The Best Decks In Magic The Gathering’s Pauper Format
Magic The Gathering's Pauper format has been steadily growing in popularity for a few years now. It is a budget-friendly format that only uses cards printed at common rarity, it manages to be kind to your wallet while still having spicy plays and complex decks.
Whether you're getting started with Pauper and want a good place to dive in, or a veteran looking for your next deck, the Pauper metagame is vibrant and varied. Here are the top five decks currently played in the Pauper format.
Updated August 29th 2022 by Johnny Garcia: Pauper is in the midst of one of the most diverse formats it's seen in quite some time. With recent set releases such as Commander Legends: Battle For Baldur's Gate, many new powerful commons have entered into the format, causing certain decks to rise up in the metagame and others to fall. The format is closely monitored thanks to a Pauper Format Panel introduced at the start of 2022. The panel has ensured the format stays healthy, and is very transparent with the choices they make when it comes to bans and unbans, and lets players know what considerations were made for other cards.
10 Rakdos Persist
|4 Goblin Matron||4 Putrid Goblin|
|4 Skirk Prospector||2 Dark-Dweller Oracle|
|1 Masked Vandal||4 First Day Of Class|
|4 Deadly Dispute||4 Ichor Wellspring|
|4 Chromatic Star||2 Makeshift Munitions|
|4 Unearth||4 Faithless Looting|
|4 Drossforge Bridge||2 Vault Of Whispers|
|2 Great Furnace||2 Rakdos Carnarium|
|3 Swamp||6 Mountain|
The black/red Rakdos Persist is a combo deck taking advantage of Putrid Goblin and First Day Of Class to make infinite mana and sacrifice fodder to burn your opponent for their whole life with Makeshift Munitions. As such, the main deck is compromised of ways to dig through your deck to get to your combo pieces as quickly as possible.
Goblin Matron allows you to search out Skirk Prospector or Putrid Goblin directly. First Day Of Class will cancel out the -1/-1 counter given to Putrid Goblin when its persist ability triggers. This lets you use Skirk Prospector's ability to continuously sacrifice it to produce infinite mana, allowing you to play out your entire hand and burn with Makeshift Munitions.
9 Gruul Cascade
|4 Boarding Party||4 Annoyed Altisaur|
|4 Sarulf's Packmate||4 Llanowar Visionary|
|4 Arbor Elf||2 Owlbear|
|4 Jewel Thief||2 Maelstrom Colossus|
|4 Utopia Sprawl||4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss|
|2 Wild Growth||3 Lightning Bolt|
|4 Highland Forest||15 Forests|
Cascade has had many variations of it over the years, with the Gruul (red/green) variant being the most popular. As the name implies, it's based on Boarding Party, Maelstrom Colossus, and Annoyed Altisaur triggering cascade abilities to play out your powerful creatures to flood the battlefield.
The early game is based on ramp, using cards like Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl to ensure you can play your cascade spells quicker. Cards like Mwonvuli Acid-Moss help you to ramp and hamper your opponent by destroying land. Many of the creature payoffs involve card draw, such as Owlbear and Sarulf's Packmate.
8 Selesnya Bogles
|4 Slippery Bogle||4 Gladecover Scout|
|4 Silhana Ledgewalker||2 Spirited Companion|
|4 Abundant Growth||4 Ancestral Mask|
|4 Armadillo Cloak||4 Ethereal Armor|
|2 Cartouche Of Solidarity||3 Rancor|
|3 Commune With Spirits||4 Utopia Sprawl|
|12 Forests||4 Plains|
|2 Ash Barrens|
Bogles have been pretty popular in Pauper for a while, but they got a lot of attention in late February when competitive Pauper player Dimitry Medvedev secured his place at the Neon Dynasty Championship with their white/green Selesnya take on it.
The deck is focused on Slippery Bogle, a 1/1 beast with hexproof. By using lots of land ramp enchantments, like Utopia Sprawl, Unbridled Growth, and Abundant Growth to generate as much mana as possible, you can then enchant the Bogle with Armadillo Cloak, Rancor, and the finishing moves of Ancestral Mask and Ethereal Armor to deal massive damage with it. Though the Bogle is the namesake of the deck, they often use other self-protecting creatures, like Gladecover Scout.
7 Grixis Affinity
|3 Frogmite||4 Vault Skirge|
|4 Myr Enforcer||1 Krak-Clan Shaman|
|4 Blood Fountain||4 Ichor Wellspring|
|4 Chromatic Star||4 Metallic Rebuke|
|4 Galvanic Blast||4 Deadly Dispute|
|2 Reckoner's Bargain||2 Thoughtcast|
|2 Makeshift Munitions||4 Great Furnace|
|4 Vault Of Whispers||4 Seat Of The Synod|
|2 Mistvault Bridge||2 Drossforge Bridge|
|2 Silverbluff Bridge|
Though Affinity has been hit with a handful of bans, losing its iconic Fling+Atog combo, this blue/black/red deck is still fantastic as a midrange deck. It was experimented with many color combinations, with Grixis winning out thanks to the many fantastic value cards in black such as Deadly Dispute and Reckoner's Bargain.
The deck wins by bringing out creatures with Affinity like Myr Enforcer and burning the opponent with cards like Galvanic Blast and Makeshift Munitions. Cards like Blood Fountain and Ichor Wellspring give you a lot of artifacts to build your affinity count, all while giving you sacrifice outlets for your card draw.
6 Azorius Familiars
|4 Mulldrifter||4 Sunscape Familiar|
|4 The Modern Age||3 Archaeomancer|
|3 God-Pharaoh's Faithful||1 Dawnbringer Cleric|
|2 Stonehorn Dignitary||4 Preordain|
|3 Deep Analysis||1 Mystical Teaching|
|4 Snap||2 Ephemerate|
|2 Ghostly Flicker||2 Prohibit|
|1 Mortuary Mire||4 Ash Barrens|
|7 Islands||3 Plains|
|4 Azorius Chancery||2 Evolving Wilds|
The blue/white Azorius Familiars is a blink deck that takes advantage of creatures that trigger when they enter the battlefield. Most notably, Mulldrifter, which can be evoked for just three mana. Since Azorius Familiars plays a lot of cards that allow you to blink it, you can do so before the second half of the evoke ability triggers, keeping it on the battlefield while gaining its effects.
Cards like Archaeomancer allow you to continuously loop your instant and sorcery cards by blinking it. Stonehorn Dignitary lets you use its effect repeatedly to make sure your opponent never gets a chance at another combat phase, less they have a way to remove it. Even then, with so many instant-speed blink effects, Stonehorn Dignitary, as well as the rest of your creatures, are very hard to get rid of.
5 Mono-Blue Spirits
|4 Faerie Miscreant||4 Faerie Seer|
|4 Moon-Circuit Hacker||4 Spellstutter Sprite|
|4 Ninja Of The Deep Hours||4 Snap|
|2 Spell Pierce||4 Of One Mind|
|4 Counterspell||4 Bind The Monster|
|4 Mutagenic Growth||18 Islands|
Mono-Blue is just that: blue doing what blue does best. It is an excellent control deck that limits what your opponent can do while beating them down with lots of flying and otherwise evasive creatures.
On the control side, there are lotsof counterspells. Dispel, Spell Pierce, and Counterspell all play prominent roles, as does Spellstutter Sprite – who doubles up as an attacker. It also makes use of freezing enchantments like Bind the Monster to ensure your opponent can't hit you back.
There's lots of great card draw too, thanks to Of One Mind, Faerie Miscreant, and Ninja of the Deep Hours. This deck in particular has really benefited from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, thanks to the introduction of Moon-Circuit Hacker into the format. Ninjas go very nicely with flying creatures, and they're an excellent way to bounce a Spellstutter Sprite or Faerie Miscreant back to your hand.
4 Mono-White Heroic
|4 Akroan Skyguard||4 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer|
|4 Deftblade Elite||2 Seeker Of The Way|
|2 Benevolent Bodyguard||4 Karametra's Blessing|
|4 Emerge Unscathed||4 Hyena Umbra|
|4 Cartouche Of Solidarity||4 Sentinel's Eyes|
|4 Ethereal Armor||4 Benevolent Blessing|
Mono-White Heroic is a low-to-the-ground aggro deck based on the heroic ability. These are creatures that have effects that trigger whenever they are targeted by a spell such as cards like Akroan Skyguard and Lagonna-Band Trailblazer.
To trigger these effects, Mono-White Heroic plays many auras to give them boosts. When mixed with heroic triggers, this makes the creatures hit high stats rather quickly. It also runs cards that protect creatures while targeting, such as Hyena Umbra. Mono-White Heroic tends to put a lot of resources into one creatures, so having this kind of protection is very important.
3 Boros Gates
|4 Guardian Of The Guildpack||4 Squadron Hawk|
|4 Lunarch Veteran||4 Sacred Cat|
|4 Prismatic Strands||4 Flame Slash|
|4 Faithless Looting||4 Journey To Nowhere|
|4 Battle Screech||2 Rally The Peasants|
|4 Basilisk Gate||4 Citadel Gate|
|4 Cliffgate||4 Plains|
|4 Mountains||2 Boros Garrison|
Gates are a land type that saw no play for quite some time. However, with Commander Legends: Battle For Baldur's Gate, Basilisk Gate was released, making for an entirely new deck based around them. The new gates introduced in the set also brought about a new form of dual lands, letting you name an extra color for them to tap for.
Boros Gates is a red and white deck built around low-mana creatures that can attack easily. Squadron Hawk is one of the most played creatures, allowing you to thin out your deck and have a fresh selection of creatures to continuously cast. Basilisk Gate gives creatures a stat boost based on the number of gates you control, and since that's the majority of the land you play, this gets to high numbers very quickly.
2 Rakdos Burn
|4 Kitchen Imp||4 Voldaren Epicure|
|4 Monastery Swiftspear||4 Lightning Bolt|
|4 Fiery Temper||1 Fodder Tosser|
|4 Galvanic Blast||4 Chain Lightning|
|4 Vampire's Kiss||4 Alms Of The Vein|
|4 Faithless Looting||4 Vault Of Whispers|
|4 Great Furnace||4 Drossforge Bridge|
|5 Mountain||2 Rakdos Carnarium|
Burn is one of Magic's most straight-forward deck archetypes, focused on dealing direct damage to your opponent using instants, sorceries, and abilities on creatures. While Mono-Red Burn was the way to play the deck for a while, a stronger version emerged by splashing black into the deck as well.
Rakdos Burn is a mixture of burn and madness, letting cards like Fiery Temper be played for extra cheap burn spells. It's more consistent as well, with creatures like Kitchen Imp and Monastery Swiftspear to deal creature damage along with burn damage.
1 Mono-Red Blitz
|4 Festival Crasher||4 Monastery Swiftspear|
|4 Kiln Fiend||3 Apostle's Blessing|
|4 Temur Battle Rage||4 Mutagenic Growth|
|4 Lightning Bolt||4 Manamorphose|
|4 Lava Dart||4 Crash Through|
|4 Reckless Impulse||17 Mountains|
Blitz has always been a popular archetype, but with the downshift of Monastery Swiftspear to common in Double Masters 2022, it's become one of the best decks in the format. It plays hardly any creatures, just Festival Crasher, Monastery Swiftspear, and Kiln Fiend. All of these have power boosts when you cast an instant or a sorcery, making for a formidable aggro deck.
The most mana needed for any spell is two, allowing you to play multiple spells in a single turn for massive damage outbursts. In addition to a few burn spells like Lightning Bolt and Lava Dart, it's not uncommon for Mono-Red Blitz to win in just a few turns.
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