It is not easy for new Blue cards to make waves in Pauper. This has less to do with how strong the Blue cards from a given set are and more to do with the potency in older commons. Midnight Hunt concentrates some of the strength in Blue into the Zombie theme, which in turn leans on tokens with “decayed”.
Let’s talk about decayed for a moment. Normally in Pauper, a Zombie Token is a 2/2 with no other abilities attached and as such getting one tends to come with a decent cost attached. Decayed is a new ability that means the creature cannot block and once it attacks it must be sacrificed at the end of combat. So what does this mean in the context of Pauper?
Despite the baseline toughness for defensive creatures being 3 (Augur of Bolas, Kor Skyfisher, Thorn of the Black Rose), a 2/2 tokens is still a decent body on the board. Zombie Tokens have additional utility with cards like Shepherd of Rot and Gempalm Polluter and tend to make excellent sacrifice fodder for Carrion Feeder and Village Rites. However they also do something very important – they can block. In Zombie decks they can absorb blows from opposing aggressive strategies which is vitally important when some of your best cards – Shepherd and Sign in Blood – cost you valuable life points.
So if in an ideal scenario a 2/2 Zombie Token approaches a card worth of value, how much is a Decayed Token worth? To me it’s significantly less than a card. If you’re just making a token to sacrifice it to Carrion Feeder there are better options. In dedicated Zombie decks the type will matter and there it might be closer to a card’s worth of value but even then there are better options.
With that out of the way, let’s get to some Blue cards!
Already we have a card that falls victim to Blue’s historic strength. Consider is a fantastic card but how does it match up against Ponder, Preordain, and Thought Scour? Each of them have different utility and Consider is no exception. In decks that have a lot of graveyard redundancy or want a bit more control over the top of the library (think Dimir Delver), consider could get the nod over some other cantrips. The card also might find a home in Izzet Flash decks that lean on Devious Cover-Up and Goblin Wizardry to end the game. And if Izzet Blitz ever makes a comeback this card is quite good at putting Lava Dart into the graveyard.
I want to like this card. I want it to be good enough. But the upside on this Wind Drake just is not enough to warrant its inclusion anywhere, and I say this as someone who keeps trying to make Sidisi’s Faithful work. Maybe a Dimir style Aristocrats deck pops up once the set hits the digital shelves, but I’m not holding my breath.
One mana more than Sea Gate Oracle for two more points of power and the ability to get a card deeper. More than that, you are more likely to want cards in your graveyard than on the bottom of your library. There’s a lot to like about Organ Hoarder but it comes with a hefty price tag – four mana. Chances are this one is just one the wrong side of playable but I would not be shocked if it did make an appearance or two.
What gives? In an average use case this is just going to be a 1/2 that loots when you enter the battlefield. There’s are few things that can be done here to make the Sifters grow. The first is something from Strixhaven in Pilgrim of the Ages, but this is perilously slow. The Eidolon cycle from Dissension also wants to be discarded and can keep returning to your hand for free, given the right condition. Finally, there are plenty of original Kamigawa Block cards that can get Spirits back into your hand, from Soulshift to loops involving Hana Kami and Soulless Revival. That being said, this one is more speculative that the others. Will it get there? Probably not, but again that’s par for the course with Blue.