Faeries will always be Pauper's Queen.
In this article, I explain why Faeries will (almost) always be Pauper's best deck.
adágios, applied by the community. Some are very fun, some are very unpleasant, and some are commonly seen as a constant complaint from the community.
“Blue decks are taking over Pauper”
- Pauper Player
Faeries will almost always be Pauper's best deckUnless something goes really wrong with the format, and we create a polarized state that it can't overcome, the archetype is likely to always be in the format's best deck spot almost unconditionally, and that's largely due to the composition that decks like Faeries have in competitive formats when they have the right support, regardless of any changes because their base is strong enough to handle any sudden changes. And do you know why it's so common to see people talking about Pauper being “dominated by blue decks”? Because these decks were always present at the format.
Casting it with Flashback
Why Faeries will always be the best deck
Tempo Decks are always likely to become the best deck of their formats if they have the right support, as they act as regulators.Normally, Tempo decks compete for the regulator's space against Midrange decks because they both have elements that give them the flexibility to handle the most diverse situations in a game, but they have a crucial difference between them: Fo example,
Midrange decks are good at handling a variety of situations, but they don't handle any of them exceptionally.A Midrange deck can be built to handle a metagame where there is a good balance between Aggro, Control and Combo. But its pieces don't usually fit universally in every game, and a removal in your hand will be useless against a Control deck, while a discard from the topdeck will be useless against an Aggro deck. Meanwhile, Tempo decks are
exceptional at handling many situations, and awful at handling a few.For example, a Tempo deck, in a general context, is always on top of the efficiency of their universal answers. The best example of this is a card widely used in Pauper and Modern, Counterspell.
unconditionaltrade, regardless of your opponent's resource. Where Tempo decks lose out, however, is when their responses become less effective, something that usually occurs when a game gets too long. A Daze in early game or against decks with a greedy curve is one of the best cards the deck could want, but a Daze in late-game is one of the worst topdecks you can imagine. But for a few years now, Tempo Decks has seemed to be moving less into the spectrum of using responses that lose value as the game progresses: Although Daze is a major Legacy staple to this day, we can see archetypes of other formats opting for answers that manage to be good at most stages of the game. Take Modern's Izzet Tempo as an example: Cards like Unholy Heat hardly ever lose their usefulness. On the contrary, they get even better as the game progresses under the right conditions, and they have a flexibility in mana and utilities that hardly make the card useless. Therefore, Tempo decks tend to be bad only if the decks they are playing against exploit their natural weaknesses. Like, for example, playing more cards and putting more pressure than what the deck proposes to trade (like Elves), or being out of the deck's "control" curve, or playing so many explosive threats that any of them who stays in play will become a major threat (like Cascade), or any piece that significantly limits the number of spells and effects the deck can cast (although they're not Pauper cards, I can name Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Chalice of the Void as examples). On the other hand,
Midranges tend to prey on Tempo decksbecause their disruptions tend to be quite efficient against the few threats that the archetype usually has, which would be the reason why Dimir Delver is a deck that tends to be low at Pauper lately, and Delver of Secrets itself has become somewhat obsolete for the mere reason of dying to pretty much every used removal currently without generating any value. But, in the format's regulator spot, Tempo decks tend to succeed in place of Midrange decks because they have... Well, this:
The Turbo Xerox
Variance, and they go hand in hand over the course of a game. Resources are the cards you use in the game. When you play a card, you are proposing a certain game and a possible exchange of resources with the opponent, or an increase in your resources, and they can be of the most diverse: Life, permanents, lands and, mainly, cards in hand. And here comes the variance factor: Do you have enough land to use your resources? Are the cards in your hand good enough to make favorable trades? Did your opponent draw a card that made your play from the previous turn totally irrelevant? All of this is variance, it's how the game behaves and, unlike what people usually say, I don't think these moments are tied to luck, and I commonly see this as an instinctive "excuse" for not analyzing the game's development and accepting that we have some propensities to make bad decisions during a game or even during deck building that tend to punish us in the end result, and taking on this responsibility is very frustrating.
Adágio, and there is another
adágioused in Magic to explain the advantages of Control decks for beginners, which is “The more cards you draw, the more chances you have of winning the game”. And particularly, the ideal phrase for this logic should be "The more cards in your deck you
see and have access to, the more opportunities you will have to win the game." And that's what Turbo Xerox proposes: Reducing variance with a significant increase in ways to draw cards and manipulate the top of your deck to remove useless cards. A basic example of this theory, created by Alan Comer in 1998, is that you could reduce one land for every two cantrips you add to the deck, which not only allows for a lower chance of bad topdecks throughout the game, but also enables a certain level of library manipulation when you use them efficiently, which means that every draw you make can be significantly better than your opponent's, creating a virtual advantage in the game. And this doesn't just apply to lands: Turbo Xerox decks are much easier to find the cards they need because they look at more cards in the deck and at a higher speed than other decks of the format, which allows the archetype to expand its answers. You have more freedom and less punishment by, for example, Splitting Agony Warp and Echoing Decay in your list, as they are cards that face different situations in Pauper, because you have more ways to find them throughout the game or discard them from the top if they are useless through manipulation. Ultimately, in the big picture, Magic is a game of choices... And what cantrips and other means of library manipulation or accessing more cards does is expand your available choices and maximize the number of decisions you make over the course of a match, giving you more “possible plays". And because of all these benefits I consider, even after more than two decades since its inception, the Turbo Xerox one of the most efficient and powerful ways to build a deck in Magic: The Gathering, and one that proves efficient to create the best decks in the format whenever there is a solid enough base for it. Izzet Delver at Legacy, Izzet Tempo at Modern and... Dimir Faeries at Pauper.
Turbo Xerox and Faeries
any Metagame, no matter what it is. It was this versatility that made the archetype the only one capable of playing on an equal footing with the two decks that broke the format upon the release of Modern Horizons II, and Faeries still benefited from this because, with fewer decks present in the format, the less spacious the answers need to be, which allows the deck to devote as many slots as possible to fighting oppressive decks. Therefore, Faeries will always be the best deck on Pauper, and will only lose this position when the format is in a polarized state, or when a broken deck comes up, or when a more efficient Tempo deck takes its place (which, according to the preceding Dimir Delver pre-Blue Monday and Jeskai Astrolabe, will also indicate a polarized format), or if one of its essential cards like Spellstutter Sprite are banned one day. And I don't think it's necessary at present to intervene directly in the archetype, as it is realizing its common nature within the Metagame, performing the movement we've seen from this category of archetype in essentially almost every competitive eternal format.
What it means to be a "Best Deck"?