Jan 14, 2013
“You have no choices about how you lose, but you do have a choice about how you come back and prepare to win again.” Pat Riley
So here I am sitting down a day or so early to write my article. Why? You might ask…well I think I’m quitting Magic. Okay, I am not quitting Magic as a whole; I am however quitting my quest for 15 QP’s. Now this may come as a surprise to you, so let me give you some reasons.
- I am no longer having fun playing Magic: this arduous task I have set myself on is sucking the fun out of playing. I find myself going on tilt at the simplest things, I’m always upset by my deck choice, and I cannot seem to win an event to save my life. So I think that it’s time to step back and get back to having fun again.
- Time sink: not that I’ve been avoiding my family or anything, but it sure feels that way. Spending every night trying to grind out points (to no avail mind you) is really making me question how I’m spending my time. I make sure to play with my son while he is awake and only really play at night to begin with, but during the day now I’m looking at deck lists or in the practice room trying to perfect a deck. And to some point I’ve been forgoing FNM, time with friends, to stay home and play online, I haven’t done that since my World of Warcraft days, and I’m not looking to repeat it. Again it’s time to focus on what’s important, friends and family
- I’m not cut out for competitive play? I’ve never had much Delusions of Grandeur when it comes to playing Magic. I always figured I was the casual player that was somewhat decent, not a PTQ winner, but not submitting sixty card decks for a draft either. Somewhere in between those points I lie, and if you ask my MTGO rating I’m sitting on a solid 1600 rating in constructed. I was 1750 at the start. I figured that I could hack it with the grinders, and I was wrong.
I am not writing this out of tilt, or anger, or any other adjective. I just found my place in the world of Magic, and I’m ok with that. I’m the “strive to hit at least one Pauper daily a week, and a draft if I’m lucky” guy. I am the “play the hell out the release queues and sell those cards because I don’t play Standard” guy. I hope that this isn’t coming off as a “woe is me” type of article, it’s not meant to be. I’ll still be here to analyze the Pauper Meta for you guys, and I’ll still be up on what’s hot in the community. I have zero intentions of actually quitting the entire game; I don’t think I will ever do that…
The above portion of this article was written in one chunk, and the rest in another. I would not usually mention this but it might be important for context. I managed to make it to FNM this week, doing exactly what I mentioned I should be doing, going to play with friends, and have FUN. And despite getting knocked out of a draft early, I didn’t care. I was with my buddies, playing a “game” and having fun again. Not sure if it was this that gave me my second breath, or the fact that when I described my latest shortcomings to my peers they presented tales of woe themselves. Everyone hits a slump; everyone catches the “run bads” and now just must be my turn. I’m just really hoping that I can shake it before March, and if you are wondering why, well GP Pittsburgh of course! Nothing is better than a Grand Prix hitting your local town. As a few of you might know I am a father and husband first, gamer second. This makes weekend jaunts to out of town spots for a weekend of engrossed gamin is NOT a reality for me. (See above on acceptance of my place in MTG) But it would be a damn shame if I could not jam some cards in my home town right? Well I’m planning on doing just that, and barring any unforeseen circumstances it should be a lock.
The other great thing about this GP is that it will be Gatecrash sealed, perfect for a guy with no real paper collection. So my plan is this: I have a good bit of Standard cards on MTGO, and I am currently very sick of Standard. My solution is to sell all of my Standard set (might keep RTR stuff) and use it to fund multiple Gatecrash sealed events. Practice, practice, practice. Then, maybe just then, I can actually do well at the GP. Probably not, but I’m going to try! While I am talking about Gatecrash, I am also really hoping for a breakout Pauper card in this set. RtR gave us Electrickery, and now Frostburn Weird is seeing play too. While we can’t expect nearly the size shakeup that Standard will see from a new set, a card or two would be nice. I will be keeping a watchful eye on the spoilers for such a card, and when I feel that I’ve found it you will be the first to know.
Speaking of Pauper, I feel that I should mention that the guys over at Heavy Meta podcast have their foot soldiers putting together a Pauper tournament for mtgo. But…it’s Standard Pauper. I don’t think they have any real details ironed out yet on time, date, etc., but start brewing kids, this could be fun. In honor of this idea I figured I would break the mold and lay out the Standard Pauper scene. I myself haven’t even thought about this format until I began my research. Ill skip the pie charts this time, and I think I may even forgo the any deck lists. Instead I’m going to look at some cards that are available to us. You can find deck lists elsewhere online, because apparently people are playing this in leagues and such, and I’ll be bringing you some in the future as this event nears as well.
The Mana of Standard Pauper is pretty decent. Having access to the guildgates is huge, as is Evolving Wilds. We do have Shimmering Grotto, but I can’t see myself running that. And much like every other format, if you are green, mana is a non issue. Abundant Growth, Farseek, Borderland Ranger, Gatecreeper Vine, and I’m sure we are missing about 100 more. But green seriously might be where it’s at if you plan on running three colors or more, as is tradition. But enough about mana, we know we can cast things, let’s see what things we can cast.
Standard Pauper seems like your building a monster of a draft deck, so I’m treating that way. In doing so I am using the ol’ fashion B.R.E.A.D theory for drafting. There is some deliberation on what exactly the letters stand for, but for our purpose were going with: Bombs, Removal, Evasion, Aggro, Dregs. For the sake of Pauper, there aren’t many “bombs.” So perhaps it’s more like R.E.A.D. which seems good to me. So we are going to fast forward to the removal section of the format.
Starting with the real removal, i.e. instant speed, there is a fair amount. I won’t mention all of them, but ill highlight the best.
- Red: red was the clear winner for instant speed removal, Shock(ing) right? Best here are Annihilating Fire, Brimstone Volley, and Searing Spear. There are way more, but likely conditional and I don’t really know the conditions yet.
- Blue: Well blue really is weak in the instant speed removal department, but you do get Unsummon. Typical pseudo removal that blue gets.
- Green: Here we only get conditional removal as well, for Flyers. Winners are Aerial Predation and Crushing Vines.
- White: We do ok with removal here so long as we are being attacked. Avenging Arrow, Divine Verdict, and Righteous Blow. And we get the catch all Trostani’s Judgment to finish the suite up.
- Black: The king of removal. Death Wind, Launch Party, Murder, Tragic Slip, and Victim of Night. None of these care about the creature’s toughness which makes them primo removal. If you want to kill things, play black.
- Gold: Return to Ravnica gave us a bunch of gold cards for our arsenal but sadly the only decent removal card here is Auger Spree.
Now that was only the instants. When looking into the sorcery speed stuff I was taken aback by a lack of actual removal here, so ill highlight them quickly. Turn to Slag, Prey Upon, Stab Wound and Bone Splinters are real removal, and Silent Departure for the bounce department. Like I said, pretty light. But Stab Wound IS so much more than removal.
Next stop, evasion. Having ways to skate in free damage can often be the difference between a win and a loss. Flying, unblockable, or threaten abilities are all things we are looking for here.
- Red: Well red is pretty lame in the evasion department, at common anyways. The red flyers at common are pretty bad, and not worth mentioning. The only stand out is Bladetusk Boar, but that’s fine really they make up for it in the next category.
- Green: Here we are also very weak, only noting Wondering Wolf. A few pumps can get him by almost anything. But that’s not really your plan in green. Even though you do not get much evasion, you get about a million creatures with reach to stop the opponents flying game hard.
- Blue: We get a billion flyers, but I’m only really impressed by two. Stitched Drake and Stormbound Geist. Everything else is fine, but it’s not really making an impact a 2/2 vanilla flyer isn’t really a game changer most of the time. Having said that I do not know this format, so a 2/2 might be insane…
- White: Again we get a ton of flyers; my favorites here are Chapel Geist, and Seraph of Dawn. Also notable is Farbog Explorer if black is a popular deck choice. Seraph holds off a lot of cards from attacking, and the life gain should not be scoffed at.
- Black: Value bat, aka Bloodhunter Bat is a good drain life built on a 2/2, and then Daggerdrone Imp, begging for a nice enchantment to help you gain crazy life. And again if black is popular, Sewer Shambler can get it done.
Now I know I’m probably missing something here, I’m a terrible deck builder and overlook cards constantly. So if you have a better card that I missed, please let me know in the comments. That goes for any part of this article really…
Aggro is pretty self explanatory, these are creatures you want to turn sideways.
- Red: Crossway Vampire, and Fervent Cathar can let you cheat in some damage by making creatures unable to block. Mogg Fanatic should be an auto include in any serious red deck, same for Gorehouse Chainwalker, and Splatter Thug.
- Green: There are so many green cards that beat down, I like Grizzled Outcast, and Pathbreaker Wurm for late game crashers. Nettle Swine, and Orchard Spirit also get some damage in all by themselves.
- Blue: DELVER!
- White: Loyal Cathar keeps the hits coming while Attended Knight puts a double threat on board. I really liked Thraben Sentry in limited, and I think he could shine here as well.
- Black: I really like Dead Reveler, as well as Servant of Nefarox. The toughness of Reveler seems relevant, as does the exalted from the servant. My other stand out card is Vampire Interloper, he can score some damage while the board is clear(maybe should have put him in the evasion category…)
- Gold: RtR superstars Centaur Healer, and Sluiceway Scorpion can be good if you are in the colors. The bonus from scavenge can’t be ignored, nor should the life gain from the healer.
I’m not going to get into the Dregs part of this, the beginning of my article was dregs enough for one week, but give this format some thought for me. I’d love to see your ideas or deck lists in the comments because I have NO idea what deck will be using in this format.
Goodbye and good luck,