Hi there, I’m Fabrizio Pucci, Xardian7 on MTGO, and today I’m going to analyze the Pisa Paupergeddon that took place on Sunday 23th June.
DISCLAIMER: The article has been written before the announcement of the Unified Pauper.
In my previous article I tried to figure out which decks could perform well and which were the most played ones in Pisa.
To summarize, I guessed that most common decks would have been (in order): UR Faeries, Boros Monarch, MBC, MonoU Delver/Burn and Tron.
The stronger decks in my opinion were: UR Delver, Boros Monarch, Tron and Burn as Tier 1 and Elves, Boros Bully, MonoU Delver as Tier 2.
What really happened? The metagame is shown in the following picture
The prediction was not far from the truth, but some important distinction can be easily identified:
- A respectable number of players has chosen to play Hexproof/Bogle/GW Aura (the deck has several names) and Elves.
- Boros Bully and MonoU Delver were “Unexpectedly Absent”.
- MBC has been played lesser than expected.
In order to better understand the metagame and to study the results, I’ve added more categories:
- Standard Aggro are linear decks like Stompy or RDW. ^
- Critical Mass Aggro/Combo are decks that need to accumulate a mass of cards in order to synergize between them and reach the victory. Hexproof, Elves, Burn and MonoW Heroic fall into this category.
- White, Black and blue Midrange are divided due to the nature of their card advantage spells and/or mechanics. (E.g. Orzhov Pestilence and Boros Monarch are white based because Palace sentinels and Kor Skyfisher +Artifacts interaction, Rakdos Monarch is Black based because Thorn of the Black Rose and Night’s Whispers, UR Faeries is blue due to Accumulated Knowledge and Ninja of the Deep Hours)
- Turbofog, Land Denial and Tortured Existence based decks are classified as Lockdown.
- Standard Control are the usual control decks of the format like UB Teachings, MonoB Corrupt and the new Orzhov Control.
^Affinity falls into Standard Aggro category. Despite having a well-known combo, the aggro plan of the deck is strong enough to win a decent percentage of games. Critical Mass decks have no chances to win if they do not play a certain amount of cards on the battlefield (Elves, Hexproof) or on the stack (Burn).
To be selected for the top16 players had to earn at least 18 points (6W-2L) and have a good rating. This means that a lot of players with the same result as top16 players have finished out form the top16, but they have performed equally good. Due to this, all the decks that made at least 18 points (6W-2L) have been taken into account.
The metagame of the top25 has been:
What we can learn from those numbers?
- Aggro decks are good. Turn creatures in horizontal position is a good way to achieve victory in Pauper. This tournament has shown different kind of aggro decks such are Slivers, Goblins and Stompy. It is interesting to notice how well performed Slivers in the tournament. The top16 list played 2 copies of Reaping the Graves maindeck knowing how midrangish could be the Italian meta.
- Standard Control are unable to be consistent in this metagame. Probably due the absence of a great finisher and due to the lack of any proactive approach against Tron decks.
- Izzet Blitz is the only Gush based combo deck that can be played after the banhammer. The combo relies on few cards it can be achieved without the blue free spell. If we pay attention to the meta of Paupergeddon, Izzet Blitz can be considered has an “hate deck”. Despite having a bad matchup against Midrange strategies, Tron, Elves, Burn, Hexproof and Aggro decks are favorable matchups to Izzet Blitz. This means that around 50% of the Paupergeddon meta was a good matchup for Edoardo.
- Gush ban plus Fire//Ice downgrade seems have pushed Tron really on top tiers of the format. All but just one Dinrova Tron in top25 has at least one copy of Fire//Ice in the 75. It needs to be underlined that Arcum’s Astrolabe has been used in one of the six top25 lists of Dinrova Tron, although is a different kind of manabase, I have insert it in the same archetype because there are no other differences between the decks.
- Winding Way has given to Elves additional copies of Lead the Stampede to recover from board wipe or to dig into the deck looking for the key cards. The absence of Gush combo decks in the format have also helped Elves players to reach those great results.
- Boros Monarch is still one of the most competitive archetypes of the format. Arcum’s Astrolabe guarantees a faster way to dig into the deck or to develop threats when paired with Glint Hawk and Kor Skyfisher than Alchemists Vial, in addition to a 3 to 5 color sideboard.
- UR Faeries and Black Based Midrange are the losers of this Paupergeddon. They have just one copy for each archetype in the top25. The meta being largely unfavorable to UR Faeries may be the cause of this result. The only copy that made the top25 played Delver as maindeck card in order to acquire a more proactive game plan and probably was this peculiar choice to give to Riccardo Volpi a push over the other UR Faeries player that were unable to achieve a positive result. The only black based midrange that made 6-2 has been a Rakdos one. The main difference between Rakdos and MBC is obviously red removals and sideboard cards like Pyroblast and Shenanigans. Future will tell us is this version will take the MBC spot as black midrange of choice.
- The Orzhov Pestilence deck that made top8 had Arcum’s Astrolabe and Prophetic Prism paired with Glint Hawk and Kor Skyfisher in the creature spots. This innovation may be the way to go in order to have a proactive game against Tron.
- Lastly, Paupergeddon has shown that being uninteractive can be the most efficient way to go in order to achieve results in Pauper. Locking your opponent out of the game with Ghostly Flicker, Mnemonic Wall, Stonehorn Dignitary / Dinrova Horror / Pulse of Murasa / Moment’s Peace or amass a critical number of cards on the battlefield or on the stack like Elves, Hexproof or Burn do, can be a great way to achieve victory in pauper. Nevertheless, midrange decks are still good choices, but they have to set up better in order to face that kind of threats. Linear decks like Elves, Hexproof and Burn can be faced with sideboard cards, some of them can be good in the starting 60.
Can we deduce something about the meta? Is Pauper healthy now?
Paupergeddon is a great way to understand how competitive metagame of Pauper is structured, but the addition of Arcum’s Astrolabe and Winding Way to the format needs more time to be adsorbed. We will see how the meta will adapt to midrange monarch strategies, Dinrova Tron and critical mass decks. Overall the Paupergeddon’s metagame has been various, even if the format has no pure combo, critical mass decks like Burn, Elves and Hexproof can keep Tron in check, while midrange should be favorite against those decks if well-tuned.
Remember always that Pauper has been always based on “busted” mechanics. It is in the nature of things to have the strong mechanics like Urza’s Lands, Monarch or straightforward decks like Burn and Elves. It has to be clarified if those are the busted mechanics the format needs to be enjoyable. Is true that all three mechanics lead to uninteractive games, but the format has been shaken recently by Gush ban and Modern Horizons and there are a lot of solution and possibilities that haven’t been explored yet.
For today is all my dear Pauper friends,
See you around,
Fabrizio Pucci (Xardian7).