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By: gwyned, gwyned
Aug 26 2013 9:54am
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I. Introduction

It is the purpose of this article to introduce you, my loyal readers, to the Hipsters of the Coast Standard Pauper event. For the next nine weeks or so, I will be bringing you updates from this ground-breaking event, including a weekly videocast of my matches, win or lose. But for today, I want to briefly discuss why this event is so important for the format as a whole and give you a quick primer on what you should expect in the Standard Pauper metagame. Let's start off with a quick introduction to this great event.

II. The Event

Never heard of Hipsters of the Coast? Actually, I hadn't either...

The blog is run by a whole team of contributors, and true to their description, they cover a whole range of Magic formats. But it is the contributor at the bottom of the list, one Zachary Barash, who is the genius behind this event. A couple weeks ago, he announced that he would be hosting a "league-style" Standard Pauper event, with the grand prize of a paper Revised Taiga, along with other prizes for not only the Top 4 but also for one random player each week. Naturally, I was thrilled when I saw this, and immediately pledged to match his offer of a booster pack with one of my own for another lucky player each week.

So, fast forward a week. The event officially kicked off at midnight on Monday, August 20th, where Zach announced that the event had drawn over 150 different players representing 15 different countries! This is an incredible accomplishment for the format! While I suspected that the community surrounding Standard Pauper was continuing to grow, I never would have expected to see this kind of turnout for such an event. Wizards of the Coast, take note, Standard Pauper is a popular Magic Online format, and one that deserves official sanction. If you regularly read my articles here at PureMTGO, you know I'm a major proponent of this format already, and I've spent no little time presenting compelling evidence (here and here and here) for why Wizards should create regular sanctioned events around this format. This is just one more argument for my case.

Anyway, as I mentioned above, I will be submitting weekly updates regarding this event, which will run between now and the release of Theros on Magic Online. But for now, I want to give all my fellow participants a quick primer on what you can expect to face over the next nine weeks or so.

III. The Current Metagame for Standard Pauper

While there is a healthy amount of diversity in the current metagame of Standard Pauper, there are two decks that seem to have risen to the top of the pile:

1. Mono-Blue Aggro/Control

Lately Blue has seen a host of efficient and powerful creatures come into the format, a trend that began with the infamous Delver of Secrets. This particular build takes the best of these creatures and backs them up with a powerful suite of counters and other control elements. Typically, the deck piles on creatures turn after turn, protecting the most important and keeping the opposing board clear with bounce and permission elements. It is probably as close as one can come to a true tempo deck in this format.

Strengths: Fast play; lots of creatures; diverse answers by using counterspells
Weaknesses: Difficult time dealing with Artifacts and Enchantments once they are in play

2. Flickergate

This is definitely the elephant in the room when it comes to this format. People tend to either love or hate the Archeomancer + Ghostly Flicker combo, especially with the addition of the Gatekeepers from Dragon's Maze. While different color combinations have been tested, utilizing Green for Elvish Visionary, Gatecreeper Vine, and Saruli Gatekeepers seems to be the preferred build. Despite the fact that answers do exist to combat the combo, this deck remains a strong and popular choice.

Strengths: Infinite recursion with the combo; significant lifegain; great control elements
Weaknesses: Very slow and thus weak to aggro or mill; answers exist to the combo pieces

While these two decks seem to be positioned well in the metagame, there are several others that are worth considering.

3. IzzetClops

Izzet Experiments
played by Grociu in MPDC 22.02
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Frostburn Weird
4 Goblin Electromancer
4 Nivix Cyclops
16 cards

Other Spells
4 Essence Scatter
4 Geistflame
4 Pillar of Flame
4 Searing Spear
4 Think Twice
3 Disperse
1 Negate
1 Prophetic Prism
25 cards
9 Island
7 Mountain
4 Izzet Guildgate
20 cards

Nivix Cyclops

This deck is another hybrid between aggro and control, utilizing permission to help protect its creatures and punch in for maximum damage. The high number of Instants and Sorceries plays very well with both Delver of Secrets and Nivix Cyclops, the latter which can get in for a surprising amount of damage off of Artful Dodge. Instants like Geistflame and Think Twice can also make combat tricky for your opponent, since the Nivix Cyclops can transform out of nowhere into a potent blocker.

Strengths: Steals wins out of nowhere; solid control options and card draw
Weaknesses: Fewer creatures is a liability against lots of removal; tendency to stall out; weak against Enchantments

4. Orzhov

played by Aladar in MPDC 22.02
4 Basilica Screecher
4 Kingpin's Pet
4 Syndic of Tithes
4 Tithe Drinker
16 cards

Other Spells
4 Bonds of Faith
4 Dead Weight
4 Victim of Night
3 Sign in Blood
3 Stab Wound
2 Bump in the Night
2 Undying Evil
1 Shadow Slice
23 cards
9 Swamp
8 Plains
4 Orzhov Guildgate
21 cards

Kingpin's Pet

Returning to Standard Pauper after a long hiatus, Orzhov has emerged as a contender yet again. While its creatures are not quite as good as in the original Ravnica block, the Extort mechanic is actually quite strong, giving you the ability to utilize your extra mana in a way that really builds up over the course of the match. Combine this with a large suite of removal and efficient spells, and it's no wonder that this deck continues to see play despite any stellar results from recent Player Run Events.

Strengths: Great removal; answers vs Gateflicker; efficient use of mana
Weaknesses: Extort is quite weak against heavy removal

5. Other

While I have yet to see much in the way of representation in recent events, other viable deck options in the format include Selesnya Aggro, Mill, and Red-Deck-Win archetypes. While these are more fringe, this fact alone makes them a good choice, as players will not be as familiar with them and more-than-likely will not have solid answers to their specific strengths, even in the Sideboard. Next week I hope to bring you some solid lists from one or more of these archetypes.

IV. Conclusion

That wraps things up for this week. Next time I will be back with all the important updates to the event, along with a decklist of my own and a videocast of my matches from the first week of this event. Until then, let me remind you that you can check out all of my previous articles here on PureMTGO by clicking here. I also publish over on my blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and encourage you to keep up with all my projects there. Also, you can get a sneak peek at my matches from this event before they go live here at over on Simply search for "gwyned42," select one of my videocasts, and click the Subscribe button. Finally, you can keep up with everything I'm doing for this event on Twitter at the username gwyned42; check out my profile here and click on Follow.

Thanks for reading. See you again soon.


Awesome News for the Format by Copperfield at Mon, 08/26/2013 - 17:12
Copperfield's picture

The number of people who signed up for this event is just astounding. It's the biggest event in Standard Pauper history! Am kicking myself for not joining up and I'm not missing the next one.

Good overview of the major decks available in the format, too. I would say that White Weenie and Dimir Mill kind of warrant a mention as well. I'm sure we'll see some innovation come out of the Hipsters event, too.

Thanks for the read .I was by joekewwl at Mon, 08/26/2013 - 19:27
joekewwl's picture

Thanks for the read .
I was happy to hear about this event that Zack and the guys are running and I signed up for it. Big thanks for having this.
Just to note I pointed Wotc at this event when it started just so they can see yet another readson why mtgo need events for std pauper.
I cant say this enough, Email wotc and tell them you want events for Std pauper. This worked for us in getting a mtgo filter for casual play for std pauper. It will go along ways in getting events too.
Seeing events like this one at 150+ players cant only show Wotc we the players want in game events for it.
Thanks to everyone who plays and supports any and all PREs. Heath and Mtgotraders are the best and big thanks to them for supporting not only MPDC each week but all the other formats they support too.

E-mail Chris Kiritz, who is the business manager for Magic Online and runs the day to day operations, at

◾You can also E-mail Magic Online's Customer Service at this link: You will need to be logged into your WotC forums account to use this link.

Constructed event payouts are by Psychobabble at Tue, 08/27/2013 - 00:36
Psychobabble's picture

Constructed event payouts are already suffering from pack price depression (possibly thanks to the recent redemption price increase), WoTC is unlikely to want another essentially $0-entry cost constructed format flooding the market with more packs.* Last time they updated the daily event schedule they slashed the number of pauper and momir events on offer (by about 50% and 65% respectively), it seems fairly unlikely they're going to add std pauper as a supported event format which those who play regular constructed formats will/should be thankful for.

* daily events directly convert tix into packs and, further, payout more packs than they take in if you take a pack price @4tix which is what WoTC sells them for so they're the biggest source of net pack supply into the online economy.