Pauper Decks & Metagame

Last time we introduce you to the Pauper format. This time we’ll talk a little bit more about the decks you can build. There’s a different Pauper deck for almost every play style that exists among Magic players. Let’s have a look at some:

Mono-Black Devotion

As one of the most popular decks, many players come prepared to face Mono-Black Devotion and still have a difficult time fighting through it. The deck grinds out card advantage with efficient creatures and spells, and then lands a Gray Merchant of Asphodel or two to win the game. They also have access to many strong removal spells including spot removal, edict effects, and even board sweepers like Pestilence and Evincar’s Justice. The deck is quite strong and is a good choice for a control player in the format.



Delver is a curious deck, but a strong one. It plays somewhat like a control deck with its copies of Counterspell, Spellstutter Sprite and occasionally Daze, but it also can play like an aggro deck with the right draw, having both Delver of Secrets and a 1 of Bonesplitter. I think it plays most like a tempo deck. I think that the mono Blue version of this deck is more like tempo oriented, and the Blue/Black version, with Gurmag Angler, is more a control deck.


Izzet Drake

This deck may be the best deck in the format, certainly the most played. The deck revolves around the combo of resolving Peregrine Drake and Archaeomancer, then targeting them with Ghostly Flicker, generating free mana and getting back the Ghostly Flicker. This loop creates infinite mana and infinite draws combined with Sea Gate Oracle or Mulldrifter, and the deck eventually finds and pulls off an arbitrarily large Rolling Thunder for the win. The threat of this combo is real and powerful, but the deck can also win just as a Blue-Red control deck playing powerful spells.


Izzet Blitz

This is an aggro deck with explosively powerful creatures. The preferred game plan involves landing a Kiln Fiend or Nivix Cyclops, playing a few spells, and then attacking for the win sometime on or shortly after turn three. The deck plays burn spells to remove blockers or to provide reach when the creatures are dead, protection spells like Apostle’s Blessing and Dispel, and cheap spells like Gitaxian Probe, Shadow Rift and Temur Battle Rage to trigger the creatures.



Affinity is an aggressive deck that makes use of the mechanic of the same name. All the lands are artifact lands enabling the rest of the deck’s Affinity and Metalcraft mechanics. It uses cheap threats like Carapace Forger and Myr Enforcer to deal damage quickly and can refill its hand with Thoughtcast and Perilous Research. Similar to Izzet Blitz, Affinity can generate huge amounts of damage out of nowhere. Affinity does it with the combination of Atog and Fling. If the opponent doesn’t have countermagic or a Fog effect, this combination can steal wins even from opponents with high life totals.



These are just a sampling of some of the interesting decks in the format. Other decks I glossed over include those making use of the Tron lands (Urza’s Tower and company), an infinite creatures combo deck featuring Midnight Guard and Presence of Gond, an intriguing deck making use of Reality Acid and bounce effects like Glint Hawk for repeatable removal spells, and a smattering of aggro decks including Green Stompy, Red Goblins, and White Tokens. You can check out what’s popular at the moment with the Pauper Metagame.



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