Interviewing Brad from Pauper Guild: the Pauper Singleton format

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Interviewing Brad from Pauper Guild: the Pauper Singleton format

Let's go to an interview with Brad from Pauper Guild to understand the new Pauper Singleton format

By Leon, 10/01/20

Hi everyone! Pauper Guild have being doing a lot of tournaments in the Pauper Singleton format. I was a little surprised: why Pauper Singleton? They invented it? So I decided to interview Brad, one of the creators of the Pauper Guild to let us know what is this format and if it is fun!
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Could you Tell us a little about your project?

Well, this is a fairly easy one to answer: for Jon (@Paupersphere) and I, the Pauper format has less to do with the cards, and more to do with the community. Often, our little format gets labeled as toxic; however, it only seems that way if you’re not looking close enough. It’s full of some of the smartest, nicest, and most creative people I’ve ever met.

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It all started earlier this year, when Jon and I were chatting about random Pauper stuff on Twitter. We sort of both came to realize that the MTGO Pauper community was growing like wildfire after the world went into lockdown. The format was gaining new players and enfranchised players, like myself, were moving from paper to digital just so that we could keep playing. From the beginning, we knew that being on digital client shouldn’t matter – people craved the “Gathering” to go along with the Magic. We decided to try to build an online community that welcomes everyone and is built with everyone in mind. In a way, we wanted to bring that “LGS feel” to the community. It’s very rare that we do anything without thinking about them first. It was a wonderful surprise that everyone responded so quickly and positively to this idea. The Pauper Guild isn’t totally about meta decks and technical breakdowns of Leagues and Challenges, but it is totally about the people. When we first started, Jon had already started relationships with many of the well-known Portuguese Pauper players – it helped a lot that he is nearly fluent in the language - and it didn’t take me long to realize just how dedicated and successful those players are. That sparked yet another idea: bring the LGS to the entire, international Pauper community.

Ok, but why Pauper? Is there anything special with it?

I think everyone has their reasons for loving this format, but for me, there are quite a few. First, I simply love Magic cards – the feel, the flavor, the nostalgia of them all - so I was naturally drawn to the large pool of them that Pauper has to choose from. Pauper has been called “Legacy Lite” and while that’s not totally correct, like Legacy, you can take Pauper’s legality all the way back to the game’s inception. There’s a lot of history to this game and, for me, Pauper encompasses every bit of it. For many, our format is “Magic the way it was meant to be played” and I can’t argue because that’s a huge bonus for new, returning, and veteran players. Sure, the budget-conscious side of me loves the affordability of the format, but that’s because I’m always excited to brew new decks, and there isn’t any other format where I can put together so many of them for minimal investment. It really is the only way to play Magic that is accessible to everyone.

And you had a crazy idea to make Pauper Singleton tournaments. Where this format comes from? Is that you that created It?

Via the Brazillian Whatsapp Pauper chat, Jon referred me to CardsRealm and that got us talking about running regular, creative, and FREE tournaments for the Pauper community. We’ve had a few ideas, such as events where Flicker effects are banned, blocked constructed tournaments, mono-colored tournaments, but the one idea that really stuck was Singleton. If I remember correctly, we had a long Twitter thread going, about Pauper EDH, when someone mentioned how much fun it would be to play. The idea really took off from there. By that time, I was getting pretty familiar with all the player-run events taking place on MTGO, so I thought “Why not?”. It took a bit of planning, getting familiar with the site, and starting an event for a format that didn’t really exist, from the ground up. It went well, though. Our first event – Battle of the Brews: Ash Barrens – was so popular, in concept alone, that the top prize was donated by one of our followers and we had another 10 tix donated to the prize pool from a different player! It was really neat to see so many people come together for something like that, which really had no point of reference or historical data, to work with us to pull off such a great event.

Does Pauper Singleton compete with Commander?

Short answer: no, and I don’t think it ever will. That’s okay - the only real similarities in the two formats are a handful of their deck-construction requirements. Commander has one of the biggest fan-bases in the MTG world, and while Pauper is no slouch in that category, there’s just no way it can compete with a format that can literally choose from just about any card in the entire game. Fans of EDH are extremely passionate, and their decks are sometimes so wildly inventive that I can’t help but admire the format. If there is one thing the two definitely have in common, it’s that you could go pretty deep when brewing new decks and fun card-interactions. Although the concept of PDH (Pauper Commander) has been around for a while, the discussions around it have been gaining a lot of steam, as of late, and I don’t think it will be too long after the world can go back to playing paper games, that you’ll see this format take off. For right now, though, it’s strictly a paper-only format because Wizards doesn’t recognize or support it. I’m not totally sure there’s a way to play it online, at least not by its traditional rules. You’d really have to put a lot of work into making a deck for PDH if you wanted to play it on MTGO. Honestly, I don’t foresee Wizards ever sanctioning PDH, or any variety of Pauper Singleton. We had a long enough wait just to get the format we know and love officially recognized. I don’t really mind, though. Nearly every format has some sort of offshoot variation for players wanting a break from the norm and a break from grinding. I’d like to think that’s what we’re giving them with these Singleton events.
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What is the current Pauper Singleton meta?

Well, we are only currently in our 3rd Battle of the Brews Singleton tournament, so I don’t think the meta is easy to nail down; however, Dimir has shown up in good numbers, at the first two events, and I think that surprises exactly no one! Blue and Black just have so many early threats and perfect answers that it only seems right for it to be just as strong a color-combination in Singleton as it is in the regular Pauper meta. I mean, Bojuka Bog and Chainer’s Edict were in the top 3 most played cards in each of the first two tournaments. Crypt Rats was up there too, which I think just goes to show how valuable removal was to the players. I think an aggro-heavy field was expected and it shows in some of the most played cards. Bellow one example, the decklist of HeWhoIsInTheWater, the winner of the first tournament:
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Even with that said, about 20% of the field, in the first BotB, was a mono-colored list. Every color was represented and I’m sure that had to do with the fact that Singleton was pretty unfamiliar to most players who entered. I do expect the decks to get more creative and complex and equally more powerful as we continue to hold the types of events.

Any feedback you being receiving?

Overall, the feedback for our Singleton tournaments have been nothing but positive! Originally, we had the plan to only hold these events right after a set is released, just to see what creative uses our community has conjured up with new cards, but I get a few messages every week asking when the next tournament is going to be held. Everyone is genuinely excited for them. Like I said, Pauper players love to brew up new decks and these Singleton events are a great platform to showcase those concoctions. As they rise in popularity, you can expect more of these events.

Thank you Brad! You can enter Pauper Guild discord here, their instagram and @pauper_b and @paupersphere on Twitter.

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Leon

Programador do site da Cards Realm. O Magic vai muito além das cartas. Somos pessoas, uma comunidade enorme.

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