Magic: the Gathering


Pauper: MTGO Creator Showdown and how it Impacted the Meta

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In today's article, I'll delve deep into Pauper's current metagame and go through how MTGO Creator Showdown greatly impacted it.

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Tabata Marques

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About MTGO Creator Showdown

Modern Horizons 3link outside website has already changed Pauper significantly - in some ways, it surprised even the most unfazed players.

The main culprits behind this are the events that took place in the first week of MH3, particularly {}{MTGO Creator Showdown}, which happened last weekend, June 15th, on Magic Online.

Creator Showdown was an exclusive event that featured several content creators from around the world, all part of the MTGO Creator Programlink outside website. This program was created and promoted by the Magic Online team to bring more visibility to the game, and, at the same time, attract new players and grow the community through partnered content creators.


The Event's Metagame

Well, I had the pleasure of playing in this event because I am actually in the MTGO Creator Program. It also featured my favorite format, Pauper, as its main event, so I couldn't be more excited.

It was a double elimination tournament with six rounds, so, if you lost two rounds out of all six, you'd be eliminated. I brought Grixis Affinity with the new card, Refurbished Familiar.

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Unfortunately, I only made it all the way to round 4 with this deck; I won a mirror and beat a Dimir Terror list with Sneaky Snacker (which I'll discuss soon), and lost two rounds to Poison Storm and Gruul Ponza. Even though I didn't make it all the way to the end, I had a lot of fun and felt my list was quite strong and consistent with this new MH3 rat.

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Despite the upgrade, my list still had bad matchups. Poison Storm was extremely difficult to deal with, just like Ponza, which puts you on an incredibly fast and oppressive clock as it abuses Take the Initiative.

This was the metagame at the MTGO Creator Showdown:

Creator Showdown Metagame - Graphic: Kalikaiz (saidin.raken)
Creator Showdown Metagame - Graphic: Kalikaiz (saidin.raken)

As expected, Grixis Affinity was the most popular deck, even though Cranial Ram had just been banned a few days prior. El_Gran_Boar eventually got first place with this deck, after they won against none other than Gabriel Nassif, the "Yellowhat" himself, and his Boros Bully in the final round.

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Boros Bully practically didn't exist in this format, as it was replaced by Caw-Gates, but, in a metagame full of Affinity, it was an interesting option.

RG Cascade Ponza was also incredibly successful and got great results, particularly the version without any land destruction by Brazilian player Lucas Giggs. He brought the MH3 Eldrazis to the main stage of the MTGO Creator Showdown.

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This version stands out not only because it plays Eldrazis, which is quite peculiar (considering they didn't make a lot of noise at the MH3 spoiler season), but also because it uses Colossal Dreadmask. Writhing Chrysalis has also shown us it has a spot in the meta: in more traditional RG lists with land destruction. It's the same as Eldrazi Repurposer. Both have a lot of synergy with each other and fit the ramp strategy in RG decks quite nicely.

Chrysalis is an incredible card that, I confess, I didn't notice at first; it was a very pleasant surprise. One of its many strengths is that it is a relevant body that grows itself and ramps, and you can cast it for free with Cascade. It also deals with creatures like Guardian of the Guildpact, goes through Prismatic Strands, and Hydroblast can't counter it. So, without a question, it is very valuable.

This event's top 8 included Bogles, a very peculiar list that still didn't stray too far from the traditional version, Dimir Terror (the same I mentioned before), Rakdos Madness piloted by Alexandre Weber, Poison Storm, and Affinity.


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This Dimir Terror list had to add new techs to slot in Sneaky Snacker; it uses The Modern Age instead of Augur of Bolas. This means it not only can play the Snackers in your graveyard but also draw new cards to possibly bring them back. It also creates a 2/3 body with evasion.

It also included Eviscerator's Insight, right next to Deep Analysis. They're both great to play in your graveyard and accelerate Tolarian Terror.

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Rakdos Madness seems to be an excellent home to Sneaky Snacker, which shows just how versatile this card is. It is also a looting piece; with it, you won't have to discard your most useful cards, and returns to your battlefield quite easily with Rakdos' card draw. Refurbished Familiar is a fascinating choice as well, as it is a body that puts even more pressure on the game and creates value one way or another through its ETB.

How the MTGO Creator Showdown Affected Pauper

This event basically showcased MH3 in Pauper, but it also changed a lot more. Pauper's first week with MH3 was dominated by Grixis Affinity, as shown by the Pauper League, and then we got a wave of decks that tried to prey on this archetype. This forced Pauper to drastically turn back to its hates: four copies of Dust to Dust, four Revoke Existence, and four Gorilla Shaman.

Gruul Ponza and Bogles grew rapidly in the last few days, and dethroned decks in other tiers, like Dimir Faeries and Caw-Gates - it settled in next to Affinity at the top of the metagame. Rakdos Madness also grew considerably, particularly the version with Sneaky Snacker.

This change also brought other decks to the Pauper metagame, like Walls, which was already well-positioned, White Weenie, many variations of White Heroic, Dredge, and BW Blade. All of these decks were quite unpopular before, but now show a lot of potential for this new metagame.

Final Words

Pauper will certainly evolve a lot in the next few days still. We'll see more decks popping up and returning to the meta more prepared and adapted to deal with the new current threats. It is still early to say which decks will dominate this format, and which are just taking advantage of the recent trends, but we undoubtedly still have a lot in MH3 to explore. Maybe Affinity's reign isn't as solid as we thought.

What do you think of the current metagame? Tell us your thoughts in our comment section below.

Thank you for reading, and see you next time!