A new season has hit Pauper. After eight weeks of Midnight Hunt, November 13 and November 14 heralded the start of Crimson Vow season. The early returns show a few cards making waves, headlined Blood Fountain and Reckless Impulse.
While we are still early in the season and can’t draw too many conclusions, we can extrapolate that things have not changed all that much with the injection of some new cards. Grixis Affinity still looks to be a popular and potent pick with Spellstutter Sprite decks not far behind. Boros Bully has been picking up steam recently and I expect that to continue as it remains one of the better Dust to Dust decks.
There was some discussion as to whether or not Blood Fountain would be an automatic inclusion in Affinity and this past weekend was a case in favor – all six Top 8 decks ran the new artifact. The allure of two artifacts early is tough to pass up, especially as it can either convert to three new cards late while also pinging with Disciple of the Vault. Blood Fountain is likely here to stay as it also made an appearance in Rakdos Wildfire.
Speaking of, the latest Cleansing Wildfire deck to make a splash also found a home for Reckless Impulse. This spell is powerful, giving you two cards for two mana, albeit with an expiration date. Having played with it myself I fully expect this card to reshape how red midrange decks are built moving forward, biasing them towards cheaper spells to help mitigate the “draw back”.
But what of the format? Things have not changed much. Affinity presents a problem where even if you aim targeted hate at it you might only delay the inevitable. Pro Tour Venice Champion Osyp Lebedowicz once described Arcbound Ravager as a fairy godmother – it did not matter what you did, when Ravager showed up it would save the day. Pauper Affinity feels similar in that it does not much matter what the opponent does – with Atog and Disciple of the Vault in the mix, there is nothing to do except try to win before they show up. That would be all well and good if these decks could keep Affinity in check, help bring some balance to the metagame. Yet the past 10 weeks have shown us that this is not the case, and as it is currently constructed, Affinity is a force that Pauper has to reckon with, even if it lacks the effective measures to do so.