Magic: the Gathering
Expedition Map, and the inclusion of
One of Mindthat gave a pump to decks like Brute Squad and Jeskai Affinity, in addition of playing in Delver decks. We were also blessed with cards like
Suffocating Fumesand we had the addition of big staples like
Bonder's Ornamentand Thriving Lands in addition to
Cho-Manno's Blessingwill replace the enchantment on Mono White Heroic, and even make the deck even more affordable than it already is. Its less restrictive cost also allows you to try splashes, and can also be used in decks like Bogles, and enables a move that allows you to lock the opponent's
Standard Bearerby enchanting it with the Aura, giving protection to the color that you want to enchant your creature.
benevolent Blessingalso does not remove the other enchantments already attached to the creature, so it is a great protection for Heroic against
Journey to Nowhere.
Slith Predatorwould be good additions to the Aggro decks, while
Slith Bloodlettercould serve as an aggressive drop that grows fast with Mono Black removals. Unfortunately,
Slith Ascendantis the worst of the cycle and will have no impact on the format. It's just here so I can say, "Shame on you, Gavin!" for not giving us the full cycle.
Azure Fleet Admiraljoins Pauper as probably the best Monarch creature the format will have to offer. Its cost is comparable to the other Monarchs already exist, its body is relevant in combat (even being a more aggressive move than the current Monarchs), but at the cost of dying to
Lightning Bolt. The card also allows you to have an advantage in the "minigame" of keeping the Monarch because, in case you lose the crown,
Azure Fleet Admiralguarantees you to have the crown back on the next turn until it is resolved by the opponent. Overall, the card seems to be underestimated and undervalued at the expense of another card included on the set, but i can easily see it replacing
Thorn of the Black Roseon lists like Faeries and Delver, while having space on decks like Jeskai. Finally,
Azure Fleet Admiralalso collaborates with the game plan proposed with the next card:
Fall From Favorexists in the same set and has taken all the attention for itself. I even considered that the idea of making an enchantment that would enable Monarch a turn before usual was a conscious decision on the part of Wizards and that in reality it would be an enchantment cycle with abilities commonly used in sealed formats, but with a Monarch effect, since
Fall From Favoris just a variation of
Claustrophobiathat we commonly see in several cards of different sets. But this is not what happened, and only Blue got an enchantment. In reality, the enchantment will exist in the format by a decision to prioritize the draft, as described by the Gavin Verhey, who admitted to recognizing the card's risk for the format.
Fall From Favorpresents itself as a dangerous card to Pauper because it is blue, and the lowest cost Monarch card ever made. And the most interesting part is that the other cards in the set interact very well in terms of further favoring this enchantment: Like all other Monarch cards,
Fall From Favoris great when you're ahead in the game, but terrible when you're behind. It becomes insignificant when you are facing a deck that can make many creatures in the first turns of the game or when the battlefield is bigger on your opponent's side than on your side. This problem can be mitigated with
Fiery Cannonade. On the other hand, the card on its own helps to keep the Monarch when the opponent has few threats. So, if your opponent needs to play more conservatively or if you've already cleared his battlefield, the card fits very well and gives you advantage in the game. The fact that the card enters a turn earlier than the other Monarchs means that, if you really tap out to play the enchantment in turn 3, your opponent can make multiple threats in the next turn for you to respond to, or his own Monarch to take your crown. And it is in this possibility that
Azure Fleet Admiralstands out, because in addition to recovering the Monarch for itself, the creature ensures that you can safely recover the crown if the opponent takes it again and has a good body for both attack and block. Considering the interactions of the set itself joins the interactions with
Ghostly Flickerand disgusting moves involving
Faerie Seeron turn 1,
Ninja of the Deep Hourson turn 2 and
Fall From Favorat turn 3, which potentially would already be 3 more cards for the player and still creates a snowball effect, the enchantment is sure to have an impact on the format and can see the game on several decks like Faeries, Delver, Tron, Jeskai, maybe Familiar, etc. Finally,
Fall From Favorcarries the risk of polarizing Pauper's games around Monarch due to its low cost and high interaction, and therefore it may get banned in the future.
Eyeblight Massacrewas actually
Infestand was removed from the edition due to the Elf tribal synergy present in the draft. Unfortunately, not killing some of Stompy's main creatures and not clearing the Elves' battlefield, the card will probably not see value in place of
Fleshbag Marauderis an edict effect attached to a body and can have some space in Pauper at times when you need to increase your clock, being able to sacrifice another creature of yours and leave a 3/1 body on the battlefield. It can fit on some Black-based Midrange decks and it will certainly be used with
Tortured Existence, both as an edict effect and as a good threat at an empty battlefield.
Boarding Partyis an immediate threat because it is a "two for one" effect with a good body in applying pressure and surviving combat. It can fit on midrange decks that try to use spells like
Lightning Boltor apply pressure to the opponent as a late-game threat, especially if the format become slower, as expected.
Champion of the Flameis one of those cards made to build around it, but whose potential is great, because it needs very little to start being good: A
Bonesplitteralready makes it a 5 / 3 with Trample, a
Hyena Umbramakes it a 4/4 with First Strike, among other interactions.
Fall From Favorbut has the potential to fit as a creature that swaps defense for aggression. A 5/2 body, despite being bad in combat swaps, is a considerable clock in a deck more focused on removals such as Rakdos Monarch and may replace
Thorn of the Black Rose. I don't think the card will replace
Palace Sentinelsin Boros Monarch or Boros Bully because interactions with
Prismatic Strandsare very relevant for these decks. And did I mention that a Red-Based Monarch with
Lightning Boltamong others is a possibility now?
Thraben Inspectorcan be significant on many occasions, and there are no good substitutes for this at the moment. I don't think it's necessarily a good card
againstBoros Monarch, but it's also not a good card to use in the deck. On the other hand, one of the decks that benefits most on the Cannonade Effect may be Tron, which is Boros' worst matchup.
Fiery Cannonadein the format, depending on how another deck will behave: Faeries. Speaking of Faeries, I no longer consider that the deck needs to adapt so much to deal with a sweeper as the nature of the deck and its game plan that constantly changes between proactive and reactive, allows it to get around situations much more easily than Aggro decks. Cannonade's biggest impact is especially on decks that use
Burning-Tree Emissary, and I would like to make a few points about how these decks can behave against
Fiery Cannonade: Stompy has a good potential for adapting to the card because it already has moves that can naturally be effective against the card like
Elephant Guide, while it has good maindeck responses in the form of
Young Wolf, who collaborate on the proactive plan of the deck while they already have a protection to the Sweeper. The deck can also adopt a more agile game plan with cards like
Mutagenic GrowthGoblins can invest in more toughness 2 creatures like
Mudbrawler Cohortand start using a total of 8 creatures that "protect" the others in case of a sweeper between
Mogg Raider, in addition to including
Hissing Iguanaras a punitive effect. RDW is the most complicated to adapt, but you can invest in more cards with immediate impact, like
Keldon Marauders, in addition to creatures with haste. For Elves, Alexandre Weber mentioned in the video that he believes that Elves will not be so harmed because not only has a good recovery potential but has gained a new addition that helps to go around the sweepers and fog effects in the format. It is possible, and in addition, the deck already uses blue on the side for
Hydroblast. Boros Bully is in a very complicated position regarding the Sweeper, in case of no
Prismatic Strandsin the cemetery, which i don't know if there is an efficient way to get around without compromising the deck's game plan too much.
Impulsive Pilfererhas a good combination with
Skirk Prospectorto speed up mana, and works as a possible, but unlikely response, alongside
Fanatical Firebrandfor Goblins, to try to deal with
Makeshift Munitionscan fit on a deck like Elves, as it is potentially superior to
Viridian Longbowas a way to cause damage outside of combat or to control the opponent's battlefield sacrificing your creatures, which are usually many on the deck. It's likely that it will fit into some of the deck's 75 slots. Outside of Elves, the enchantment is an enabler for Aristocrats or even the Retriever Combo (as long as you already have infinite mana) which tends to be more difficult to interact with than commonly used cards.
Annoyed Altisaurlooks like a great payoff for ramp decks or big mana. However, the current big mana of the format has too reactive cards to care about using a card like this.
Filigree Familiaris a good addition to the format as it serves as a "three for one" effect. It doesn't seem to have a home in the format today, as it doesn't offer a good card advantage with
Ephemerate. But it can appear on decks like Tortured Existence or Aristocrats.
Foundry Inspectoradds four more cost-saving effects for artifact decks like Eggs or Retriever Combo, and can collaborate in terms of redundancy for said decks.
Haunted Cloakdoes a lot and has a low equip cost. It is one more of these cards that is more interesting to know that it is present in the format than to necessarily think that the card will fit into something.
Bonder's Ornamentlooks superior at all times as it is a great mid or late-game draw engine.
Ulamog's Crusheris superior to this card on most occasions, so Elves is not interested in using it. For Tron, the current deck configuration does not benefit from the card because it uses more reactive than proactive cards. In addition, for 8 manas, you can make more impactful moves.
Fiery Cannonadeto the format, and I fear that the inclusion of so many cards with game potential will scare players or quickly convince them that the format is "broken" . Therefore, outside of my personal opinions regarding each topic and each card, I believe and I emphasize that we can only observe and see how the format behaves and adapts through the next months, before making any conclusions, and that unlike most formats, Pauper has a slower progression between adding new cards, adapting the metagame and, in more extreme cases, banning. Therefore, I recommend that you wait before pressing the panic button. My next review for the format will probably be from Kaldheim, Angrath's birthplace known for being an Arctic, inspired by Norse mythology. Therefore, there is the possibility of seeing the return of Snow's mechanics, which influences and may continue to influence the format with new additions, soon. Or so we hope.