JXClaytor's picture
By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Sep 19 2007 2:33pm
Login to post comments


PDC is an all player run format on Magic Online.  It consists of competitive games using exclusively commons cards.  Games can be found in the "/join pdc" room and events can be found on the Magic Online official message boards.  For more information please visit paupermagic.com

I'm sure you all have heard the latest news, you know, a new set was introduced to MTGO this past week, and with the new set comes many things.  Players are cracking packs of Master's Edition like it is going out of style looking for those twenty seven dollar Force of Wills and other great tournament staples.  So how are you going to do a set review for a format that only cares about a very small, but important section of these cards? 

Pauper may never get WOTC sanctioning, and I am okay with that.  I've never been involved with a more passionate group of players than the group that runs the sixty card common only decks.  Most everyone is playing Pauper not for the competition aspect of the game, but for the simple fact that it is just that; a game!  It is a relaxing change of pace for my self.  After griding it out in a PE there is nothing I love more than firing up a game of Pauper.  It's sure to be an entertaining exercise in creative deck building and solid play.  It's not about the prizes, it's about the play am I right? 

Plus it is very cheap to get into.  Anyways, where was I going?  Oh yeah, I'm going to present my thoughts about Master's Edition in regards to Classic Pauper.  I'm not going to do a full common review, because really everyone knows that cards like Illusionary Wall and Hungry Mist are pretty close to unplayable.  I'm not going to insult your intelligence, nor am I going to waste my time with a review for something that I feel is not going to see play.  My rankings are going to be very simple, if you have ever read one of the suppliments out of fat pack, you'll see something that is along the lines of Constructed playable (He's not a bench warmer, but he's not pulling down the big money either, think of these cards as the utility ball player, you know the guy, plays whatever position he is needed at.), Constructed All-Star (These cards are amoung the best in the set for what we are looking at.  Think of these cards as the Derek Jeter of the Magic world.), Sideboard MVP (They may not make the highlight reels, but the come in for you when the game is on the line.). 

Again this is all in regards to the Classic format, I'll give you all a decklist if the need arises, and enough of the introduction, let's get to business!  I also want to end the introduction with this, I'm more than likely going to be wrong, and I going to leave a card out that you think is playable.  I want to see a lot of discussion in this, so please leave your comments after you get done reading. 


Death Speakers:  This little creatures stats do not seem that impressive at first glance.  He's only a 1/1 for one white mana, but do not let that throw you for a loop.  Death Speakers has Protection from Black, which is a relevant color to have protection from considering all removal spells in the format.  Of course, there are better options for you here, which is why he would never see main deck play over Obsidian Acolyte but he could be a potential star out of the sideboard. 

Death Speakers

Sideboard MVP. 

Dust to Dust

Sideboard MVP.

Dust to Dust:  Wow.  For three mana you get to take out two artifact lands.  You can cripple some of the explosive draws that Grand Enterence seems to get, and you can cripple Affinity.  For the low price of 1WW you get any two artifacts and remove them from the game.  They are not coming back, EVER!  The downside to this is Dust to Dust is a sorcery, which takes it out of main deck areas, and moves it squarly to the sideboard. 

Exile:  What a piece of powerful removal against Burn Range!  It gets rid of one of their men and negates a burn spell at the same time.  This also seems to be a really good answer to Armadillo Cloak, as it gains you an additional two points of life from the enchanted creature, and removes something troubling at the same time.  This card has the potential to be a Constructed All-Star, and should see a lot of play. 


Constructed All-Star.

Order of Leitbur

Constructed Playable. 

Order of Leitbur: I loved the pump knights from Fallen Empires.  There is really nothing like them in the current format, and this guy has the ability to grow larger, gain first strike, and yeah, he can not be targeted by Terror.  There is a lot of potential here for this creature, he muddles combat in the aggro mirror and can dominate against any black based deck. 


Arcane Denial:  Yeah Mono Blue Control needed one more quality counterspell in the two slot.  This counter however, is going to fight for room in an already crowded deck, but I bet it could coexsist peacefully between Exclude and Counterspell.  I like to think that this card may be better than Exclude, considering that it does not have to target a creature on the stack, but giving your opponent two potential threats could end up back firing on you.  However, the risks do not outweigh the rewards, and I have a feeling you are going to get denied a lot in the coming months. 

Arcane Denial

Constructed All-Star.


Sideboard MVP.

Hydroblast:  Blue gets another quality counterspell even if it is just a tool against red.  I like that this card can deal with threats that slipped underneath a wall of countermagic, in addition to being able to counter something that could ruin your match.  Lots of blue based sideboards are going to start off with four of these. 
Sea Sprite:  This creature may not be a tasty lemon and lime flavored drink, but it is a cheap hoser to Burn Range and another way to get Ninja of the Deep Hours into play on the cheap. 

Sea Sprite

Constructed Playable.

Word of Undoing

Constructed Playable.

 Word of Undoing:  So it is another Unsummon.  However, this is an Unsummon that returns Faith's Fetters to your hand so you gain another four life.  That is some pretty good synergy if you ask me. 


I'm not impressed with Black in this set, and you'll soon see that I have a very small number of the cards represented.  When you take a deep look at the color you see a few things.  Weak creatures with even weaker abilities.  If you want mana acceleration are you really going to play Basal Thrull over Dark Ritual?  If you need discard are you going to play Mindstab Thrull over the superior Mindstab?  I am thinking that you are going to use the more powerful non creature versions of these spells.  Even the removal in the set is outclassed by multiple commons already in the format.  Why play Oubliette when you can run Terror?  Why bother with Feast or Famine when you can play Tendrils of Corruption?  Black in my mind does not add much to the Classic format.   

Erg Raiders

Constructed Playable.

Erg Raiders:  If there is potential for a mono black suicide style beatdown, this guy has to be involved somehow.  You can offset his life loss with Tendrils of Corruption if he stops attacking for a few turns, and he could be a really good beater if the format allows him to be. 
Order of the Ebon Hand:  Here is another pump knight.  I've always enjoyed this guy, and he also fits in the mono black aggro deck if there is one.  In the late game he is a house, dealing lots of damage or unfairly killing off dudes like some kind of first striking assassin.  I would not be surprised if there were not a resurgance in Mono Black strategies because of this man. 

Order of the Ebon Hand

Constructed Playable.

This ends my discussion on Pauper Magic for this article.  The next time you see my smiling face, I'll be taking a look at the Red, Green and Artifact cards that I think will make a huge impact on Classic Pauper.  Come back and see if I have anything to say about Lightning Bolt (I will!) Ghazban Ogre (I might!) or Spectral Bears (I won't because it is an uncommon!)  Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments! 


by idoru (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 09/21/2007 - 00:49
idoru (Unregistered)'s picture

Good survey of the colors so far. I don't understand why Word of Undoing made the list (why would you want to bounce a creature you've Fettered?). In blue, I think Telekinesis is more notable, as it is damage prevention in blue, and it taps down a creature for two turns (all at instant speed). I also think Holy Light should deserve mention only because it's an instant-speed board-wide effect, which is something Pauper doesn't have much of.

My biggest disagreement comes from the lack of credit given to Oubliette. It should not be compared to Terror. In Pauper, Oubliette is in a small group of cards that can get rid of ANY creature, regardless of color or regeneration. The other cards: Faceless Butcher, Terminate, and now Fissure. I suppose Gaze of Justice counts, but its non-mana cost is a bit prohibitive. Faceless Butcher became less useful when Last Gasp and then Incinerate came online. Terminate is good, but you need to be playing a combination of colors that is likely one of the least popular. Fissure's playability is yet to be seen. While it's good, it's also expensive, and in a color that already has good, versatile removal.

Anyway, back to Oubliette. This card has versatility that other black removal doesn't have. Since it's an enchantment, black and red simply have no answer for it. Blue can counter it, but beyond that, the only playable answer is Boomerang, which doesn't really see much play. Obviously, green and white have enchantment removal, but it's likely in the sideboard. Personally, I think Oubliette is great maindeck removal. While it needs backup in the sideboard to deal with green and white, I think the power to remove any creature more than makes up for that. 

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 09/20/2007 - 20:23
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

hmm do would one of the best discard spells ever printed see more play than mindstab....

 That's a hard question isn't it?

by urzishra (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 09/20/2007 - 21:03
urzishra (Unregistered)'s picture

i like the article..

I agree that PDC is more competitive, but its also more casual. I was playing a generic mono blue deck the other day and some guy quit on me..

but thats not the point of the comment. I love the choices it just felt all too short.. can't wait for the next edition of it.

by Lulthyme (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 09/20/2007 - 00:11
Lulthyme (Unregistered)'s picture

Pretty good article on the whole.

A few things that irked me:

-"Most everyone is playing Pauper not for the competition aspect of the game" is  VERY debatable in the community. A lot of players (myself for example) play PDC as a purely competitive format. Being cheap, it is easier for participants to focus on making strong decks and playing well rather than the cost of cards. From this point of view, it is MORE competitive than non PDC.


-Your analysis of Arcane Denial was confusing. Namely "However, the risks do not outweigh the rewards, and I have a feeling you are going to get denied a lot in the coming months. " So it is not good (first part of sentence) but it will be played a lot soon (second part of sentence). In my opinion, AD will see very little play in MUC. MUC ra fights very hard to maintain card advantage and this gives it away (except when countering your own spells but that is rare enough that this would be a sideboard spot if even). Also, Prohibit in PDC is almost a counterspell, specially against the important matchups. 


-Erg raiders is not playable. I can easily find 2 or 3 already existing card that would fit the 2-slot better for suicide black. 



by JXClaytor at Thu, 09/20/2007 - 09:55
JXClaytor's picture

Yeah I know I play Mindstab in just about every deck with Black in it.  It's fantastic. 

Do you think Hymn would see more play than Mindstab had it been printed at common?

by JXClaytor at Thu, 09/20/2007 - 09:54
JXClaytor's picture

I think I could have written the competitive part better.  I'm a long time tournament player, and by playing in real life, I have been and had to deal with a lot of jerks, which to me makes the competitive environment.  However, I have not dealt with that in any PDC events at all.  I think that is what I was trying to convey. 

by JXClaytor at Thu, 09/20/2007 - 09:51
JXClaytor's picture

I'm not going to beat around the bush, I was really streching to find playable black cards, Erg Raiders seemed to be one of the few guys that could be played in lieu of the newer better commons. 

by LulThyme (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 09/20/2007 - 00:16
LulThyme (Unregistered)'s picture

With respect to Erg Raiders in suicide black, the following cards are almost all strictly better:

-Sangrophage,Wretched Anurid,Raving Oni-Slave,Blind Creeper,Wicked Akuba, Foul Imp... 

by LulThyme (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 09/20/2007 - 04:38
LulThyme (Unregistered)'s picture

Must correct myself:

I misread the sentence on arcane denial, a few times in fact.

What you are saying now makes sense although I am not sure I agree, for the reasons I explained.

by JXClaytor at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 16:16
JXClaytor's picture

Most of the times it has been River Boa.  But I have nailed the Wild Mongrel every so often, because they do not change it's color to white. 

by JXClaytor at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 16:17
JXClaytor's picture

I do not see myself so much as a Pauper player.  I see myself a lot more as a Magic player, Pauper is a blast, and I'm so glad that Alex introduced me to the format.  It's nice not playing around stupid rares every so often :)


by iceage4life (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 16:34
iceage4life (Unregistered)'s picture

One comment on Dust to Dust is that it can only be played if there are two targets.  I don't play pauper but between that and not being able to hit enchantments it doesn't seem like a very good sideboard card.  (I may be wrong as I said I don't play.)

by JXClaytor at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 17:10
JXClaytor's picture

I am working Dust to Dust in the angle that it is fantastic against affinity.

by lathspel (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 15:52
lathspel (Unregistered)'s picture

I had no idea you were a Pauper player as well, JXC.  Kinda well-rounded, aren't you? :)

 I actually see Arcane Denial as more of a splashable counter for the few combo decks in the format (where next turn doesn't matter), and/or for U/x aggro-control. 

I'm not sure how good it is in MUC - there are some decks where stopping just one threat is worth it (as the other two cards aren't going to help your opponent that much), but other decks where countering one dork will just reload your opponent with dork+dork, dork+burn, or (worst case) land+burn.  Aggro is fast enough in PDC that I don't see Arcane Denial edging out the conditional soft counters that had been making up the 2-slot.

Counterspell by Sambfwin at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 21:03
Sambfwin's picture

I was thinking when I read that about how cool it would be to own 4 counterspell... 2 tix apiece on mtgotraders.com.

by JXClaytor at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 22:36
JXClaytor's picture

Black seemed really underpowered in this set.  I know that they designed it with some sort of limited balance in mind, but Hymn to Tourach had it been a common, would be insane in Classic, instead we are stuck with awful Mindstab Thrull, which I tihnk would see as much play as you know, Mindstab. 

by LulThyme (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 09/20/2007 - 00:01
LulThyme (Unregistered)'s picture

Mindstab does see quite some play in PDC, both std and classic.

Black commons got the shaft... by hamtastic at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 18:45
hamtastic's picture

Yeah.  For black there's something better for almost every card in the set.  The only card that might be worth playing in an aggro deck is Paralyze due to it auto-tapping the creature and keeping it from untapping.

I'd be surprised if it was strong enough to see play, but it's a decently powerful effect for the mana cost.


I'm looking forward to the Red, green and artifact coverage!

by khirareq at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 15:57
khirareq's picture

The purpose of Arcane Denial is to counter your spell which was being countered anyway, then draw 3 cards.

by JXClaytor at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 16:14
JXClaytor's picture

That is correct and I forgot to point that out.  I'm sure used to playing Remand and only getting one, and forgetting that I could Denial my own card and get three back.  Nice catch!

by khirareq at Wed, 09/19/2007 - 15:03
khirareq's picture

Interesting review!

Out of curiosity, which non-white, targetable creature did the Cloak player put said enchantment on?