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By: Pujols_Teh_Destroyer, Christopher Oliver
Oct 03 2019 12:00pm
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Ah, it’s fall set time. The summer is coming to an end and it’s time for Magic players around the world to watch a subset of cards leave the format and a brand new era of Standard Magic come in. For Pauper players, we only get richer. While most of the Pauper format’s heavy-hitter cards come from supplemental products such as Conspiracy or Modern Horizons, we still get to take a look at new standard sets with hungry eyes.

My scale for rating these new cards is pretty simple. I will exclude any reprints unless it’s a downshift that introduces the card into Pauper.

5 - Format staple. These are the cards that will help define the format.

4 - Roleplayer. This is a card that Pauper players can build around, but it’s probably a step below the established players.

3 - The Average Joes. These are the cards that may slot into existing decks, but without committed brewing, aren’t going to shake the format up.

2 - The Nopes. These are cards that show up in your draft decks and sealed pools, but not Pauper.

1 - Forget it. The 26th card in your draft deck (yep, 26th).

Note - I am skipping the Brawl and Commander specific commons: Arcane Signet and Command Tower. Neither of these cards really can have much of an impact in the format.

Without any additional comments, let’s jump into it!


White

Ardenvale Paladin - 2.5

This knight is an interesting card as it provides the opportunity to come in with six toughness, but at four mana, it’s unlikely to find it’s way into any lists.

 

Ardenvale Tactician - 3

Our first Adventure card is interesting. The front half, Dizzying Swoop provides a pretty decent tempo swing to clear blockers out of the way. The back half being a 2/3 flyer means it is at least worth a look. Three mana with double white is a bit steep, but our format shows that 2/3 flying creatures can do marvelous work when leveraged correctly.

 

Bartered Cow - 1

A four-mana 3/3 without any evasion isn’t great to start. The lack of major food payoffs at the common rarity also dings it.

 

Beloved Princess - 1.5

This card is fine, but if you want a 1/1 lifelinker one-drop, play Healer's Hawk. This kind of evasion isn’t very powerful in a format full of smaller creatures.

 

Faerie Guidemother - 2.5

Another Adventure that people may consider due to the card advantage provided. Having both a relevant stats booster stapled onto a 1/1 flyer with a very relevant creature type is interesting. There’s good synergy here with something like Tethmos High Priest or Spellstutter Sprite.

 

Flutterfox - 3

Bears are pretty common in the format. You can find a variety of them floating around. This fox actually floats, especially if you slot it into the mono white artifact aggro deck, or the more aggressive Boros metalcraft decks. Unexciting, but probably worth a look.

 

Fortifying Provisions - 1.5

White already has this ability for two mana that has the upside of being an optional creature in Lumithread Field. This costs extra and the food payoff most likely won't be worth the extra mana. 

 

Garrison Griffin - 1

A wind drake with extra text that doesn’t work with any relevant Pauper tribes. I’ll pass.

 

Knight of the Keep - 1

There are better options for less mana unless the creature types are relevant for you.

 

Lonesome Unicorn - 2

Another Adventure card that deserves a look purely for being able to provide 5 points of P/T for 5 mana and a card. There are better things to spend five mana on in most cases.

 

Outflank - 2.5

This is an interesting piece of spot removal for potential go-wide decks. The problem is that white has access to a number of similar removal spells that simply don’t make an impact. Removing a creature after blocks or playing this as a defensive removal spell are not options a go-wide aggro deck currently wants.

 

Prized Griffin - 1

No thanks.

 

Shining Armor - 1

Unless knight tribal becomes relevant in the format, this is a card best left outside of your Pauper collection.

 

Silverflame Ritual - 2

An interesting card that can put your team out of reach of Electrickery. The problem largely comes from the speed of the card and that four mana is not what you’d like to pay for this effect.

 

Silverflame Squire - 2.5

Another Adventure that presents both a combat trick and a body. This is interesting as it negates the inherent weakness of trading combat tricks for damage. Sure, if you pump your creature to kill a blocker, you’ve essentially used it as removal, but at the cost of a card. This does that while also providing a 2/1 later. Certainly worth a test run.

 

Trapped in the Tower - 2.5

Another Pacifism variant that shuts down activated abilities. This card unfortunately shows up at a time when the skies of Pauper are more crowded than ever. Perhaps if Crypt Rats or Gurmag Angler becomes more prevalent, this could be Journey to Nowhere 5-8, but there are additional options already available.

 

True Love’s Kiss - 2.5

I do like this card. Whenever I can remove something and draw a card, I’ll give it a shot. Four mana is a lot, but replacing itself might be worth the slightly higher cost.


 

Blue

 

 

Charmed Sleep - 1

Certainly has me snoring.

 

Corridor Monitor - 2

Interesting card that could provide some redundancy with fringe combo decks looking to abuse Banishing Knack and Retraction Helix.

 

Didn’t Say Please - 1

Please stop.

 

Mantle of Tides - 2.5

The low casting cost and easy ability to attach while dodging the equip cost make this card at least worth a look. Turning Insectile Aberration into a 4/4 is also nothing to dismiss.

 

Merfolk Secretkeeper - 1.5

Mill cards are always fan favorites. Like a lot of them, this one isn’t good even as an Adventure.

 

Mistford River Turtle - 1.5

The 1/5 body is fine, but the format has better options than this.

 

Moonlit Scavengers - 1

While a very cool limited card, six mana is far too expensive even with the impressive 4/5 stats.

 

Oko’s Accomplices - 1.5

A 2/3 for three mana isn’t the worst. The accomplices also feature a relevant creature type for Pauper. I still don’t expect to see this making any waves in the format.

 

Queen of Ice - 2

Both the front and back half of this card look to be decently-costed. Pauper currently has plenty of waves to freeze creatures. This has the perks of being two cards in one that can keep bigger threats at bay. Interesting synergy with Kor Skyfisher as well where you could continuously put creatures on ice.

 

Run Away Together - 1.5

Interesting card with very cool art, but not really something that will see play. It does have decent synergy against with Spellstutter Sprite or Mulldrifter, but now isn’t the best time to bounce opposing value creatures.

 

So Tiny - 2.5

This kind of effect isn’t unique to Pauper, but the cost is certainly better. Flash makes it even more appealing. With the cantrips and cheap spells in Pauper, your opponent will often have threshold which turns this into a very powerful answer to even something like Gurmag Angler.

 

Steelgaze Griffin - 1

Very cool limited card. Pauper has better 2/4 flying options.

 

Tome Raider - 2

Flying with a relevant creature type that also draws a card makes this card at least up for consideration. It has great synergy with other faeries and Ninja of the Deep Hours if you’re in the market for that.

 

Unexplained Vision - 2

Five mana to draw three cards is a fine rate. Most likely you’d rather cast Mulldrifter, but something like Tron with Snow-Covered Island can really turn this card on. Similar to Foresee and Tamiyo’s Epiphany which sometimes see play in Familiars. Certainly powerful, but probably too slow.

 

Vantress Paladin - 1.5

There are better things to do for four mana, especially in blue.

 

Wishful Merfolk - 1.5

Decent stats, but probably too mana hungry to really be relevant. You usually want your blue creatures to have evasion at least.

 

Witching Well - 2.5

Witching Well is interesting for a few reasons. Scrying 2 is good. Being able to fetch this up with Trinket Mage is also good. Drawing two cards for four mana at instant speed is also good. There really isn’t a home for this kind of card currently, but that could easily change.


 Black

 

 

Bake Into a Pie - 1

The flavor rating of this card is off the charts. It will certainly be added to my Peasant cube. That said, four mana is a ton and the food really isn’t worth it.

 

Barrow Witches - 1

Five mana for a 3/4 isn’t the rate you want to be at in Pauper. Even if Knights becomes a reasonable tribe to play with, this card is too slow.

 

Eye Collector - 2

People have brewed up Dimir Faeries decks for years. Having another one-drop faerie with flying makes this card appealing. The rest of the card is largely flavor text.

 

Festive Funeral - 1

Ghastly Demise does a better job even with the targeting clauses.

 

Foreboding Fruit - 1.5

A three-mana Sign in Blood that can buy you some life later in the game. Not overly exciting.

 

Forever Young - 3

At the worst, Forever Young cantrips for two mana. At the best, you can rebuy a value creature like Mulldrifter. Black has no shortages of ways to bring creatures back, but the relatively high floor of this card makes it something to consider.

 

Giant’s Skewer - 1

The mana and equip cost of this card really push it into the unplayable category. The food synergies aren’t there at common to make it relevant.

 

Lash of Thorns - 2

A fine card and effect that we already have at common. Deathtouch is a solid ability and the pump for one mana makes it interesting for an aggressive black-based deck.

 

Locthwain Paladin - 2

Four mana for a potential 4/3 with menace is certainly worth a look. There are still better things to do for the same cost, but menace is good and a 4/3 is large in Pauper.

 

Lost Legion - 1.5

Scry 2 is good. A 2/3 for three in black is also fine.

 

Malevolent Noble - 1.5

A bear with upside. There are better sacrifice outlets in Pauper.

 

Memory Theft - 1.5

If Adventure cards suddenly take over the format (I doubt it), this could be reasonable. Three mana for a hand disruption spell is steep, though.

 

Reaper of Night - 1.5

While this card has some ridiculously cool art, four mana for a mind rot and then seven mana for a 4/5 that doesn’t naturally have flying is tough to swallow.

 

Smitten Swordmaster - 2

The front half only costing one mana makes this card interesting for a possible Knight tribal brew. Two mana for a 2/1 lifelinker isn’t really where you want to be at, but if you need Knights, here you go.

 

Tempting Witch - 2

One of the few food payoffs at common, Tempting Witch has decent stats as 1/3s have a history of being solid in Pauper. This could have some game against aggressive decks.

 

Wicked Guardian - 1.5

A 4/2 for four is fine, but the decks that would want this kind of effect probably want a more defensive creature.


Red

 

Barge In - 2.5

One mana for +2/+2 is a fine combat trick in red. Giving the rest of your team trample in something like a Goblins deck makes this card at least worth a look.

 

Bloodhaze Wolverine - 1

Pretty average all around. I’ll pass.

 

Blow Your House Down - 2

Stopping your opponent from blocking is certainly something the Mono Red Aggro decks could use. Three mana is kind of perfect for this card as well. Bonus points for flavor.

 

Brimstone Trebuchet - 1

I’ll take a Thermo-Alchemist instead.

 

Crystal Slipper - 1.5

We don’t have a ton of equipment that both grant haste and have a decent cost. This does that well, but I don’t think there’s a home for it, currently.

 

Embereth Paladin - 3

A potential 5/2 with haste coming down on turn 4 isn’t something you can just ignore. This could be a powerful curve-topper for one of the aggressive Mono Red decks in the format. Currently, Goblin Heelcutter fills that role. This card doesn’t clear the way like Heelcutter, but hits much harder when it does connect.

 

Merchant of the Vale - 3.5

One mana to rummage is solid on the front-half and the second half presents a 2/3 for three with a good ability. This card is interesting at the very least, providing a potential engine for red-based decks.

 

Ogre Errant - 1

I don’t way to pay four mana for a 3/4 in red without haste.

 

Raging Redcap - 1

Double strike is great. Three mana for a 1/2 is not. It does play well with something like Bonesplitter, though. 

 

Redcap Raiders - 2

Relevant creature type coupled with the ability to trample over faeries and Kor Skyfishers makes this card worth considering at least.

 

Rimrock Knight - 2.5

This is an interesting choice for the Mono Red Sligh or aggro decks. The combat trick side is cost-effective at one mana and two mana for a 3/1 is fine for a deck that never plans to block.

 

Scorching Dragonfire - 1.5

Red has much better options when it comes to removal. If Pauper ever gets a Planeswalker downshifted, this could be considered, but I’ll take my Bolts and be happy.

 

Searing Barrage - 1

Check out some of Pauper’s other red removal options. I imagine it's a house in limited, though.

 

Seven Dwarves - 7 (not really, more like a 2)

A bear that can grow to very large sizes. Folks will probably brew it up, but I don’t think it’s going to be good.

 

Thrill of Possibility - 3

Instant-speed Tormenting Voice is certainly good. Rakdos Reanimator would welcome this card with open arms. There is actual downside considering that Dispel is a very popular sideboard and even mainboard card.

 

Weaselback Redcap - 1.5

A fine one-drop that also serves as a mana-sink, but there are better options in red for one.


Green

 

 

Curious Pair - 1.5

1/3s in Pauper are pretty good, but currently Green doesn’t really have a use for this kind of card.

 

Fell the Pheasant - 2

Another solid Green option to blow up flyers. We already have a ton of options that approach this angle in different ways.

 

Fierce Witchstalker - 1.5

A four-mana 4/4 with trample is great. The food creation makes it even better, but there are better options at four-mana.

 

Garenbrig Carver - 1.5

The front-half combat trick is fine, but there are better options. The back-half is over-costed for the format. A fine limited card, but not much for Pauper.

 

Garenbrig Paladin - 1.5

The stats on this card are great. 5/5s do well in Pauper, but five mana is a bit too steep.

 

Garenbrig Squire - 1.5

Another bear with upside. Solid synergy with Adventure cards that will make it a limited player, but not for constructed.

 

Insatiable Appetite - 2

Two mana for +3/+3 isn’t the best, but +5/+5 is definitely worth a look. The ability to make a Skarrgan Pit-Skulk effectively unblockable and most likely lethal with food is nothing to ignore.

 

Maraleaf Rider - 1.5

The stats are fine, but there are better things to do for two mana.

 

Outmuscle - 1

Bear suplex is amazing with flavor and art, but four mana is just too much for this sort of effect.

 

Rosethorn Acolyte - 2

This card is interesting as it has both a relevant creature type and can come down turn two as another Birchlore Rangers. Elves has flex slots, but has had so many great additions in the last couple of years that it’s hard to make room for this.

 

Rosethorn Halberd - 3

Stompy doesn’t play Bonesplitter very often. Ignoring the equip cost, this card offers a lot in Pauper. Being able to play it for one and pump up a number of creatures in the format is great. This card plays well with the creatures in Stompy, but it also plays well with a ton of the format’s staple cards, such as Glint Hawk, Kor Skyfisher, and even Gurmag Angler, Affinity creatures, and Mulldrifter. If you can take advantage of the first line of text, this card is a beating.

 

Tall as a Beanstalk - 1

Falls a bit short.

 

Tuinvale Treefolk - 1

Everything about this Adventure is too expensive.

 

Wildwood Tracker - 4

This card slots in well with the current Stompy build. It’s a non-bo with two creatures in the deck, but the rest of the deck makes this a 2/2 for one when attacking. Pairing with Rancor makes this card a real beating capable of smashing in for 4 on turn 2 while you add to your board. Overall, this is a very solid card that I expect to see in decklists going forward.

 

Wolf’s Quarry - 1

I love the card for it’s flavor, but there just isn’t a need for a six-mana green token maker currently.


 

Colorless

 

Crashing Drawbridge - 2

An interesting card with an ability that hasn’t really been in the format before outside of (Goblin Bushwacker).

 

Dwarven Mine - 3.5

The first of the new land-cycle that rewards you for playing basics of the same type. Dwarven Mine is great as it comes in untapped in mono-red decks while also adding to the board.

 

Gingerbread Cabin - 2

Probably the worst of the land cycle being introduced. The lack of powerful food payoffs at common holds this land back, but value in a mono-green deck is still value.

 

Gingerbrute - 3

One-mana haste creatures that are hard to block are worth a look. This card easily turns on Skewer the Critics and Needle Drop when needed. I think this will see more play in constructed formats outside of Pauper, but it’s a great option in our format as well.

 

Golden Egg - 2.5

Two mana artifacts that draw a card have a long and distinguished history in Pauper. The one-time Prophetic Prism use is fine and the ability to gain life in a pinch also makes it just fine. Arcum's Astrolabe makes any non-Prophetic Prism two-mana artifact rather obsolete, but if the format changes, this could be a consideration for the Glint Hawk decks.

 

Henge Walker - 1

Walk away.

 

Idyllic Grange - 3

The white land provides a free buff provided that you’re playing mono-white. White Weenie hasn’t been a format force in years, but this is something that can be slotted in to make your Kor Skyfisher punch through opposing air forces.

 

Jousting Dummy - 1

It does enable Delirium, but not much else.

 

Locthwain Gargoyle - 1

Trinket Mage grabs it, but if it does, you’ve probably made a deckbuilding error.

 

Mystic Sanctuary - 5

The blue land in the cycle is the most powerful. The synergy between this, Ghostly Flicker, and anything that draws a card when it enters the battlefield makes it worth a look. Deprive makes it trivial to keep a counterspell at the ready. This card is probably broken in the current Pauper metagame, so pack your islands, folks.

 

Prophet of the Peak - 1.5

Six mana is a ton. Fine limited card. Leave it there.

 

Roving Keep - 1

A 5/7 is actually a brick wall in Pauper. That said, 7 mana for a creature that requires and additional 7 mana to attach with isn’t where even your most ambitious Tron brewers want to be.

 

Scalding Caldron - 1.5

This reminds me a lot of Seal of Fire. The cost for activating the caldron is a tad steep though. It does have the upside of being fetchable by Trinket Mage.

 

Signpost Scarecrow - 1

The stats are about the only thing fine about this card. Probably a solid late pick in limited, though.

 

Weapon Rack - 2.5

The opposite of Serrated Arrows, Weapon Rack allows you to boost up your squad, albeit at sorcery speed. Still, the ability to pump a Glint Hawk into a 3/3 and then reset the counters sounds powerful on paper.

 

Witch’s Cottage - 4

Like the rest of the lands in this cycle, Witch’s Cottage provides value for the low cost of a land slot in your deck. For mono black decks, this is just an upgrade over Mortuary Mire. Solid card. 

 

There you have it folks. While we wait for the official Throne of Eldraine launch, keep in mind that Pauper does get some new toys. It’s tough for Wizards of the Coast to print with so many formats to consider. The bar for Pauper playables is high, but there are plenty of interesting choices throughout this set. Each color gets something new to look at, and the cycle of value lands will certainly shake up the format a bit. 


About the author - I've been playing Magic for almost 15 years. Pauper has been my go-to format for nearly a decade. While I've been in and out of the format, it's always something I've kept my eye on. Beyond Pauper, I'm a big fan of Commander and Standard formats that include Siege Rhino or Primeval Titan. You can find me on Twitter @EatMahBeans and on MTGO/Discord as PujolsTheDestroyer.