So Commander Masters was fully spoiled over the weekend, and wow, what a set for Pauper! Like all Masters sets, they are a set full of reprints. What that usually means is we get cards downshifted to common, making them Pauper legal!
This Set is no different. Some of these cards are powerful and will likely shake the metagame up. Let’s take a look at the downshifted cards and where I suspect them to see play.
All that Glitters is probably the card that will have an immediate impact to Pauper. My first initial thought is this goes straight into Bogles. The card either replaces Ancestral Mask or it goes in addition and is Ethereal Armor 5-8 and then Ancestral Mask Picks up the slack.
Costing two mana here is crucial for a deck like Bogles that can struggle to get both its colors and up to three mana.
Secondly, this opens up a completely new archetype, an aggressive artifact based deck. Putting All that Glitters onto a Gingerbrute or a really early Frogmite can just take away with the game gaining Power and Toughness everytime you play an Artifact land. Let’s not start mentioning Kenku Artificer with this card.
Generous Gift is an interesting card. The colorshifted Beast Within has some unique uses in Pauper. It is a great catch all for decks that overall don't care about the 3/3 Elephant token. A deck like Flicker tron that can use the catch all and search for it at any point with Mystical Teachings, then when the game has been taken over can simply Dinrova Horror the token back to their hand.
Other decks like Familiars could potentially use this; however, it may be win more. This is because when gaining infinite white (and life) during said loop you could Generous Gift all of your opponents' permanents and then Snap all the Elephants. On the other side, having access to an indestructible permanent like Razortide Bridge during this infinite white loop you provide yourself with infinite 3/3s gaining a one turn wincon.
Myrsmith is a card that could give late game and board presence to a deck that just plays incremental artifacts.
A deck like Boros Synth could utilize this, adding a mana tax onto casting Experimental Synthesizer or Lembas to slowly gain a Myr army. This could be problematic for control decks if left on the field.
These are the other white downshifts from Commander Masters. However, some may appear in a few off meta decks. Like Supply Runners may end up a top end threat from an aggro deck. This is unlikely, but worth noting these have been introduced into the format.
Murmuring Mystic is a strong type of card to have access to in Pauper. It is an expensive Young Pyromancer, but the only type of effect we have access to in Pauper. The Body is very relevant in the current format - a 1/ 5, just stops most creatures in the format dead in their tracks.
The 1/1s Birds from Murmuring Mystic are very relevant and help finish the game out with evasion or stabilize the board against a faerie onslaught.
I believe this card could slide into existing spell heavy shells like Familiars or it could cement itself into a new strategy.
I don't know how much Shipwreck Dowser will see play, but the Body and ability are very relevant, and the effect is obviously powerful as shown by what is already legal in the Pauper format.
Just when you thought Terror couldn't get any more options... This card is another strong contender to warp the format.
In Dimir Terror, I think this won't replace Gurmag Angler in lists we currently have, but could be an addition of the usual threats, especially if needed to up the threat count.
Where I think this will shine is in the None-Black Terror decks, Izzet or even Mono Blue. After Tolarian Terror the quality of threats you have access to really drops off. Crimson Fleet Commodore and Spire Golem are as really good as it gets. Now with Cryptic Serpent you basically get access to 8 Tolarian Terrors and these decks have a real endgame.
Overall, this card will impact Pauper in a huge way, either giving Dimir Terror up to 12 huge threats or giving Izzet / Mono Blue 8 very real threats.
Thoughtcast at home. When I first saw this card I thought it was very strong, however, I believe this in actuality is only going to see very niche play. Needing to tap the artifacts means you are going to need lots of artifacts that just exist on the field, Blood Fountain, Blood Token, Ichor Wellspring and Lembas come to mind. This is because you don't want to be tapping Myr Enforcer and Frogmite to cast it, unless you are really behind.
Further to this, I believe it is worse than options we already have access to like Deadly Dispute, Reckoner's Bargain and Thoughtcast. So where this will see play is actually pretty difficult to say. I believe a Non-Black Artifact-based deck will find a home for this, maybe or Jeskai Affinity, using Reverse Engineer as a Thoughtcast 5-8.
However, if there were ever a storm deck to exist, I could see this in some numbers, allowing you to have card selection whilst casting all your rituals. With the new downshift of Guttersnipe I could see this finding it's way into the deck.
Here are the rest of the Downshifts in Blue we have gained in Commander Masters. I don't believe these will see much play, but things like Vizier of Tumbling Sands have the potential to show up in certain decks. The UG petals deck could always use more Twiddle effects.
Dread Return will single handedly change the way combo decks exist moving forward. One Land Spy gets an easy win condition. Dread Returns flashback cost will have all sorts of combos being experimented with. Not only this, you additionally gain 4 more reanimate spells in black.
Other Reanimator decks have ran white for Late to Dinner. Now there is no reason to do so, with easier manabase and a relevant flashback ability on it. Which can be used to sacrifice your enablers like Satyr Wayfinder or Fallaji Archaeologist.
Black finally gets a Three mana Board wipe. Traditionally, Black has only had access to Suffocating Fumes, which doesn't hit a great deal, or gets an expensive Board wipe in Arms of Hadar or Evincar's Justice.
One Land Spy or Balustrade Spy combo decks can sacrifice the spy and Two other creatures to Reanimate Lotleth Giant dealing the opponent lethal damage. I am excited to see what the combo enthusiasts do with both of these powerful cards legal in the format.
Mire Triton is a strong enabler. It provides fuel for Delve or reanimation decks. Provides a good statted body to trade favourably with your opponents Creatures.
These honorable mentions are cards that will now be legal in the format. Nadier's Nightblade is a good to have, more Fleshbag Marauder effects, especially if the creature type ends up mattering. Other than that, it is great to have access to more downshifts, but don't believe these will likely see much play.
Guttersnipe allows you to cast less spells to make that lethal. Guttersnipe could make this a viable strategy, only testing will tell.
Other options for this is in Pinger Red. Currently utilizing Thermo Alchemist and Kessig Flamebreather whilst using Wrenn's Resolve and all the other draw Two's Mono Red has access too. I think Guttersnipe is too expensive overall, but I wouldn't be surprised if it made its way into that deck.
Spitebellows is one of the cards I'm looking forward to playing with the most. Giving Ephemerate decks a way to use it as a removal spell is great. Giving decks like Jeskai Ephem or Boros Ephem more tools to use with Ephemerate is exciting to see.
Another card which has the potential to change the face of Pauper. Albeit it is an expensive board wipe, but this is the first effect in Pauper to deal 3 damage. Red now has access to board wipe Dawnbringer Cleric, Kor Skyfisher, Thorn of the Black Rose, Kessig Flamebreather and a lot more.
All of this without the set up that Swirling Sandstorm needs. I look forward to see the possibilities this card brings to Pauper.
More Mortician Beetle that Rakdos Sacrifice gets access to the better. Eventually, there will be a critical mass of these effects where the sacrifice payoffs will eventually make this a real contender in the meta. This is a step in the right direction.
More downshifts that Commander Masters has given us access to. Can't imagine any of these seeing much play, but always great to give players more options to brew with.
Crawling Infestation is a solid enabler similar to Mire Triton. A hard to deal permanent that gives you a board presence, and fuels your graveyard. There will be strategies that will love to take advantage of this card.
Commander Masters is full of downshifts quite a few that are rare to commons -, looking at you, Crash of Rhino Beetles. However, I don't expect it to see a bunch of play.
Giving a creature payoff for a Lands Matters deck is a good thing. Enough payoffs and it may become a viable deck.
Brass Knuckles is not going to be the most playable card that slots right into a deck with the downshift. However, with this and the printing of Bladegraft Aspirant, it is something to be aware of that a deck may not be far from fruition.
I don’t think it is going to be the end of Mono Red with zddition of this, but it is a card to consider having in your 75 if you are artifact-based and are struggling with Mono Red.
The last two cards to be downshifted are again not the most playable of cards, but again having these as options allows the Pauper players options when brewing their decks.
So overall, we have had over 40 downshifts in Commander Masters and I believe that some of these cards will have a huge impact on the Pauper Format.
With these downshifts the meta will be either tipped over the edge or completely shape the metagame into something new. There is a lot of Power in these Downshifts, especially in All That Glitters and Cryptic Serpent. But even cards like can
shape the metagame because we have never had access to effects like these before!
I am really looking forward to how the overall metagame will shake out post Commander Masters, and can’t wait to see what decks people bring to the table.
Until Next Time!