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By: SteveJeltz, Rev. David Wright
Jul 17 2017 12:00pm
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I had a request this week to feature some new Pauper brews that you readers could try out to see if they are a good fit for your play style. I love brewing for Pauper with more than 30 different Pauper builds saved on my MTGO account.

Pauper is such an inexpensive format that for the cost of one standard or modern deck, which we all know is subject to the mercy of rapid metagame changes, devaluation from oversupply via drafting, let alone set rotations, you can buy the whole format!

Don’t believe me? which is a great resource for Pauper players with its metagame analysis and format staples also lists something they call Pauper Format Price: an index listing of all the regularly played and semi-regularly played staple cards ordered by price. Yes, there is one monster who stands out: Gorilla Shaman, aka The Mox Monkey, whose sideboard prominence as an Affinity hate card and scarcity in online print carry a hefty 20 ticket price tag. But every other card in the format? Only 65 tickets total for the next 37 listed cards put together. Even with a few other cards omitted from the list included, you can own a 4-of playset of every relevant common for about 400 tickets or less.

First one up this week is similar to last week’s blue mana denial deck, except this time we’re featuring outright land destruction.

Pauper Land Loss
- 75 Cards Total
4 Arbor Elf
2 Sylvan Ranger
4 Blastoderm
4 Aurochs Herd
2 Ulamog's Crusher
16 cards

4 Lightning Bolt
4 cards
2 Flame Slash
4 Thermokarst
4 Stone Rain
4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
14 cards

4 Utopia Sprawl
2 Wild Growth
6 cards
4 Evolving Wilds
2 Ash Barrens
12 Forest
2 Mountain
18 cards

3 Ancient Grudge
3 Electrickery
4 Pyroblast
2 Flame Slash
2 Pulse of Murasa
1 Creeping Mold
15 cards


Your goal is to ramp and fix on turns 1 and 2 so you can start blowing up lands turns 2-3. Once you’re ahead on mana, you can start deploying your hard to kill threats: Blastoderm, which is immune to spot removal; Aurochs Herd which draws an extra copy of itself every time you play one; and Ulamog's Crusher, the big finisher who also helps you take out more of their lands. 

You also have a couple utility burn spells to take out their early threats.

Probably the neatest interaction in the deck is the combination of Utopia Sprawl and Arbor Elf who stack neatly letting one forest tap for 4 mana in a single turn. Great for powering out those 4, 6 and 8 drops!

The Achilles’ heel of this deck is its lack of inherent card advantage. Instead you’ll need to press your resource advantage to keep your opponent out of the game before your big boys can show up to close it out.

Second up we’re featuring a blue-red midrange deck that pulls way ahead on card advantage while controlling the stack and the board.

Blue Red Value town plays similar to Dimir Flicker and my own Red Black Midrange deck that you leverage trading resources until all your inherent two-for-ones put you in a control player driver seat.


I used to play a similar build to this right before the Peregrine Drake menace ruined Pauper. The lack of flash combo-kill like we saw with Drake makes this deck much more playable again.

As for win conditions, you’re a little light. You’re going to need to pick together 20 damage by pecking away for 1 and 2 at a time finishing up usually by unloading your excess burn spells. Kaervek's Torch is the typical finisher. It may take you 15 turns, but you will build inevitability.

Your weaknesses in this deck are opponent’s threats that don’t line up well with your toolbox. You can’t trade one-for-one with a resolved Gurmag Angler, Atog, or Ulamog's Crusher, so you’ll need to either two-for-one yourself or have saved a counter for the occasion. Likewise you’re going to have a hard time against decks that use alternate win conditions like Hexproof or Mill. Play conservatively as you go, and concentrate on controlling the stack and the board, and you will find yourself more often than not in a position where time and inevitability are on your side.

And here’s a third new brew designed to feature new Hour of Devastation standout Firebrand Archer!

New Wave Counter Burn
- 75 Cards Total
4 Delver of Secrets
4 (Firebrand Archer)
4 Thermo-Alchemist
3 Augur of Bolas
11 cards

4 Lightning Bolt
4 Needle Drop
3 Brainstorm
4 Thunderous Wrath
2 Miscalculation
2 Prohibit
1 Dispel
2 Staggershock
1 Daze
2 Gush
25 cards
2 Ponder
2 cards
4 Evolving Wilds
2 Ash Barrens
6 Mountain
6 Island
18 cards

4 Searing Blaze
2 Molten Rain
1 Lava Dart
2 Hydroblast
4 Pyroblast
2 Curse of the Pierced Heart
15 cards

If you’ve ever played Cube Draft, there is a fun, effective strategy called “Counter Burn” that uses tempo plays to keep a steady pressure on the opponent while not allowing them to make their big plays. This is the idea of this deck. You’re trying to leverage the incidental damage from one or two of your spell-matters creatures while holding a fist full of instants that can be converted for damage or to keep your opponent off balance. 

Some neat plays you can make with this deck include cantripping with Needle Drop for two free damage and a replacement card, combining your card draw with Brainstorm and shuffle effects to tuck away excess lands since you rarely need more than 3 or 4 in play, and stacking your deck to get the most from your four Thunderous Wraths and two Staggershocks.

Wrap Up

Did you like any of these decks? Did any of you give them a spin in the Pauper League? I always love to hear your feedback. The green / red Ponza deck came from a reader who requested, “Can you feature a green based deck that isn’t about attacking with small creatures?”

And if you have any more brew challenges you’d like to see featured, I am happy to take your requests.

Keep having fun out there.



That value town deck looks by deluxeicoff at Tue, 07/18/2017 - 00:04
deluxeicoff's picture

That value town deck looks savage!