Normally I examine Pauper through the lens of different releases. In my mind it makes sense that, even if a new set does not completely change the format it does provide a new pool of cards. Given the slow and piecemeal roll out of Battle for Baldur’s Gate on Magic Online, and the rapidly approaching Double Masters 2022 with its powerful downshifts, I have decided to group these post Baldur’s Gate events with Streets of New Capenna season.
With that out of the way, we have our second four week chunk of data from this season, hanging out with trolls under various Bridges. Pauper has seen some interesting developments at its fringes recently, with beatdown Goblins adopting Experimental Synthesizer, Cascade going back to Mulldrifter, Boros Tribe combo emerging, and Turbo Fog establishing itself as a metagame player. All in all, 17 different archetypes topped 2% of the Top 32 metagame (at least six total appearances).
In case it is not clear, I am going to highlight a segment of this spreadsheet – the righthand most columns.
Despite there being 17 different archetypes with at least 2% of the Top 32 metagame, only one deck topped 10% and it was that same deck that topped 20% – Grixis Affinity. While these decks are not entirely the same – some skew more towards control with cards like Counterspell, for example – the fact that this is the only deck to reach such a level is both impressive and foreboding. If you group all the Spellstutter Sprite decks they come to 13.55% of the Top 32; all the Boros decks here make up 12.15% of the Top 32 metagame.
Put another way, Affinity is just that good.
If you’re reading this article you don’t need me to tell you that Affinity is great. At this point it is clear that some action will need to be taken. I am not going to speculate on what action could be taken today because I’ve done it recently and frankly there’s not much else to be said.
Instead I want to talk about the edges someone can going in this metagame. These days the best way to approach the metagame is to figure out which linear deck is best positioned for that week. Kuldotha Goblins, Red Blitz, Bogles, Heroic – all of these decks excel at enacting their game plan and each have a decent fail rate if met with the correct counterplay. And that is where Pauper is right now – to gain an edge you have to be willing to take a risk.
The best decks – Affinity, Faeries, Boros – are all decks with a high floor and a high ceiling, Affinity being the best there. Many of the linear decks listed previously have a higher ceiling but the floor is subterranean. Still, if you are looking for an advantage that is one area to explore.
And for next week what would I be trying to do? I’d want to do something red for access to Flaring Pain. After a strong showing from Bogles over the past few events, I fully expect Fogs to be out in force.
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