Sunday, September 25, 2016

What does Kaladesh mean for Pauper?

This time, right before the release of another big set, the Interwebs fill up with articles that speak about interesting cards for Pauper, the all-common format, mainly played on Magic Online.

I am here to disappoint you.

Pauper contains commons going all the way back to Magic's creation. That means that a new set of 264 cards is going to make a minimal impact. Still, we sometimes get a gem or two (such as Thermo-Alchemist in Eldritch Moon). Remember - to put some card in your deck from Kaladesh, you have to take out a card that is probably pre-NWO and amazing.

Here are the cards I think have a real possibility of finding a spot in a tier 1-3  deck in Pauper. They are listed in order with the likeliest card at the top.

Gearseeker Serpent: A 5/6 for UU could see play in Affinity. Quicksilver Behemoth has seen play and is just a 4/5 at a similar mana cost. However, two blue colored mana could be too steep. Being 5/6 is so good, though, being able to block Gurmag Angler is worth a lot.

Fragmentize: The ability to disenchant something for 1 mana can not be ignored. This will see sideboard play.

Dramatic Reversal: This has no home in an existing deck but the effect is so powerful that maybe, just maybe, something could be built around this.

Cathartic Reunion: Tormenting Voice saw fringe play in tier 3 decks. This card is clearly more powerful some of the time and it just reeks of combo potential. It will probably just not be as good as the blue alternatives.

Reckless Fireweaver: Its base stats are very weak at 1/3 for R1 but the effect is very powerful. It don't see it finding a spot in Affinity (what do you cut?) but there are some rogue decks that could benefit from this.

Take Down: Stompy and other green decks could use a card like this. The ability to take down a Spire Golem for 1 mana is nothing to sneeze at. However, I believe Scattershot Archer will remain the better choice.

Salivating Gremlins: This card is not good but we know that people will try to break it. It will appear in brews.

Larger than Life: Infect might just want this. Trample is sweet and similar cards have seen play.

Self-Assembler: Getting four 4/4s will be useful for some decks, especially decks that don't have access to green for Auroch's Herd

Dhund Operative: I have seen Suicide Black lists sporting 4 Vault of Whispers and 4 Bonded Constructs in a desperate attempt to make this playable. There might be a better way so I figured the card deserved a mention at least.

I have not mentioned reprints (I am looking at you, Prophetic Prism) that are already established in the format.

This list can become very different if the next set contains any playable Pauper cards that use Energy. If that is the case we have to reconsider cards such as the Puzzleknots but for now they are all useless to us.

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