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Pauper Classic Tuesday Metagame Report 11/21/23 by Phoenix

Hello everyone! It's Phoenix with the first installment of the new Pauper Classic Tournament meta analysis since Magic Online Society began sponsoring the tournament. Today we had a diverse field of decks, with 11 players, 4 of which were burn decks, one combo deck, and whole lot of midrangey grindfests! In Pauper, as with all eternal formats, there is always a huge representation of blue and red. But in an unusual turn of events the top 8 eliminated most of the red and blue from the field, and we ended with our 4 semi finalists playing Mono blue delver, Grixis Affinity, Black Burn, and Jeskai Affinity.

Starting with Mono Blue Delver, with was tied for 3rd. In 2023 this deck has turned into an accelerated tempo deck centered as much around getting Tolarian Terror and it's non-warded twin Cryptic Serpent out early as much as getting Delver of Secrets online, aiming to deploy larger under costed blue threats early and protect them before they run out of gas. Don't be fooled by the blue, as it is not a pure control deck but rather the ultimate tempo deck, since the spells they use are either to accelerate their large serpents into play with self-mill, or to protect their win condition with Force Spikes and Spell Pierces. This archetype has existed since the beginning of pauper, but in the current meta, they've stripped the deck of it's faerie plan altogether in favour of the serpents. The biggest advantage comes from Tolarian Terror, as it has ward, targeted removal costs a lot and is countered early, so the spell pierces actually go up in value. The most common targeted removal in the format that kills them - Cast Down and Skred, generally can't be used the same turns the terrors come into play, because it now costs 3-4+ mana to kill. With skred it may take to turn 5, and is countered by a single spell pierce making this an extremely powerful card in Pauper.

Also tied in the 3rd place slot, was Grixis Affinity. This deck has remained a Tier 1 mainstay of the format for years and has remained mostly unchanged during that time. However with the advent of the new set Lost Caverns of Ixalan brought some new toys for this deck to play with, and we are already seeing some experiments to try out these new cards. This version was no exception, with the inclusion of tithing blade - the new artifact edict, and mephitic draught, which is a card that added additional consistency to the ichor wellspring plan. Most grixis affinity decks plan to abuse the enters and leaves the battlefield triggers of ichor wellspring type cards to gain insane amounts of card draw when combined with the black card draw engine surrounding Deadly Dispute and it's sister cards. This control deck wants to out draw you, play insanely under costed spells, and win the long game with arguably the 3 most powerful colors in the format. They can even endure early aggro by sacrificing their 0-mana seven drops for life gain and card draw and do it all over again, so it's a deck that every sideboard needs to consider.

In second place, I'll admit I am personally actually really happy to see, is a black burn deck. Currently black burn is a Tier 2 archetype, and it's refreshing to see decks that aren't tier 1 holding their own. The entire plan is to play lifedraining creatures and spells that both keep you alive while hurting your opponent. This version dropped some of the madness tech like imps in favor of more aggressive draining with Okiba Reckoner Raid. This deck only lost a single match in the finals, and it was a tight one, losing 1-2 to our next deck Jeskai Glitters.

And last but of course not least, we have Jeskai Glitters. So I really like when people spice things up with their own tech. I'm not sure whether or not jeskai is overall where the meta is shifting, but ever since All that Glitters was downshifted to common in the Commander Masters set (CMM) earlier this year, we have seen a persistent popularity with the aggro variant of affinity surrounding All that Glitters. Normally we see the Tier 1 version playing exclusively on Blue and White, but today, our 1st place champion brought in red to the party, in the form of Experimental Synthesizer and Galvanic blast to help remove the opposing threats and obstacles and add a more permanent board piece with their draw that actually grows their own threats. All that Glitters is an aura that counts each artifact and enchantment on your side of the board, so a resolved synth replaces itself and grows any glitter-enchanted creature for 1 more damage per turn unlike the original version. And it worked out, because our winner went all matches undefeated - so they were definitely on flavor with All that Glitters, taking home the big prize

Well that's all for this week. See you all next time! - Phoenix.

1 Comment

Nov 30, 2023

Thank you for the article, a very enjoyable read!

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