Magic: the Gathering


Pauper: The Best Cards from Outlaws of Thunder Junction

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Outlaws of Thunder Junction is coming! In today's article, I'll analyze the best common cards from this set for Pauper.

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The Best OTJ Cards for Pauper

Standard-legal sets usually don't have many powerful cards for Pauper, which has a relatively high power level when compared to other constructed formats (even though it only uses common cards). However, one or two cards from these sets always end up being added to some deck, or changing the format entirely, like Deadly Dispute and Tolarian Terror.

Outlaws of Thunder Junctionlink outside website will bring us some common cards that can see play in Pauper. I still can't see any of these cards having the impact Dispute and Terror had, but this set still has a lot of potential.


Ping Lands

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We'll start this article with the land cycle I'm calling "Ping Lands". They're ten lands, each representing a color pairing, that go on the battlefield tapped and deal 1 damage to the target opponent.

Out of all of them, the only pairings that can be a bit more useful in Pauper are Rakdos and Boros, due to the synergy they can bring to Rakdos Burn and Boros Synthesizer, which are Aggro decks and can benefit from this extra point of damage.

You can check out a more in-depth analysis of these lands by clicking herelink outside website.


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Armored Armadillo can be useful to Mono-White Heroic because it has synergy with Solid Footing, which will allow you to deal damage with its toughness instead of its power. Mono-W hasn't been popular for some time now, but every now and again it pops up and gets some results, and it is more accessible than other decks in Pauper.

Its Ward ability is quite relevant, considering it helps us in the matchups against Midrange and Control decks.

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Several BW Ephemerate, White Weenie, and BW Sisters lists use Inspiring Overseer, which creates value in two different ways: card advantage and lifegain.

Holy Cow does the same thing, but it gives you more life and, instead of drawing a card, it offers us Scry 1, which isn't that bad if we consider we can cast it with Flash. Card advantage isn't always everything, and maybe manipulating our top deck while we buy a little bit of time is better.


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This is a 3/3 creature that costs 3 mana; it also allows you to exile a card and pay its Plot cost to cast it for free on a later turn as a sorcery.

Freestrider Commando is quite weak for Pauper, but, if we really think about how we can abuse its first ability (which would normally be used with Plot), we can imagine some interactions that are, at least, very fun.

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Unearth allows us to bring this creature straight from the graveyard, and also use its counters. We can also do this with Cascade.

In both ways, we'll have a green Gurmag Angler. However, the fact this card is green is an issue, as this will make it an easier target to Snuff Out, not to mention other removals that can easily deal with this creature. Still, it looks interesting.


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Raven of Fell Omens has Flying and will bring "Committing a Crime" to Pauper. In this format, we have several ways to Commit a Crime - one of the archetypes that would most benefit from this mechanic, for instance, is Burn.

Rakdos Burn and Black Burn would use this creature well. The fact its ability is only available once per turn makes it a lot worse than it seems, but, as it is a Flying creature in Black that can block Faeries, it can be interesting.


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I recently wrote about this card and Gold Pan, which we'll mention down below. You can read more about it by clicking herelink outside website.

Reckless Lackey is another Goblin that will come to Pauper to make the lives of Red Aggro decks easier, and it will be another option next to cards that are already consolidated in this format, like Goblin Blast-Runner and Goblin Tomb Raider. Mono-Red already has a Ping version, which uses Kessig Flamebreather, a one-drop Kuldotha version, which only uses one cost spells, and the traditional Kuldotha version, which uses Reckless Impulse. This new Goblin can birth another version, one that focuses more on Goblins, and brings Goblin Grenade and Goblin Sledder in its list.

Other decks, like Boros, can also use this card - its ability, which creates a Treasure and draws cards, makes it quite versatile.


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Mono Blue Faeries has also been a bit unpopular in Pauper, particularly because of how popular UB Faeries has been. However, I believe that, in a metagame that is dominated by decks with All That Glitters, and even UB itself, Mono U can be a strong option.

Razzle-Dazzler can play well in Mono U lists, as it will help you make your Ninjas stick to the board more easily with its ability. In a Mono U deck, casting two spells to make it work won't be challenging.


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Gold Pan is a two mana artifact that, any time it enters the battlefield, will create a Treasure token - you can also equip it to a creature for Magic Symbol 1, and give the equipped creature +1/+1.

At first, it might not seem like much, considering it won't give you card advantage, and it also doesn't have an effect that is usually interesting in two mana artifacts. However, casting an artifact that creates another artifact and can also give +1/+1 to a creature is interesting, even more so when we consider how Pauper is centered around strategies that abuse Affinity and All That Glitters.

Final Words

OTJ isn't one of the best sets for Pauper, as it brought us just a few cards that have potential, but I remember I once thought the idea of using 8 Thrabens was quite weird when MKM and Novice Inspector came along, just like many players thought Deadly Dispute was too weak for this format. Only time will tell how much this set will impact Pauper.

I hope you liked this article. Leave your questions, suggestions, or feedback in the comment section - I'll try to answer all of you.

See you next time!