The December 22 Pauper Challenge was a return to form in that it was 7 rounds rather than 6. Flicker Tron continued its downward trend in popularity while two old favorites cemented themselves as players to start 2020.
Boros Bully, Boros Monarch, and Izzet Faeries each took home two slots in the Top 8. The recent run of Bully decks have moved back to at least a pair of Palace Sentinels, giving them a sheen on Monarch. They remain two distinct archetypes, with Bully leveraging more aggressive creatures and Monarch favoring burn-based-reach, but there is definitely overlap. Meanwhile Izzet Faeries has surged in the standings thanks to Mystic Sanctuary. The ability to regrow any instant or sorcery, for free, is huge. Combine this with Deprive or Mystic Sanctuary and you have the backbone of a deck as long as the land remains legal.
Tron was not absent. Two copies made the Top 32 – with one inside the Top 8. Another Flicker based list made Top 8 as well, also leveraging Mystic Sanctuary for Archaeomancer redundancy. The result is that as 2019 closes the Pauper metagame has a clearly defined top tier of what works – Monarch, Sanctuary, and Tron.
While Flicker Tron decks may have been largely absent the past two weeks they remain one of the best performing macro-archetypes over the Throne of Eldraine season. To date the second best performing deck is Izzet Faeries, but it still has less than 10% of Top 32 volume.
Considering how good both Bully and Faeries have been as of late, it would follow that cards like Aerial Volley and Scattershot Archer earn more slots in sideboards. Incidental graveyard hate also can come in handy against cards like Sanctuary and Battle Screech, although outside of Faerie Macabre you are hard pressed to find one that works against all the top decks.
Still, the meta does appear to be settling into a healthier spot than a few weeks ago. The lack of an aggressive green deck is concerning but considering Stompy exists, it probably will pop up again soon.