Now before you race to the bottom and bring out the trolling, etc. I do feel the need to bring out a few final thoughts.  First off, yes I am very biased against MUC, but no I do not expect any changes to be made.  All this discussion aside I think we do have a rather healthy meta in comparison to other formats.  MUC control is a dominating deck, but until it pulls out a heavier showing there will be no real need for change.  I know some people are reading this and immediately thinking, "well sure there are a lot of MUC decks showing, but that is because there's a lot of people playing it so odds are better that it'll end in the money".  And yes that is true, but at the same time consider what that says.  If MUC is so dominate in the winnings just imagine how many decks total are in a DE that are MUC... how many MUC decks do you have to play through in a single event??

The bottom line is this... my hopes in writing all this is to not say "yes do it this way!", but instead to open up discussion regarding how to attack a deck without breaking it.  A card banning should occur only if and when a deck has become so dominate that it is preventing other decks from being competitive and then, ideally, it should not kill a deck-type, only tone down its power level.  The current Pauper meta is pretty healthy and each week we have a number of new/old rogue decks showing and that's great!


So there you have it, hopefully you didn't get too overwhelmed with all that writing (I tried to keep it brief where I could).  Unfortunately because of time and length of this article I'll be skipping out on this week's bonus footage! Awww.  I do apologize to my more casual followers because next week's will be focused on competitive as well as we reach the fourth week of Pauper results.  So I intend to use next week as a month in review article where I'll feature a look at a couple rogue decks and so on.  Until then!

- JustSin

35 Comments

Well hopefully Jesse there by JustSin at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 11:03
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Well hopefully Jesse there gets a chance to see this response since I won't use the FB reply, but as I mentioned while I agree Cloud of Faeries is a strong card in MUC, you can't really ban it without completely destroying FissureStorm, which I can't see happening

Nice article. But I think by Sammaelo at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 12:14
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Nice article. But I think that Invigorate reads more like this "Pay 0: Target creature gets +8/+8". For life purposes at least.

it really is kind of scary by JustSin at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:02
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it really is kind of scary how fast they can win between that and Mutagenic Growth isn't it?

I can top that one: Pay 0: by Taoh at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:19
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I can top that one:

Pay 0: Target creature gets +8/+8, and opponent cannot gain life for the remainder of the game.

the scariest part of Infect by JustSin at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:21
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the scariest part of Infect is that if its on the play you could be sitting across from the turn 2 win and you have only 1 land in play... what are you to do with 1 mana? that really gets me.. I mean sure there are answers with 1 mana, but you better be playing red lol I still think it won't really change unless we see a surge in infect play because its kind of flying under the radar

Counters vs the nuts (+9 pump by Taoh at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:39
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Counters vs the nuts (+9 pump for 2 mana or less, and trample), they will be tapped out during your turn 1.

I will not list target spells that must be timed before combat, as there are different instant protections for 1 mana) I am listing those that are instant speed though.

So you need something that prevents their alpha strike at 1 mana, or which kills a 1 toughness creature that will get +4/+4 for free (so 5 dmg or more, or -1/-1 counters)

Trample will be in form of Rancor/Predator's Strike. I am sure there are some of these that can be questioned, these cover all colours except for red, then again reds direct damage will draw out 1 boost spell each, so it might not have the answer against the nuts, but overall it do have answers, some are repeatable.

---
Spore Frog
Fume Spitter
Snuff Out
Cursed Flesh (not recommending it)
Shield Sphere (+5 absorb helps buy time)
Scar
Sicken
Virulent Wound
Dead Weight
Awe Strike
Fog
Darkness
Ethereal Haze
Feint
Holy Day
Kami of False Hope
Pay No Heed
Warning
Curfew
Seal of Removal
Unsummon
Silent Departure
Vapor Snag
Word of Undoing
---

Quite a few unplayable, but by JustSin at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:52
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Quite a few unplayable, but more answers then I'd expect and even then some are reduced thanks to VoV, thanks for the list!

Agreed the instant targets by Taoh at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:38
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Agreed the instant targets can be removed by Appostles Blessing or Vines of Vastwood.

But both of these cost at least 1 mana, and you must keep 1 mana open for them

Meaning that trample wise they must use Rancor then, and they must have 2 freecast spells to reach the +10/+10 (I know you have no creature out, so the trample is irrelevant, but this gives 2 different situations where a different hand is the optimal, the most likely is you have a chump blocker, so I set trample as a requirement for an autokill hand).

So now they must have.

1/8 protection spells
1/4 elves
1/4 freecast +4/+4
1/7 freecast +2/+2 or better
1/4 rancor
2/x forests

So they now need 7/8 cards as described above ... or 8/8 if you want protection against both ... in most cases they do not know what you have if anything, and risk blowing it all on nothing :)

So no not perfect answers, and I agree, most are unplayable, but quite some of the above are playable and definatly metagame choices ... beyond the list there is a bunch of other direct damage/ -x/-x until end of turn. All stuff that risk blowing the opponent out.

So yes Infect is strong, no its not unbeatable, yes I believe the free spell should be banned, no I do not play infect ... because its to random, yes I do believe infect in current meta is a fair deck, slightly to strong though.

"So yes Infect is strong, no by JustSin at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 16:52
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"So yes Infect is strong, no its not unbeatable"

this is basically why I was saying that it needs to be talked about, but I don't think I can see a change coming for it unless it really starts showing up more

and the unbeatable part was regarding there are some times where there is just nothing you can do to win against their opening hand, not always, but sometimes :P

Sorry for the nitpicking, I by Taoh at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 18:56
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Sorry for the nitpicking, I think we agree overall :) Btw missed a few of the enchantments giving -x/-y where y > 1. Red gets "immolation" and "riot spikes" in addition to "scar" as "uncounterable" options to get past round 2.

To me a perfect hand means a hand that can beat anything regardless of what they have ... we have situational perfect hands (most good combo decks have these).

Infect have the option of situational perfect hands. (they have won as game starts regardless of what opponent does with what he drew).

That was my point with listing above cards, to say it is not so. Some of the listed cards (red is quite limited "immolation", "riot spikes" and "scar" are your options) will ensure you get past round 2, and then more options are available.

That said a red deck with burns better option are not running these vs the perfect hand, as their burn will drain some and still give them good odds. Instead their focus is to tilt the favor in your odds for the average game, not vs the perfect hand (as most decks should be). Lava Dart is a good such choice, at least sideboard. :)

Situational perfect hands are available for storm as well, and what they win on, just rarely turn 2 situational perfect. If they get a good chain going, and have more Duress or Dispel available then you have sandbagged answers, then they win :)

I hope the differentiation makes sense between perfect hands (these are very rare) and situational perfect hands.

Stave Off (in response to by Taoh at Wed, 04/04/2012 - 05:13
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Stave Off (in response to protection)
Shield of Duty and Reason (VoV is prevented, Appostle's Blessing can still bypass it)

Good read! Muc isn't an by deluxeicoff at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:22
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4

Good read! Muc isn't an issue if you have cheap instant removal and know when to play it. My D.red deck uses lavadarts and sparkspray to both add to storm count, or slaughter fae at instant speed with no problems. Every fifth game or so they can still slip through, but I don't think those need to be banned. Gush even less so. You really want to cripple muc, lose spiregolem. Sounds silly, but watch almost any replay of a muc matchup...these hold the ground till more control/draw can come online.

I agree with the infect angle...invigorate if they 'have it' can just be silly.

Storm: All you'd need to lose is rite of flame, as in modern, it neuters the deck adding about 2.1 turns to it...plenty for any respectable deck to have a shot. I feel temporal storm is pretty 'in check' since the bannings, like any deck...if they 'have it' it's gonna get ya!

Additionally, I think your 'spot on' with the Izpost area. The deck is strong enough without all the late game bounce/lifegain. As their decklist show...all they have to do is stop the first 1-3 creatures via removal and sit back and bore you to death, fortunatly they lose to some other decks like fiss.storm, and mbc, but losing capsize would solve a lot of issues, still alowing the engine lifegain...just not at absurd levels.

thanks for the response, by JustSin at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:42
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thanks for the response, being a storm player you can probably answer this.. can storm still survive without the rite or would that really cripple it so much that it'd die off?

yup by BOBBAKAKE at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 13:53
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5

i dont play pauper because of muc...

I'd personally love to see by greyes3 at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:33
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I'd personally love to see Cranial Plating come off the list.

lol I don't think there is by JustSin at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:54
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lol I don't think there is any way the format could keep up with that

caliban17's picture

Are the cards which have never been printed online as an actual common, and yet are available to be used in Pauper.

Serrated Arrows
Gorilla Shaman
Legions of Lim-Dûl
Mistfolk
Snow Devil
Casting of Bones
Insidious Bookworms
Kjeldoran Pride
Sea Eagle
Command Tower

None of these cards can be drafted in any set. Every other single common in the pauper format is actually common, in that it showed up in an actual pack along with 10 other of its kind, and had a chance for unlimited drafting when its set was available in the store. These ten are all from special sets, and none of them could ever be drafted online.

I still can't believe they haven't closed this loophole, as it makes no sense. Why do some promo/special set cards count for Pauper, but others (like common Blue Elemental Blast) not count? I have to think it's a mistake and they haven't realized it yet.

Once these are banned, we can start talking about banning for power reasons...

I agree, but as was noted by JustSin at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 15:03
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I agree, but as was noted only 2 cards on that list matter and I'd find it hard to believe that the people over at Wizards haven't realized that these cards are common and Pauper legal lol

Not true! by DeckWizard at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 20:45
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Gorilla Shaman was in MED2 as an uncommon and Serrated Arrows was timeshifted in Time Spiral. Neither were commons when they were draftable, but you are wrong that they could never be drafted.

IMHO, the format is actually pretty balanced. MUC is the best deck, but besides Delver, nothing really feels unfair. I wouldn't contest a banning, but I don't know that it really merits such drastic measures.

Ideally, wizards would print a few cards with Pauper in mind. Something uncounterable and something that stifles (pun intended) storm would go a long way to making Pauper an even better format.

well answered, what I've come by JustSin at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 21:53
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well answered, what I've come to the conclusion of is that its not that a deck has become so dominate that we need bannings, but perhaps the format has become stagnent and that would be needed to fix that

The only one on the list by deluxeicoff at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:53
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4

The only one on the list above that matter are S.arrows and G.shaman, both great at what they do and not that hard to get.

Storm would be greatly bruised by rite's absence, but not greatly so, just slowing it down like I noted above.

I'm not sure how you define by caliban17 at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 19:19
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I'm not sure how you define "not that hard to get", but being the 2nd most expensive pauper card and the 4th most expensive pauper card do not qualify as "not hard to get" in my book. The opposite, in fact.

They are extremely expensive to acquire. Why? Because they're not common in any sense and do not belong in the format, that's why.

Price =/= Power by Dreager_Ex at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 20:47
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Are G.shaman and S.Arrows even viable side-board options in the current metagame? I don't see either of them being very good with the dominant decks being MuC, Storm, and IzzetPost (or any post variant).

Maybe if Affinity was still good G.shaman would be worth it. I could definitely see S.Arrows being viable if control was brought down a little bit but as of right now the card only seems to elevate the already dominant decks /shrug.

Either way I see both of the cards as sideboard cards but they don't seem to effect the meta all that much. I'd gladly ignore them to have some of the other cards addressed first. That's just me though.

Both cards are good by DeckWizard at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 21:07
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Shaman is strictly a sideboard option, but against any non-affinity deck, Ancient Grudge is just better.

Serrated Arrows on the other hand is really really good. It's not a 4-of but it has game against most of the competitive decks.

Both cards are good by Dreager_Ex at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 21:29
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Resolving a 4 mana spell against MuC seems like reaching for the stars and both storm and izzetpost simply wouldn't care I imagine. Obviously all three of those decks would probably benefit from having an arrows, but I was more of looking at how new decks might handle them.

It just doesn't seem like a viable option against any of those decks. I feel like I'd side it out every time if I could.

arrows is more often PLAYED by JustSin at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 21:54
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arrows is more often PLAYED BY MUC instead of against

typed too fast, meant 'not by deluxeicoff at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 14:53
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4

typed too fast, meant 'not greatly' lol

I've tried to get into Pauper by KaraZorEl at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 18:20
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I've tried to get into Pauper at various points, but the strong control decks are very off-putting for me.

I remember when I first got by Dreager_Ex at Tue, 04/03/2012 - 22:19
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I remember when I first got into Pauper it had a pretty diverse field of decks. Like GR beats, GW Cloak, UG Madness, MBC, MuC, Boros, Affinity and even a couple of combo decks iirc. (obviously a little aggro heavy, but it wasn't dominated by anything.)

I really miss those days.

Edit: I know I left out a lot of other decks too. those are just the ones I remember.

A few thoughts by grapplingfarang at Wed, 04/04/2012 - 00:22
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5

A few thoughts from the article.

-For people that were not playing pauper early last year, familiar/fissure storm made for some awful daily events. Not only was it the best deck in the format, but it took so long to play out, (especially with newer players wanting to try the best deck.) It was very regular to spend 45 minutes to an hour each daily event behind F6 while waiting for that deck.

-Rite of Flame would slow down Storm a bit but not that much. It would hurt some forms of storm more than others, and make chromatics a little more important to get red mana.

-MUC is obviously the most successful deck in the format. I think it is fine right now, but if things keep going in the direction they are it might be time to weaken the deck in June.

-I don't think UR post or Storm is to the point that a banning would be needed.

-Banning Invigorate would not hurt my feelings at all. On power level alone, this deck does not need a banning. It does not put up the results of other decks, and it is not very consistant. However, it is a crappy feeling to lose to it on turn 2 twice in the same match. I think of this deck as the Belcher deck of Pauper, and if people want that in the format or not is a matter of taste.

1 good point. ∞ bad ones. by _DissonancE_ at Wed, 04/04/2012 - 05:27
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Spellstutter Sprite is a nuisance, mostly because of rebuy option via deep hours and less common via snap and; the only way to interact with it is counterpells; if you don't play those, don't expect a good mu vs delver.

I look forward to playing vs delver every single round. The popularity of delver decks comes mostly from 2-3 grinders who constantly (in reality they change a card every month or so...) evolve the deck, while other ones (say MBC) see no love. Storm and control is difficult to play. Delver is difficult to play against.

Everything else written here is of no relevance.

Disappointed by Rerepete at Wed, 04/04/2012 - 17:13
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I was sad that you conceded the game between us the other day after I played Island,Delver, but after reading this article, I see that you thought I was just another person playing MUC. I was playing a Dimir aggro-control deck (no fae). I find that if I don't play control in blue, I seriously lose to MBC.

I agree Invigorate is ban worthy.

how many instants/sorceries by _DissonancE_ at Wed, 04/04/2012 - 21:10
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how many instants/sorceries do you play?
this comment is lampoon-worthy.

My Toy Deck (Ub aggro-control) by Rerepete at Fri, 04/06/2012 - 09:56
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Here is my current list. (I don't have any Gush(es) otherwise I would fit them in somewhere) It is still a work in progress.

Qty. Card Name
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Phantasmal Bear
3 Vault Skirge
2 Mulldrifter
3 Stormbound Geist
16 Creatures

4 Altar's Reap
4 Mana Leak
4 Snap
4 Think Twice
4 Undying Evil
20 Instants

4 Scarscale Ritual
4 Sorceries

4 Evolving Wild
10 Island
6 Swamp
20 Land

If I did then I guess I do by JustSin at Wed, 04/04/2012 - 21:33
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If I did then I guess I do apologize... I do sometimes concede if RL takes me away and it has nothing to do with the game state... it is an assumption I often make and I realize its wrong since I play non-MUC decks with Delver so it makes me sometimes hypocritical I guess? Honestly on some days I just don't feel like playing certain decks so I'll concede out people will view this differently, but if I don't feel like playing against a certain deck I don't feel I should have to, feel free to take a win off it.. so yea I know the frustration of someone doing what I did, but at the same time there are times I just don't feel like facing a certain match at that point in time