Magic: the Gathering


Pauper: How to Beat All That Glitters

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In today's article, we'll see if Pauper is ready to deal with the growing threat of strategies that use All That Glitters. Nowadays, this card has become one of the pillars of this format!

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Is Pauper a Healthy Format?

Ever since MH2 was released, and indestructible artifact lands came along, Pauper has been under an uncontrollable flow of changes (???). Affinity soon became one of the strongest decks in the format, and, even after several bans, it has remained the topic of discussion whenever we debate banlists.

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Artifacts have become so important in this format that even strategies that aren't really concerned with this type of permanent have molded themselves around it. New decks came along, and some old decks have changed radically - like Mono-Red, which no longer is a pure Burn deck. Nowadays, it is much more an aggro deck with a strong artifact theme.


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After many bans, both Mono-Red and Affinity needed to reinvent themselves to fight the invasion of Midrange decks in Pauper.

Commander Legends forced this format to "rotate" again because of All That Glitters, a Magic Symbol 1Magic Symbol W enchantment that grants +1/+1 to the enchanted creature for each artifact and enchantment you control. It is really similar to the now-banned Cranial Plating.

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Currently, this card has been one of the most mentioned cards whenever players discuss banlists. The community argues this card is way above the power level Pauper operates at nowadays, and the strong presence of the decks that use it in the meta is one of the points players most bring up. Their win rates are also a point of contention.

But, why are Glitter decks so successful in Pauper these days?

One of the main reasons we can point out for why Glitter decks have been so successful is its card redundancy. One example is Novice Inspector, a card that was recently released in MKM.

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The mana base of Glitter decks uses old artifact lands, besides bridges, and other artifacts that give you even more value, like Lembas or the package of eight Inspectors itself (???). All of this makes Glitters an absurdly strong card, just like the banned Atog.

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Therefore, we can conclude that, alone, All That Glitters may be useless, but it can be quite broken in the right build.

In this article, I'll analyze the tools Pauper has to deal with the power of Glitter decks, considering the two best versions of this strategy: Azorius Affinity and Boros Synthesizer. We'll show you All That Glitters is a good card, but can easily be defeated with the proper strategy.

Searching for the Perfect Hate

When we analyze the history of artifact decks in this format, it is easy to see some cards have stood out as options against these decks. Dust to Dust and Gorilla Shaman have been the most popular ones.

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However, when we analyze the most popular decks in Pauper, we can also see Boros Synthesizer is, currently, the most popular strategy among the ones that use All That Glitters. Azorius Affinity is significantly less represented in tournaments.

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Unlike Affinity, Boros' mana base combines artifact lands and other types of lands, as it doesn't depend on the Affinity mechanic. This deck has many creatures with evasion, and can create a lot of value when you bounce artifacts like Experimental Synthesizer and Lembas. These cards work as this deck's engine, as well as Kor Skyfisher and Glint Hawk.

What makes this deck so good nowadays is that it can simply abandon its Glitters game plan and return to its traditional game plan: put on pressure from above and abuse Burn. In this build, All That Glitters is a bonus; if you manage to stick it on the board, it will probably win you the game, but if you can't, you won't really miss it, and you'll still have great chances of winning the game.


Traditional hate, Dust to Dust and Gorilla Shaman, are not that great against this build. So, what else can we use?

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With All That Glitters in the equation, it is much more effective to play around this card itself and forget their artifacts. As a result, cards that interact with this enchantment or the target creature are much better, even more if you can use them in several situations.

Destroy Evil is excellent against Glitters, but it's also excellent against Tolarian Terror and Caw Gates. Snap is incredible against Glitters, but it's also pretty great against other threats, like Kenku Artificer. Troublemaker Ouphe is the same: it can even remove a Myr Enforcer from play.

So, Pauper has impressive hate pieces in various colors, but we still need to evaluate which decks we can use with them. Which archetypes have the best tools to deal with the threat Glitters represents?

Anti-Meta Decks

When we analyze the most popular decks nowadays, we can see there's a good variety of strategies in the metagame. Some stand out more, like Mono-Red, Jeskai Ephemerate, and Dimir Faeries, alongside Boros Synthesizer, which is the most popular deck nowadays.

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Mono-Red Kuldotha is an aggro deck that works quite similar to Boros and Azorius Affinity. It tries to end games quickly and explosively with a combination of fast creatures and burn spells.

This list's greatest advantage is precisely its burn, which lets it interact with All That Glitters instantaneously while you put pressure on the board. The Kuldotha Rebirth + Goblin Bushwhacker game plan forces your opponent to take as much caution as they can because there's a real risk they could lose the game because of it.

Cards like Smash to Smithereens and Gorilla Shaman are always in sideboards, and make the matchup against Affinity much easier.

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Jeskai is more of a control deck. It creates a lot of value if it survives the first few turns. Skred and Dawnbringer Cleric are incredible against Glitter decks, and Murmuring Mystic is simply the best creatures against these decks because it may stop your opponent's attacks as it changes the board state rapidly.

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Dimir Faeries naturally struggles against Boros because of its Flying creatures, but it has managed to survive the metagame. This shows Snuff Out and Spellstutter Sprite are still powerful. Snuff Out in particular is significant because it is a free spell that can interact with Glitters in any situation.

Midrange decks in general are a good call against Glitter decks because of their removals. Decks like Golgari Initiative and Izzet Control have survived the metagame because they have many ways to interact with their opponent and create enough value to finish games effectively.

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Combo decks have also performed well in the Glitters metagame quite consistently. Goblins Combo has been their strongest representative for now.

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Even though Goblins Combo is vulnerable to graveyard hate, it can handle this problem quite efficiently and finish games fast.

Against Azorius Affinity, which doesn't have many ways to interact with its combo, is a very favorable matchup for Goblins. Boros Synth has removals, but it is still a difficult match for Boros. Goblins Combo also has good matchups against other anti-meta decks - it is the reason it is so well-positioned nowadays.

Final Thoughts

Pauper is in a healthy phase. Glitter decks are, yes, overly represented in Leagues and Challenges, just like tabletop, but that is much more because of how easy and practical these decks are to pilot than because they're too strong.

Decks like Azorius Familiars or Altar Tron, which are too complicated and take a long time to finish matches, show up much less precisely because of these reasons. However, a metagame full of these strategies could be much more boring, personally. We've seen that happen in the past, when Fog Tron dominated Pauper and created matches that were not at all fun for those who tried to pilot other decks.

Just like once we've lived through the reign of Combo and Midrange decks in Pauper, today we're living through the reign of Aggro decks. Mono-Red and Glitters are popular strategies that are easy to pilot and incredibly fast - this significantly boosts the popularity of these decks.

Don't be mistaken: All That Glitters is strong, but Pauper is more than ready to deal with it. You just have to pick the right strategy.

Thank you for reading. Tell us your thoughts, suggestions, and feedback in our comment section.

See you next time!