Excited for Pauper? A Commons Only Format


Channel Fireball announced that paper Pauper events will be organized as side events during all the GPs in January 2018. A lot of people were excited about this news, some even speculating that we might see a Pauper GP in the near future. But what is Pauper?

Pauper is an eternal format where the only legal cards are commons from any printed MTG set or product, including cards that were never printed as common on paper but have a common rarity on MTGO, such as Chainer's Edict. Pauper decks consist of a 60-card deck with an optional 15-card sidebord. According to The Professor from Tolarian Community College, Pauper is the best budget format because it uses Legacy cards without a reserved list. Pauper Tier 1 decks can be built for only around 20-50,00 €. Having been a favorite format on MTGO for years, several local game stores have recently been organizing Pauper leagues and Pauper store events

What's the Pauper Metagame?

MTG Pauper Players

As with any meta for any format, this usually depends on the location. However, in Pauper, one finds that a variety of decks are successful, and no clear deck can be crowned as unbeatable. Decks like Infect, Blue Delver, Stompy Green, Affinity, Kuldotah Boros, and Burn have all made a name for themselves as top-tier decks. The wide variety of playable decks makes Pauper a healthy format. Legacy and Modern players can also find Pauper interesting because these tier decks mirror the gameplay of their more expensive counterparts, whilst allowing room for experimentation and innovation. In a format where the best cards are commons, players end up with creative strategies with cards, which may not be playable in other formats.

Surprisingly, Pauper is a competitive format. Games are fast and skill intensive. Its use of commons is definitely not an indication of a weak format. On the contrary, Pauper allows for cards like Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain, Lightning Bolt, Counterspell, Gush, Llanowar Elves, Chainer's Edict, etc. The format is similar to Legacy and Vintage, but for budget players.

Another good aspect of Pauper is its ban list. The list only has 10 cards on it and half of the cards are storm cards. However, this list may grow, if certain cards become too powerful, should Pauper events scale.

Pauper with a Side of Caution

MTG Pauper Deck

The main appeal of Pauper is the affordability of the format. Do you want to build the latest top Pauper deck from MTGO? It will not cost you more than 40,00 € in paper. Some people, however, have voiced their concern with Channel Fireball's announcement. With Pauper getting more attention from mainstream players, some have sounded the alarm that this might drive the prices of certain Pauper staples upward. With more people wanting to build Pauper decks, sellers will stock for the demand and might increase their prices accordingly.

Pauper Advice

Try the format. If you have never played Pauper, build a deck and play with friends. Because the Pauper decks are tuned to work a certain way, players need to focus and improve their skills. Unlike Standard or Modern, Pauper offers players an affordable way to feel like a pro.

What do you think of Pauper and the upcoming side events in January? Are you excited or wary? Would you want to see Wizards officially supporting the format with official products, like they did with Commander? Let me know!

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


To leave your comment please log into your Cardmarket account or create a new account.

BB-Spiele(2018-01-31 11:09)

We are so excited for Pauper!
It seems like People want to try it out as well. We are selling many Pauper Decks at the moment.
Good thing we got almost all staples in stock so we can build Decks and start to play. :)

rsci1(2018-01-29 15:53)

@nicobd Cards rarely get banned in Pauper. Also the fact that they are mostly commons, if a card gets banned, you would have not lost any significant investment as probably it would not have costed much. Regarding the card cool, come cards which have been downgraded to common on MTGO and never printed as common in paper sets are legal in paper magic. The best way to know if a card is legal or not in any format is to check on scryfall.com. This is a card searching tool which shows the legality of any card in any format. As of yet, MTG Gatherer does not offer information regarding Pauper. I hope this helps.

nicodb(2018-01-21 15:48)

I love to play pauper irl. It is an underplayed format imho, but when I see anything about the format, it is about the online format. The paper pool is much bigger. Are there any interesting cards for paper pauper that are not in magic online? And as an extension to the question: seeing that the banlist is small, what are cards that are in danger of banning when using paper?

jurgengrech(2018-01-18 22:09)

Nice article Ryan! This is a truly great format for beginners and experienced players alike!