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By: JustSin, Dave
Apr 18 2012 9:03am
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The Little Things

Hello all and welcome back to another week of Pauper goodness!  This week's discussion was something that was actually inspired by a discussion I had with a reader, Taoh.  There are several great cards that are available in Pauper that really don't see enough use in the format.  When I first started out writing this series the intention was to try and bring some of these cards to light and today we get right back to it.  The card I'm going to be talking about this week will be the one and only Trinket Mage!  So let's jump into our competitive environment so that we can get right to looking at this great card...

The Competitive Corner

We had a crazy week in Pauper with some major moves within deck showings.  There were not only a quality number of rogue showings, but we also saw the return of RG Aggro/Burn and RebelPost (even if it was just a one of)!  We will take more of a look at the details on this week's rogue decks in a little bit, but we saw several new decks on the scene as well.  When you take a look at the decks from this week there is no surprise as MonoBlue Control (MUC) shows up once again as this week's biggest winner.  Keeping with the trend of the past few months and then some, the deck easily outpaced its competitors and brought about almost double the showings of the second place deck.  The one interesting thing that should be noted about this week's showing of MUC is the fact that it really had a falling off at the end of the week.  It is pretty typical for MUC to show up with 9 - 13 wins per day, but on 4/7 and 4/8 it stayed at 5 and 3 respectively.  I don't actually think this will be a new trend, but instead was a result of the fact that there were very few showings on those days (see the Daily Event list below)...

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...

Taking a look at this table you can get an idea as to the weird switches we saw this week.  Over the past month we've seen that our top three decks were pretty typically MUC, IzzetPost, and Storm respectively.  This week we have a major change in our third place slot with MonoWhite Aggro(!!!) jumping up.  During the past month we've seen a drop off in MonoWhite Aggro with the deck only accounting for 5% of the winning decks last month and averaging only 3 showings daily.  This week we see the deck showing up a total of 35 times (7 per day).  This week we also see Goblins drop down several places and Infect keeping up with its steady incline.  I have to admit that I will, personally, be excited to see what the next week holds and if these changes are going to stick around or if it was all a singular occurrence.  Here's a look at the rogue list for the week...

1. Dimir Trinket - 4
2. FissureStorm - 2
3. Orz Deck Wins - 1
4. GW Tokens - 1
5. RDW - 1
6. RebelPost - 1
7. GW Aggro - 1
8. RG Aggro/Burn - 1
9. Tortured Reanimator - 1
10. UB Control - 1
11. Teachings Control - 1
12. UB Control - 1
13. Damn Rats - 1

Usually I would just end the competitive section there, but we need to take a quick look at a couple of new comers on this list!  I have decided to make some changes and I've created the category of Tortured Reanimator to cover all decks, which use Tortured Existence as a reanimation engine.  The most popular version of this deck is often known as Dead Dog Pauper and is a BG deck.  The deck that managed a showing this week was actually RB and was a creative use of Faithless Looting as the discard engine.  We also saw the return of some UB control decks including Teachings, which I decided to keep separate from UB Control.  The other deck on this list that you may not be familiar with is probably one I called Damn Rats.  This is a deck built around cycling creatures and then bringing in Songs of the Damned to fuel a Crypt Rats finisher.

Shiny Baubles!

In every format there are unsung heroes, cards that have the ability to be game changes when inserted into the right deck.  With every release we sit around, speculate, and create in order to find spots from cards we find that really speak to us.  This week I wanted to focus in on one of these cards..

Trinket Mage

Trinket Mage is a great creature because it gives you implied card advantage.  What you get in Trinket Mage is a 2/2 creature as well as a tutor for an artifact.  This guy becomes the feature this week after a discussion I had with a reader with the username of Taoh.  I had been asked to take a look at a deck and it was similar to one that has been fighting slowly to move out of my "rogue" deck designation, Dimir Trinket.  I had wanted a chance to take a look at this deck any ways so I was more than happy to see if I could offer some insight on it.

There are a surprising number of artifacts that are available to use in Pauper with Trinket Mage, but as always most aren't worth considering.  Here's a list of some fun ones that you can feel free to try!

Adventuring Gear - Mostly used in Boros Aggro, but could very well be added to a deck using Trinket Mage control and perhaps even the other landfall character in blue... Calcite Snapper
Blazing Torch - The torch is a great addition to burn decks, but I'm not sure it can really be worked in with Trinket Mage.
Bonesplitter - One of the strongest equipments available to use in Pauper and could work great in a UW deck.
Conjurer's Bauble - Great way to get back a key card you need for your win-con in something like IzzetPost where they run a lot of single cards.
Court Homunculus - UW cogs anyone?
Dispeller's Capsule - Could be a great card for sideboarding against Affinity.
Expedition Map - Any post deck will want this and has nothing against the use of blue.
Flayer Husk - I feel like this card should find more use in Pauper, but I have not yet found a fit for it.
Gremlin Mine - A great option against Affinity!
Relic of Progenitus - This has started to show up in a few sideboards for some Post control decks and all the flashback spells.

The Dimir Trinket deck is a UB deck that uses Trinket Mage to fetch up not only lands, but utility cards in the form of artifacts that cost 1 or less.  Essentially, Trinket Mage becomes a version of Mystical Teachings, which is also known for allowing decks to create a toolbox of spells.  The main idea is that by having a toolbox of spells you will have answers to specific deck types in your maindeck, which allows you to increase your odds of winning pre-sideboard.  I was a bit disappointed to see Dimir Trinket dropping to only four showings this week after holding out pretty well over the past month, but that doesn't diminish the power of the deck by any means.

Nihil Spellbomb Executioner's Capsule Sylvok Lifestaff

These three artifacts make up the majority of your fetch options, but the deck also brings in both artifact lands as well.  These lands are always a fantastic addition to any deck with Trinket Mage as it turns him into land fetch as well.

If anything the deck seems to be closely related to MBC with the addition of blue for card draw and the Trinket Mages.  This means that the control options follow along the lines of some discard and heavy creature control instead of Counterspells.  Here's a look at the Dimir Trinket list I run when I play the deck...

There are some great interactions with the deck, including the use of Fume Spitter, Grim Harvest, and Sylvok Lifestaff to create a heavy life gain engine when you reach the mid-game (see the example video for MUC because this comes out in game 2).  The deck brings in a lot of options for the aggro matches with the ability to reach a full set of Echoing Decay and the two maindeck Crypt Rats.  I'm personally a fan of the interactions that are available in this deck and perhaps the only thing I've considered changing is the use of Last Rites even as just a sideboard choice.  Maybe it is inexperience with the card, but while it does work as a great option against combo and control, I always have trouble deciding what to pitch to it.

Usually when it comes to playing through a deck I love to put up the description first so that the article isn't so water logged with videos, but with time constraints I have to say that I'm going to be that guy!  The one thing I'll offer is a slight description for those who may be torn over whether or not to hit play!

Example Game 1
Match - IzzetPost

Now I feel that this deck actually has the potential to hold an advantage in game one against any deck since it brings such a creative array of options to the table.  The match easily gets better after sideboarding, when you can bring in all six land destruction spells!  The additional discard doesn't hurt either!  It's important to keep in mind that the IzzetPost decks are often creature light so you have options to switch out creature kill in order to make some room.

Example Game 2
Match - MUC (Classic Version)

Now this is an awesome game and if you decide to skip videos since they're a little long, well I encourage you to at least take a look at this... if only for the fact that I had to record it twice.   While there isn't much to be said for the first game of the match, game two was a fantastic showing of what this deck can do.  I talked about the combo that can be brought about with the interaction of Fume Spitter, Sylvok Lifestaff, and Grim Harvest, but didn't think I'd get an opportunity to show it off... I was wrong!  This is a match where you want to bring in the extra discard spells as well, but it's important to know, which version of MUC your opponent is playing.  While the decks run the same way, there are slight variations that will slightly alter how you approach different situations.

I have to admit that I was pretty lucky to get the top two decks in the format right now in the two matches that I sat down to play.  I was even more lucky that the deck ran pretty smooth and I didn't have to play through a hundred games (I didn't even have to play three!) in order to provide a decent look at the deck's potential.  However.... this wasn't the point!  This wasn't intended as an article to teach you how to play the DimirTrinket deck!  I did want to showcase it a bit more since it was at the front of the subject, but the point was to talk about uses of Trinket Mage and I think the deck Toah provided me with is a great way to see this...


As you can see this deck is very similar to the DimirTrinket deck that has been running through competitive play, but this version puts a heavier focus on the creature interactions.  I have seen several decks attempting to do things with deathtouch and Viridian Longbow in order to turn a creature into a machine gun.  While most of those use Typhoid Rats to pull this combination off, Taoh's deck brings in Tidehollow Strix, which is a much better option, especially in our flier heavy meta.  The deck also brings in another creature to turn the Viridian Longbow into a killing machine and that's Rendclaw Trow.  With the wither ability on this creature you get a Serrated Arrows that won't diminish itself!

This deck is a lot of fun to play due to the heavy reanimation package as well, which works well in our MUC heavy world.  This means that you have a chance to play a creature multiple times, even after your opponent's Counterspell sends it to the graveyard.  The deck actually does have some good matches in the competitive environment so don't write this off as a casual only option (don't let the sideboard scare you this was a toolbox for testing and I know it's since been changed).  I know Taoh has been spending a lot of time testing and working around some options such as the possibility of Augur of Skulls to strengthen certain matches.

And don't forget the deck I wrote up when I first came back that used Trinket Mages in order to fetch up another odd-ball artifact...


There are really so many uses available for this guy and could probably even benefit from a Momentary Blink engine too!  I really cannot say enough for cards like this where they open up so much potential for deck creation, whether it's for competitive or casual play!

Now I do want to take this opportunity to encourage people to feel free to share decks and/or hit me up in game if you get a chance.  I don't consider myself to be an end all source of what is or isn't good in Pauper, but as a former business major I have a great appreciation for Brainstorming sessions!  It's a great way for people to find a fix they may have overlooked or inspire others to try creative things with an underplayed card.  I'm going to do my best to try and find fun cares to focus on in multiple ways instead of necessarily just focusing down a single deck idea in an attempt to get these creative juices flowing!

Well there you have it folks!  I hope maybe I was able to inspire you to create a Trinket Mage deck of your own or try out some underplayed 1cc artifact.  I really wanted to throw down more games for the DimirTrinket deck, but decided to limit it due to time constraints as well as the fact that I didn't want this to be a full focus on just that deck, but more so the single card!  I will add at this point that I'm probably going to have to take a week away next week (I know! Sorry!) because I find myself under quite a pile of work and trying to get a paper published as well.  Anyone else wish they had multiple selves??  I will spoil (and if you're subscribed to my YouTube channel you're already aware) that I'm putting up a non-Pauper-Classic-Budget-mini-series!  It won't be a regular thing, but I've been working on it when I get free time and I think (hope!) you'll enjoy it.  And a final note, when I do return to Pauper in two weeks the competitive corner will have all the results so no worries!

- JustSin


Thanks for the mentioning :) by Taoh at Thu, 04/19/2012 - 08:34
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Your ending of the article did remind me of another nice interaction with Trinket Mage. It shuffles the deck. Which there is a fairly large lack of options for in Pauper, and one of the strongest cards in Magic is Brainstorm, if you got shuffling. Most also know this goes well with Squadron Hawks for extra draws, and blue and white does offer momentary blink.

Another fun card to use with the Trinket Mage is the Myr Adaptors.

Anyway it is something to consider. :)

sounds like the start of by JustSin at Thu, 04/19/2012 - 09:28
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sounds like the start of Pauper Caw-Go lol

I think you should open the by TheStein at Sun, 04/22/2012 - 23:21
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I think you should open the archetypes to subtypes. Example 95% of the results under MUC are what I call Delver Aggro, while the other 5% is PaulDenton playing true MUC. You can also open up Storms to Ritual Storm and UR Storm. While both decks do the same thing, they just do each in a different way.

I will absolutely do so when by JustSin at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 17:14
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I will absolutely do so when I'm convinced it is the way to go, sorry if that sounds rude. While I can see the arguement in Delver being aggro/control instead of control/aggro its unfortunate because Delver itself has blurred the line between the two and the deck is HEAVY control while still being able to aggro (thanks to fae)... where it comes in is, as you said, there is a small section that isn't running the delver deck, which would leave it in "rogue" some weeks...

with regards to storm I don't see a need to split it.. sure it gets to the outcome slightly different, but the end is still the same spell and a majority of the cards used to get to that result are the same in both.. both decks are delt with the same way whereas you can make the argument that delver is delt with differently then the creature light versions of MUC... splitting storm up might be even more splitting hairs and could see a majority of storm versions drop off to rogue, which I'd hate to see

maybe after the next week's results I'll make a note regarding the subtype on delver and then see how the breakdown would lie

One thing by Econotog at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 10:30
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You should probably start discussing what the format will look like when cloud of faeries is banned. There is an AVR card that makes life misserable and non-interactive for everyone not playing cloud of faeries.

Which card is that? by grapplingfarang at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 13:39
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Which card is that?

AVR card = Pauper COF ban by Econotog at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 14:09
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AVR card = Pauper COF ban? It is obvious.

I'd assume you mean Ghostly by grapplingfarang at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 14:57
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I'd assume you mean Ghostly Flicker. It does seem really good in Familiar Storm with cloud, mull, sea gate oracle, etc. I don't see it being that great in Delver Aggro decks, a few might run it, but with the low amount of lands those decks are playing someone is basically asking to be blown out by using it.

Pauper banning by Econotog at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 15:04
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RE: pauper banning... You are missing the key card. In familiar storm, ghostly flicker + cloud of faeries + mnemnonic wall = infinite mana. Add an oracle or drifter and you have infinite cards too.

That's powerful and all, and by grapplingfarang at Mon, 04/23/2012 - 15:39
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That's powerful and all, and will improve the deck even. I just don't see it even being able to push Familiar Storm up to Tier 1, let alone to where it needs to have Cloud of Faeries Banned. Familiar Storm really doesn't lose that many games after it combos out anyways. It will still have big problems with Infect and Empty the Warrens being faster than it, Delver can pick it's untapping apart with counters, if a Cloud of Faerie doesn't stick the deck barely works, and LD slows the deck down a huge amount. The Engine will be more powerful for sure, but it doesn't really solve the decks problems.