April 1-2 Pauper Weekend Recap

Hello everyone. First, I want to apologize for the delay in getting this up. If you follow me on other channels you might have seen that I recently came down with Covid. The good news is that, being fully vaccinated and boosted, my case has been relatively mild. I am on the mend and finally have some time to sit down and write.

Second, you’re going to notice a change in this post…or rather a reversion. A few months ago I moved my in depth posts to my Patreon. After running the numbers I saw that relatively few people were getting the information that I was putting there so in the interest of growing Pauper and sharing the data, I’m moving my in depth posts back to this blog. I am going to be revising my Patron facing content in the future but in the interim I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who has subscribed to this point. If you want to help keep the content flowing you can support me for as little as $1, which still grants to access to a Patrons only channel in the #MTGPauper Discord.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the results:

Win +: Measures all wins better than X-3 in Swiss (X-2 is 1, X-1 is 2, etc). Measures a deck’s relative strength against the field in that event

K-Wins: Measures all wins less all losses, Top 8 inclusive. Measures a deck’s strength in a winner’s metagame

April 1 and April 2 Challenge Top 32

Once again Kuldotha Red was the most popular deck on the weekend. However digging deeper it was not the best performing strategy on the weekend. A 0.33 Win+ average places it firmly outside the Top 16 on average and despite taking down 18.75% of the Top 32 volume it saw a pretty massive 4.32% drop in adjusted volume. All of this is to say that despite its popularity Kuldotha Red failed to perform to its presence. However it also has a healthy 1.5 K-Win average which tells us that when it does hit the elimination rounds it does well (as indicated by the Challenge win). It has largely held up this way for the entire season with five Challenge wins but a Win+ average of 0.59 and a K-Win average of 1.52 in 99 Top 32 appearances across 16 events.

So which deck would I say had the best weekend? To me it’s between Faeries and Familiars. Faeries had an additional Top 8 finish, a Win+ average of 1, which translates to averaging a Top 16 finish, and a healthy K-Win average of 2.29 in seven total Top 32 finishes. It made up 10.94% of the Top 32s but had an adjusted volume of 13.59%, a difference of 2.65%. Compare this to Familiars with four total Top 32 appearances, two Top 8s and a win and a better Win+ average (1.25) and K-Win average (3.5), and a better percent delta (+3.66%). Despite the fact that Faeries had three more appearances overall I think this week I have to hand it to Familiars.

So, then, what would I recommend for next week? Let’s be real: red is not going anywhere and with Faeries on the rise I think Kor Skyfisher strategies continue to be well positioned. Skyfisher decks tend to have enough life gain to keep up with red while also going wide enough to help to reduce the efficacy of Faeries’ attacks. Something to keep in mind is that whatever strategy you choose it will need to have a reliable way to target the graveyard. Familiars is not going anywhere and Affinity is lurking in the wings being able to disrupt the bin remains important. I know this is a place where folks are likely expecting me to recommend Orzhov Ephemerate but that deck has seriously been struggling as of late. I think what may be better is a deck that can run both Kor Skyfisher and Bojuka Bog, but also a Crop Rotation package to fetch Bog when needed. Whether this fits neatly into existing Skyfisher strategies or requires a rework of Gates, I am not sure.

But there’s more today. We are eight weeks into Phyrexia season so I wanted to take a look back at the season so far. First, let’s take a look at the past four weeks of the Challenge meta (this does not include Paupergeddon), with the cut off of 2% Top 32 volume.

Kuldotha Red continues to top the field in popularity but lags behind in other metrics. It is running at -1.45% between actual volume and adjusted volume, which is worse than its -0.97% in the first four weeks. Faeries, despite not having a win, is outperforming Affinity and Dimir Terror. It has a positive delta between actual volume and adjusted of 1.28% (up from 0.96% in the first four weeks) and continues to rise in the power rankings. Gates based decks have taken a dip while Orzhov Ephemerate is languishing. Mono White Aggro has seen an uptick in popularity in the past four weeks.

Consistency is key in the current metagame. Kuldotha Red is exerting pressure on the metagame and decks that are well set up to keep pace are doing just that. Faeries and Mono White do not have to take time off to set up their game plan and can instead get to the board quickly. That does not mean that slower decks are dead in the water but rather they need to rethink their approach. Gates decks suffer in this regard because they rely so heavily on lands that enter the battlefield tapped. It could be time for Abundant Growth to shine in decks outside of Bogles and Naya Gates as a way to churn through cards and fix mana.

Today I am going to leave you with the season chart, with the same 2% threshold (10 minimum Top 32 appearances). What story is this chart telling you about the Pauper metgame?

I want to take a moment to thank all my Patrons – both old and new. I am going to do my level best to keep providing you with the kind of content that brought you here in the first place. If you are interested in supporting my work, rewards for my Patreon start at just $1 and every little bit helps.

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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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