I want to start exploring cards that have potential (or are just neat) but have yet to find a good home in Pauper. Today I want to talk about Tin-Street Hooligan.
When I first started playing Pauper (back when it was a player run format 15 years ago), Tin-Street Hooligan was an incredibly important card upon release. Affinity was a powerhouse. It lacked significant checks like Ancient Grudge and Gorilla Shaman, both of which had yet to be released. Instead, decks relied on slower options like Nantuko Vigilante, Overload, or Echoing Ruin to try and contain the machine. When Tin-Street Hooligan came along, everything changed. Gruul decks now had access to an on curve two-drop that could set their opponent’s board development back.
As Pauper saw its card pool grow, the format got faster. Running a two-color aggressive strategy stopped being a popular option as these decks took too long to develop their board. Taking turns off to set up mana meant a good two-color two drop like Hooligan was no longer a viable option.
So why am I bringing this card up today? Pauper has fantastic artifact removal already and the mana, while better than before, still has trouble supporting two-color aggro. The answer is Burning-Tree Emissary. In base red decks, Burning-Tree Emissary can produce the green mana needed to resolve a “kicked” Tin-Street Hooligan. Red Deck Wins, the second best Emissary deck, already wants red two drops and this one has decent upside against artifact lands at the very least. But Tin-Street can also hit Frogmite and Myr Enforcer, as well as Prophetic Prism and Bonder’s Ornament.
I am not saying that Tin-Street Hooligan is a game breaking card – far from it – but the barrier for it to see play is about as low as it has ever been. It might be time to break some stuff.