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By: DimeCollectoR, Jason Moore
Jul 17 2017 12:00pm
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 Hi folks!


Time to finish what we started last week.


In Part One, we went over some of the Hour of Devastation commons that I believe Pauper mages should be taking into account. After discussing commons in the colors white, blue and black, it is now time to round up the rest of the bunch. I hope you're ready, because we are going to hit the ground running here.





It's not often that red gets the ability to place -1/-1 counters on dudes. In fact, the only example in Pauper that comes immediately to mind is Shadowmoor's Scar. While distributing these kinds of counters has not proven to be incredibly relevant in our format, it does help us perform some distinct (albeit admittedly niche) tasks.


What kind of tasks? The first is removing creatures in spite of their temporary toughness buffs. In particular I'm referring to reactionary instants cast to refute damage-dealing spells. That's right, Groundswell and Mutagenic Growth won't be able to save Stompy's Quirion Ranger or Vault Skirge from this new instant. In addition, Izzet Fiend decks will fail to rescue Delver of Secrets with their own usage of Mutagenic Growth.


Perhaps equally useful, -1/-1 counters get around regeneration, so River Boa gets taken out no matter how much green they leave open. In my estimation this is somewhat relevant, since red otherwise has a degree of trouble handling River Boa with its typical removal suite.


Lastly, these diminishing counters can permanently handle threats with persist. In case that isn't clear, a creature with persist will only return to the battlefield if it doesn't already possess a -1/-1 counter. (Blur of Blades) distributes a -1/-1 counter, so persist simply does not trigger.


However, there aren't exactly a ton of creatures with persist currently running around in the format. Even worse, there aren't any creatures with persist who start out as x/1s (if they did, persist wouldn't actually do anything!). Nevertheless, (Blur of Blades)' interaction with the mechanic is still something to keep in mind.


For a deck like Burn, Searing Blaze will remain a distinctly superior Pauper option to (Blur of Blades). It removes a much wider range of threats than Blur does, and stings for that single point of damage more.


Still, if corner cases like the ones detailed above end up being more commonplace in our format, it may benefit some players to start sharpening these Blades up.



(Crash Through) could very well be just shy of playable in Pauper. However, the card does have some potentially intriguing applications in preexisting Pauper strategies.


For starters, it slots reasonably well into Izzet Fiend decks, potentially helping us out in a number of different scenarios. It flips over Delver of Secrets, powers up Kiln Fiend and powers up Nivix Cyclops. It also draws a card, which ultimately helps us keep the train rolling (so that we can pile on the most damage in the red zone that turn). (Crash Through) also gets all of our beaters on the board through chump blockers, so instead of loading all of our eggs into one Temur Battle Rage basket, we can go wider and not risk getting blown out by a kill spell.


Unlike Temur Battle Rage, (Crash Through) makes for a decent draw during topdeck wars. Is our only out to a certain game state finding a threat as soon as possible? This card, crucially, gets us there a turn sooner.


Having multiple Fiends on the table is, to be fair, a bit of a win-more scenario, and in games where we have just one threat Temur Battle Rage is certainly the more explosive option (one TBR plus two other instants or sorceries equals GG). For these reasons I would say this new sorcery does fall short of being an ideal fit.


How about in Affinity? The deck already plays red for Atog, Fling and Galvanic Blast, has a penchant for playing big fat creatures, and also likes to draw cards. While I don't see a huge problem with running one or two copies, I'm also not thrilled with the idea. Slots in the deck that aren't taken up by artifacts are somewhat scarce. For now I'd say trying out one copy and seeing how it does is the way to go.



I think it's safe to say that (Firebrand Archer) is one of the most talked about Pauper cards of the entire set. It bears resemblance to an already solidified common, Thermo-Alchemist, but unlike the 0/3 can be triggered the very turn it enters the battlefield. This makes the new 2/1 somewhat comparable to Guttersnipe and Young Pyromancer.


My strategic intentions regarding this card might not be what you'd expect. To preface, I've been known to play with creature-less win conditions every so often. Sorceries like Flurry of Horns, Evincar's Justice and enchantments like Curse of the Bloody Tome. I think that Archer might be worth attempting as a bit of a sideboard switcheroo, taking advantage of not only a creature-less deck's abundance of noncreature spells, but also of our opponents' tendencies to board out of removal spells for Game 2.


Ideally this would provide us with a Turn 2 beater that piles on additional damage whenever we draw cards, cast permission, etc., going relatively unchallenged in the process. Then, for Game 3, we board back out of the Archers and let our opponent's hand clog up with useless removal.


So how effective might this application be? Is it too cute? Well, probably. But Pauper decks have thrived on doing all kinds of cute things in the past.


I don't see this (Firebrand Archer) directly replacing Thermo-Alchemist in any of his typical homes (namely Burn), mostly because she is notably easier to kill. She also can't ping the opponent when her controller is hellbent like Alchemist can.


As far as I can tell, decks that might actually work best with her are decks running free draw spells like Gitaxian Probe and perhaps even Gush. Cards like these give players a better chance of “going off” with her in play, and help maximize the amount of mana efficiency and damage output generated on a given turn.






If Burn sees an upsurge in popularity than I think this card will be a solid option for a few decks at the least.


The most obvious one I can think of is Aristocrats, a strategy that regularly involves sacrificing creatures to beef up Carrion Feeder and trigger Mortician Beetle. So creatures are constantly dying, which means (Life Goes On) provides us with a Burn-crushing rate that outperforms Feed the Clan and other related contenders.


Even in Stompy, the Burn matchup can involve our opponent killing our creatures with Searing Blaze or killing our Vault Skirges in order to stay in the game. There might even be scenarios where we remove Thermo-Alchemist with a card like Epic Confrontation. These scenarios all “power up” our copies of (Life Goes On).


When we consider (Life Goes On) at its base level, it's still “countering” a burn spell and then some. That doesn't make it an awesome card, but since races against Burn tend to be very close it certainly isn't an irrelevant one either.


I'm fairly optimistic about this spell, if Burn becomes a Top 5 or Top 6 deck in the future.





This may seem like a weird one, but I have played against Vent Sentinel decks in the past, and this guy hypothetically slots into that kind of strategy. Look, he blocks a decent amount of things, also gets to activate each turn, and possibly benefits us if “deserts matter” actually becomes a relevant concept at some point.


Cards that care about defender seem to crop up every few years (Axebane Guardian was probably the last one), so expect the Vent Sentinel-plus-(Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs) archetype to “get there” in 2037!


Dime's Up


Well, we did it. Now it's time to stop writing about Hour of Devastation and get to brewing! You can always let me know if you think I screwed something up in this article.


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


Bye for now!