To Delete or not to Delete, a question?

Hi folks,
Adner speaking, HNY all !!
My life and points of interest both have changed a lot so I want to know wether someone would be interested in taking this Blog Back into Good shape, even wether this would be worth it or not.

Please contact me if interested or want to speak your mind...



RDW "Back to the Future" of Standard Pauper

Long time, very long time. Sorry dear readers.

Welcome to the Banquet, Ad' !!!
Felt like a century or so in this busy life, so I decided it was time for a change, double clicked the old MTGO shortcut on my desktop, waited for the long updates to complete, then redeemed the few tickets I could gather in order to purchase the last set commons from Shadows Over Innistrad. Back for some fun if possible !

While browsing some red cards eventually caught my eye and I chose to give an aggressive build a try and put some pressure on emerging control lists. Looked like the old Red Deck Wins archetype was worth considering in this new environment featuring a very limited cardpool. Straight forward !

Here's what I came up with for practice in the Just For Fun Room, testing versus standard legal lists because finding a STD Pauper opponent has become so difficult now that the format filter is gone online, sadly. To my surprise, the list was doing well enough and I thought I would take it to the SPDC the day after. Thanks to Amnaremotoas for the test games, they were so useful when it came to building the sideboard.

Standard ·  Aggro
 1st by Adner in SPDC 33.03 (4-1)
Borderland Marauder
Mage-Ring Bully
Ember-Eye Wolf
Insolent Neonate
Sanguinary Mage
Bloodmad Vampire
Goblin Freerunner
Fiery Temper
Infectious Bloodlust
Senseless Rage
Tormenting Voice
Touch of the Void
Titan's Strength
15 Mountain
Looming Spires
Evolving Wilds
Boiling Earth
Boulder Salvo
Pyre Hound
Dual Shot
Consuming Sinkhole
Magmatic Chasm
Mad Prophet

And that is how the west was won. Playing the list was a lot of fun overall, though I had to fold a few games due to very bad mulligans, but playing 20 lands is where the shuffler takes you sometimes.
I will try and make a short recap of the matches, as well as give you my impressions and feelings about the key cards of the deck.

Round 1 VS Comixwriter (WG stuff allies)

G1 : Borderland Marauder comes enchanted with Infectious Bloodlust turn 3 making things hard for him. It turns a real biggie with another Senseless rage cast on it, sweeping everything on its way for the win. Note : there was a discussion between us and the hosts about the Marauder's legality in the format. Comixwriter, maybe like others, was not aware the card was legal. Neither was I to be honest. The STD filter just let me add it to the list so I figured out it could be legal...

G2 : The red swarm keeps growing though he casts double pacifism to try and stop it, too many fast threats overhelming and that's a concession when Goblin Freerunner enters the battlefield.

Win 2-0

Round 2 VS Yelloweyes (RB Madness)

G1 : He gets bad draws preventing him from doing anything or playing chumpblockers when the swarm gets going, then concedes when Bloodmad Vampire hits the field, ready to finish him along with an enchanted Ember Eye Wolf. Fast win.

G2 : He gets better draws but is quickly pushed backwards on the defensive side, trying to chump-block my threats, but my removals clear the way for a better board position, making Bloodmad Vampire a nice persecutor.

Win 2-0

Round 3 VS Amnaremotoas (WW Flyers)

G1 : He manages to break the swarm with a double pacifism, while playing his flyers then boosting them with Shoulder to Shoulder. Tight game finally ending in his favor. Race is lost in the air !

G2 : He swarms the ground faster than I do. He uses True Faith Senser and builds a flying-Vigilance biggie that completely ruins my hopes. I realize how wrong I was sideboarding the Boulder Salvos in, when I drew one he already had a 5/6 monster and it was too late. Funny thing is that we had played a few test games the day before, and he had beaten me with a Sudent of Ojutai built heavy on lifegain. I added The Boulder Salvos to the list since then in case this archetype was met again....

Lose 0-2

Top 4 VS Emerald000 (GB stuff with graveyard recursion)

G1 : He gets overhelmed by the vampire and friends swarm, forced to the defensive position. He suicides using the Vulturous Aven capacity. Samuraï code honors you my friend !

G2 : He fills up the battlefield with two Quilled Wolves and enough mana to pump one, until I get a better board position with 4 creatures and attack for the win with a Titan Strength finishing him off.

Win 2-0

Finals VS Amnaremotoas (WW Flyers)

Needless to mention I felt a bit scared and hopeless before playing this match, as I had lost to the list during Swiss. Well things turned out quite differently this time.

G1 : An enchanted Insolent Neonate turn 2 quickly seals the deal, he is unable to recover from this fast start and burn to the face finishes him off. Menace is not bad when you can manage to keep the field clean with burn.

G2 : I have to mull a one lander, then keep another one lander, but the second mana source does not show up the next 2 turns. I had to concede, no remorse.

G3 : With 3 Fiery Tempers in my starting hand and 2 creatures, I feel confident on keeping the battlefield empty on his side. It works out until he manages to build a Felidar Club equipped with Bone Saw and True Faith Senser, setting a 2 turn clock on me. I dig the deck with Tormenting Voice finding nothing, leaving him at 3 HP, me at 7. He swings again with Felidar Club and I go down to 3. Then I draw Touch of the Void for the win in that epic and very close game.

Win 2-1 with luck.

Deck is overall 8-3 out of 11 games throughout the event. Not bad with a  list built from scratch.

Now some thoughts on the key cards from the list :

These warriors are back into the STD Pauper Cardpool, better be aware. Check out Gwyned's inclusions of uncommons previously printed as commons for this season here.
They are one of the best 2 drops available when you are on the play, and are even more efficient when enchanted with Infectious Bloodlust or Senseless rage.

This wolf turned out to be very precious. Swinging instantly thanks to Haste in the early game, it's a threat your opponent would better care for. In the late game it can dodge your opponent's defensive plans and do a lot of damage as you can pump it several times. Also a quite good target for Infectious Bloodlust or Senseless rage.

Vampires, here they are.
This bloodmad is dangerous. You can cast it out of nowhere thanks to its Madness ability. It synergies well with Tormenting Voice and Insolent Neonate. Looming Spires grants it First strike. I chose to run 2 of them and I think they could be replaced. They did put some pressure on but never proved to be decisive for the road to victory.

The Freerunner is not really free, but in a list full of cheap spells and creatures, he will be a turn 3 or 4 menace with some kind of evasion, pushing your opponent on the defensive side, wich is good.
I would certainly consider making it a 3 of for sure. Surge is interesting because it helps you repopulating the battlefield quite easily and quickly.

Insane insolence ! The best 1 drop for RDW is there for sure. Again pushing your opponent on the defensive is good, Menace meaning the Vampire will swing every turn or so, it can be efficiently enchanted on turn 2 for more damage.
And guess what? This guy enables Madness when needed, very interesting when Fiery TemperBloodmad Vampire and Senseless Rage are around. And you get to draw a card as reward.... Not to mention the cool art !

Another good Vampiric surprise.
We have 7 Prowess dudes (Mage-Ring Bully is still there) and 19 spells to trigger and pump them. Its 1/3 basic stats are not bad when it comes to building an early defence in an aggro matchup. Getting rid of opposition on board with burn or mass removal while pumping those Prowess guys is just double duty !  Pushing it to a 4'-of may be too much, the list is happy with 3.

Burn. Burn. Straight to the dome or batllefield cleaner, up to the situation. Good synergies with other cards like Tormenting Voice or Innocent Neonate.
Fiery Temper deserves the 4-of's.

Just a sideboarding option in the list and that's maybe a mistake.
In fact, it was never sideboarded in during the event. See you next time, Pyre Hound? About the sideboard, Boiling earth and Dualshot VS Token strategies, Boulder Salvo VS annoying 4 power creatures, a burn spell, another Madness enabler, a solution for stalling grounded games, and it's still not fixed.

Well that's enough for now, getting back into the game with that list was a lot of fun, so was getting back to blogging. Don't hesitate to give your thoughts on the STD Pauper metagame, this list, or the event report written above, please use the comments !

See you next time, thanks for reading.



#standardpauper as a way of life !?

Afficher l'image d'origine
Just join the chat and find a friendly match !

My dear fellow Standard Pauper Players,

Are you feeling lost in Freeform now that the Standard Pauper Filter has come to an end on MTGO?

Are you having difficulties finding an opponent online to play our favorite format?

Then just open a new chat window and type :


and then Enter.

Sometimes there's someone in, willing to play a game, or just chat for a while.

Did a bit of decklist testing today, and it happened to just work out fine.

Looking forward to meeting you there !




Trick or treat !!

Removal of our favorite format on MTGO is now official and up.


And that all inspite of what we've all been dedicated to for months and years of community building and living (well they also killed the clan ruling options and chat online, so that was hard to maintain).

Oupsss. halloween passed away but still the creep is real. Trick or treat!!

Indeed we will !!

Now whose  (absurd) choice was that?
Team of developpers?
Aliens from outter space?
Chuck Norris?

No matter afterall.

I am in a place where new MTG customers are french (and that is a big problem considering there's absolutely no english-spoken version of the game online) and under 18 years old. A lot of those potential customers are looking for an entry into the MTG world, Because they've heard of this costly cardgame passion that MTG is. Standard Pauper, as competitive as it can be, as a semi-supported niche format, was so good at bringing new people into the game. Yeah you know. Spending less and learning the game mechanics, taking you to a higher level of competition. Entertainment !!
We've been devoted to the format for so long, even Wizards been helping us and them in the same time.
Now is it time to part??
We will endure, that means we can keep doing things underground, but we'd prefer doing this officially.
And that is no longer possible.
So please join the Clan (reach Gwyned in charge for this) and show your support and interest for the format.

This option is there, thanks to some individuals involved in it.

If we are no more than 1 % of the player base, then speak out loud for the format sake, otherwise just sit and let go.

Best regards,



The Standard Pauper Filter Issue

Today we were going to have a happy post about the Standard Pauper Double League, but instead we need to talk about some bad news.

Yesterday, Wizards announced the retirement of the Standard Pauper filter on MTGO among other formats which are being cut. I will quote their reasoning here:

"In order to focus our efforts on improving the most popular formats on Magic Online, we are removing official support for some rarely-played formats and player configurations with the November 11, 2015 downtime. Combined, the removal of the formats below represents less than one percent of play on Magic Online.


We are always looking to improve the player experience on Magic Online. Trimming our offerings will allow us to focus on improving the most-played formats, and will simplify the interface for starting a game."

This is really hard to understand. First, because relating the removal of a "rarely-played" format with the improving of a popular format is something impossible to buy. Do you really thing Standard Pauper, or Legacy Tribal Wars, or Emperor, or all of them combined took any focus from what would Wizards give to the main formats? In the especial case of Standard Pauper, the filter is just a subset of the Standard filter and it does use only the core constructed rules. I wouldn't agree, but I wouldn't be able to deny it if they said that formats using different rules require too much attention and maintenance from them, but I cannot believe the almost zero support they give to Standard Pauper can hold any other format back.

Second, none of the formats being cut add any unwanted complexity to the interface. If you don't deliberately build a deck for some of these formats, they simply won't show up in your lobby. Surely there are a lot of improvements in the lobby and in the collection being asked by the community, but this decision won't help it in any way. If you don't play these formats you will see no improvements at all, on the other hand, if you play them, your hobby will become much harder (in the case of Standard Pauper) or nearly impossible (in the case of more complex formats). And that's what bugs me the most.

Well, I can be completely wrong about all of this. Maybe there is some big update in the client interface coming up in the next few months and having extra, underplayed formats would make its implementation much harder, but if that's the case, I think Wizards should be clear about it.

Their reasoning aside, I think there are other reasons why this is a bad decision:

MTGO tries to emulate paper MTG as close as it can, including the financial model. One of the main advantages of paper MTG is that you can play the game any way you want. Of course, this can't be fully reproduced in the digital game, but those filters help go a long way on helping that.

As for Standard Pauper, specifically, the format is the best entry choice for Constructed play. It is very cheap and easy to learn.  MTGO really lacks a good newbie friendly option for constructed play. Classic Pauper is just too advanced for a new player without enough paper experience while Standard is too expensive for someone who doesn't even know the basics of competitive play.

By cutting Standard Pauper from the client instead of taking the further step of adding basic sanctioned support for the format, Wizards is not only hurting the format passionates like us but also ignoring the players who come to MTGO without previous MTG knowledge. Every other digital card game works hard to get this kind of customer, and that's why some of them are ridiculously bigger than MTGO.

We have two PRE's happening every week with 16-22 players. It may not look like much, but it is a decent size tournament, on par with Modern, Legacy and Vintage daily events. These players usually find the format by themselves, since there is no promoting being made by Wizards. In my case, having the option to build a Standard Pauper deck in the client prompted me to search the internet about the format and find pdcmagic.com. The PRE's can still happen without the filter, but new players will have a harder time discovering the format, and that's why the filter is so important for us.

Can we do something about this? Please check this blog post by gwyned. If you care about Standard Pauper, the best thing you can do is let WoTC know about it.

To end my rant on a positive note, I remember you again to check the Standard Pauper Double League. It is pure awesomeness! Months of fun and over $175 in prizes!

And that's all...

Have a good one

@Zygrunt on Twitter
rremedio1 on MTGO


SPDC 31.01

Hello there! Long time no see!

Yesterday, season 31 has officially started for Standard Pauper, meaning Theros block and M15 are gone for good while Battle For Zendikar is now legal.

This is very interesting because Theros and Battle for Zendikar are completely different from each other and to be fair, most of us were very tired of Theros.

While I'm not a fan of the new set, the new format looks very good. I've seen a lot of good decks and there seems to be a lot of room for brewing. Since it is a new format, let's make a report!

SPDC 31.01 Report

The tournament had 16 players and the most popular color build was Rakdos, with 6 decks, followed by Izzet with 3 decks. All the other color archetypes presented had 1 deck each. The Rakdos popularity is not really a surprise. The deck was already among the best in the previous format and it translates very well into the new one. It was a solid and safe choice. Red has been the best color in the format for a while now and I think this will not change soon. Red is great in both aggro and control and has the best answers to all the tokens that are swarming the format right now.

pproteus took down the event with his UR Tempo deck, beating tortadelimao's Rakdos deck in the finals. Forli with Sultai Grind and kakuyasu with another Rakdos deck completed the money finishes while Izzet Tokens, Gruul Landfall, Jeskai Control and Esper Tokens completed the top 8.

The new format looks very grindy. Creatures die a lot, all decks are looking for 2-3 for 1s all the time and I've seen and experienced a lot of comebacks from decks that were apparently losing a given match. A midrange feast!

Let's highlight some of the top decks in the tournament before I talk about what I played.

UR Tempo by pproteus - 1st (6-0)

4 Evolving Wilds 4 Swiftwater Cliffs 8 Mountain 5 Island 4 Mage-Ring Bully 4 Elusive Spellfist 4 Valakut Predator 3 Eldrazi Skyspawner 2 Clutch of Currents 1 Ojutai's Summons 4 Tormenting Voice 4 Treasure Cruise 1 Anticipate 2 Fiery Impulse 1 Outnumber 3 Twin Bolt 3 Touch of the Void 2 Claustrophobia 1 Dispel Sideboard: 3 Dispel 2 Negate 4 Boiling Earth 1 Jeskai Sage 1 Claustrophobia 1 Murk Strider 1 Ojutai's Summons 1 Twin Bolt 1 Touch of the Void

pproteus deck was a true tempo deck. He would play a few early creatures and proceed to clear the way for them to attack with removal and bounce. He crushed me in our round-3 match and Elusive Spellfist looked especially good. While I can say to my defense that my flooding, especially in game 2, helped him a lot, but it was clear to me that his deck was much more well built and he knew what he was doing very well. And his 6-0 record shows just that.

Rakdos by tortadelimao - 2nd (4-2)

4 Gurmag Angler 4 Sultai Scavenger 4 Vulturous Aven 4 Ghirapur Gearcrafter 3 Fiery Impulse 4 Dragon Fodder 4 Read the Bones 4 Tormenting Voice 3 Arrow Storm 3 Twin Bolt 1 Rakshasa's Secret 1 Temur Battle Rage 7 Mountain 6 Swamp 4 Bloodfell Caves 4 Evolving Wilds Sideboard: 4 Duress 3 Act of Treason 2 Butcher's Glee 2 Barrage of Boulders 1 Twin Bolt 2 Unholy Hunger 1 Fiery Impulse

My fellow Brazilian tortadelimao had the best finish of the Rakdos guys. He's beaten me in the top 8 match after 3 fun and grindy games. The main innovation here is <span class="mtgcard">Arrow Storm</span> which gives him the ability to win against a stabilized board and also deals with opposing <span class="mtgcard">Gurmag Angler</span>. This deck beats hard and never runs out of gas.

Sultai Grind by Forli - Top 4 (4-1)

4 Sultai Emissary 4 Vulturous Aven 4 Blisterpod 4 Eldrazi Skyspawner 2 Eyeless Watcher 1 Swarm Surge 2 Dutiful Attendant 2 Silumgar Butcher 4 Bone Splinters 4 Treasure Cruise 3 Altar's Reap 2 Ethereal Ambush 4 Dismal Backwater 4 Evolving Wilds 4 Jungle Hollow 4 Thornwood Falls 2 Forest 2 Swamp 1 Island 2 Mortuary Mire Sideboard: 4 Debilitating Injury 2 Sidisi's Faithful 2 Duress 2 Dispel 2 Disdainful Stroke 2 Fetid imp 1 Aerial Volley 1 Complete Disregard

Not unlike my own deck I'll be discussing later, Forli's deck is grindy to the bone. It gets extra points for being the BUG colors, the best color combo in MTG. Forli plays a lot of token generators of both the ETB and the dying trigger types. He then used them as resources to fuel the Exploit creatures, Altar's Reap and Bone Splinters. The result is a deck that is very hard to deal with, since killing his creatures doesn't detract his gameplan that much.

GR Landfall by amnaremotoas - Top 8 (2-2)

4 Looming Spires 4 Rugged Highlands 1 Tormenting Voice 4 Titan's Strength 4 Mage-Ring Bully 4 Infectious Bloodlust 4 Makindi Sliderunner 3 Temur Battle Rage 4 Snapping Gnarlid 4 Valakut Predator 4 Evolving Wilds 2 Belligerent Whiptail 4 Titanic Growth 5 Forest 6 Mountain 1 Barrage of Boulders 2 Hooting Mandrills Sideboard: 3 Barrage of Boulders 2 Plummet 2 Savage Punch 2 Aerie Bowmasters 2 Epic Confrontation 4 Fiery Impulse

A few days ago my friend Sam from MagicGatheringStrat.com asked me my opinion about a GR Landfall deck in the format and I said him I thought it wouldn't happen because the support cards were not very good and the creatures, while not bad, were not very impressive. It seems I was wrong. While this deck may have a hard time against a grindy field, it is surely capable of stealing wins out of nowhere, especially with Temur Battle Rage. The creatures are naturally powerful and with the help of the best pump spells in the format, they will never let you feel safe against them.

My deck: Esper Tokens

So this is what I played yesterday.

Esper Tokens by rremedio1 - Top 8 (2-2)

5 Swamp 2 Complete Disregard 2 Scoured Barrens 2 Dutiful Attendant 4 Eldrazi Skyspawner 3 Read the Bones 2 Gurmag Drowner 3 Harsh Sustenance 2 Plains 1 Monastery Loremaster 2 Nantuko Husk 4 Palace Familiar 5 Island 3 Sandsteppe Outcast 4 Evolving Wilds 4 Dismal Backwater 4 Anticipate 3 Treasure Cruise 3 Vulturous Aven 2 Tranquil Cove Sideboard: 1 Complete Disregard 2 Gideon's Reproach 2 Celestial Flare 2 Spell Shrivel 2 Negate 2 Send to Sleep 2 Clutch of Currents 2 Macabre Waltz

I've been running this kind of deck for a long time and I think this is the format where it can really shine. My 2-2 record is not that impressive, but the deck felt very good overall. While this deck is capable of pretending of being an aggro deck with an unlikely fast draw against a very slow opponent, it is, in fact, a midrange, stall deck, not unlike Forli's Sultai Grind deck. We will play tokens and cycle through our deck using our exploit creatures, our draw spells, and Anticipate, get things back from the graveyard with Dutiful Attendant and Monastery Loremaster and eventually win. Harsh Sustenance is a big card here, doing double duty as both removal and finisher (3 of the 5 games I won were finished by this card).

But not everything is great. The deck felt much better after sideboarding in removal in every match which probably means I should play more removal in the main deck. That removal is white, which meant that sometimes I had a hard time casting it because of having few white sources. This can be fixed by changing the mana base, or simply playing black removal. Bone Splinter is a very cheap and effective card with so many tokens on our side and maybe it is the better option. Anyway, Gideon's Reproach overperformed and Celestial Flare was very useful dealing with Anglers. That's a tough call.

Other cards that I missed in my list were Altar's Reap, Disdainful Stroke and Duress.

Altar's Reap can replace Read the Bones, which wasn't very good. RtB is actually the better card of the two, and by a long margin, in my opinion, but Altar's Reaps instant speed and synergy with the deck are good arguments for it. As I said before, creatures die a lot in this format, and this can make Altar's Reap completely free of downside.

Disdainful Stroke seems to have targets in almost all decks I've seen so far. So many important targets that it may be a main deck card for many decks. Our deck taps out a lot and because of that I would probably keep it in the sideboard, but it is clearly better than Spell Shrivel for us.

Duress is a common choice for black sideboards and I usually advocate it as a main deck card in Standard Pauper. It could have been very good against the Izzet deck I faced in round 3 and I think it was a big mistake not including it.

As for the rest of my sideboard: Complete Disregard was lackluster both main and side; Spell Shrivel just doesn't belong in this deck; Negate would be nice if I ever drew it in my matches; Clutch of Currents was never sided in and given the way the deck played, I think the Awake mode would not have been that great, so maybe it can be cut (or changed for Dissolve, which is an instant); Send to Sleep was surprising good, even finishing the match against GR Landfall, but I feel it is not really the kind of card I need, even if I'm willing to test it a bit more.

So here is the list I'm going to test before my next tournament. I'm still not sure about Altar's Reap and I've chosen to play both Bone Splinters and Gideon's Approach. I'm cutting 1 Anticipate and 1 Vulturous Aven for the time being, but the Aven is likely to come back.

Esper Tokens by rremedio1 - Testing

4 Swamp 2 Bone Splinters 2 Scoured Barrens 2 Dutiful Attendant 4 Eldrazi Skyspawner 3 Altar's Reap 2 Gurmag Drowner 3 Harsh Sustenance 3 Plains 1 Monastery Loremaster 2 Nantuko Husk 4 Palace Familiar 4 Island 3 Sandsteppe Outcast 4 Evolving Wilds 4 Dismal Backwater 3 Anticipate 3 Treasure Cruise 2 Vulturous Aven 3 Tranquil Cove 2 Gideon's Reproach Sideboard: 3 Duress 2 Celestial Flare 2 Disdainful Stroke 2 Negate 2 Send to Sleep 2 Clutch of Currents 2 Macabre Waltz

That's all for now. Feel free to critique and send suggestions.

I see you next time!


@Zygrunt on Twitter
rremedio1 on MTGO

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Magic Origins has Landed

Magic Origins have been available on MTGO for a week or two and we are soon going to see its impact on Standard Pauper with the start of season 30.

Yesterday, we had 6 players "pre-season test event" so we could have a feel about the new cards. The field consisted of some unupdated Heroic decks and new lists for Golgari Delve, Mono Red Aggro and Esper Control. We are going take a look into these and other decks and how the new cards fit into the format.

First we are going to talk about a reprint. Celestial Flare was an auto include in almost every white deck when it was first legal. It is currently the most powerful answer to hexproof creatures, which are probably the best late game threats available in the format. But to be fair, those hexproof creatures don't see a huge amount of play in the top decks, usually being one or two-offs in blue based control decks, which rely much more on token generators to win the game. Anyway, Celestial Flare will still shine, specially against Heroic decks. While these decks can go wide and work around the Flare, they usually need to focus their protection on one creature and eventually need to make solo attacks. Their protection can't save them from this card which makes it the most valuable removal against them.

The most popular decks that can run it are the Boros Heroic and Tokens builds. It is very important in the Heroic mirror but it can also be used in control decks which always have a hard time beating a good Heroic hand. One such deck is the Jeskai Control deck I used to take over MPDC 29 Worlds. The card is an easy fit, even if it may require some changes to the mana base to support the double white cost.

Anyway, that deck is probably losing some of its strength with the new set. One of the key points of adding White to an Izzet Control shell was the ability to exile creatures, because Black decks with death triggers and graveyard recursion were beating Izzet more and more in the end of the season. Those black decks are also getting new tools and one of them allows the black mage to dodge exiling effects while gaining extra value on doing so.

An "almost" functional reprint of Nantuko Husk was available at the same time as Celestial Flare in the past formats, in the shape of Blood Bairn. That card saw very little play and usually failed to deliver the goods. But I strongly believe this is a better time for it to be powerful now. First, as mentioned above, its sacrifice ability allows the black mage to dodge exiling effects and even gain some value from death triggers or simply the +2/+2 boost. Second, one of the best death triggers in the format comes from Dutiful Attendant. This means you can, for instance, sacrifice a Gray Merchant of Asphodel, then sacrifice a Dutiful Attendant, and bring back the Merchant to your hand. You will lose one point of devotion in the process, but this can very well win you the game. The Husk is very versatile and it can be more skill intensive depending on the match up, but it is an welcome addition to this format. Having tried his cousin Bloodflow Connoisseur in the awesome MagicGatheringStrat Extended Pauper Community League, I'm pretty sure it will bring the black based Exploit decks definitively to the top.

I even had a test match against Ammaremontoas, one of the main players of black decks in the format. His build was updated with the Husk and other cards like Reave Soul and it felt very very strong. He crushed me really easily. I don't have this list, but this is how I'd update the Mono Black Exploit deck. That said, I think a Dimir build may be even more powerful.

Undead Servant is probably the common with most raw power in the new set. Self milling decks have been popping in Standard Pauper constantly in the last couple of years and this card may be good enough to make them real this time. I already had the pleasure of casting it for full value (creating three zombie tokens at once) but even if you only have one of them in the graveyard, it feels good. Delve decks usually put a lot of pressure in the opponent with their giant, undercosted beaters and the Servant can also add resilience, specially against control, since the opponent won't be able to deal with them with only one card. Even if they do deal with it, chances are high that the next Servant will be even more powerful. And many many times it will be an excellent topdeck in the late game. The first build that comes to mind is the Golgari Delve one. Green has the best self mill tools and has also payoff in the form of Hooting Mandrills and even the fight spells that reward you for playing Delve creatures. If you add Elvish Mystic to your deck is not unreasonable to finish turn 4 with a 4/4 trampler, a 5/5, a 3/2 and one or two 2/2 tokens. Dimir, Sultai or Jund builds are also possible. Blue has it own suite of self mill spells and payoff spells, while red is ferocious for fatties (Temur Battle Rage and Barrage of Boulders come to mind).

I'm pretty sure other people agree with me. Thunderous brought his Golgari deck to a testing session last Sunday and in the same day I could watch Davbricar playing a very similar deck. I have my own build which is a bit different. I don't play that many Delve creatures, with more removal and disruption instead. But I can see the value of playing more beatdown like Thunderous build (which you can see bellow) or more mill like Davbricar, who was playing Scout the Borders in addition to Satyr Wayfinder and Commune with the Gods.

While testing for the Extended Pauper league, I built a Mono Red aggro deck (something I usually don't play) to get a feeling for the format speed. One of the stand out cards was Mage-Ring Bully. RDW is already very powerful and fast and the Bully enables some ridiculous turns. His downside of attacking every turn becomes a trap for the opponent in a deck so full of combat tricks and either blocking it or leaving it alone may be dangerous moves.

Another card that looks solid is Infectious Bloodlust. This card is reminiscent of Rancor. Of course it is nowhere near the power level of the green enchantment, but anyway it can keep the red game flowing, which is usually the main problem when the opponent is able to deal with the red creatures.

During MPDC Worlds I was specially impressed about JogandoPelado's red deck and the way he played it. It was a scary deck, capable of strong come backs (something red usually lacks) and huge amounts of damage out of nowhere. During last week we played a practice match and his updated build with the Bully proved my points. This is definitively a card that will leave its mark in Standard Pauper. Again, I don't have his list, but it is probably something like that:

My girl Auramancer is back, but without Ethereal Armor, Stab Wound and Quag Sickness she won't be that powerful this time. Still, her absence made one of the most powerful cards in the format: Font of Return, become underplayed. With her return, I believe the Font will become popular outside of Mono Black decks again, probably in some sort of Orzhov Devotion or Esper Control deck. Suddenly, some fringe cards like Font of Fortunes and Debilitating Injury become better, and the solid Constellation deck may get a way to improve its results with additional sinergy.

I'm initially interested in playing an Esper Control deck based around the Auramancer. My list is still pretty sub-optimal, but already showed strenght in the tests, specially when I get to loop Fonts with the Mancer. It packs a lot of draw, removal and recursion. Some card choices were really strange and the deck lacked consistency (a common theme on my decks. Here is a tip when you are brewing: don't be like me. Don't try to add too many different cards. There's a reason why four copies of cards in decks are popular).

Other cards


Ampryn Tactician is a little expensive for the token decks, but he survives board wipes and has good stats for the tokens deck. I can see people trying him in the main deck and sideboard. But I wouldn't auto include him anywhere.

Stalwart Aven doesn't look that exciting, but it is a good early blocker and a cheap threat for control decks.

Grasp of the Hieromancer is probably better than people give it credit. Glaring Aegis sees a small amount of play and I think the Grasp can be much much better.

Honorable Mentions: Topan Freeblade, Suppression Bonds


Artificer's Epiphany has the potential to be an instant speed Divination, which is great. But artifacts are not that good in Standard Pauper and even if you have some of them in your deck, you may not be casting this for full value most of the time. This doesn't make it a bad spell, but it may present you the need of comparing it with Tormenting Voice, Anticipate, Divination and Weave Fate to choose if it's really worth running the new card. And of course you can go creative and make the discard drawback useful.

Bone to Ash is much more reasonable to cast than Contradict, while much less powerful. This kind of effect can be really powerful and I think a deck like 25 lands Grixis Control deck may like it.

Calculated Dismissal can be very bad sometimes, but if you ever cast a successful Condescend you know how good it feels.

Aspiring Aeronaut may be useful if a Thopter deck becomes viable (don't hold your breath). Still, not a bad card as one or two in 75 for Izzet Control.

Disperse if back and it is still good. Bounce that Aqueous Form before choosing blockers and be happy.

Send to Sleep is a good fog most of the time. If your deck would like a fog effect, it will like it.

Honorable Mentions: Separatist Voidmage, Scrapskin Drake


Boggart Brute costs too much, but getting free attacks is one of the red biggest triumph.

Chandra's Fury looks very bad, but if you ever cast it you know how good it feels.

Fiery Impulse doesn't hit the opponent neither exile creatures, but being able to kill 3 toughness creatures with only one mana is extremely good.

Giraphur Gearcrafter is the red Sandsteppe Outcast. Since the deck the usually plays the Outcast also plays red, it may be really easy to include. It all depends on how much you want more than 4 copies of this effect, how much your mana base leans towards one color or another and how well this card compares to the other 3 mana "gain a token" card: Hardu Hordechief.

Honorable Mentions: Subterranean Scout, Smash to Smithereens


Elvish Visionary is back. It may not look that great in the current pool, but it is an eternal decent card for midrange decks that play green.

Might of the Masses is back too. It's playablity depends on the amount of removal you face, but some copies may find a place alongside Aspect of the Hydra and Titanic Growth.

Reclaim is always a trap. The closest you will get from a Vampiric Tutor in Standard Pauper doesn't have enough powerful targets to justify the card disadvantage it provides. Still, in the right moment it can win games.

Rhox Maulers looks like a lot of cards that failed in the recent years in green. And the lacks a bit when compared to the competition of Hooting Mandrils and Sandsteppe Elk Herd. Anyway, it has the potential of being a 6/6 trampler for five mana, which is not bad.

Honorable Mentions: Aerial Volley, Leaf Gilder, Llanowar Empath, Nissa's Pilgrimage, Pharika's Disciple


Eyeblight Assassin is effectively a 2 for 1 against many decks in the format. Against others it is completely useless.

Macabre Waltz fits in a number of graveyard based strategies. While not as powerful as Font of Return, it is very cheap for its effect and the drawback can usually setup further graveyard interactions.

We already mentioned Reave Soul. It is a fine piece of removal for black. It pales really badly against former black removal spells like Devour Flesh, Doom Blade and Victim of Night, but in the current pool it is good. Being sorcery is a big letdown, but it is cheap and it deals and a good amount of creatures. But keep in mind that combat tricks that enhance creature power are very popular, and they will make the use of this card a little tricky.

Honorable mentions: Deathbridge Shaman, Fetid Imp, Infernal Scarring, Shambling Ghoul


Bonded Construct might fit into a very aggressive deck. Something like RDW or Boros Tokens.

Veteran's Sidearm is no Leonin Scimitar. Still, it can help creatures fight big creatures, make little flyers better beaters, and put creatures out of Lightning Strike range.

Honorable Mentions: Alchemist's Vial

That's all for now. If you want a more complete analysis of the new set, go to gwyned's Magic Origins review series or watch The MagicGatheringStrat Show set reviews here and here.

Update: There's a new set review by DrChrisBakerDC. Check it out, it is great!

What cards do you think will have the biggest impact on the format?

I see you next time. Until there, have a good one!

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