We are in the home stretch of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths season as there is only one more weekend of Challenges before Core Set 2021 hits the scene. The results from this past weekend are nothing out of the ordinary and largely make sense given the trends in Pauper.
My latest Power Rankings had Izzet Faeries as the best deck in the format and Saturday did nothing to change my mind. The deck placed two in the Top 8 and won the dang tournament. While Flicker Tron failed to make Top 8 it had a very strong showing overall. Boros Monarch supplanted Bully as the Wind-Scarred Crag deck of the day and Dimir Faeries continued to put up solid numbers.
Mamah made Top 8 on back-to-back days with the strategy. The deck takes the creature core of Mono Blue Delver decks but cuts Delver for Gurmag Angler. It runs the blue spell suite all too familiar to Pauper players these days but gets lacks the ability to use its removal to deal with life totals. Still, access to cards like Suffocating Fumes and Echoing Decay is a nice bonus.
Flicker Tron made the Top 8 on Sunday and won in the extremely capable hands of Hellsau. Izzet Faeries also made the elimination rounds; both decks had four Top 32 finishes and accrued 4 cumulative wins above an X-3 record. When talking about the best deck in Pauper, the conversation starts with these two strategies.
The breakout card for this weekend was Bonder’s Ornament. I will be the first to admit I think the hype around this card is over the top but make no mistake: the card is extremely good (as long as not everyone is running it). This creates an issue since Ornament is only available in Treasure Chests. Ornament’s release follows in the footsteps of some other important Pauper cards – Ash Barrens, Palace Sentinels, and Thorn of the Black Rose. Over time these cards became far easier to access but at the onset they were hard to acquire. Bonder’s Ornament is facing a similar issue while also seeing play in an already established top deck. The problem is only going to be exacerbated if there are Pauper relevant cards in Jump Start – which will only come to Magic Online via Treasure Chests. I don’t have a panacea for this issue but I would like to see more copies of these relevant cards released, in some way, into the Magic Online ecosystem to help keep the barrier of entry for Pauper low.