I will share my story with the format, which is pretty new, to be honest, I just started to play Pauper on Magic Online a few months ago….
I will introduce you the most hated(loved) deck in the format, Tron. As usual, it is very annoying to play against 7 mana as soon as turn 3, but when you are the one that has all that mana, it feels really good.
I really like this deck and the format overall because there are many decisions and turns before a game finishes (unless playing against super aggro). That makes you feel that gratifying feeling when you win because you took a lot of good decisions. Usually in formats with more power level, only one turn or one threat can define the whole game, which happens less in Pauper.
4 《Thriving Isle》
3 《Thornwood Falls》
1 《Bojuka Bog》
4 《Urza’s Mine》
4 《Urza’s Power Plant》
4 《Urza’s Tower》
-Land (22)- 2 《Stonehorn Dignitary》
3 《Mnemonic Wall》
1 《Dinrova Horror》
2 《Moment’s Peace》
1 《Rolling Thunder》
2 《Ghostly Flicker》
1 《Compulsive Research》
1 《Pulse of Murasa》
2 《Mystical Teachings》
4 《Prophetic Prism》
4 《Bonder’s Ornament》
I will explain the deck a bit with some insights:
12 Tron Lands
The very first priority is to assemble Tron Lands since we need more mana than our opponents to operate. Try to get more 《Urza’s Tower》s with 《Crop Rotation》 after the Tron lands are assembled, and everything will be even better.
Untouchable since it was added to the deck because it fits it perfectly, usually naming green first, but being able to say white/red/black having so few non-simic cards is super relevant. Post sideboard against blue decks is great to have a red source from one land to protect your artifacts and spells from countermagic.
Unfortunately, there is no room left for the 4th…. The life gain is really important in some matches, and 《Thornwood Falls》 is very good with 《Crop Rotation》 at instant speed. Usually, when you control the game you win, but it is another way to recover life if 《Pulse of Murasa》 is exiled from some reason and you have the combo.
Used to be 3, but the last change was 1 for 1 《Bojuka Bog》.
《Bojuka Bog》 is very important to fight the mirror match and the new wave of 《Frantic Inventory》 decks. It is really good being able to exile graveyards at instant speed with 《Crop Rotation》 or 《Ghostly Flicker》.
I will explain the combo and then talk about each card.
With the wall in play, we play the flicker and blink the wall and any other card, and when the wall comes back to play we bring back the flicker to the hand and you have one free blink effect. With two walls you can recover the flicker and another spell, usually with a lot of mana and countermagic, is enough.
In my opinion the best creature in Pauper. It is the best individual target for a blink, and you can play it for the Evoke cost and blink it in response drawing 4 cards and having the creature in play (4 mana with 《Ephemerate》, 6 mana with 《Ghostly Flicker》).
Since you need only one wall to start the snowball, you can’t afford to draw multiples at the beginning of the game.
《Stonehorn Dignitary》 is our tool to lock the opponent from attacking us by blinking it. (note: if you blink it several times in one turn, they skip as many turns as you did it). Usually, you don’t need more than one but it is good to have two copies in case it gets exiled. Depending on how the metagame shift to more aggro decks you can play one or even two more.
The definitive lock, when you assemble the combo with 《Dinrova Horror》 you close the game really fast and there is no way back. The card is super powerful but is expensive and with double colored cost, so it’s hard even to use one slot on it. I’m a fan of the card but the big boys in Pauper don’t use it anymore since it is a win more card. (since I don’t fully know all the decks I prefer to have a catch-all card to make things easier)
You just need one and you don’t need it fast, but it is very dangerous to lose it in response to the combo and not being able to search another copy. It also can be easily replaced with a 《Prophetic Prism》 or any blink effect in the early game.
Best card to search what you need, it searches almost 7% of the deck! At the beginning of the game, it helps a lot with landrops and rocks, and then it helps to find key spells. Sadly sometimes when we board in specific answers we cut 1 or 2 《Impulse》 because of the lack of slots.
Same logic as 《Mnemonic Wall》, you need only the first one to make your deck work, multiples copies are very bad but you still need to have 3.
We want at least one way to bring back creatures from graveyard, and besides the gain life from 《Thornwood Falls》, we need some way to gain a good amount of life when we have the combo assembled. The card is a must, but we never want more than 1.
2 Counter Magics
The normal is 2 《Prohibit》 but I’m trying one 《Exclude》 mostly to fight against the Monarch creatures because it is so hard to get the Monarch and is even harder win the game against 2 cards per turn.
Depending on how aggro the format is you can play more in the main deck, but the playset is really needed in the 75 because there is plenty of decks that can only win through combat damage. This is the two for one on itself, such a strong card!!
The key card in the mirror, and good overall since it can deal with a lot of creatures and is a big upside against Affinity which is a tough match.
It works really well with all the creatures and is very cheap (even through 《Mystical Teachings》) and threatening since the double effect with 《Mnemonic Wall》 means one free spell each turn. I heard that in the old times in Pauper people played more 《Dinrova Horror》 and 《Ephemerate》.
The perfect value card when you have a lot of mana. Usually, the first use is to get Tron or some action, and later in the game with 6 mana you just can tutor again. You don’t need it fast so two copies are fine, even though in some matches you would play 3 or even 4.
《Compulsive Research》 works as the 5th 《Mulldrifter》 and occasionally can be a win condition to deck out your opponent. It is one of the cards that I side out the most but I like the effect on game 1.
Playing online, we need a fast way to win due to time constraints. 《Rolling Thunder》 is very good against multiple small deck creatures as well, so I’m very happy with this 1-of.
This is the card advantage, not only fixes our mana but also gives us card advantage with 5 mana total. (people ask for the banhammer on Tron since this card exists)
Some sideboard notes from most popular decks on Magic Online with my brief experience with the deck:
(I invite you to join my Discord and talk about sideboard plans about Tron through this link if you have other insights or if you just want to hang out, I’ll be streaming Pauper once per week soon)
Some Tips to Play on Magic Online
The clock is another real enemy, don’t feel bad about losing due to timed out on the game 3 because it takes time and effort to learn the deck patterns and how to properly play it.
Learn how to auto yield the abilities on Magic Online and use the number 8 in all of your games (it doesn’t use any single second from your time when you don’t have mana open)
Sometimes it takes too long to win game 1, so, if game 2 doesn’t look well enough, just concede and go for the game 3 on the play with more time.
I hope you enjoyed this article, special thanks to Sarlanga for introducing me to the Pauper world, and Raptor56 for sharing with me your ideas about the deck and the format.