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By: DimeCollectoR, Jason Moore
Sep 25 2017 12:00pm
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 Hi folks!

Iconic Masters is magnificent.


I shouldn't be surprised. The Masters series, which includes Vintage Masters, Eternal Masters, and Modern Masters 2017, has a habit of bestowing the Pauper formant with undeniable, playable goodies.


Most recently we were handed Augur of Bolas and Burning-Tree Emissary, which have become staples in some of the format's very best decks. With Iconic Masters just a couple months away, we must determine whether or not additional paradigm shifts await us.


So let's do just that!


Lead the Stampede


Lead the Stampede. Wow. Let's talk about this card.


If you've seen this sorcery at work in the right deck, you know that it can be very powerful. In fact, this newly Pauperized sorcery could positively impact aggro to an extent that mirrors what Burning-Tree Emissary did earlier this year.


We're talking a draw three or draw four for three mana. In green. In a creature-dense beatdown deck. Pretty unheard of in Pauper, with a few exceptions (Distant Melody we'll get to in a second).


Now obviously there is a degree of variance with this card. It's not always going to function as advertised. But that's fine, as Augur of Bolas and others come with a similar failure rate yet still perform admirably on the whole.


I won't mince words. If Lead the Stampede isn't the best card from this set for Pauper, then it's likely in the top two. I believe that a number of decks can benefit from playing this, and will immediately see an increase in power level and format viability.


One of the best ways to currently beat green aggro decks is to whether their early storm and match their threats with point removal and/or sweepers. From there we widen the gap by generating more and more value while they topdeck random 2/2s.


Lead the Stampede changes this dynamic. It gives a gas tank to decks that don't usually have a gas tank. Can you scrape by Slivers' onslaught and stabilize at single digit life? Lead the Stampede equates to an entirely new offensive coming your way as a follow-up.


And honestly, the noncreature spells currently being run in Slivers aren't exactly mind-blowing. Stampede is going to present the deck with a strict upgrade.


Here is a tentative list.


According to Patrick Chapin's article on Lead the Stampede, our creature count of 33 will net us an average draw of 2.75 cards per Lead. I would not suggest going below this creature count initially, and in fact I'm looking for ways to include more!


Slivers as a deck works under a simple premise. Get enough lords to stick, with a couple of support guys, and the board essentially becomes unsolvable.


Lead the Stampede only assists this plan, making up for subpar opening hands, enemy interaction that reduces our offense, or a simple string of lackluster draws in a row. Just imagine how much better of a topdeck Lead is on an empty board when compared to current inclusions like Thrill of the Hunt.


This is the kind of deck that either works or doesn't. Lead the Stampede will ensure that the deck works considerably more often. I can see Slivers entering the higher tier picture within the coming months if it's built around this spell properly.


And it doesn't stop there! Lead the Stampede now enters the discussion regarding every creature archetype that either plays green or can afford to splash! Let's look at a couple of examples.



Lead the Stompede
by Jason Moore - 75 Cards Total
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
3 Nest Invader
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Quirion Ranger
2 River Boa
2 Shinen of Life's Roar
4 (4 Skarrgan-Pit Skulk)
4 Slaughterhorn
2 Vault Skirge
4 Young Wolf
29 cards

2 Aspect of Hydra
2 cards
4 Lead the Stampede
4 cards

4 Rancor
4 cards
17 Forest
17 cards

2 Epic Confrontation
3 Gleeful Sabotage
2 Nourish
1 Shinen of Life's Roar
4 Scattershot Archer
3 Spore Frog
15 cards


Gasp! I've diverted from the magic Stompy formula, but only slightly. Note that Slaughterhorn functions here as a pump spell that gets picked up by Lead the Stampede.


Aspect of Hydra and Shinen of Life's Roar are also present to help close the game out with one big swing after a Lead or two has resolved. Obviously a degree of speed is being sacrificed here for the sake of longevity.


I'm not claiming that this is the best direction to take the deck. However, time may tell that it is actually a good call.


There's also the potential problem of having a hand that's gummed up with Leads and (Slaughterhorns). For this reason, Nest Invader makes the main deck to help us generate that third mana.


But let's stop stalling. I know many of you are wondering about how this deck will do in Elves. My estimation? Just fine.

I'm quite interested in piloting Elves once Lead the Stampede becomes Pauper-legal. With 42 creatures in the list above, we should easily be drawing three creatures or more with the majority of our Leads.


I still want to have Distant Melody around as an over the top nuclear bomb that wins us the game outright, but Lead should replace the blue sorcery in some number merely because it works great on a meager or empty board.


Let's not bicker over why Melody is better or vice versa. Play both!


Because our creature count is so absurdly high, I also have more noncreature spells in the sideboard than I do in some of these other lists. With Elves we can afford to board out of a few creatures, because our Leads don't get hurt as much when we're dropping from 42 to 38 or so creatures.


Here's one more Lead the Stampede list for the road. This is just to illustrate what might also be possible with the card in Pauper.



Here we have more creatures that function sort of like spells, such as Selfless Cathar and Veteran Armorer. Our sideboard is almost all creatures, including Faerie Macabre (playing her allows our Leads to draw us into graveyard hate)!




Okay, so I know I went a bit overboard on Lead the Stampede today.


To make it up to you, not only will I cover the other promising cards next week, I'll also post a (very rough) rough draft decklist here and now for Jace's Phantasm and Wight of Precinct Six! We can discuss the list more in-depth next week if you like.


UB Phantasm
by Jason Moore - 75 Cards Total
4 Augur of Skulls
4 Jace's Phantasm
3 Wight of Precinct Six
11 cards

4 Counterspell
2 Disfigure
2 Doom Blade
1 Dream Twist
2 Piracy Charm
4 Thought Scour
15 cards
2 Chainer's Edict
2 Night's Whisper
4 Pilfered Plans
1 Raven's Crime
9 cards

4 Delver of Secrets
4 cards
1 Dimir Aqueduct
4 Dimir Guildgate
4 Dismal Backwater
1 Evolving Wilds
7 Island
4 Swamp
21 cards

2 Chainer's Edict
1 Disfigure
2 Dispel
1 Echoing Decay
2 Faerie Macabre
2 Hydroblast
1 (Reaping the Grave)
2 Stormbound Geist
2 Zombie Outlander
15 cards

Dime's Up


What are your initial thoughts on Iconic Masters in Pauper? If you have time to share, please do!


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


Bye for now!