The casualty of the Pauper Commander allows the most varied decks to be built, which can be based on mechanics rarely used in other formats today, in themes, colors, or also decks exclusively from a tribe. These decks can still do well at game tables across the world, whether at the local store, in the kitchen at home with close friends, among other ways to play that you can find — the format allows for a wide variation in strategies and game plans.
In today's article, we will briefly talk about the origin of each tribe within a historical context and also present ten entirely tribal decklists. As always, each player can change the chosen list according to the mechanics and style that best suits their profile; the lists that we will present can be seen as a base, a guide, but they are still lists that run well, as they have been tested and adjusted as necessary.
Pauper Commander Tribal Decks
Many players play Merfolks in a variety of formats, as this type of creature has many relevant effects, such as drawing cards, tapping permanents, or returning permanents to the hand.
Merfolks are creatures that exist outside the game, being animals of the salamander family. They are amphibians that live most of the time in fresh water, but can also survive out of water, to hunt for food, for example.
In Magic, this type first appeared in the Lorwyn set, which was centered around creature types and subtypes, but in Alpha, Lord of Atlantis, now referred to as a Merfolk, supported in its text for this creature type, despite not being declared in its type as a merfolk.
Our Merfolk list comes in blue-green, which combines the most traditional color of this tribe, with green, which also has many good cards for this deck. The chosen commander is Merfolk Mistbinder.
The deck's main strategy is to place the creatures as quickly as possible and hit them grown up, either with the commander or with other interactions. To get them in play quickly, we have draw spells and ramps.
As a secondary plan, we used damage prevention, to hold on as long as possible. Counterspells are best when used against massive removals, protecting creatures on the field as much as possible.
As an alternate win condition, we've added the damage combo with three enchantments, Freed From the Real, Psionic Gift and Hermetic Study.
Pirates are real. Some say they still exist. Regardless, pirates became very famous in the 16th and 18th centuries due to the trade route between Europe and the Americas after the discovery of the new continent. With that, some Europeans, mostly Dutch, British, Spanish and French, took advantage of this high flow in the Atlantic Ocean to plunder the ships that came from the American continent with the riches taken from the natives.
In addition to stealing cargo, pirates also plundered European coastal cities, raiding towns and villages, not only searching for gold, but also for food, weapons, or to recruit personnel for their ships.
In Magic, many creatures are pirates, and for our format there are many creatures with great effects, like Azure Fleet Admiral that brings the Monarch mechanic, and with that, we can build great decks without deviating from the tribal theme.
In this deck, we use two commanders with a partner because we have two pirates that combine the best colors available from that tribe. Both trigger their ability when any of your pirates deal damage: the red one removes a card from the top, allowing it to be cast, and the blue one creates a treasure. This skill pairs very well with Freed From the Real and Psionic Gift, creating an infinite loop with three pieces.
The deck runs much better with its commanders in play, or with one of them, as it can take better advantage of this situation, and behaves like a Midrange, as it generates different values with its pirates, counting on combo pieces to help finish the game.
The nature of spirits can have different meanings, we can see aspects that attribute the spirit to the vital energy that manifests itself in the physical body.
It is a bit tricky to define spirits in real life, as this leads us to religious beliefs, which can confirm their existence through faith, even if there is no satisfactory scientific evidence, and entering this environment would lead us into a dogmatic subject, which not everyone is comfortable with and is not the purpose of this article, but rather to bring a little of the tribe into and out of magic.
Spirits can also be found, in different spheres of religions, in the culture of some peoples, who believe in the existence of these supernatural beings, which can be good and bad.
In Magic, spirits have a legion of fans, most of them in Modern, which used to have a deck based on this tribe that was at the top of the Metagame. In Pauper Commander, we can find the best in blue and white combinations, combining evasion with card draw and lifelink.
The deck has a fair number of spirits, draws very well, and tends to try to control the game, but can attack mid-game with numerous creatures with flying and with the help of a power boost
It could even be considered a Tempo deck, depending on how its controller pilots it.
TheTreefolks are fantastic creatures from the Tolkien universe, from The Lord of the Rings. They are conscious trees that move, speak several languages, can fight whenever they want and are very resistant.
They were created by the author of The Lord of the Rings, inspired (or not) by Shakespeare's Macbeth, in which the character arrived in the Great Forest of Birnam. He remembers this school moment with great disgust, and it has taken him since then, and he was hooked on the idea of creating a scenario in which the trees literally marched out to fight a war.
Magic doesn't have that many powerful Treefolks, but a deck based on this theme looks fun and promising.
The list has many ramps, which will help to put Treefolks in play faster, as their CMC is high, and some of them the player can take advantage of their effects.
In addition to them, the deck has various removals to contain the advancement of the opponents' game. The deck is also capable of returning your graveyard creatures to hand, which makes it a good deck to defend because out of the 21 creatures the deck has, 13 have greater resistance than attack, and if the commander is on the battlefield, creatures become removals, and even if they are destroyed, they can return to play
Vampires are supernatural creatures that have come a long way in recent years, greatly increasing their legion of loyal fans.
Vampires are part of legends of various folklore and have a rich history, and I even wrote an article exclusively about this tribe, which you can read by clicking here. In this article, you can find out about its origins, history inside and outside Magic.
The deck has 29 vampires, and most of them have abilities that deal damage to one or more opponents, slowly draining their life total.
The Commander increases the power and toughness of other vampires.
Zombies form a tribe that, like vampires, has greatly increased its popularity due to the large number of films with these creatures, coming to light at the beginning of the century with a series of films based on a game, Resident Evil, and also with the endless The Walking Dead show.
As with vampires, I also wrote a themed article for the tribe, which you can access here.
For the zombie tribal, we brought Mono-Black, and the commander has two great static abilities for the tribe: lowering zombie CMC and giving +2/+1 to these creatures, but this commander has a steep mana cost.
There were 33 zombies in the deck, each with a purpose in the deck. It was considered using another creature as a leader, Carrion Feeder, to assemble a voltron, but since most of these zombies are medium to high cost, the cost reduction weighed heavily on the choice.
The deck is still built around an aristocrats gameplan with some creatures that increase power and toughness by sacrificing your creatures, as well as having Phyresis, making it possible to win with infect damage.
Goblins are creatures that live in caves and forests. They are part of Norse culture, and are similar to the elves of Celtic culture. They are considered beings who play pranks on people, and are also an evil force that opposes the force of nature.
Its origin in this mythology is not known for sure, which differs from most characters in Nordic culture, it is only known that legends were passed between generations in Northern Europe, such as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. There are those who say that, in these regions, stories about goblins were told to children so that they would not walk alone through the forests of the region, as a local legend, to educate and instill fear.
In Magic, the Goblins have communities dedicated exclusively to them, with aspects in almost all formats, such as Legacy, Pauper, Modern, among others, all aggressive, full of these little creatures that benefit from the presence of others on play.
For our list, a voltron commander, whose power and toughness depends directly on the red permanents, the color of the Goblins — and even counts with an evasion.
We used thirty goblins and some support spells, some rituals to generate a lot of mana because there's storm in the deck, creating tokens for these little monsters. With cards synergistic with the main plan, Impact Tremors stands out, dealing direct damage and all opponents.
Slivers are creatures that are created exclusively for Magic: The Gathering, and we have a few theories about their origin. It is known that they were found on an artificial plane of Rath.
Slivers are creatures with the most varied effects, which you can assign them to all slivers on the field, and the fact that all other slivers share their abilities is because they share their consciousness, all with the aim to protect and work for the queen.
In the Pauper EDH format, you have the option of building a deck with five colors and using all the possible Slivers, but here we chose to use the three colors that we find best, in the Naya combination.
So that we could build a considerably good deck, we chose to use a non-sliver as a commander, to have access to red, green and white. We chose this new commander, which allows you to search for a card when it hits the board.
One of the best options would be Virulent Sliver, which can defeat an opponent upon entering the battlefield, depending on the amount of slivers the player controls.
Most of the deck is green, with some ramps, and it has its game plan depending on its slivers on the field, which has the most varied effects that add to the others.
Eldrazis are another type of creature created exclusively for Magic. In Lore, they natively inhabit the space and exist between the different planes. It has an incomprehensible nature and life purpose, they just devour all the energy they can when they find a plane. They have no physical form or relationship to colors, as they have transcended colors as we know them.
As for cards, Eldrazis have a very high CMC, but unique abilities not found in any other creature, which makes them special. In common cards, few have good abilities, but we still managed to gather some to build a deck that is playable at your table.
The list isn't very strong, and its main plan doesn't have a lot of synergy, but still, if your bigger creatures hit the board, they do some good damage, mainly due to the ability to annihilate.
As the deck doesn't have a game plan that revolves around the Eldrazi, it has alternative plans, which tend to inhibit the opponents' play, making them discard cards and destroy their lands, trying as much as possible to delay the development of their game.
While this is occurring, the player can feed some of their Eldrazi to the graveyard and try to revive them. The Commander still has an activated ability, which is to grant haste to target creature.
Finally, we come to the Elves, a Tribe that perhaps, along with the Goblins, has the most admirers among all the tribes, and also people who don't like it. Generally, those who like one tribe don't like the other, as they are enemies in Magic.
Elves are mythological creatures of the Celtic and Scandinavian folklore, and are present in the legends of countries such as Great Britain, North Germany, Norway and Sweden. They are magical creatures that use their powers to prank humans and are almost immortal, as they do not suffer from old age or disease.
Elves are lovers of the arts, dance, music and nature, and can be considered direct children of nature, as they have a symbiotic relationship with trees, rivers, forests, seeking energy and forms of healing for animals and other beings in nature itself.
The Elves became better known due to their use in Tolkien's works in the Lord of the Rings saga, being portrayed as great sages, long-lived, very strong magic and cunning warriors.
The base of the deck is based on Pauper, as it has high synergy between the cards, creating combos and loops, and even if they are not infinite in some cases, they are extremely powerful and complicated to get around.
In addition to being a deck with some combos, it can also be considered a voltron because of its power and toughness. The deck has 46 elves, all with abilities that make the deck much better than it looks. It's a tricky deck to pilot, but once you've mastered it, you can easily make it one of the best in the format, given its synergy.
Bonus Deck — The Lord of the Rings
We also brought a bonus deck for readers. Some of the tribes that we cite here are widely used by the writer, professor and philologist naturalized British, but born in South Africa, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, creator of the series of books The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit among others that are set in the same fantastic and fictional world. Because of this, we decided to build a deck based on the books that became a movie, and won many awards.
I created a deck inspired by the base story of The Lord of the Rings sequel, considering the main characters, some of the appearances that happen throughout the story and some other hidden references that those who are fans will find.
To build the deck, I found some problems. The first one due to two races in particular that doesn't exist in the Magic universe, the Hobbits, who are the main characters of the whole story, and some of them I used Rogues and Humans, even because Hobbits are a form of humans that evolved from according to the needs of the environment they inhabited and the Mayar, who are beings of magical and very long existence, examples are Gandalf and Sauron, in this case I used Wizard and Warrior.
Another problem is that to build a deck based on the main characters and events from the books, we couldn't get a competitive enough list, being considered a gooseberry deck. Of course, so that the deck wouldn't look bad, we added some elements that we'll see in the next topic.
We have creatures that represent the main characters in the book, and they have some uses in the deck — they're not the best, but they can still be put to good use. By using five colors, we have access to removals, counterspells, ramps, cantrips and draws, to try to have a way to deal with the board even if in a more general way.
The game plan is to place the creatures, and hold as much life as possible to build your combo.
The deck also has tutors to be able to find the pieces of combos, which are the deck's winconditions.
Use the Freed From the Real with Psionic Gift or Hermetic Study and Night Market Lookout combo to deal damage if enough mana is generated. The second is done with Freed From the Real, Disciple of the Vault and Glittermonger, as the rule says that before a token ceases to exist when it dies, it goes to the graveyard, triggering Disciple's ability.
The third combo that leads to victory is Impact Tremors on the field with infinite token creation with Midnight Guard and Presence of Gond.
Another endgame option is with the commander, which we can increase his power and toughness considerably.
These were our lists for today, created with great dedication and affection for all readers. All have been tested in at least three matches against different tables. I really hope you all like it because this article was a lot of work, despite being simple.
Thank you all for reading, and until next time.