Pauper may be the best format in all of Magic. It’s a shame it’s not permanently available on Magic Arena (*cough* Lee Sharpe *cough*), but what those dastardly product folks know: absence makes the heart grow fonder. When I saw the free format this week was Historic Pauper I took the chance to take a break from Standard testing to give it a whirl. You know this leopard ain’t changing his spots anytime soon…
3 Devious Cover-Up (MID) 48
19 Island (SLD) 64
4 Tolarian Terror (DMU) 72
4 Consider (MID) 44
4 Opt (STA) 19
4 Frantic Inventory (M21) 50
4 Academy Wall (DMU) 41
4 Pop Quiz (STX) 49
4 Essence Scatter (IKO) 49
4 Countervailing Winds (AKR) 56
3 Brokers Hideout (SNC) 248
3 Maestros Theater (SNC) 251
4 Environmental Sciences (STX) 1
1 Introduction to Prophecy (STX) 4
1 Introduction to Annihilation (STX) 3
1 Fractal Summoning (STX) 187
A few months back I made Mythic playing a redux on Buehler Blue in Standard. True to form I added a Gaea’s Blessing effect in Devious Cover-Up so you could go infinite and put all your cards back into your deck. My personal failing as a human is my inability to not add that loop into decks, so there was no way I wasn’t going to start off Pauper with it. The deck plays a bit like the deck I took to Mythic: cast some card draw, counter some stuff, play a Tolarian Terror at a super cheap discount, recycle some stuff, repeat. One card above all makes the game plan more powerful: Academy Wall.
The thing Wall does for your game play loop is allow you to cycle much faster. You get an extra loot on your turn and your opponent’s turn, typically discarding lands. Ultimately that’s what sinks the Standard version: inevitably you hit a glut of land and can’t do anything. Academy Wall reduces that possibility.
Another big hitter? This blast from Strixhaven’s past:
While working at Wizards my friend Matt Hodgins was the first to point out the disproportionate impact of getting to play sideboarded games in best of one when your opponent couldn’t. Wish type cards enable this, including all of the “Learn” cycle from Strixhaven. Pop Quiz with Academy Wall in play lets you get Environmental Sciences to buff your life and gain draws from the defender. If you need the land, play it. If not, discard it to Wall. I so rarely go for non-Sciences cards that they take up a full four slots. The rest is rounded out by a toolbox that lets you draw cards, destroy stuff, or kill your opponents. Remember, because Devious Cover-Up lets you go infinite, any of those solutions once added to your deck means you’re playing infinite copies, so you don’t need more than one.
I regret, dear reader, not recording the games. I tore off a quick 3-1, losing my first game to a red deck when I hadn’t realized the Wall loop with Pop Quiz and didn’t have the full set of Enviro Sciences. I rectified that and never had another close one. Granted the Pauper metagame isn’t exactly the most competitive, and the card pool is a bit soft compared to a constructed format with rares, but if you’re looking for a deck that is an absolute blast and lets you loop infinitely, then look no further!