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By: Blackdeckwins, Anthony Davis
Jul 11 2016 12:00pm
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The Eldritch Moon has descended upon us, and although it may not have the same impact as Eternal Masters, there are still many cards that could show up in Pauper. Today, I’m going to focus on the new cards that have potential in aggressive strategies; I’ll leave the grindy control cards to people who want to spend more than an hour or two completing a league. I’m looking to put my opponent from twenty to zero as quickly as possible, and Eldritch Moon has a few commons that just might make that easier.
Desperate Sentry
While a 1/2 for three mana is not impressive, a 4/2 is significantly better. Add in that it becomes a 3/2 colorless Eldrazi after it dies, and we have a potentially strong creature. Delirium takes work to set up, but a mix of instants and sorceries like Raise the Alarm and Gather the Townsfolk, plus Angelic Purge to get extra permanents into the graveyard, can help enable it. Hyper-aggressive decks are unlikely to want it, but aggressive decks that are a little more resilient could make use of this two-for-one creature.
Lunarch Mantle   Strange Augmentation
Hexproof decks gain a few potential tools from Eldritch Moon. First, Lunarch Mantle works as a fair buff spell, and also grants creatures near-unblockability by trading lands or excess creatures for flying. There may be better choices for flying and better choices for buffing, but filling both roles makes Lunarch Mantle quite interesting. Also, if Hexproof is willing to look at Black, Strange Augmentation can provide a significant boost when Delirium is active. Hexproof currently does not put a lot of permanents into the graveyard, but the inclusion of cards like Commune with the Gods and Vessel of Nascency could provide enough graveyard interaction while helping to find missing creatures or enchantments. Running Black would also give it access to a larger sideboard selection, similar to the Five-Color Bogles deck from last block.
Abzan Hexproof
Pauper Brew by Anthony Davis
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Slippery Bogle
12 cards

Other Spells
4 Abundant Growth
2 Ancestral Mask
2 Armadillo Cloak
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Rancor
4 Utopia Sprawl
4 Commune with the Gods
2 Vessel of Nascency
2 Strange Augmentation
2 Lunarch Mantle
30 cards
3 Blossoming Sands
10 Forest
3 Jungle Hollow
2 Khalni Garden
18 cards
Slippery Bogle


Spectral Reserves   Thraben Standard Bearer

White Weenie strategies also gain some interesting tools. Spectral Reserves is a bit expensive for two flying creature tokens (it’s definitely no Lingering Souls) but flying tokens are significantly better than non-flying tokens. Speaking of tokens, Thraben Standard Bearer gives the deck something to do with excess mana and useless cards later in the game. It also works quite well with flashback cards like Rally the Peasants and Battle Screech, and even the more-recent Dauntless Cathar. The one-drop slot is one of the most difficult slots to nail down in the deck, but Thraben Standard Bearer has a legitimate shot at being one of them.

Red/White Tokens
Pauper Brew by Anthony Davis
3 Dauntless Cathar
Squadron Hawk
4 Thraben Inspector
3 Thraben Standard-Bearer
14 cards

Other Spells
4 Battle Screech
4 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Rally the Peasants
2 Ramosian Rally
2 Spectral Reserves
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Lumithread Field
26 cards
1 Evolving Wilds
12 Plains
3 Mountain
4 Wind-Scarred Crag
20 cards
Battle Screech


Enlightened Maniac

While I may be a Red player at heart, I have a soft spot for the Blue/Green Evolve deck that pops up every now and then. For those that are unaware, the deck is built around using cheap Evolve creatures like Cloudfin Raptor and Shambleshark followed by cheap creatures with high toughness (or token producers) to buff the Evolve creatures quickly and run over the opponent. Enlightened Maniac is one card that adds multiple creatures to the board that could buff Evolve creatures quite quickly, and also happens to add a 3/2 to the battle on its own.

Cemetery Recruitment

Tribal decks have been a part of Magic for years, and their synergies push some of the most powerful decks in Magic’s history: Elves, Merfolk, and Goblins are powerful strategies in multiple formats, including Pauper. Innistrad has its own tribal synergies, and some of them may be powerful enough to push their archetypes into the Pauper metagame. Cemetery Recruitment could give a Zombie deck a way to get back creatures after opponents have removed them, or could let the deck reuse Gempalm Polluter. Ghoulcaller’s Chant already exists, and there could be some debate about whether it’s better to get two Zombies from your graveyard or one Zombie and one random card from your deck, but it may be best to have a mix of the two.

Pauper Brew by Anthony Davis
4 Carnophage
4 Sangrophage
4 Ghoulraiser
4 Gempalm Polluter
4 Wretched Anurid
4 Carrion Feeder
2 Wakedancer
2 Gurmag Angler
28 cards

Other Spells
3 Cemetary Recruitment
3 Ghoulcaller's Chant
4 Nameless Inversion
2 Doom Blade
12 cards
20 Swamp
20 cards
Gempalm Polluter


Stensia Banquet

Speaking of tribal synergies, Vampires had few payoffs (read: one) for committing to the tribe in Pauper until Shadows over Innistrad released. Shadows introduced Stromkirk Mentor to help pump your other vampires, and Eldritch Moon introduces Stensia Banquet as a fireball that also cantrips. Is that enough to make the tribe viable? I doubt it, but I’m not above trying.

Black/Red Vampires
Pauper Brew by Anthony Davis
4 Guul Draz Vampire
2 Shadow Alley Denizen
4 Vampire Lacerator
4 Ruthless Cullblade
4 Vampire Interloper
4 Stromkirk Mentor
22 cards

Other Spells
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Chain Lightning
4 Bump in the Night
4 Stensia Banquet
3 Vampiric Fury
19 cards
9 Swamp
4 Mountain
4 Evolving Wilds
2 Bloodfell Caves
19 cards
Vampiric Fury


Olivia's Dragoon   Distemper of the Blood

When Shadows over Innistrad released, it added several new cards to the Pauper Madness conversation. None of the decks had quite enough power to break into the metagame. Eldritch Moon’s Madness cards are not quite as powerful, but it gives Black a new outlet in Olivia’s Dragoon and Red gets a combat trick in Distemper of the Blood. Red/Black was one of the color combinations I did not look at deeply, but with an extra outlet, it could be worth examining.

Otherworldly Outburst

I may not have a deck in mind for Otherworldly Outburst, but that does not make it less interesting. One point of power can help smaller creatures break through annoyances like Kor Skyfisher, and leaves behind a 3/2 Eldrazi once the creature dies. Red is lacking in cards that can grind like this, so it is definitely worth keeping in mind for any Red decks looking for combat tricks.

Graf Rats   Midnight Scavengers

Chittering Host

Since its release in Theros, Gray Merchant of Asphodel has been the big finisher of ever Mono-Black deck the format has seen. Decks looking to play other colors with Black have also made use of Gurmag Angler as the big finisher. However, Eldritch Moon is introducing a new Black finisher in the equation: Graf Rats and Midnight Scavengers. Though neither on its own is overly impressive, together they make a 5/6 menacing creature that pumps your entire teams and grants them menace. If a Black aggressive deck emerged, I could definitely imagine it wanting to utilize the combination as a big finisher.

While aggressive decks are generally my focus, there are plenty of other cards in Eldritch Moon that hold Pauper potential. I’ll be pouring my efforts into finding interesting new aggressive decks, and I’m eager to see what other decks show up to challenge them. My initial focus is going to be on trying out the aggressive Black cards to see if anything sticks, be they Zombies, Vampires, or generally aggressive creatures, but there are plenty of new twists to try out.

Thanks for reading! What cards from Eldritch Moon are you looking forward to seeing in Pauper? Let me know! If you have any questions or thoughts about anything else, you can always contact me on Twitter (@blackdeckwins) and on Tumblr (also @blackdeckwins), where I write articles about Limited and custom Magic card design. You can also check out all of my previous articles on PureMTGO by following this link.


Another great one - keep it by deluxeicoff at Tue, 07/12/2016 - 14:35
deluxeicoff's picture

Another great one - keep it up!

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