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By: kalandine, Mike Mullins
Feb 03 2010 3:58am
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Worldwake adds 59 new commons to the Pauper pool with Twitch taking up the 60th common slots in the set.

Worldwake continues the Ally and Landfall themes originated in Zendikar with new twists in the overarching theme that land matters.

For this article, I have grouped the new common cards into thematically consistent subsets.  Without further ado, let's get started with a look into Worldwake's commons and how they may fit into the Pauper environment.  Of course, once the community as a whole starts using these cards, the evaluations will evolve and need to be addressed again each time another new set comes out.

Landfall Creatures

  

 

Overall this cycle of landfall creatures does not live up to the expectations of Plated Geopede or Steppe Lynx from Zendikar.  In most decks Stormfront Pegasus is a better option than Fledgling Griffin, Cosi's Ravager and Hedron Rover both cost at least 1 too much.  Snapping Creeper provides a new option for green with its vigilance at a converted mana cost of 3, but for most decks it will be inferior to Centaur Courser and Nissa's Chosen.

The shining beacon here is Calcite Snapper, i.e., Convertible Turtle.  With a cost comparable to Horned Turtle, Calcite Snapper gains shroud and the ability to actually act as a finisher in some instances.  I can definitely see a slot for the turtle in a blue control deck as it will stall many of the aggressive creatures in the format such as Wild Nacatl.  With a Terramorphic Expanse, the Calcite Snapper can even be used to trade with some high toughness creatures will being immune to Burst Lightning, Terminate, and Journey to Nowhere.

Landfall Spells

  

 

Giant Growth does not see a lot of play in pauper - there are simply better options such as Predator's Strike and Vines of Vastwood.  As such, Groundswell is unlikely to be much of a factor either.  Mysteries of the Deep provides the opportunity to draw three cards as an instant - an atypical effect in the common slot.  However, the manipulation that must occur for Mysteries to be played on an opponent's turn and result in drawing three cards isn't worth the effort.  Most players will not save their Bant Panorama until they have 7 land in play or their Terramorphic Expanse until they have 6 land in play in order to ensure drawing three cards.  Thus, Mysteries of the Deep is likely to net 2 cards on most occasions, making Inspiration a better choice, or played as a sorcery, making Brilliant Plan a better choice.

Searing Blaze is a decent option to provide a two effects (3 damage to an opponent, 3 damage to a creature), but probably doesn't fit in red decks wins because of the low land count.  In a sligh style deck, Searing Blaze should be a great card to clear out blockers and wind down the opponent's clock.

Rest for the Weary is an upgrade from Life Burst which isn't played often.  I can see a potential window for Rest for the Weary to make it into the sideboard of a deck, but Sunbeam Spellbomb seems a better option in almost all cases with its guarantee of 5 life, an option to draw a card instead of gaining life, and a equivalent total cost that can be spaced across multiple turns.

The best card in this cycle is Tomb Hex which could see some play due to its ability to deal with Myr Enforcer, Razor Golem, Spire Golem, and Errant Ephemeron.  With its standard -2/-2 effect, Tomb Hex is a more expensive Disfigure but compares reasonably well with Ichor Slick and Last Gasp with its ability to eliminate a creature with 4 toughness.  Overall, Tomb Hex is more likely to find a slot in a sideboard as the other options for -x/-x instants have more affordable casting costs and work in most instances.

Land Creatures

  

  

These cards can provide some interesting option for the enters the battlefield effects.  In addition, the enchanted land can be selected to avoid summoning sickness and provide for an immediate attack. This is a pretty decent cycle of commons with three viable and two unviable for constructed play.  Guardian Zendikon provides very little bang for the buck, though I could see a strategy using Guardian Zendikon (or Corrupted Zendikon) with Quicksand as the start of a 2-for-3 exchange.  Vastwood Zendikon, meanwhile, is too costly for a vanilla 6/4 creature.

Wind Zendikon provides a 2/2 Flyer able to attack on turn 2.  The only other flyer capable of this feat is Uktabi Drake, but the drake has an echo cost of 3 mana.  Unfortunately, blue isn't the best option for an aggressive deck.  The red and black options, however, are probably the best choices here.

With a cost of 1B, Corrupted Zendikon provides an aggressively costed 3/3 creature.  With many black decks running a decently high number of Swamps in order to support Tendrils of Corruption and Corrupt, Corrupted Zendikon can provide an aggressive creature comparable to other aggressive creatures such as Basking Rootwalla and Boreal Centaur.

At 2R, Crusher Zendikon provides an option for a red deck that can support a sequence like this:

Of course, this sequence is more likely to appear in a casual game than in a tournament, but this card does have the potential to be fun.
 

While these enchant lands are designed to reduce the likelihood of a 2-for-1 loss should your creature be destroyed, the return of the land to your hand is limited to the land reaching the graveyard.  Thus, Journey to Nowhere can result in a 2-for-1 exchange in your opponent's favor (Oblivion Ring, notably cannot target the land turned creature because it is still a land).  The mere commonality of Journey to Nowhere in the pauper environment limits the viability of these enchant lands.

Lands

  

  

The 6-card cycle of common lands is my favorite cycle in Worldwake with five of the six being viable in pauper decks.  Smoldering Spires is the weakest of these lands and in the realm of "enters the battlefield tapped", and in my opinion, falls behind Teetering Peaks and Forgotten Cave for red decks.

On the playable side, Sejiri Steppe could easily find a place in a white/black deck to provide Crypt Rats with protection from black before they wipe the battlefield.  Sejiri Steppe also can help make a creature unblockable by an opponent or be used to remove an undesirable aura, such as Pacifism, from one of your creatures. 

Khalni Garden provides a blocker that can slow down an opposing Vampire Hounds or Shade of Trokair.  Halimar Depths stacks a deck and allows a player to time the use of a deck shuffler such as Bant Panorama to optimize draws.  Quicksand, mentioned above, provides for

The most environment impacting land in the cycle for pauper is Bojuka Bog.  With a ton of decks relying on the graveyard as a resource, Bojuka Bog may turn the metagame upside down.  Mystical Teachings, Golgari Brownscale, Tortured Existence, Think Twice, Grim Harvest, Izzet Chronarch, Momentary Blink, Thrill of the Hunt, and Firebolt are all cards which are used as stalwarts in a wide range of powerful pauper decks, and Bojuka Bog will reduce the power of those cards.  For any deck running swamps seeking to last until the mid or late game (i.e., neither storm nor blitz), Bojuka Bog is a reasonable replacement for a couple swamps in the main deck with a couple more Bojuka Bog in the sideboard.  While Bojuka Bog provides a similar effect to Relic of Progenitus, it has some advantages in that it cannot be countered and it can be reused with bounce lands (e.g., Rakdos Carnarium).

Land Matters

  

  

In a deck with landfall and a lot of search lands, I can see a use for Walking Atlas, but in pauper with land search limited to Terramorphic Expanse and the shard panoramas, the benefit doesn't justify the inclusion of the sub-optimal creature.  Pilgrim's Eye provides another enter the battlefield effect that isn't good enough to justify in a Momentary Blink deck compared to Aven Riftwatcher, Mulldrifter, or Trinket Mage.  There are just better options for searching a deck for basic land.

Three mana for a creature aura better provide something as overwhelming as Armadillo Cloak or something extremely powerful in a specific deck such as Shield of the Oversoul.  Claws of Valakut doesn't fit the bill and begs your opponent to kill a creature and gain card advantage.

Arbor Elf may have a spot in a deck built around land enchantments that boost the mana production of a Forest.  With an Overgrowth and Fertile Ground attached, a Forest with an Arbor Elf, (Quiron Ranger), and Seeker of Skybreak could produce a ton of mana for a wide variety of purposes.  Whether that is a better route to take than the elf combo deck including Nettle Sentinel, Birchlore Rangers, and Distant Melody will take some deck builders with an inclination to combo decks to uncover.

Explore is the most interesting option here.  It replaces itself, ramps your mana up by a turn, and puts a land into play (potentially untapped, which reduces the actual cost of Explore to 1).  For green common cards, Explore provides a reasonable draw alternative to the cycle mechanic of other cards.  It may be best in a deck with the Ravnica bounce lands (e.g., Simic Growth Chamber) to allow you to immediately replay the land and draw a card.  Explore isn't a great card, but it could find a slot in a number of decks.

Multikicker

  

 

Alas, we come to the worst common cycle in Worldwake.  With a converted multikicker cost of 2, these five creatures are highly inefficient for the power. toughness, and abilities.  In all five cases, there are better options with the same casting cost and better options with a cost equivalent to these being kicked once.  The power of these cards comes from the flexibility of their casting costs, but a 4/4 flyer for 7 mana is too far outside the power curve to justify their inclusion in a deck.

Ally

  

 

In the past two weeks, the number of ally decks have skyrocketed for pauper.  I have seen three different ally archetypes so far; White/Green, Blue/Green, and Blue/White/Green.  The latter seems to have the most potential, but has the mana base will betray it occasionally.  The White/Green is not currently strong enough with its reliance on Makindi Shieldmate keeps it from being aggressive enough to power through an opponent.

Fortunately, the allies that show the potential to improve the pauper ally decks include two of these three colors (green and white) as well as black.  Blue and Red on the other hand gain creatures that either provide bonuses that are too temporary (i.e., Akoum Battlesinger) or effects inconsistent with the rest of the ally cards available in pauper (i.e., Halimar Excavator).

Join the Ranks provides a combat trick that can provide permanent +1/+1 tokens to mana of the allies in pauper such as Umara Raptor and Oran-Rief Survivalist or trigger the life gain of Ondu Cleric for 6 life or more.  My favorite two ally cards, however, are Bojuka Brigand and Graypelt Hunter who provide new allies that gain permanent +1/+1 counters while filling in new slots on the curve for their respective colors.  (Oran-Reif Survivalist), Umara Raptor, and Graypelt Hunter provides a smooth curve through turn 4 that should leave a player with solid batch of creatures.  Bojuka Brigand simply fills a better casting cost slot than Nimana Sell-Sword which may allow black to enter the fray as a viable color choice for ally decks.

Vanilla and French Vanilla

   

 

These creatures simply are not up to snuff to cut it in pauper (or any other constructed format for that matter).

Equipment

 

Kitesail Apprentice plus Bonesplitter provides a 4/2 flyer on turn 2.  Nice.  The Kitesail, on the other hand, is overcosted for its effect, especially its equip cost.

Doing What Each Color Does Best

Every set, Wizards of the Coast produces cards to fit certain thematic slots associated with each color.  These are the cards that fit the fill out each color in a manner consistent with the Magic's color pie.

 

 

Dispel is the weakest analog in the bunch with the much broader Negate costing only 1 colorless more.  Treasure Hunt is the draw spell for Worldwake's common slot and it has the potential to draw a ton of cards and guarantees to add one spell to your hand - I think I will still run Think Twice, but there will be decks that prefer Treasure Hunt.  The remaining two cards provide bounce effects with Surrakar Banisher costing too much for most blue decks.  Æther Tradewinds provides an opportunity to save a creature from an opponent's spell while forcing them to recast one of their threats.  Even at 3 mana, I can see a use for this in a variety of blue, blue/white, and blue/black control decks. 

  

Black gets its typical destruction card, return creature from graveyard, and discard options.  Brink of Disaster costs more than most black destroy spells, but can target both lands and creatures.  Brink of Disaster, however, is limited in how effective it can be given its reliance on the target tapping, meaning that a creature can stick around indefinitely as a blocker.  Dead Reckoning is fairly costed and trades off card advantage for dealing damage, but I can see a deck combining Dead Reckoning with Mournwhelk to control an opponent's hand and inflicting 7 damage for 3 mana.  I like the last option, Mire's Toll, as an improvement on Duress as early as turn 3.

 

Green gains a new option for removing artifacts and enchantments, but allowing an opponent to gain 4 life for a reduction in cost of 1 does not seem worthwhile.  Feral Contest merges creature pump with a provoke effect, but costs too much for what you get.

 

I don't think Veteran's Reflexes will find its way into many decks, but it is an upgrade over Alarum in terms of cost and flexibility of use.  It costs more and cannot target artifacts, but Iona's Judgment has one advantage over Oblivion Ring, your opponent cannot get rid of it to bring their exiled card back.  I think most players will stick to Oblivion Ring.

  

Skip Bull Rush and play Brute Force.  Roiling Thunder is favorably comparable to other 4 cost red land destruction spells such as (Dwarvern Landslide) and Lay Waste.

Remnants

   

Pulse Tracker isn't as good as most other 1 cost black creatures, but Ruthless Cullblade provides a very respectable option as the 2 mana cost slot.  Grotag Thrasher is a really expensive Hill Giant that can be played around most players.

Eight to Watch

While there are about fifteen common cards in Worldwake that I expect to find a way to use in a deck, the best of the best that I expect to make an impact in the pauper environment (either as mainstays in the casual room or effective additions to tournament decks) are shown below.  Every color has at least one representative in this list, but black is the clear winner.  I do not believe any of these cards are universal inclusions to any deck featuring a particular color, but Searing Blaze and Bojuka Bog are the most robust cards in the set that should find their way into more than a narrow subset of decks.

   

  

  

 

Lest I forget, a Deck

Like so many of the decks I develop it is inspired by the decks I face in the casual room.  There is a green deck (some variations include a splash of blue) featuring Slippery Bogle, Silhana Ledgewalker, and Petrified Plating floating around that can be quite annoying to play against.  The deck aggressively mulligans into a Slippery Bogle or Silhana Ledgewalker and then builds that creature up through auras.  The deck has never performed well in player run events or pauper tournaments because MBC simply uses Diabolic Edict and Innocent Blood to get rid of the creature.

That doesn't mean there isn't a good idea there to build on.  Part of the problem is that Petrified Plating, Oakenform, and Predatory Hunger will not ensure that you actually damage an opponent, but the concept of untargetable creatures and the difficulty that creates for many decks in the environment is laudable.  Targeting Armadillo Cloak as a better option for the enchantment and wanting some control aspect, I developed a Bant Cloak deck that includes twelve creatures that cannot will not allow an opponent to gain life from a Tendrils of Corruption and uses blue for control (Counterspell and (Condscend), draw (Think Twice), Into the Roil for both.  Green provides mana fixing, creatures, and auras.  White provides Guardian of the Guildpact and Armadillo Cloak, but is the definite splash color in the deck.


 Bant Cloak

  Lands (22)
    7x Forest
    5x Plains
    7x Island
    3x Bant Panorama

  Sideboard (15)
    1x Muddle the Mixture
    3x Holy Light
    2x Gleeful Sabotage
    4x Echoing Truth
    1x Circle of Protection: Red
    4x Chatter of the Squirrel

 Creatures (16)
   4x Silhana Ledgewalker
   4x Slippery Bogle
   4x Sakura-Tribe Elder
   4x Guardian of the Guildpact

 Non-Creatures (22)
   4x Shield of the Oversoul
   4x Armadillo Cloak
   3x Into the Roil
   3x Think Twice
   4x Counterspell
   4x Condescend

In the tournament practice room I have faced Mono-Black Control and an IzzetPost deck (featuring Cloudpost, Rolling Thunder, and a ton of draw and counterspells).

The match against the Izzet deck resulted in me using a Guardian of the Guildpact to slowly whittle away his life while we played counterspell wars to keep him from gaining too much card advantage and me from gaining another attacker to speed up the clock.  We both made one major misclick during the match with him discarding a Cloudpost to Compulsive Research instead of an Island and my skipping through an attack phase that would have inflicted three damage.  I sided in a Muddle the Mixture and a Circle of Protection: Red.  Game 2 was even slower, but I set up a (Slippery Boggle) with a Shield of the Oversoul to create a clock and he eventually developed enough mana to Capsize my land base and counter everything I tried.  I won before he develop the twenty mana to burn me out with a Rolling Thunder.

The match against MBC went as expected.  I got a creature in play with an Armadillo Cloak and began attacking.  I kept a Slippery Bogle around in case he played a sacrifice spell.  I survived through the discard effects for Ravenous Rats while countering the Distress to ensure I had counterspells around for any Crypt Rats that would show.  By the time a Corrupt hit, I had sufficient life to survive and was attacking for five a turn with a Guardian of the Guildpact enchanted by an Armadillo Cloak and a Shield of the Oversoul.  I subbed in four Chatter of the Squirrel for one Sakura-Tribe Elder
 and three 3x Into the Roil as I do not want to return his creatures to his hand.  I got out an early (Slippery Boggle) with a Shield of the Oversoul and began whittling away his life.  Ravenous Rats and Chittering Rats whittled away my hand while I discarded Think Twice whenever possible and used its flashback to keep a semblance of a hand.  When Diabolic Edict came before he cast distress, I used Chatter of the Squirrel to create a sacrificial creature token and continued to whittle away at my opponent's life with the (Slipper Boggle) and a Silhana Ledgewalker.

So, in the tournament practice room the deck has fared very well winning two matches.  Things have not been so smooth in the casual room.

First, pre-sideboard, the deck only wins about a third of the games against Goblinstorm, but is at the seventy-five percent mark against Grapeshot storm with both counterspells and Armadillo Cloak providing the means to eek out a win.  MBCu, however, has been less favorable than MBC in the common room as Agony Warp is quite effective in destroying Guardian of the Guildpact.  I have also lost to a mill deck featuring circles of protection, two slivers decks, and a green/white exalted deck.  The deck, however I have faced most in the common room, is variations of Dead Dog and Tortured Existence.  In that matchup, Bant Cloak has performed very well with eight victories and only two losses.

Slivers appear to be a bad matchup for the deck as the slivers can simply get large enough that when they attack I can block a few of them but not destroy them while one or two push through some damage.  In the two losses to slivers, I did not see a single Armadillo Cloak and one of the games I had major mana issues.  In the loss to the green/white exalted deck, (Quasli Pridemage) created problems for my auras and the Guardian of the Guildpact was less effective since so many opposing creatures were multicolored.

The biggest issue, however, is the mana base which is stretched very thin to support three essential colors and seeks to have two blue sources in play for Counterspell and Into the Roil.  I am playing around with adding a Simic Growth Chamber, but haven't decided what I should remove yet.

The deck is fun and has potential, but still needs some work.  I can't decide whether the game was fun or excruciating , but I played one game against an Elf/Illusion/Faerie/Changeling deck which saw my deck nearing 100 life and my opponent's deck over 30 life at one point.  Into the Roil proved its worth their by bouncing Wellwisher on back-to-back turns to allow my Guardian of the Guildpact with all four Armadillo Cloaks to finally attack for the win and gain me forty life.

Until next time, good luck and enjoy the game.

 

14 Comments

if i could suggest anything by ShardFenix at Wed, 02/03/2010 - 10:44
ShardFenix's picture

if i could suggest anything on your deck it would be to pull a plains out in favor of an island. if you count the roil as a UU spell, then the proper basic land distribution would be 9u, 8g, 5w. If you simply take out one of each basic for the panorama's you are left with
8 Island, 7 Forest, 4 Plains, 3 Bant Panorama

I will try the switch of by kalandine at Wed, 02/03/2010 - 12:19
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I will try the switch of adding an Island in place of a Plains.

I think I will also try out the Simic Growth Chamber, probably in place of a Sakura Tribe-Elder. That should help the blue mana and increase my mana for the Condescend.

Thanks.

Zendikons by sanhedrin at Wed, 02/03/2010 - 11:02
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You missed the first combo I saw when the set spoiled: (Crusher Zendikon) + (Darksteel Citadel). It’s easy enough to shoehorn into a preexisting deck, especially a U/R deck with the (Trinket Mage) suite for fetching the Citadel. It dies to more removal than an indestructible creature should, but I doubt we’ll get a better three mana 4/2 indestructible creature in Pauper any time soon. Oh, and in a jam you can just play it on a regular land.

Don’t forget that while (Oblivion Ring) can’t target the land, it can always target the enchantment.

I had forgotten the Citadel by kalandine at Wed, 02/03/2010 - 12:20
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I had forgotten the Citadel was common - nice combo.

I knew Oblivion Ring could take out the enchantment, but at least that is a one-for-one exchange and not the two for one exchange of Unmake or Journey to Nowhere.

Your Article Needs Proofreading by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 02/03/2010 - 12:25
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This article is pretty good overall, but needs proofreading. Many card names are misspelled and therefore do not have links provided. Don't just submit a first draft and call it good. Polish your writing, it looks more professional. By the way, the word is spelled "eke" not "eek."

Welcome to the Internet. I by sanhedrin at Wed, 02/03/2010 - 12:27
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Welcome to the Internet. I hope you enjoy your stay.

First - I agree with you. by kalandine at Wed, 02/03/2010 - 14:31
kalandine's picture

First - I agree with you. This does have too many auto-link cards that were misspelled, most at the end were I probably rushed a bit too much. I have done better with this in my previous articles, including adding in URLs for cards that would not auto-link. I doubt I will be perfect, but I will redouble my efforts to ensure the failed auto-links aren't as numerous in the future.

I actually use the spell checker in Word frequently to proof my article, but sometimes I miss a word. I however, do not copy/paste from Word because the formatting gets off (e.g. look at the font & size of excrutiating in the first line of the next to last paragraph).

Fresh eyes always help correct spelling and grammar mistakes that an original author misses.

Standard Bearer by deluxeicoff at Wed, 02/03/2010 - 12:47
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Wouldn't all those enchantments HAVE to target a solo Standard Bearer?

Yep. Just like any cloak by kalandine at Wed, 02/03/2010 - 14:23
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Yep. Just like any cloak deck, a Standard Bearer would create issues. Between Into the Roil and counterspells, I should be able to manage. Standard Bearer doesn't show up in a ton of main decks from my experience (could be wrong, but I mostly see it in sideboards). So, if the Bearer became an issue in game 2 of a match I could add in the Echoing Truth for game 3 and work around the timing.

I do not believe this to be a tournament worthy deck yet, but it has some potential. The benefit of the draw/counterspells versus the inconsistency of the card draw is the real exploration for this Bant Cloak deck versus the normal green/white Cloak decks.

"but I can see a deck by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 02/03/2010 - 18:17
Anonymous's picture

"but I can see a deck combining Dead Reckoning with Mournwhelk to control an opponent's hand and inflicting 7 damage for 3 mana."

Unfortunately, Dead Reckoning deals damage equal to the creatures power, not CMC.

Why isnt the walking atlas an by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/05/2010 - 15:44
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Why isnt the walking atlas an artifact creature?

Why isnt the walking atlas an by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/05/2010 - 15:44
Anonymous's picture

Why isnt the walking atlas an artifact creature?

It is an artifact, it's just by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/05/2010 - 16:02
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It is an artifact, it's just a misprint. Check gatherer.

chatter of squirrels by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 03/05/2010 - 12:19
Anonymous's picture

how do you cast chatter of squirrels when he casts the eddict, its a sorcery