May 14-15 Pauper Weekend in Review

We had our normal Saturday and Sunday Challenges, as well as a Showcase Challenge that ran on Saturday. While there were plenty of decks that performed well the story of the weekend was one that has been told time and time again over the past several months: Affinity, Boros, and Faeries are all jockeying for position with decks like Azorius Familairs and Goblin Combo making their presence felt. But three weeks into New Capenna season, here is what the big three archetypes are doing in the Winner’s Metagame:

I am not here to say whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing – this is just the way Pauper is right now, with the best decks consistently making up over 50% of the winner’s metagame. Both Boros and Faeries encompass several sub-archetypes while Affinity is overwhelmingly made up of the Grixis variants. Still, having a metagame so dominated by these decks is something to watch, especially as we get ready for the next release in Battle for Baldur’s Gate.

Multiplayer focused sets tend to do a number on Pauper. Conspiracy: Take the Crown introduced the Monarch which reshaped the format and Commander Legends brought with it Fall From Favor, which broke the format for several months. There is already concern about Initiative, which mashes up the Monarch with Forgotten Realms‘ Venture Mechanic.

While we do not have all the cards with this mechanic, our first look is one that generates about a cards worth of value on each step of the Undercity Dungeon. Pairing the Sneak with Ephemerate will put you fairly far ahead for only five total mana and if there are any Initiative cards that are cheaper than four, Pauper could be in for another tempestuous series of events.

However that is not set in stone. Fall From Favor took one of the best strategies and made it significantly better while also providing counterplay for Faeries against Monarch decks in preboard games. Fall From Favor also came out when the format was at a lower power level. Since Fall From Favor was banned the overall strength of the decks in Pauper has gone up. Also, without knowing all the cards it is hard to contextualize how they will fit into the format at large. So for now I’m taking the “wait and see” approach and hope rather than adding more fuel to the existing engines, Initiative provides incentives to build new decks.

But there’s a very good chance I’m wrong and that by the time we reach July something will have to change.

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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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