Pauper: Top 5 Best Cards from JumpStart 2022

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Pauper: Top 5 Best Cards from JumpStart 2022

12/05/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

In today's article, we present the five best cards from the last Booster Set of the year, JumpStart 2022, for Pauper!

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By Romeu

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translated by Romeu

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Top 5 JumpStart 2022 Cards for Pauper

The last booster set of the year, JumpStart 2022, has just been released. Unlike its predecessor, which brought Thriving Lands, its main highlight in Pauper is the amount of useful reprints for the format, in addition to new versions of staples such as Spellstutter Sprite and Preordain. The set has only had one downshift, and many of its new commons are unimpressive compared to what we've received the rest of the year. However, that doesn't mean that some of them aren't worth a careful look at their potential in the format. Therefore, today I present the five best cards from JumpStart 2022 for Pauper!

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5 - Merfolk Pupil

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Blue commons have been gaining new interactions with the graveyard over the last year, as we've seen with Advanced Stitchwing and Expendable Lackey, but also on artifact creatures like Halo Scarab in Streets of New Capenna. Merfolk Pupil is a new variant of these, where it offers looting. Despite the possibility of entering on strategies that resort to the self-mill and/or seek to have a specific card in the graveyard, such as Reanimator, the existence of faster options in Pauper limits its space and perhaps with a more appropriate creature type, it would have more space in competitive decklists. However, the card's design is very elegant and practical, and it sets yet another precedent for innovative recursion methods, and thus deserves the fifth place.

4 - Ghoul's Feast

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It's a shame that Ossuary Rats doesn't deal damage to players with its ability to share the second place alongside Ghoul's Feast for bringing two excellent payoffs for a deck focused on putting numerous creatures in the graveyard, like Tortured Existence. But reality is harsh, and Ghoul's Feast is JumpStart 2022's only downshift to the format. Its inclusion is limited by the fact that it's an Instant on an archetype that naturally wants a high number of creatures and may have little access to recursion if you don't resort to blue or red for Ardent Elementalist or Archaeomancer, but it opens up some "alpha strike" options on the right list, with the potential for ten or more damage on a single attack. But, as with many other cards with graveyard interactions that have entered Pauper over the last couple of years, Ghoul's Feast still doesn't have the proper home to establish itself and is still too reliant on an easily hated resource in a format that features Relic of Progenitus, Nihil Spellbomb and Bojuka Bog.

3 - Spectral Hunt-Caller

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Throughout 2022, Wizards has given several payoffs to mana sinks in Pauper, and Spectral Hunt-Caller is another one of them. Unlike some examples ran in infinite mana combos like Valakut Invoker, the wolf requires creatures to attack to serve as a wincondition. But where the new wolf fits in is not in combo strategies like Walls, but in decks that are interested in this power boost and have a decent amount of attacking creatures that benefit from an activation or two. The main archetype that might be interested in Spectral Hunt-Caller today is Elves, who have no problems generating absurd amounts of mana and could take advantage of the Trample offered by the creature, not to mention that it is found by Lead the Stampede and Winding Way and can be activated the moment it comes into play. Another list that could use it is Ponza, where its body is decent for stabilizing the board and a single activation of its ability grants evasion for Sarulf's Packmate and Boarding Party.

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2 - Infernal Idol

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Infernal Idol is an exceptional mana rock for Black-Based Midranges that care about playing above the curve, such as Golgari Midrange and Orzhov Pestilence. It gives you some good opportunities to play it on turn 3 and, in the same turn, resolve a Duress or other cheap removal, or to guarantee Pestilence the next turn with an activation to deal with opposing 1/1s. Also, unlike other mana rocks with benefits that came out this year, Infernal Idol offers card advantage when it's no longer useful with a built-in Sign in Blood. The artifact isn't as efficient as Bonder's Ornament was in this category, but the added value and flexibility for lists looking to extend the game makes it a decent fit for the format.

1 - Soul Read

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Archmage's Charm has become a Modern and Historic staple for its flexibility, and Soul Read is a useful power creeped benchmark for Pauper, as it does half as much as Modern Horizons 2's rare, but at a high cost by the format's standards. For four mana, the new blue instant probably only has a home in late-game and/or soft locking strategies, mainly on Tron, who returned to the format after Energy Refractor was released, as the spell's colorless cost is malleable in the late-game, in addition to being a good target to search with Mystical Teachings when you want to take advantage of the mana left at the end of the opponent's turn. Of the few new additions that JumpStart 2022 brought to Pauper, Soul Read tops the list for being the only option that can actually pop into one or two well-established archetypes in the format, rather than straddling in the line between playable or totally useless.

Conclusion

JumpStart 2022 was the least impactful release in terms of news for Pauper and has only a few options that, despite being viable, do not carry the potential to change it, but the whole year was loaded with important cards for the format, and we ended it with a good and different Metagame from what existed at this same time last year. Thanks for reading!
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Romeu

Journalism student, writer and translator for Cards Realm. Plays virtually every Magic: The Gathering competitive format and is a lifetime Final Fantasy fan.

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