August 1-2 Pauper Weekend in Review

The results from the August 1 and August 2 Challenges were published this week after a backend issue was resolved. Rather than look back at these events and try to predict what they mean for the format moving forward, I want to use this as an opportunity to take a look at the best decks from this very early Double Masters seasons. But first, Challenge breakdowns!

Mardu Monarch is an off shoot of Boros Monarch. While the latter had often adopted the occasional copy of Reaping the Graves or Okiba-Gang Shinobi, the newer build adopts more black cards, including (but not limited to) Chainer’s Edict, Terminate, and Unearth. I am not sure if this is better or worse than a two-color build, but if the mana base can support the splash, so be it.

Two weeks into this season and none of this should be surprising. The winning deck left off this chart is Azorius Familairs which is probably the best deck more people aren’t playing right now. If I did an overrated/underrated segment, it would firmly be in the latter camp.

The top of the metagame should not shock anyone. There’s Flicker Tron, there are Spellstutter Sprite decks, and there are Monarch decks. Despite the fact that Dimir Delver – that is Delver of Secrets and Gurmag Angler builds – has more Top 8 appearances, I believe Dimir Faeries – playing far more like a traditional Delver deck – is the superior option. It is much better at playing a Ninja game plan and relies less on protecting a few key threats. And Spellstutter Sprite is quite a card.

If I had to pick one overrated deck from this Top 10 it would be Stompy. It is not that the deck is bad, but rather it needs to evolve. The nature of the metagame means that trying to simply steamroll your opponent with damage is going to be a high variance route. Clearly it can succeed – Stompy is one of three archetypes with 3 Top 8s – but it also has the worst conversion rate of the bunch. The solution may be opting to play for a slightly longer game against the field, cutting copies of Elephant Guide for another Vines of Vastwood and perhaps Mutagenic Growth, while skewing its sideboard towards racing Stonehorn Dignitary.

Here are some things to consider about the format current:

  • Cast Down makes singular large threats a risky play.
  • Abrade seems to be everywhere (as it should be) and punishes an over-reliance on Artifacts.
  • What races Tron?
  • Best home for Bone Picker – we’ve seen it in MBC and Dimir Delver, but where can this card shine?

What are the interesting Pauper questions the format is currently asking, in your mind?

Published by Alex Ullman

Alex Ullman has been playing Magic since 1994 (he thinks). Since 2005, he's spent most of his time playing and exploring Pauper. One of his proudest accomplishments was being on the winnings side of the 2009 Community Cup. He makes his home in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born and raised.

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