Due to a parsing error we do not have the results of the April 5th Pauper Challenge. That’s fine because there was a Super Qualifier on April 7th. And while the format will not be getting a Showcase Weekend during the next Magic Online premier play season, there will be twice as many Challenges taking place.
An aside on this change: It’s fine. Pauper and Vintage have die-hard communities and both should have a chance to earn their way up the premier play ladder. Given the current structure, it makes more sense to rotate through formats than attempt to add another segment to the structure.
While we do not have the April 5th decklists it has been reported that Flicker Tron won. It also won on April 7th. After a few weeks on the decline it appears that there is a surge in its popularity once again. That doesn’t come without controversy.
Posts like this come up often from people who are new to the format. The issue that arises is this: Flicker Tron and Familiars can take a long time to end the game (after they have effectively won). The nature of Magic Online is that the clock can cause a player who has locked up the game to lose.
To be honest, I used to be one of those “clock you” players. I had the mindset that you, my opponent, needed to beat me. After reading posts from players with physical issues that make iterating combos painful, I decided that I had been a dick for no reason now my baseline is if the game is lost, I’m going to scoop.
That doesn’t mean that I find these Flicker loops are any more fun to play against, and I still believe that the long-term health of the format depends on these being answered either by new cards or aggressive bans.
Boros Bully is supposed to beat Tron. It’s supposed to be aggressive enough to get under the Stonehorn lock. There were three Bully lists in the Top 8 and they all lost to the same player – Kasa on their version of Flicker Tron.
No Moment’s Peace, no Pulse of Murasa. Instead Kasa included a maindeck copy of Lone Missionary as a life total buffer while leaning on Reaping the Graves to regrow threats. Prismatic Strands makes an appearance. If you thought Strands was annoying thanks to Flashback, it gets worse when you can get it back with Mnemonic Wall.
Moving into this weekend, it would be foolish to no prepare for both Tron and Bully. Boros Bully was nearly a third of the Top 32 and the deck didn’t get worse. At the same time, I wouldn’t say it is a good choice. If Tron decks are packing this many defensive measures, prolonging the game as long as possible, then a better angle of attack might be running an aggressive Delver deck. These builds have been at the fringes of the top tier all season but have yet to punch through in a meaningful way. That being said, the ability to say no with a Counterspell remains excellent.
The pillars haven’t moved much. You can Tron, you can Mystic Sanctuary, or you can be Boros. If I were playing this weekend I would look into a blue-black Mystic Sanctuary deck, potentially with maindeck Shrivel or Echoing Decay. Delver decks are enticing but I think playing a more midrange game is better suited, especially if it gives you access to the tools needed to beat up on Flicker Tron. Nihil Spellbomb is a cantrip afterall.