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By: SpikeBoyM, Alex Ullman
Mar 02 2015 1:00pm
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As anticipated the introduction of more Pauper Daily Events has had a profound effect on the metagame, in a manner of speaking. The decks populating the ranks remainly largely the same but the volume at which we are seeing them, and the success, are a better mirror of their relative power level. Take, for example, Delver. Delver has been at or near the top of the Pauper standings ever since Delver of Secrets caught on as a truely offensive bit of offense. When the format only had three events each week it was easy to overlook Delver's relative dominance since even at its best it only appeared to be marginally better than other successful archetypes. As more events have taken place and with that more individuals winning, Delver has begun to separate itself from the field. How much? As of this writing we have four Daily Events in the books from February 25th-28th. In those events, Delver has accounted for over 27% of all wins from decks with winning records. The next closest is Affinity with almost 9% of the victories.

The above example is not meant to be an indictment of Delver or a treatsie on the state of the format, rather I intend it to be an illustration of era of data in which we now live. These changes mean that decks must adapt and as such certain cards have had their value in the format shift. Going in to today's tournament with yesterday's deck is a recipe for failure and if there's one thing I can safely say I am against it is failure. 

Stock up: Repeal

 

Repeal is on this list for one reason: Insectile Aberration. The reverse side of  Delver of Secrets has no mana cost and as such can be targeted by Repeal for a scant one blue mana. Let's examine this for a moment.

As a Delver pilot this is awesome. Delver of Secrets transforms into one of your best threats and the ability to protect it while staying card neutral more than makes up for the tempo loss of retruning the flying Wild Nacatl. Additionally the later the game goes the more likely it will be that the Repeal will be able to hit something with an actual mana cost.

Against Delver, well, the ability to set them back an Insectile Aberration while replacing itself is huge game. Repeal is basically the best possible version of Unsummon when facing down a flipped Delver of Secrets and the fact that it retains some utility in multiple matchups is a good thing.

Bounce, in general, is at an all time high. With decks that leverage creatures with enters the battlefield abilities (Mono-Black Control) at an all time low we are instead seeing creatures that are basically just power and toughness. The two exceptions are Spellstutter Sprite and Mulldrifter. Whereas bouncing Spellstutter Sprite is usually a bad idea, returning a Mulldrifter is not the absolute worst since it requires a pretty hefty investment to be a threat. Vapor Snag, Echoing Truth, and others all should be seeing more play at the moment since they can help to clear the way or prevent damage.
Repeal

Stock down: Snuff Out

Before Gurmag Angler caught on I was convinced that Snuff Out was positioned to become a premier removal spell in the format. Getting blockers out of the way for as low a cost as possible was becoming something that mattered and it is tough to beat the free mana cost on Snuff Out. But then Dimir Delver caught on.

Gurmag Angler has established itself as a staple of the format as one of the single best pure offensive threats. Because of this any removal spell that is blanked by the zombie fish is borderline unplayable, at least in the maindeck. So long Victim of Night, it was nice knowing you.

In a similar vein, Flame Slash is no longer everything it had been. For the longest time Flame Slash was the pinnacle of removal in Pauper in its ability to take care of just about every thing that mattered. Now thanks to the Angler, Flame Slash has a glaring hole in its resume. On top of this decks are adapting – I recently saw one Affinity deck return to Quicksilver Behemoth, which is an inspired choice when the red sorcery is popular. 

Stock up: Skred

Skred is a place holder here for both it and Lightning Axe. Skred would absolutely be the choice if only the games lasted long enough for anyone to play five snow-covered lands. Lightning Axe has the advantage of being able to hit a Gurmag Angler as early as turn one but comes with a rather hefty price of pitching an additional card.

Ideally decks would be able to run Terminate but there is no good red-black deck. Moreso than this spending more than one mana to take care of a creature right now appears to be  overpriced.

Think about that for a second – two mana kill anything is may be too expensive.

Okay, this is slightly disingenuous as the gold nature of Terminate makes it more than twice as costly as a Skred. However the fact remains that in Pauper the window for interaction is shrinking. As such being able to do as many things as possible in a given window is an advantage and spending two mana where one can do just does not cut it anymore.  

Stock up: Tokens

Token decks have been making a surge up the standings. Goblins has adapted to run cards like Krenko's Command while White Weenie has shifted to a heavy token strategy including cards like Battle Screech and Raise the Alarm. These fringe strategies are trying to capitalize on the scarcity of Crypt Rats and the imporance of cheap removal. Tokens, and their ability to go wide, help to render both bounce and pinpoint removal less effective. Along a similar axis the ability for one card to produce multiple threats can help to match the power of Treasure Cruise.

To be clear I am not trying to say getting full value out of a Battle Screech is the same as drawing three cards, but it is closer than most other spells in the format. And that counts for something.

Creatures that produce more than one threat operate in the same neighborhood as token producers. Stormbound Geist, Sultai Emissary, Young Wolf, Nest Invader, and Squadron Hawk all fit this mold. The ability to render a single kill spell impotent cannot be overstate at this moment. Whether or not there is a shell for these creatures, however, remains to be seen.

The increase in token strategies also means that Electrickery, Echoing Truth and Echoing Decay have gotten better. The first two on this list are strong enough to see play due to their utility againts the format, but Echoing Decay is an odd one. The fact is that being able to take down two toughness creatures is not as important right now as it has been in Pauper's past. Unless token decks really take off, Echoing Decay may be a little too weak to matter.  

Six additional events have made their presence known. Pauper now moves with far greater speed and the format is developing a dynamic metagame once again. What cards have gained ground in your opinion, and which are worse for the wear? Sound off in the comments. 

Keep slingin’ commons-

-Alex
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