July 31-August 1 Pauper Weekend in Review

Let’s get on with it. After the July 31 and August 1 Pauper Challenge, the first four weeks of Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms season looks like this:

This chart includes all archetypes to clear the 2% volume threshold (approximately 5 appearances)

It’s hard to separate this chart from the problems currently facing the format. Storm, Dimir, and Affinity represent a nigh-unassailable Big 3. Storm has 31.25% of all Top 8s while just over 21% of Top 32 volume. Dimir Delver/Faeries combine for 23.44% of all Top 8s with just over 18% of Top 32 Volume. Affinity is the most popular deck but has just under 22% of all Top 8s despite making up almost 27% of the Top 32 volume. Combined these decks account for around 66% of the Top 32 metagame.

How do they stack up against the rest of the field?

Weighted Volume takes each deck in the Top 32 Swiss result and compares it to an X-3 record. For each Swiss win above X-3 a deck gets 1 point. Totally the number of Top 32 wins above X-3, that gives us a pool and then we can use this number to see how decks are doing relative to each other. These three decks combined are occupying over 77% of that Winner’s Metagame.

I am not going to rehash potential solutions to the problems here (hint hint: cards need to banned). What I do want to propose is a way to try and prevent this from happening again. And with that I’m going to make a plea to the fine folks who make Magic:

Don’t stop making high impact cards for Pauper, however please do not be afraid of banning cards on Day Zero. Twice in the past calendar year cards have been released into the format that, before their release, people inside and outside the building saw as problematic (Fall from Favor and Chatterstorm). In both instances, these people were correct. Pauper is relatively small compared to the target format for both of these cards (Limited game play) and banning them before they saw any play would do very little to hurt their intended utility.

And since I know that Day Zero bans are not likely to happen (and would set a dangerous precedent if they did come to pass), please consider expedited bans if fears bear fruit.

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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