by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Boros Affinity in Pauper?
Pauper is a highly competitive tournament format in Magic the Gathering. It is a format of only common cards, with a relatively small ban list. For years, the format really shined on Magic Online, but now, it has become supported in Paper Magic, as well. What's great about Pauper is the sheer amount of competitive decks you can play. This particular deck, a Boros Affinity deck, once went 4-0 in a Daily Event. While this list we’re looking at today is from 2013, the archetype is still very viable.
The best part about this list, is that in MTGO terms, the deck only costs about 10 tix. As you'll discover though when we peruse the list, about 8 tix of that is for the 2 copies of Pyroblast in the sideboard! In paper, it's a mere $40 or so. This is a ridiculously cheap deck!
Affinity was always a strong archetype in Pauper, but wasn't getting 4-0 in Daily events until this list popped up. So, what makes this Pauper Affinity deck different? Let's take a look!
The Deck List!
4 Ardent Recruit
4 Vault Skirge
4 Court Homunculus
4 Porcelain Legionnaire
4 Glint Hawk
3 Auriok Sunchaser
4 Galvanic Blast
2 Prophetic Prism
2 Lightning Bolt
1 Flayer Husk
4 Great Furnace
4 Ancient Den
3 Boros Guildgate
1 Vault of Whispers
3 Stone Rain
2 Lone Missionary
2 Journey to Nowhere
2 Flame Slash
2 Smash to Smithereens
While this is not a typical Affinity deck, having Artifacts does indeed matter quite a bit here. Starting off with our Ardent Recruit, we have a 1/1 guy that has a Metalcraft ability that gives him +2/+2. Metalcraft is attained by having at least three artifacts on the battlefield. Since the artifact lands (Great Furnace, Ancient Den, and the lone Vault of Whispers) count towards activating this ability, you're most often going to be getting a 3/3 creature for 1 mana!
Vault Skirge is a Pauper stalwart. For 1 and a Phyrexian mana (black or 2 life) you have a 1/1 flyer with lifelink. With the one copy of Vault of Whispers in the deck, it's possible to cast it without paying the 2 life. But being an artifact itself, as well as having lifelink, it's worth paying the life just for the creature (especially if casting Skirge gives you Metalcraft!) Having four of these in the deck guarantees a pesky 1/1 flyer with lifelink that gets better with the equipment in the deck!
Next we have four Court Homunculus. The Court Homunculus is similar to Ardent Recruit, in that it costs a single white mana, except that it gains +1/+1 as long as you control any other artifact. What's especially interesting about him, though, is that he himself is an artifact. If you simply control another Court Homunculus, it becomes a 2/2.
If that wasn't enough, we have a full playset of another Pauper favorite, and one-time Tempered Steel stalwart, Porcelain Legionnaire! For two and a Phyrexian mana (White or two life), you get a 3/1 with first strike. Being able to play him on Turn Two is ridiculous, and he himself is also an artifact!
Glint Hawk is a fun little card which used to abuse Mox Opal when it was legal in Standard. But the Hawk became relatively forgotten outside of some Pauper Affinity builds. But in this deck, Glint Hawk works well with the several 0 drop artifacts in this deck. Also, if you would miss a land drop anyway, you can bounce an artifact land back to your hand in order to replay it. The Hawk is a 2/2 flyer, so this down-side really isn't too bad. You have a full playset of these, as well.
The last creature is a trio of Auriok Sunchaser. It's a 1/1 for 1W, but its Metalcraft ability gives it +2/+2 and flying! A 3/3 flyer for 2 mana is pretty silly.
As if the deck couldn't win with just its creature lineup alone, the non-creature spells are pretty interesting, too!
The first one is a zero drop, Bone Saw, an equipment that has an equip cost of 1, and gives the equipped creature +0/+1. Seriously, though, you're rarely going to care about equipping this. Mostly, it exists to more easily activate Metalcraft, and to give you something to bounce for Glint Hawk.
Next is a full playset of Bonesplitter. It's probably the best equipment in Pauper outside of perhaps Armadillo Cloak. It's a staple in White Weenie, which has been a very competitive strategy in Pauper over the years. Bonesplitter costs only 1 to play and only 1 to equip. It gives a creature +2/+0, and with the flyers in this deck, you can get in some cheap evasive damage very early on!
Galvanic Blast is an okay burn spell until you see that it deals 4 damage to target creature or player if you have Metalcraft! Without Metalcraft, it's just a Shoc. But with how often you’ll have Metalcraft, the 4 Galvanic Blasts can almost win you the game on their own! Paired with the 2 Lightning Bolt in the main board, you have plenty of both removal and direct damage.
Lastly, we have Prophetic Prism and Flayer Husk. Prophetic Prism is a two-drop artifact that draws you a card when it enters. It also allows you to filter your mana, which is very important in this deck!
The Flayer Husk is a Living Weapon equipment that comes into play with a 0/0 creature token attached to it. The Husk gives its equipped creature +1/+1, so it's a nice cheap creature. When the creature dies, or you find a better target for the Husk, it gives that creature +1/+1 for an equip cost of 2. It's not quite Bonesplitter, but it works well.
The mana base is 7 Plains and 1 Mountain, with 4 Great Furnace (the red artifact land), 4 Ancient Den (the white Artifact land), 3 Boros Guildgate (red/white), and a single Vault of Whispers (for help with casting the Vault Skirges).
As is the case with many Pauper decks, the majority of the cost of the deck comes from a single card in the sideboard. In this case it's Pyroblast. Basically, what Pyroblast does for a single red mana is counter any target blue spell or destroy any blue permanent. If you don't want to spend the $8 or so to acquire them, though, you could probably just switch them out for 2 more copies of Lightning Bolt.
The rest of the sideboard is typically Pauper staples. 3 Stone Rain lets you keep decks off of their most important lands or colors. 2 Lone Missionary can be boarded in against more aggressive decks or burn decks. Gaining that 4 life can certainly be a big deal in certain matchups, especially where this deck will need to race often.
For creature removal, we have 2 Journey to Nowhere, 2 Flame Slash (which deals 4 damage to target creature, but is at sorcery speed), and the aforementioned Pyroblasts. We also have Electrickery, which with its very cheap overload cost murders all 1 toughness creatures on your opponent's side of the board. Lastly we have Smash to Smithereens, which is played in many sideboards in other formats. It's excellent artifact removal that also deals 3 damage to that artifact's controller, all for 1R!
Impressions of the Deck
It's easy to see how this deck wins. It requires very little mana to get going and can survive land destruction and artifact destruction, since it plays plenty of copies of 1 and 2 drop cards. The most expensive card casting cost wise in the deck is technically Porcelain Legionnaire. That will be boarded out in certain match-ups anyway!
The best part about this deck's creatures is that they are bigger than their mana costs would lead you to believe. There are plenty of flyers in this deck, and the Bonesplitters alone can lead to some very quick damage. The creature line-up can hold down both the air and ground quite well!
Also, the deck has a nice burn package in it. The only thing I'm not crazy about in the deck is probably the lone Flayer Husk. I'd personally run a third Lightning Bolt, and I'm not sure the deck needs the Vault of Whispers or a fourth Legionnaire, either. If I removed these, I'd max out the Bolts. The main reason I feel this way is that 4 Blasts and 4 Bolts in some combination can kill a player outright. But the list, as is, should work fantastic, as it proved in that Daily Event.
Side-boarding doesn't look too hard with this deck, either. Honestly, the sideboard probably will only be relevant in mirror matches or against Delver decks. The deck is quick enough that it can win in a hurry. I can see card advantage perhaps becoming an issue, but each card you play delivers a ton of value. Also, the power of each card you can swing with makes up for that. You don't have to overextend yourself with this deck in order to win, which I really like.
This deck picks up where White Weenie really started failing. As long as you have that single red source and Metalcraft, this deck can beat you in the air, on the ground, and with pure burn spells. I still want to see 4 Bolts mainboard, and this is something I'll be playing around with myself.
If you're looking to get into competitive Pauper, this is the deck to try, I'd say! Minus the Pyroblasts, you're looking at a maximum $6 investment. Not much to lose here, especially since the artifact lands are the majority of that expense, and they're always good to have in Pauper! Plus, you may have the majority of the cards already if you've been playing online for awhile, if not all!
Congrats to twoduckcubed for authoring and piloting this 4-0 to victory! Here is the deck list!
If you’re looking for a newer, albeit more expensive (30+ tickets / $70), version of this Boros Metalcraft deck, check out this tournament winner piloted by Klybby in October 2017.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
As with any reprint set, Eternal Masters includes many rarity shifts, including uncommons to rares, but more importantly rares to uncommon and uncommons to common. Heck, you even get a rare shifted to common once in awhile! But with Eternal Masters, there are some truly important new commons to consider. This is due to the fact that Pauper, the all-common only format, is getting some serious gas with cards only ever printed before at uncommon!
Which of these newly printed commons will have an impact on the Pauper format? Let’s take a look!
This vanilla 2/1 Soldier has been an uncommon forever. Making him a common is actually a pretty big deal. Pauper hasn’t had this guy before. How much he’ll actually impact the format remains to be seen since he still trades with pretty much every other one-drop. But he’s definitely one to watch and definitely is a power-up for one-drops in White.
This uncommon instant seems like it should be a good sideboard option in Pauper. For 1W, you make a target creature a 0/1 creature with no abilities. There are some massive creatures even in Pauper and this is a way to easily dispose of them during combat at instant speed.
This 2/1 flyer may not look like much, but flyers are powerful in Pauper. While I doubt he makes a huge impact, this guy was only ever an uncommon in Dissension. Probably only going to be a factor in Eternal Masters limited, but it’s good to know he exists.
The Idealist has seen play in Commander for some time. You may notice that the Idealist is very similar to Auramancer. This is because Auramancer and Monk Idealist are the same card with different creature types. Auramancer does see some play in Pauper, so this may as well. Not going to be an impact card, though.
Rally the Peasants
Here is a card that could definitely impact Pauper. Originally an uncommon that was pretty good in Innistrad drafts, Rally the Peasants can be flashed back for 2R. Flashback spells are extremely powerful in Pauper. We’ve seen what White tokens can do with their flashback spells like Battle Screech. Making Red/White (Boros) Tokens a real deck is definitely possible with Rally the Peasants. This is a powerful effect to be downgraded to common
Here’s a decent uncommon from Torment with Threshold. As long as you have at least 7 cards in your graveyard, you can activate the Sage’s Threshold effect. The Sage has the ability to draw three cards and discard two. This is pretty decent card filtering, and I can see this fitting into Pauper Control decks somewhere.
A 0/7 Defender for 3 mana is certainly nothing to scoff at. Being at uncommon since Ice Age means that Pauper players get to now test it out. But I don’t see it having much of an impact at a competitive level
Perhaps one of the most surprising rarity downgrades in Eternal Masters is Peregrine Drake to common. The Drake is a big deal in Commander, since he can essentially cast himself for free. He’s part of some infinite mana combos, too. I can’t wait to see what the Drake can do in Pauper. I feel like this is going to be a bomb in the format.
(Ultimately, Peregrine Drake proved to be too good in Pauper and was banned in the format.)
Already available at common on Magic Online, the Phantom Monster is just a 3/3 flyer for 4 mana. The Monster is fine in Limited, but not competitive Pauper worthy at all.
Another potential sideboard card, Stupefying Touch not only stops a creature from being able to activate abilities, but also draws you a card. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of too many activated abilities to stop in Pauper, though. But there are a few key ones. Quirion Ranger is one to target, and Stompy is a real deck. That may slow the deck down. It can stop Atog in Affinity, which is sort of a big deal. There are definitely cases, but I’m not sure it’s quite enough to take up sideboard slots. It might be, though.
While this is probably best suited for Eternal Masters Limited, Tidal Wave is a cute card. It makes a 5/5 Wall that you have to sacrifice at the end of the turn. It’s a nifty combat trick, but not really something that fits in competitive play.
Warden of Evos Isle
While the Warden is really at common to satisfy Eternal Masters limited, I could see a White/Blue flyers list in Pauper being enabled by this guy. Playing Squadron Hawk for a single White mana feels pretty good to me, and there are many other useful flyers in the format. I really like this guy at common.
Not only did this card desperately need a reprint, but wow, at COMMON? This was a $3 card due to a decent amount of Modern play. Pauper does already have Sign in Blood, and can target either player. However, being 1B does help Night’s Whisper fit better into other Control decks that may have not before considered Sign in Blood. This is an awesome reprint from not only a supply standpoint, but by giving Pauper players a new option.
Here’s a guy from back in Onslaught that many players have probably never seen. 5 mana for a 6/5 is pretty decent. Yes, your opponent can choose to sacrifice 2 creatures to kill him, but that’s quite a cost. While I’m not sure Mono-Black Control will want him, this is a cool card to have at common. It’s actually quite similar to a card called Predatory Nightstalker, except this can prove to be a lot better.
This 5 mana 3/3 with Haste can search out another copy of himself and add it to your hand. I really like this in Eternal Masters limited, but not really in Pauper.
While Carbonize is pretty decent removal for Limited, I’m not feeling this for Pauper. There are better removal options.
An excellent card back in its Standard days and still good in Modern Storm, this is not a card I ever saw being printed at common. It’s at common for purposes of Eternal Masters Limited, but Pauper just got a great new tool. The Flashback being Blue is no problem for the Pauper decks that would want it. This is one of my favorite reprints in the entire set.
A fun little card that I’ve played around with in the past, Dragon Egg may not actually do anything in Pauper. But it’s cool to know that it’s a common now.
While Kird Ape has been a common in Paper Magic before, it wasn’t ever at common in Magic Online. This is a big deal for Pauper in the MTGO world. He’s a classic card for good reason and Red/Green decks in MTGO Pauper just got an amazing new weapon. For paper, it’s just a much easier to get foil copy.
This card was amazing in the early days of Magic. It’s always been solid in Limited, and to have it at common seems a bit silly to me. Do I see Pauper decks including it? At 4 mana, I sort of doubt it. But it’s still a good card and it’s still in a lot of Commander decks.
This is an Aura that if printed today would probably be at common anyway. So here it is. The fact that you get it back to your hand when the creature dies is pretty solid. But 3 mana for +2/+2 and making the creature unable to block isn’t as efficient as other Auras that exist now, even at common.
Protection from White is actually a good thing in Pauper. But otherwise I don’t really see anyone playing this in the format. It’s a solid Limited card, though.
Already legal in Magic Online Pauper due to its Vintage Masters printing, this is already a good card. The +3/+3 boost is solid, but the fact you get a 3/3 Elephant token out of it when it dies just makes it really good. This was printed not long ago in Conspiracy in paper Magic, but it’s nice to have it at common.
Here’s a really solid Elf that Pauper has never seen before. Each time an Elf comes into play, including those you don’t control, the Vanguard gets bigger. I suppose this guy could get pretty big. I like him in Pauper, although I’m not sure that he’s good enough for competitive play.
This 5/5 for 4 mana was actually a rare previous to this Eternal Masters printing. The only drawback is that you have to sacrifice him if you control no other creatures. I’m not sure what he’ll actually do in Pauper, but that’s not a bad creature at common.
One of the biggest downgrades to common is Nimble Mongoose. This guy was super powerful back in Standard and he still holds his own in Legacy today! To add a guy who can easily be a 3/3 for a single mana that also has Shroud is very powerful in Pauper. If the Mongoose doesn’t become a major player in Pauper, I will be shocked.
A decent way to tap down flyers in Limited, Magic Online already has this at common. It’s never seen Pauper play. It’s pretty good for a sideboard card in Eternal Masters limited, though.
Here’s a Flashback card I really like at common. Sylvan Might is decent enough at 1G giving a creature +2/+2 and trample until end of turn. While I don’t know how much Stompy wants this, I can see how it would be extremely good in that deck.
Enchantress has been a pretty good archetype in the past. It’s been good enough that the key card in that deck, Argothian Enchantress, is at Mythic Rare in Eternal Masters. While Yavimaya Enchantress is not as good, putting her at common makes her eligible for Pauper. There are plenty of strong Enchantments in Pauper. It will be sweet to see if Enchantress truly takes off in Pauper!
Thanks to this full list of Eternal Masters rarity downgrades from reddit!
While many of the new commons exist primarily for purposes of giving the Eternal Masters limited environment an above-average power level, there’s no doubt that Pauper has picked up at least a half-dozen cards that will see considerable play. Peregrine Drake, Kird Ape, and Nimble Mongoose are the big winners. Yavimaya Enchantress makes an archetype more playable, as does Rally the Peasants. Best of all, you can still use the old uncommon printings (or rare in the case of Emperor Crocodile) since they are also legal in Pauper.
What do you think of these awesome reprints? Pauper just changed a bit forever.
by Phoenix Desertsong
Before the rise of the Pauper format in paper Magic the Gathering, probably not a lot of people ever heard of Gorilla Shaman. It’s an interesting common card originally printed in Alliances and later reprinted in a Coldsnap Theme Deck. The Shaman is a 1/1 creature for one red mana and has the repeatable ability: Pay X-X-1: Destroy target non-creature artifact with casting cost equal to X.
Double X costs are typically yucky. But, on a one-drop creature, it’s not a bad ability. Say you wanted to destroy a two-drop artifact: it would cost you 5 mana to destroy that artifact. While that’s quite a bit of a mana investment to destroy one card, on a one-drop creature, it’s not bad at all. Unlike a lot of artifact removal that either is one use or requires a sacrifice of itself, you can keep this guy around.
Even though there are far superior ways to destroy artifacts in Red in most formats, this guy is particularly good in Pauper. That's because in an all-common format, your options for artifact removal are much more limited. You're often only going to be destroying one or two mana artifacts anyway. While it seems a bit inefficient, it's worth playing, since this is a repeatable ability. You can also play him on turn one, and since he's a creature, he doesn't slow down aggressive decks.
Many competitive Pauper decks, such as Izzet Delver, Kuldotha Boros, and Tron play a couple copies of Gorilla Shaman in their sideboards to make certain matchups easier. Gorilla Shaman is worth a look in the right Pauper deck as a tool to destroy pesky artifacts. Reusable removal is always worth something.
For most decks, though, the Shaman one to pass on – although it wasn’t bad in Ice Age Block Constructed. Still, it's a valuable card due to its playability in Pauper. It's also especially good in Pauper Commander (PDH) if you're playing any kind of Red deck.
Have you ever played Gorilla Shaman?
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