January 8-9 Pauper Weekend in Review

Okay who am I kidding. We’re going to talk about the Pauper Format Panel. But first, there were two Challenges this past weekend and we started the third segment of Crimson Vow season. Here’s a breakdown of both Top 32s:

To the surprise of no one, Grixis Affinity continues to rule the roost. Two of the other successful decks – Azorius Familiars and Burn – need their opponents to pack specific interactive pieces to have a chance, and those cards tend to be bad against Affinity. As I’ve said for a while now, unless something changes we are likely going to be living in Affinity’s world for the foreseeable future.

But that’s not interesting. The Pauper Format Panel – a group of players working with Wizards of the Coast to monitor format health and make recommendations – is far more intriguing than me pontificating on what might be the second best deck in Pauper. The article and video from Gavin do a fantastic job of explaining exactly what we are going to do and our task.

I want to reiterate what I said at the end of the video interview: that Pauper has given me so much and I consider it a privilege to try and steward the format into the next era. I know a lot of folks out there have reservations and if I were in their shoes, I’d agree. Pauper is in a rough spot but I honestly believe this group can right the ship.

What does this mean for this blog and my Patreon? My posts here are not going to change much. I am still going to be looking at the Top 32 data from every Challenge and talk about trends. What I won’t be doing anymore is talking about specific cards with regards to bans. I don’t want to mention a card here and then when the announcement rolls around, it’s still legal (or the opposite). I feel very comfortable talking about how Affinity is a dominant strategy and something needs to go, but I won’t speculate here as to what that card might be.

Similarly I am going to rework my Patreon. Currently there is a Patrons only channel in the #MTGPauper Discord and, just like ban talk, I don’t want there to be a perception that those folks have any undue influence. In reality it’s mostly people badgering me for my taste in sports teams. That being said, these changes are going to roll out more slowly as I want to ensure that the folks who have supported me are getting what they expect.

I’m very excited for this next era of Pauper. I genuinely hope that the work we do makes the format more enjoyable and that I see a few of you in the leagues.

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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