December 19-20 Pauper Weekend in Review

In my most recent Power Rankings, I put Tron in the top spot but wrote that it’s hold on Number 1 is the most tenuous it has been in quite some time. While Tron remains one of the most powerful decks in Pauper, the following circumstances have threatened its position:

  • One of the best ways to fight Tron was to stick an early Monarch and ride the extra cards to victory. Fall from Favor comes down a full turn earlier than the previous Monarch granters and the card gets run in shells with plenty of counterspells. This is a combination that can keep Tron on the back foot.
  • There has a been a surge in Atog + Fling decks. These decks have access to both Hydroblast and Pyroblast with the ability to win outside of the combat phase which can pressure Tron from another angle.
  • The latest iteration of WonderWalls has game against a wider swath of the field. As the deck already has a good Tron matchup, improving this deck’s position against the remainder of the metagame can spell bad news for Tron.

Going into the December 19 and December 20 Challenges, the metagame from Commander Legends looked like this:

Tron might have been on top but it has not been the dominant force of seasons gone by. The last weekend displayed just how fragile this grip on format is at this time:

The various Spellstutter Sprite/Fall from Favor decks are currently at the top, with Izzet Faeries winning both Challenges. Dimir Faeries is the most popular deck from the weekend but had a rough Sunday compared to Saturday. And yet lingering in third is Flicker Tron.

What fascinates me most about this weekend is the strong Stompy finishes. Two Top 8s in three total trips to the Top 32 may not seem like much but the deck has adjusted to the new metagame. Savage Swipe is no longer a four-of and instead the deck is trying to play more to the board, increasing the number of creatures. Given the lack of Palace Sentinels and really, blockers, this makes sense. Why load up your deck with a removal spell when your path to winning is trying to deal damage before they can muster any defenses?

I am interested to see if these trends continue. If Faeries decks continue to live at the top of things then that will represent a massive shift in the metagame. Despite being incredible powerful these decks are thriving in part because their natural enemies are absent. Kor Skyfisher is nearly absent and Pestilence is only moderately more prevalent. A shift to a Faeries dominated metagame could open up a new window for removal based midrange decks which could be problematic for WonderWalls but good news for Tron.

Of course this all presupposes that next weekend Tron doesn’t come out and smack down all the pretenders.

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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