As America joins many other countries to practice social distancing, the online options for Magic are booming. There were over 90 players in the March 22nd Pauper Challenge. While plenty of regulars showed up on Sunday there was also an influx of new blood. As has been the case many times this season, new blood provides a fresh look at the metagame.
There was one 7-0 player – the lone Top 8 for Flicker Tron – this week. Despite a recent run of tough luck, Flicker Tron still had three players in the finish with an X-2 or better record. Stompy had a breakout event with three Top 8 appearances. There were a dearth of black based control decks – no Mono-Black Control; no Pestilence decks – and a distinct lack of Izzet Mystic Sanctuary decks. Instead we see an abundance of Dimir decks including this take on Dimir Control:
Unlike Dimir Delver, this deck is all in on the Gurmag Angler plan. It isn’t trying to play a Legacy style tempo game and instead wants to trade early to fuel Angler, only to establish the late game advantage engine of Mystic Sanctuary and Tragic Lesson. Merchant Scroll is a card that appeared in recent Italian builds of Tribe Combo and finds a home here in the Italian version of Dimir Control, acting as an additional copy of every blue spell in the deck.
What about the metgame at large? Here is every deck with at least 6 appearances -around 2% of the metagame by volume.
There are some top performing decks missing from this list. Two decks with wins – Heroic and Azorius Familiars – only have four appearances overall. On top of that there are four other decks with Top 8 appearances – Jeskai AtogShift, Mardu Monarch (think Boros Monarch but with Terminate and Chainer’s Edict), Corrupt Control, and Pestilence Control. That being said, the metagame presented above represents 83.75% of all Top 32 lists and 93% of all Top 8s. For those of you just getting into Pauper, this is a decent approximation of your gauntlet.
The surge of Stompy means that next week you’re likely to see an uptick in Boros Monarch and other decks that can support Standard Bearer. Tron decks could also have a resurgence since they can beat Boros and Fog out Stompy. So if I were looking at beating those, I would look at a Mystic Sanctuary deck that ran an abundance of cheap removal. I’d likely look at red over black since Lightning Bolt is better at getting people dead than Agony Warp.