Pauper: Everything we know about Gates (so far)!
07/23/22 0 comments
The Gates have become the new trend in Pauper. In this article, I analyze which strategies this combination can really succeed and how to combat it in the future.Edit Article
Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gatecards, prompting more players to try what seems to be a multi-archetype staple today:
What makes Basilisk Gate good in Pauper?
It turns any creature into a threatIn short, Basilisk Gate makes basically any creature you own a wincondition as the game stretches and offers something that many Pauper archetypes lack when closing games — a significant clock boost — and it does so while these decks can abdicate the need to resort to precious slots belonging to spells for this: you just need between ten and fourteen gates (including Basilisk Gate) to take advantage of this power boost. With that, there's (virtually) no bad topdeck among your creatures if they can deal combat damage against the opponent during a turn or two.
Gates' manabase is extremely flexible
JumpStartpreview, which brought the Thriving Lands to Pauper. On it, I mentioned how the option for you to select the colors that they can generate when makes splashing absurdly easier, that would supposedly make it an essential part of the most varied Midranges. Unfortunately, despite the Thriving Lands having collaborated to the extension of decks like Jeskai Ephemerate and the increase in Tron consistency alongside Bonder's Ornament, more interesting options have emerged, such as the Bridges on Modern Horizons II. However, their great advantage also applies to the new Gates: the ease of splashing colors that would not normally be present on your maindeck or Sideboard with them, and we see this applied, for example, in the main list that started this search trend for the best Basilisk Gate shell,
Caw-Gate: Deck Tech explaining how Caw-Gate works, and I recommend that you read it since I don't intend to delve too much into the archetype here, but we can consider it as the central focus of what elements really succeed with this theme, and there is a lot to learn from this base. Regarding splashes, despite having a mostly blue and white base, including Counterspell, the list that won a Pauper Challenge had red and black for punctual answers against the format, such as Pyroblast and Arms of Hadar.
A considerable category of decks can use itUnless your deck is mono colored with a fast clock (like Burn or Mono Red Blitz), has a base that doesn't allow tapped lands (like Mono Blue Delver), or needs specific lands for certain interactions (like Affinity or Rakdos Burn), you probably have a list eligible to run Basilisk Gate when removing some of your duals in favor of lands that share this permanent type.
What strategies benefit from Basilisk Gate?
Archetypes that don't rely on specific mechanics or sheer speed to win gamesUnless you're playing a deck that fully bets on speed to win, or has a specific ability or interaction that puts a lot of strain on your manabase (like basic land types for Snuff Out or artifact lands for Affinity/Metalcraft), you probably have an eligible strategy to fit Basilisk Gate — especially if we're talking about a Midrange or Control where they normally don't care about having some tapped lands along with creatures that actually make that power increase matter. However, in theory, not every list will be able to take full advantage of this structure with the same efficiency and/or without heavier trade-offs. Basilisk Gate is theoretically excellent in Faeries variants, as it addresses the need to cover one of the primary weaknesses of this strategy: the lack of an efficient clock after you stabilize the game. With it, you turn any Faerie Seer or Spellstutter Sprite into a 4/4 Flying in a few turns. However, Faeries is extremely color intensive: You want two blues for Counterspell, you want two blues and one red for a backup with removal, you want three blues for cantrips that might find an answer. Because of this, resorting to a colorless land is harmful if you don't adapt your base for it — something relatively viable in the format we have today — as it doesn't fit so well into the current structure due to these requirements. It's possible that my assumption that Faeries isn't the best alternative for Gates is wrong, and we'll see the archetype take over Pauper when people find the right shell. After all, Caw-Gate plays with Counterspell and Celestial Flare and doesn't have as many problems with color requirements, but Faeries' need to transition between beatdown and control is much more frequent, and It really bothers me about investing three mana for a power boost if we don't increase the number of lands and/or adapt the play style with more proactive elements. Basilisk Gate solves masterfully. The tradeoff, however, is having fewer targets to cast Glint Hawk aggressively without needing more lands that come into play tapped, or relying on a playset of Ancient Den and Great Furnace along with the risk of becoming an easy target for Gorilla Shaman.
NotGood's list takes that idea to the max with this 5-Color Ephemerate, which has the support of Abundant Growth to have access to any color in addition to offering the classic interaction with Kor Skyfisher in the same way that we saw with Arcum's Astrolabe. In these Ephemerate variants, Basilisk Gate has the inevitability that at some point your flying creatures will attack without blocking, and at that moment, the fact that you naturally take the game to late-game makes Gates' base extremely efficient in terms of power boost, easily enabling a three or even two-turn clock. Ephemerate, the low deckbuilding concession required allows you to add Gates to literally any archetype that doesn't care so much about Early-Game, even in a combo like Tireless Tribe with Inside Out, where activating the land along with Shadow Rift means dealing a considerable amount of damage on later stages — not to mention that Mulldrifter and Seeker of the Way are also great targets for it. Basilisk Gate is giving Infect means to play without resorting exclusively to the "creature + pump" proposal, making room for more interaction and the certainty that, if the game extends, you have the inevitability to deal 10 damage with a creature and win the game instantly. Some other lists are running Blighted Agent to play around Lifegain.
What do I need to run Basilisk Gate in my deck?
A manabase that supports Gates without making your game plan worse
Creatures with abilities that benefit combatActivating a Basilisk Gate on a Phyrexian Rager means very little if it is blocked and/or even if it damages the player. The best targets are creatures that have some sort of evasion and/or relevant ability at the combat phase.
Double Strikeare powered up by Basilisk Gate. After all, 4 Lifelink damage is another 4 life you gain to slow your opponent's clock.
How to fight Basilisk Gate?
Go for the Lands
is exclusively activated at Sorcery-Speed and requires a three mana investment to generate the pump— this creates a massive response window to deal with any creature your opponent makes this investment of resources, preferably with something that costs less mana than they invested.