Magic: the Gathering
Taking a closer look at Pauper's Cantrips
What makes card selection so important is the ability it has to reduce the impact of luck
SideboardIt is not common to side-out cantrips, even if you have many options to include, it is recommended that you leave out something that you consider "just okay" against your oponente deck to maintain a cantrip that can help you find an answer that is better than "just okay". An interesting approach to understand Pauper's cantrips is to know more about the function they have in each archetype.
Cantrip x Archetype
Tempo:A Tempo deck's game plan is to play one or two threats on the field and be able to protect those threats while disrupting the opponent's game plan. In this archetype the role of the cantrips is to find these threats, the means to protect them and the means to disrupt the opponent's game. Mono U and UB Delver have these characteristics and make excessive use of cantrips, but while Mono U uses Ponder and Preordain, UB opts for Brainstorm because of Evolving Wilds and Ash Barrens. I confess that I'm not a fan of Brainstorm on Mono U. There are those who consider it a mistake to play with the card on the deck, and there are those who prefer to have one more option to guarantee the transform of the Delver of Secrets. If one day I were to use this tech, it would certainly be on a list with four Augur of Bolas to enhance the card in the deck.
Mid Range / Control:Usually these are decks that take the game to the late game, the function of cantrips in this archetype is to offer more quality in the draws, we usually don't want to flood, but we also need to keep our land drop working. Preordain ends up being unanimous on the lists.
Combo:It is usually in these decks that most of the cantrips are concentrated. In Tribe, for example, in addition to the set (Ponder, Preordain and Brainstorm) we also have cards like Shadow Rift, Inside Out and even the Augur of Bolas itself. The main function of cantrips in this archetype is to find the parts of the combo and the ways to execute it safely. I think it's worth mentioning that Tribe's more combocentric lists end up giving up playing with four copies of Preordain, precisely because this cantrip digs fewer cards in the deck. Currently the combos are low in format and although the Tribe is gaining more and more characteristics of a Mid Range deck, the cantrips end up performing additional functions such as buffing the Seeker of the Way.
ReferencesMagic’s zero-level spells Brainstorm Deck Heuristics