December 15th Pauper Challenge Breakdown

The year is winding down and Theros Beyond Death spoilers have started appear. But there is still Magic to be played in 2019. The December 15th Pauper Challenge may go down as the event that got me to change my tune about Tron. It is not that the deck underperformed but rather the metagame, finally, may be shifting to accommodate the presence of the archetype.

The presence of Boros Bully at the top of the Challenge shouldn’t be a shock – the deck has been a consistently good performer for quite some time. Izzet Faeries, however, has quickly risen in the power rankings. Moving away from Delver of Secrets, the deck now takes on the veneer of a control deck while leveraging powerful card filtering and the strength of Mystic Sanctuary. The deck has evolved to a point where Deprive isn’t necessary thanks to Tragic Lesson replacing Accumulated Knowledge. The ability to keep cards flowing in the mid-to-late game is key in helping to keep endgame decks like Tron and Boros Monarch in check.

I’d go as far as to say that Izzet Faeries is the second best archetype at the moment. Despite making up a relatively small portion of the winner’s metagame, the deck has some impressive stats, accounting for over 10% of weighted volume – that’s better than both Boros Monarch and Stompy with fewer Top 32 finishes under its belt.

If I wanted to succeed next week I would do everything I could to avoid leaning on the graveyard. It is not that the option is bad – far from it – but rather with Mystic Sanctuary joining Ghostly Flicker as a cheap piece that does its best work from the bin. If you absolute have to go grave digging, run Nihil Spellbomb over Relic of Progenitus as a way to pressure your opponent’s resources without damaging your own.

Stompy seems to be a reasonable choice moving forward, but I wouldn’t sleep on Mono Black Control if only because it looks like Cuombajj Witches might be a reasonable card again.

Published by Alex Ullman

Alex Ullman has been playing Magic since 1994 (he thinks). Since 2005, he's spent most of his time playing and exploring Pauper. One of his proudest accomplishments was being on the winnings side of the 2009 Community Cup. He makes his home in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born and raised.

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