Pauper – FNM at Home Event Guide and Decklists
Want to escape the unplanned Matrix sequel that is Standard right now? Just pining for some normal Magic where you don’t have to lose a land or two to Agent of Treachery on turns 4 or 5? Well, have I got news for you!
The special FNM at Home event is back on Arena for the next 24 hours, offering up a code for an Arena FNM Promo Pack from your local game store for participating. This week’s format is Standard Pauper, where you can only use Standard-legal commons (not even uncommons, unlike Artisan last week!). Read on for more information and for decklists you can use in the event.
- Duration: May 8, 2020 @ 12:00 AM PT – May 9, 2020 @ 12:00 AM PT
- Format: Pauper
- Entry Fee: Free
- Ends After: You can play as much as you like for the duration of the event.
- Match Structure: Best-of-one matches (BO1)
- 1 Win: Rare Individual Card Reward (ICR)
- 2 Wins: Rare Individual Card Reward (ICR)
You can also redeem one code for a MTG Arena Promo Pack every week, which will reward you with two in-game cosmetic items from the 36 available (the Ajani sleeve will be temporarily unavailable as it was recently featured as a separate reward). There are sleeves on offer featuring the Japanese Planeswalker alternate art, new Guild themed sleeves, Ikoria card styles, the Tamiyo player avatar, and more. The code is obtained from your local game store’s online community, as outlined in the Wizard’s official article:
HOW TO GET A REWARD CODE FROM YOUR STORE
Some stores have robust online communities, and others will be forming them for the first time. If you’re already part of such a community, great! Check with them and get connected.
If you aren’t part of a local game store’s online community, or if they don’t have one set up, there are a couple ways you can get connected. One is to simply reach out to your store and ask (give them a little bit of time—many of them are getting this information today as well). Another is to head to locator.wizards.com to find your local game store’s website. Not every store has a website on there right now, but our teams here are reaching out to our stores to help them set up options and connect them to our store locator. Many of them will be setting up online communities through Discord, WhatsApp, and Facebook, so you may have to join or download one of those applications.
Step-by-step, here’s how it works:
- Play in the event (win or lose as much as you want)
- Take a screenshot of your event page
- Go to locator.wizards.com to find your local game store’s website
- Join their social media channel
- Share your screenshot with a nice message on their channel
- The store will message you a code* back.
*Note: While supplies last. Not all stores are participating. Limit one code per account. Sharing a screenshot with your local game store does not guarantee you will receive a code.
Some of you might be used to regular Pauper, which is a really high-power format, sort of like a cross between Modern and Legacy in that there are Delver and Combo decks aplenty, but with no planeswalkers and even more Tron decks! Pauper is even my namesake Mulldrifter’s ancestral home, where it is a staple to this day, so it has a special place in my heart.
That being said, Arena Standard Pauper is nothing like that; the seven-set card pool is small enough that Pauper is more like a cross between some of the most exciting parts of several Draft formats all pooled together; the strongest decks are those that have the best common buildarounds and payoffs, and the best cards can be found among the best Draft commons in each set. It’s a completely new and fresh format, since this is the first Pauper event we’ve had since May 2019 (take a spectacular foray into the past here, one of MTGAZone’s very first articles!), a time when the Magic world was radically different and simpler in many ways… I had enough fun building these decks that I’d like to see it feature much more often, as I’m a sucker for Draft-style gameplay anyway!
Like Artisan, the good creatures in Pauper will generally be smaller than in Constructed, so expect to see plenty of Shocks flying about. Escape is an incredibly important mechanic, one that I have both incorporated heavily and teched against – I suspect the games in this format will often be very grindy, and Escape acts as a free trump card there.
Obviously none of the decklists have been tested as of yet, since the Event isn’t on Arena yet! I’ll make some updates after I’ve had a chance to play, so check back in every so often!
Note: I’ve added a little description for each deck I built personally, and then there are a few Terence & other people have kindly submitted too!
Azorius Fliers is a tempo deck that makes use of some strong payoffs for running a ton of fliers in Gust of Wind and Winged Words, buffs its fliers with Silverflame Ritual, taps down/bounces/Pacifisms all its opponent’s stuff, and takes games at a rapid pace that’s really hard to interact with! I expect it to be good against the Tokens/big expensive creature decks but bad against Control/some of the other aggressive decks like Cycling Aggro.
The pile of removal and one wincon is a classic form of Control in Magic, making all your opponents’ removal spells completely dead by having no creatures. I expect Dimir Control in one form or another to be extremely good if people are playing a lot of midrangey decks like Mutate; I’ve built my version of Mutate to be extremely greedy, but regular Mutate/midrange decks will be a bye for this one. That being said, it will be poor against tokens and go-wide decks (which you’ll see some of soon!) since there are no available sweepers in Pauper other than Suffocating Fumes, which is decent against them but far from busted. How good it is overall is really just a meta call; I suspect midrange isn’t great in the format but that people will still play lots of it to start with, so Dimir Control will certainly be very good at the beginning. Orzhov Tokens is likely to be one of the best decks, and crushes this one though. This isn’t the most fun deck you can play, so I’d recommend people try some of the others first!
- A snag I didn’t foresee in building this deck is that all the 3 mana hard counters we have access to mill your opponent, turning on their Escape cards! I thought that this was too much of a downside for cards that are medium anyway, so I have eschewed Didn’t Say Please and Thought Collapse, and games will also be too slow with this kind of deck for Convolute.
- Alongside agianst Tokens, I’ve teched heavily against opposing Ill-Gotten Inheritances and the one “reasonable” hexproof creature in the format, Wardscale Crocodile, since those could both be game-enders against this strategy otherwise.
- I have teched hard against Escape, since it’s a major weakness for this deck and a good way to attack this kind of strategy in general; if a removal spell exiles, you better believe I favoured it!
- Aggro is another good way to attack this deck, so I have included plenty of early removal and tried to prioritise lifegain where I could.
I noted my reservations about Midrange in a format full of tokens and Control already, but I was pleasantly surprised to find Golgari had plenty of tools for attacking those strategies, and that those tools were reasonable by themselves – all these Tramplers are pretty good at attacking into tokens after all. That being said, I certainly wasn’t expecting to put Warscale Crocodile in a Constructed deck today but hey, if you want to beat Control in a format full of great removal, sometimes you do weird things! This is a better Fumes deck than the Control decks, since creatures make Fumes better – you can also use it to blow out attacks and blocks in this deck. I actually have pretty high hopes for this deck all in all!
A stampede of tramplers is a great way to get through all those annoying tokens, and a lot of haste creatures is a good way to slay a weakened Control player out of nowhere! Whether Gruul is better than the other options like tokens for aggressive decks, I have my doubts, but it’s still a fun and decent deck in Pauper too, and beating down with your budget cycling Charging Monstrosaurs still captures the same primal joy!
While regular Cycling is unplayable without Zenith Flare/Valiant Rescuer, Prickly Marmoset hits ludicrously hard in a deck with many cyclers, and the advantages of being able to run fewer lands and better dig for your creatures are still present. For some interesting tech, I’ve included Goblin Electromancer + Keep Safe, cards that combine really well and give this deck a lot more game against decks with tons of removal – against say Dimir Control, it will often be worth waiting until turn 5 to slam a Marmoset and have Keep Safe up, for example. The removal is expensive and ubiquitous enough in Pauper that I suspect Keep Safe is a really good card.
A more normal sort of Izzet aggro deck, this one has a ton of growing threats to stack counters onto, burn, and card advantage/looting. Seven Dwarves is cute in this deck; I suspect you’re likely to go through enough cards that they’re actually good here since getting even two out at once puts you very far ahead of the curve!
I built this deck based on one of my favourites from the fantastic Theros: Beyond Death Draft format. It combines the immense power of Pious Wayfarer + a pile of Enchantments to have great aggressive starts with all the removal in the world and Heliod’s Pilgrim to fetch more (I suspect Pilgrim will be one of the best cards in the format, and this will merely be the first deck with him), and then a great grind game in Mindwrack Harpy + Escape cards + Ill-Gotten Inheritance so each turn, the situation gets poorer and poorer for your opponents. I expect this to be one of the best slower decks against Dimir Control since it has a pile of Escape creatures, its own Inheritances, can protect its Escape creatures from exile with Lampad of Death’s Vigil (though that card will die a lot), and even its small creatures represent good pressure with the Escape Auras. Whether it’s better than Orzhov Tokens, I’m not sure yet; I suspect it’s worse but a lot more fun!
Tokens decks are exceptionally good in Pauper since the only sweeper is Suffocating Fumes which isn’t actually that scary for this deck since a lot of our creatures dodge it! Hence, I expect this to be one of the best decks. Removal is garbage against it, Silverflame Ritual is the best go-wide buff in the entire format, and it has no fewer than 6 great removal spells; I could see cutting a couple of those to be more dedicated to the aggro plan if midrange is bad in the Pauper format (which it’s certainly looking like it could be). Orzhov Tokens does everything well, from early to late game.
I think in order to play Simic Mutate in this event, you have to go extremely greedy or you’ll just get farmed by the Control and grindy decks/be unable to attack through the go-wide/aggro decks. As such, my version of it is playing almost no removal and all beefy creatures, some of them which Escape, and cards like Keep Safe to stop the all-removal decks in their tracks; I’m not sure it will be enough but I am sure that if we go down, we’ll go down fighting to the very last Beast!
Built for maximum velocity, this is a go-wide deck that punishes Pauper’s lack of sweepers – eventually you’ll be able to pour enough creatures onto the board to set up huge Burn Brights for lethal, as long as you don’t run into too many Suffocating Fumes. Your creatures are cheap and you don’t really care about removal, and all of this spells a good Control matchup! I suspect the Orzhov Tokens deck will be a bit better against the entire field, but that having access to burn makes this a bit better against more generic aggro decks, stuff like Azorius Fliers and Cycling Aggro.
Thanks for reading! We’ll be adding some extra decks during the Event tomorrow so check back in with us soon.
You can find all my other articles at mtgazone.com/Drifter or follow me on Twitter here!
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