April 16-17 Pauper Weekend Recap

We are in the home stretch of Neon Dynasty season. There’s one more weekend of events before Streets of New Capenna his Magic Online. While the next set looks to be of a lower power level it still has within it the capacity to impact the metagame. But that’s looking to the future and this is about the here and now.

The April 16 and April 17 were something of an anomaly given the recent trends in the format. Dimir Faeries put up a middling performance while Affinity and Boros were barely a factor. Instead the big winner out of the Big Three was Izzet Faeries, which used three Top 8 finishes on Saturday to propel itself to the best weekend out of any archetype, with 16.67% of the winner’s metagame.

The other big winner on the weekend was Rakdos Blood Burn. This deck has been gaining ground over the past several weeks and it deserves some attention. Leveraging the material generated by Crimson Vow‘s Blood Mechanic, as well as Blood Tokens’ ability to discard for Madness, and you get a deck that excels at mining every ounce of value from its cards. It is reminiscent of the earliest builds of Boros Bully in that regard which would use Faithless Looting to dump Prismatic Strands into the yard to be used later. Rakdos Blood Burn is not using Looting in such a defensive matter, instead using it to stick copies of Kitchen Imp or throw Fiery Tempers at the opponent.

But what about the format at large? These two decks accounted for almost 30% of the winner’s metagame over the weekend. The real story was how the Big 3 decks of the current moment played out:

While this week saw the Big Three chew up the least amount of the winner’s metagame, Faeries came out swinging with its second best weekend this season. Out of the Big 3, Faeries accounted for nearly 70% of their top finishes – far and away Faeries biggest share of this season.

Taking a look at the above chart we can see a trend of Faeries performing somewhere between “good” and “excellent”, while the other major plays vacillate between “above average” and “great”. For all the press Affinity gets for its busted cards and Boros gets for Experimental Synthesizer, Faeries continues to be the most consistently good performer in the bunch.

Why does Faeries seemingly get away with it? Perhaps it is because Affinity has only had its new toys for a little under a year while Boros only just got Experimental Synthesizer this year. Faeries, despite arguably being better than either of these archetypes, has always been near or at the top of the metagame. It also does not do anything that appears broken, instead playing relatively fair Magic compared to some of the other nonsense in Pauper. And yet it is likely the best strategy in the format right now.

None of this is to say action needs to be taken. In fact, the format looks relatively robust and healthy (outside of Faeries one weekend spike). While it does look rather different than Pauper before Modern Horizons 2, the format still appears to be in a good spot overall. And with Streets of New Capenna around the corner ready to rough things up, I think we’re poised for an interesting, and fun, summer.

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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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