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By: DailyMatters, Cláudio Anselmo Santos Ribeiro
Feb 24 2014 1:00pm
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Hello everyone and welcome to the latest PauperMatters. Due to unfortunate health issues (I'm suffering with a hernia and it has become really hard for me to sit for long hours in the computer because of the pain. I'm a programmer, so you can see). I haven’t been able to write as I would like to, but I’m really trying to still get some stuff out.

This time around I decided to make a grab bag type of article, in which I would answer popular questions about the pauper format. After not being able to get decent questions that I could use, I decided I would use the subreddit dedicated to magic the gathering and ask people what do they wanted to know about the pauper format.


I would also like to thank everybody that participated and the people that contribute to that subreddit as they turned it into a really awesome resource.


You can check the original post here.


Two days after I had enough material that I could use in this article. So, without any further talk here’s my original post:


Hi! I write a column about pauper for a known mtgo website. I would like to ask for your collaboration for my next article. I want to write a question & answer kind of article. I would like to ask you guys if you have any question (pauper related) that you would like to see answered in my next article. Please, feel free to ask whatever you want; from the questions I get here I will choose the best ones (or the ones I'm able to answer) and will feature them in my next article.


From the answers (in this case, questions!) here are the ones I selected, and my answer to them:


VERY IMPORTANT - This is going to be me answering to the questions, it’s an opinion article, I’m not the voice of reason and all the answers here will be my opinion, right or wrong, it’s only my opinion!

So, on with the questions!

It really depends on what you’re expecting from mtgo in general In this current moment I would not advise to play pauper for the packs, as the payout in pauper events is not that good. But, if you are looking for fun pauper is the way to go. It’s cheap to get in, it’s deep enough that your skill counts and fun as hell.

There’s an article here on puremtgo that I really like and that I recommend to the  people that would like a quick breakdown on the format. You can find it here:


Even though the article it’s not very up to date it still is a good representation of the format. In that article you can find the following chart:

Take all the decks that have been affected with the bannings and you still have a more or less decent representation.

(Yeah, post, storm and simic storm no longer exist!)

I’m going to answer in order.


Pauper decks can range everywhere from 5 to 20 tickets and even more (yes delver Blue, I’m looking at you).


Pauper Delver
4 Cloud of FAeries
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Frostburn Weird
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Spire Golem
22 cards

Other Spells
4 Counterspell
3 Daze
2 Exclude
1 Gush
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
3 Snap
21 cards
17 Island
17 cards

3 Annul
2 Coral Net
1 Deprive
3 Dispel
1 Echoing Truth
4 Hydroblast
1 Negate
15 cards



The banlist, in my opinion has been used very intelligently. All the cards in that list made the format unbalanced and unfun in some way. While some people might say the contrary, it was completely miserable to play round after round against Simic Storm or Infect.


Simic StormPost
4 Mulldrifter
1 Mnemonic Wall
1 Fangren Marauder
6 cards

Other Spells
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Crop Rotation
4 Expedition Map
2 Kaervek’s Torch
2 Moment’s Peace
4 Prophetic Prism
4 Compulsive Research
1 Ghostly Flicker
3 Temporal Fissure
28 cards
4 Cloudpost
4 Glimmerpost
3 FOrest
6 Island
2 Remote Isle
1 Shimmering Grotto
2 Slippery Karst
22 cards

Temporal Fissure


Mana fix is pretty bad in pauper, 3 color decks are viable but you have to be really careful on how you do it, take a look at Esper storm. It’s doable, but if you can stick to one or two colors you deck will be much more consistent.




In mtgo pauper you can use any card that has been printed as a common online. In paper magic it depends, as each local game store makes their own rules.


Annnnnnnnnnd, on to the next question:



One thing we have to have in mind is that, as powerful as a strategy can be, we’re playing only common cards. Your Delver deck  will not have Force of Will nor Thoughtseize but it will have Daze or Duress. Because every strategy gets ‘nerfed’ due to the fact that you are restricted to common cards, everything gets balanced so to say.

But don’t get me wrong, Pauper Burn will kill an opponent in 4 turns, just as pauper Delver will frustrate your opponent, it’s just a different set of cards that you can choose from.


Obviously, there are decks that you can port from other formats just like Bogles, Delver or Affinity, just as you have decks that never go to shine in other formats. Decks like Tortured Existence.

Just be open to enjoy a different format that can occasionally have some similarities to some things you’ve already seen.



My opinion is that the pool is deep enough to support some segregations just as Legacy and Modern Pauper. Standard pauper is a thing, but due to the small card pool, I don’t like it much. But the fact that exists and has player run events says a lot about the fact that people enjoy the format, and if people enjoy than is definitely a thing and there’s space for it.

The idea of Modern pauper could be something to investigate though. It seems like it as a lot of potential, a deep card pool, some cool strategies and a bunch of great archetypes to explore.


At this point I just ran out of questions in Reddit, so I asked some friends if they wanted to see any questions about pauper answered. This is what I got:


- “What deck are you currently running right now? Would you recommend it for tournament play?”


Well, in honour to the recently unbanned Bitterblossom (yes, I’m becoming more and more of a modern fan) I’m currently running this little bad boy:

I like to play on my opponent's end step!


This is a deck I’m loving right now, it’s a fun and powerful deck that tests your skill in the game. It’s an aggro control build that plays almost exclusively on your opponent’s turn, and that’s something I really enjoy (I’ve been playing deck like UW Flash, Faeries and others for a long time).

Agony Warp is really powerful and Spellstutter Sprite is a monster. The only real issue I’ve been having with this deck is the fact that without Sentinels of Glen Elendra and the single Latchkey Faerie you have no real clock, and it becomes a real struggle to finish the game.

Would I recommend this deck for tournament play?

Well, I those Zephyr Sprite would have to become Cloud of Faeries and the numbers would have to be tweaked so we could have 4 of them; maybe cutting the one Unsummon. The sideboard would also have to be reviewed, there’s no reason to play Convincing Mirage over Spreading Seas, and green isn’t a huge menace right now, so the Zombie Outlander could give place to some other cards.

Having that taken care, the deck, just like every other tempo deck, needs a lot of experience to be played optimally and to take down tournaments. In my opinion it’s a good option for people who are tired of playing Delver.


 And with this we reach the end of this article. I would like to thank once again, everybody on the magic subreddit as without them this article wouldn't be possible. I would also like to apologize for the lack of content, but at this stage it's really hard on my body to write regularly without pain. So, until I'm good again, I will try to give you guys as much as I can, but I can't do it regularly.

Feel free to comment, share ideas or tweet me @DailyMatters

Until next time,

Enjoy life!