5 Pauper Decks for Beginners


With the sudden spotlight on Pauper, the commons only format, a lot of new players want to give it a shot, but where to begin? What decks to play? Here I list 5 Pauper decks that are super cheap and provide a good introduction to the format, perfect for beginners.

If you are new to Magic or a budget player, Pauper is the format for you. Since only common cards are allowed in a game of Pauper, it is considered the most accessible and budget friendly format. This allows for some powerful strategies and easy to pilot decks at a reasonable cost. In this article I will be listing five Pauper decks for beginners that don't breaking the bank.


Similar to its Modern Counterpart, the burn deck focuses on a simple and fast strategy; To apply as much pressure to your opponent as soon as possible. This requires you to play spells that deal damage, either to your opponents creatures or their life total. Cards like Lightning Bolt, Lava Spike, Curse of the Pierced Heart and Incinerate are good ways to deal direct damage to your opponent, while creatures like Thermo Alchemist and Keldon Marauders keep the pressure on your opponent. Thermo Alchemist can especially provide value as each time you cast another burn spell, you can untap it to deal more damage. Basically, the deck deals a lot of damage fast. Be careful, however, not to run out of fuel (in this case damage spells), or else your opponent will endure your burn and finish you off with his/her creatures. If you're an impulsive player that likes to act and ask questions later, this deck is perfect for you and it will only cost you around 10-15€, including sideboard.

18 Lands 8 Creatures 30 Instants 4 Enchantments
Forgotten Cave Thermo-Alchemist 4 Shard Volley 4 Curse of the Pierced Heart
16 Mountain 4 Keldon Marauders 4 Lava Spike  
    4 Lightning Bolt  
    3 Needle Drop  
    4 Incinerate  
    3 Searing Blaze  
    4 Rift Bolt  
    4 Fireblast  
3 Electrickery 2 Lightning Strike Searing Blaze 4 Smash to Smithereens
Molten Rain Relic of Progenitus Fireslinger  


Affinity is a fan favorite Magic deck dating back to Mirrodin Standard in 2004. The Pauper version can be built for around 25€, including sideboard. This deck broke Standard during the Mirrodin block (nearly 14 years ago) and it's still powerful today, both in Modern and in Pauper. It plays a number of early artifacts (including the entire mana base) to make casting other artifacts cheaper, basically exploiting the affinity mechanic (hence the name). This gives the deck a fast beatdown style, which means you can start hitting your opponent early by casting your Frogmites and Myr Enforcers for free. Spells such as Carapace Forger and Galvanic Blast give you added value if you have three or more artifacts in play thanks to the Metalcraft mechanic, which, in this deck, will not be a problem to activate. The deck also has an alternative win condition if the beatdown plan is not working out. You can sacrifice any number of artifacts to make Atog’s power large and then sacrifice it with Fling to deal direct damage to your opponent equal to Atog’s power.

Mono-Black Control

For those players who like to play control magic, this mono-black Pauper deck will cost them only 10-15€ including sideboard. A staple of the format since it’s conception, the deck plays a bunch of disruptive creatures such as Cuombajj Witches to ping your opponents creatures and Chittering Rats to keep your opponent's’ hand-size down. Finally, playing Gray Merchant of Asphodel will finish off your opponent’s life total. The deck can struggle with decks that generate card advantage such as Jeskai and Esper, however, it still has a great match-up against most of the midrange decks in the format.

Mono-Green Stompy

Another deck, which costs less than 10€ including sideboard, is this mono-green Stompy. An aggro deck that wants to smash face. The original Stompy is not so budget friendly (because of Nettle Sentinel mostly), however, this build exploits your devotion to green to trigger Aspect of Hydra for maximum value. A bit difficult to pilot against decks that can combo off quickly such as Elves or Bogles/Hexproof, Stompy works best against deck that don't go completely out of control when left to themselves. Stompy can ignore the opponent's game plan and win as early as turn four.

17 Lands 27 Creatures 12 Instants and Sorcieries 4 Enchantments
17 Forest Skarrgan Pit-Skulk 4 Aspect of Hydra 4 Rancor
  4 Young Wolf 2 Hunger of the Howlpack  
  4 Garruk's Companion  3 Vines of Vastwood  
  1 Leafcrown Dryad 3 Epic Confrontation  
  4 Nest Invader     
  4 Nissa's Chosen     
  2 River Boa     
  4 Swordwise Centaur     
4 Scattershot Archer 1 Epic Confrontation Naturalize 3 Aerial Volley
Elephant Guide      

Mono-Blue Delver

The mono-blue Delver deck is a very popular Pauper deck. The deck is somewhat expensive, however, with some lists costing around 40-50€ to build. This version can be built for as low as 16€ including sideboard. The idea of the deck is play Delver of Secrets / Insectile Aberration and flip it as soon as possible to start beating on your opponent. Using Counterspell and Nullify to counter your opponents spells and control the game in your favor. This build is more geared towards playing tempo cards such as Unsummon and Into the Roil to stall your opponent and utilizing other cards such as Think Twice and Ponder to help you get to your resources before your opponent. New players should definitely try this deck as it will expose them to the power of control magic. Whether they like it or not, that’s a different question.

Bonus Deck: White Weenies

One always-popular deck for beginners is the mono-white weenies deck. The deck uses only white cards with an emphasis on small creatures that either give some form of advantage or can be buffed to present a serious threat to your opponent. This deck can be assembled for less than 5€ including sideboard and is all about playing creatures and attacking. Playing Doomed Traveler and Thraben Inspector early give you some card advantage while other creatures such as Icatian Javelineers and Territorial Hammerskull can help you control the board so that you can swing in with your creatures. White Weenies is a fun, easy, and cheap deck to pilot, which I believe has served as effective training wheels for many players.

Final Remarks

If you are new to the format and want to experience powerful magic at a fraction of the cost, then these budget friendly decks should help you out. Of course, these are just suggestions and a starting place. Improvements to these lists are easily made. But these decks will provide new players with fun, powerful and varied strategies at a fraction of the cost (even by Pauper standards).

What do you think of these decks? How would you change them? Would you like to see more budget friendly builds? Let us know.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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Sooly(19.04.2018 17:03)

Blue and Red Elemental Blasts are not pauper legal.

rsci1(01.02.2018 08:12)

The Mono-Blue Sideboard has been updated. Sorry for the mistake.

tailsfromvienna(31.01.2018 20:20)

nice article.
the most important aspect of pauper seems to be, that most decks revolve around small creatures, which in turn leads to decks packing cards that are good against x/1 creatures, mainly by being able to deal 1 damage to them (Coumbajj Witches, Icatian Javelineers, Scattershot Archer, Aerial Volley, Electrickery, Fireslinger). As a reaction to that, many good x/1 creatures were replaced by others that survive a ping (by being x/2, regenerating, leaving something on the board when they die)
That said, i doubt that the greed deck can kill regularly on turn 4. It would be possible with cards like Kessig Prowler, but as stated above, that card would not survive long in pauper

Prosasan(31.01.2018 13:54)

Good article! but why are all the mono blue delver sideboard cards black , with no black sources ?

Bajuwarenzorn(31.01.2018 11:15)

Cool article, i'd like to try the format now! I guess the Mono-Blue Delver Sideboard is missing since there happens to be the Mono-Black Control Sideboard. What is the Delver Sideboard?

zemetal(30.01.2018 19:19)

your mono blue delver's sideboard is monoblack devotion's sideboard

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