Eight Weeks of Crimson Vow

Happy New Year everyone!

After a brief hiatus, I am back to talk about – what else? – Pauper! The second four weeks of Crimson Vow season have wrapped up which gives us another huge set of data to examine. For reference, these images include every deck that either finished with at least one Top 8 or had 2% of the Top 32 metagame.

Here is the chart recording the first four weeks of the season:

And here are the four most recent weeks:

I am going to hold off on a deep dive for the time being, but instead I want to focus on what I see as key points:

  • Bogles has emerged as the premier Ethereal Armor deck. Heroic made a case for itself in the first four weeks but more or less fell off in the December. Only Affinity, Boros Bully, and Delver had more Top 8s in the past four weeks than the slippery ones.
  • Dimir Faeries continues to fall. The deck is still fairly popular but access to good artifact removal seems to be pushing Izzet Faeries back up the power rankings.
  • Delver is still solid. Some folks like to sleep on plain old Delver decks as they do not do anything flashy. Six Top 8 finishes is impressive.
  • If you want to attack, you better have Rally the Peasants. There’s no other way to say this – attacking without some sort of force multiplier is just a losing proposition these days.
  • Affinity remains stupid good. Almost 29% of the Top 32. Almost 36% of the Top 8 slots. Five wins in eight challenges. Affinity remains the defining deck of the Pauper Challenge metagame. Heck, across the entire season so far, Affinity has over 40% of all Top 8s alongside 9 wins out of 19 Challenge level events.

Here’s one more chart. This takes into account every deck with at least 2% of the Challenge meta or a Top 8 finish. Decks in the red did not meet the 2% threshold but have a Top 8:

Affinity might be defining the format right now, but both Boros Bully and Delver are top tier strategies with Flicker Tron and Izzet Faeries not that far behind. If not for the sheer volume of Affinity that is seeing play (it has more Top 32 finishes than the next four most populous combined), the metagame would appear to be fairly vibrant,

Like so many other times in Pauper’s history, there’s an amazing metagame taking place outside the dominant strategy. I am hopeful that this year, we can get a metagame that doesn’t have an asterisk.

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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