September 25-26 Pauper Weekend in Review

We are still in the early stages of Midnight Hunt season and Pauper is continuing to adjust to the post-Chatterstorm metagame. The September 25 and September 26 Challenges show that while some things have changed, many more have stayed the same. The following chart displays every deck with at least 3 Top 32 appearances across the five major events thus far:

After five events Dimir Faeries remains the most popular and, arguably, the best deck in the format. It retains somewhat gaudy numbers but is only eight Top 32s ahead of Grixis Affinity (there are two other Affinity decks that have one appearance each). Behind that is a decent gap before another scrum of decks in the 8-15 appearance range. Would things look better if other decks had a larger metagame share? Absolutely. But things are not as dire as they have been.

Take the top two decks. They are clocking in at a combined 36% of the metagame. That is probably too large a share but is lower than any pair of the pre-ban Top 3 by at least 4 percentage points. I anticipate the metagame share will go down over time but I doubt that these two decks will fall too much out of favor.

Dimir Faeries is successful in part because of its card advantage engines. The Ninja of the Deep Hours + Spellstutter Sprite combo is tried and true and since Faeries added the Monarch to the fold, it can keep the cards flowing with ease. Snuff Out provides the best protection possible as it is “free”. Snuff Out has become one of the defining spells of the metagame thanks to its ability to protect the crown at no cost and due to the dearth of aggro.

Why is aggro struggling? Even if it does not see a ton of play, Fiery Cannonade exerts a ton of pressure on the format as it can end a beatdown deck’s entire career (for one game at least). I also think that for so long non-Stompy aggro decks fell into the Bully camp – that is they leaned on Battle Screech and a force multiplier to end the game. In today’s Pauper that means dedicating your fourth turn to making 1/1 flyers. Maybe if the meta shifts back to midrange slogs that will be good enough but right now we seem to be more in the haymaker camp with Monarch and Cascade.

Time will tell, of course. The league results from this week showed that Midnight Hunt has quite a few cards to contribute to Pauper, and that’s before Festival Crasher has made its presence felt. If someone can crack the 8-Kiln Fiend deck, the meta could get rather interesting.

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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