Potential Pauper Stars from Ravnica Allegiance


Ravnica Allegiance is here and so it's time once again to look at the set and what cards might make into constructed decks. Mark's favorite format is Pauper and he loves to trawl through the common cards as they will not only be the backbone of any draft deck but could become staples in Pauper.

Whenever a new set arrives, we are always uncertain as to whether any cards can bridge the gap into Pauper mainstream that already has thousands of available cards. Guilds of Ravnica managed to give us two cards that made inroads into the format with Hypothesizzle and Devious Cover-Up making their mark in Pauper with some 5-0 MTGO leagues. Here's a deck showcasing both of these new additions.

So, as I did with Guilds, I'll now look at Ravnica Allegiance and see if anything there has a serious chance of breaking into the Pauper format. The cards I will focus on will have a potential deck archetype named and / or a deck list provided where the cards could fit.

Creatures in Ravnica Allegiance

Burning-Tree Vandal

Burning-Tree Vandal

I like the look of Burning-Tree Vanadal. The body may look frail as a 2 /1 or even a 3/2 but the fact that it can be given haste. The fact that it can attack and rummage might be enough in conjunction with the flexibility Riot provides.

I think its home would be an aggressive deck like Red-White Weenie 

If it replaced something in that deck, it would probably be Cathartic Reunion, as it's both a body and a way of filtering, which works nicely in aggro strategies.

Persistent Petitioners

Persistent Petitioners

So, the bogeyman of Ravnica Allegiance, this card is probably the most controversial choice on this list. Mill is always a popular fringe deck and the fact that this card enables a mill strategy all by itself could be promising for Johnny. It has a reasonable mana cost and the card's stats means it can dodge a lot of removal and do some incidental blocking. This card has proven slow though and it's quite possible that the faster decks in Pauper will leave no time to get this online and working. Additionally, cards like Sultai Scavenger and Gurmag Angler will be accelerated out more quickly, which could be a major liability for mill.

There is one exception here. If MTG Arena continue to periodically do Pauper again, limiting the available number of commons to what's currently in Standard, be prepared to see this card a lot. Standard Pauper is much slower and the answers cost quite a bit.

Rafter Demon

Rafter Demon

At first sight Rafter Demon may not appear to be great and the Spectacle cost is actually higher. However, there is a Rakdos R/B discard deck so this could fit in as another top end finisher even with the shaky toughness.

PR0boszcz piloted a Rakdos Discard deck to a 4-2 in a Pauper challenge. What would you cut to add Rafter Demon?

Spells in Ravnica Allegiance

Grotesque Demise

Grotesque Demise

So in Grotesque Demise we have 2B removal available to use at instant speed, commonly in Pauper the premium removal is 1B Doom Blade or RB Terminate. On the face of it the card is slow compared to these, but it does exile the creature chosen which in many cases may be useful. The other nice thing is that a lot of the key threats are 3 power or below. For instance, this card deals with Delver of Secrets / Insectile Aberation, so while it may not be a main deck card, it could certainly be well worth a sideboard slot as Complete Disregard and Oblivion Strike have both seen play

Goblin Gathering

Goblin Gathering

Goblin Gathering is a card I can get behind, Empty the Warrens} is one of the few cards Banned in Pauper and while this card is nowhere near that level of power, an incremental increase in the number of goblins created seems good where Dragon Fodder, Goblin Instigator and Hordeling Outburst have all seen play. The only thing to consider is that you really do need to draw multiples for them to realise their true potential.

Dragon Fodder nets 2,2,2,2 for a total of 8 goblins at only 1R.

Hordeling Outburst nets 3,3,3,3 for total of 12 goblins at 1RR.

Goblin Gathering nets 2,3,4,5 for a total of 14 goblins for 2R.

Digwen's 5-0 deck is a good example of a potential home for Goblin Gathering.

Justiciar's Portal

Justiciar's Portal

Justiciar's Portal is an interesting card. It's similar to Cloudshift and Momentary Blink. Effectively all of these cards will save your creature from targeted removal or allow for a leaves play or comes into play ability to trigger again with a good example being a Mulldrifter drawing two cards or Lone Missionary gaining another four life. So, is it better than the previous printings? In a white aggressive deck, it could just be relevant to have the addition of first strike to a creature. Exile say an Angel of the Dawn making all your blocking creatures bigger and getting a 4/4 first striking angel to boot may just blow out an opponent. It's like Settle the Wreckage but at common!

Here's a deck that I think Justiciar's Portal fits nicely into.

Skewer the Critics

Skewer the Critics

Even the name Skewer the Critics lets you know exactly what this card does and this looks like an awesome addition to burn decks. It's a sorcery speed Lightning Bolt and it is extremely likely the opponent will be taking damage each and every turn anyway. I really cannot imagine a world in which burn decks don't run this card.

ACtuallyMeAmKing piloted Burn to a 5-1 in a Pauper Challenge.

If you are looking to pimp out a deck with foil cards don't expect to pick these up cheap, they are seeing play in Standard, Modern and Legacy and the price has risen accordingly.

Sagittar's Volley

Sagittar's Volley

Sagitar's Volley is going to be a sideboard card and while killing one creature is potentially slow, it's still effective, especially when Delvers are everywhere in the current meta. The card gains additional value in that all flying creatures an opponent controls take 1 damage, so is perfect in the sideboard to bring down the flying creatures created by Battle Screech, which is a popular card.

The Simic Conundrum

Growth Spiral Aeromunculus Scuttlegator

I'm bunching three cards together as I like Growth Spiral, but I've not seen a decent Simic deck at Pauper events. I really like the card but I'm not sure that it has a home. Aeromunculus has a similar problem to Growth Spiral with no home and Scuttlegator just looks like a fun card to play.

So, how do we solve this conundrum of where to put these fun and potentially powerful cards? We brew a deck for them! So here is my take on Simic Adapt in Pauper.

The deck has some early creatures to improve land drops and keep on track. Winged Coatl has to be removed or it will kill virtually everything in the format. Aeromunculus and Assault Zeppelid will be the main attackers in the air although we do have Scuttlegator for a late game threat or to keep land-based threats in check while your flyers sneak in for the win.


So, we've got a Simic deck to try at our local Pauper FNM and hopefully we've identified some fresh cards for the format. Please share your opinions on any cards I haven't identified and your new brews for Pauper.

Finally, {Cult Guildmage is not a Pauper card but is I feel the best artwork in the set and deserves a mention. Look closely at the puppet, anyone you recognise?

Cult Guildmage

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


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Basinator(2019-03-09 02:33)

"In a white aggressive deck, it could just be relevant to have the addition of first strike to a creature. Exile say an Angel of the Dawn making all your blocking creatures bigger and getting a 4/4 first striking angel to boot may just blow out an opponent. It's like Settle the Wreckage but at common!"
I want to highlight some important rule information: If you flicker your attacker with portal, it WILL be removed from combat as it enters as a new object.

Also, in the simic deck: Can stirrings really find anything but lands? Why don't run more lands then?

Also, what do you think of signets? In can think them being useful in decks that want ramp.
I wonder if pump creatures (4 mana gruul, 2 mana red (pseudo green)) have some potential.

Other cards with potential:
Blade Juggler, if you can trigger her consistently.
2/1 vigil afterlife 1 2drop - pressures, blocks, and you feel good about it
Faerie Duelist
Orator if you need to play 12 sisters
Bladebrand if you find a combo like rats or sth with it

krasnayagaming(2019-03-06 10:41)

I read this article, and I like the choice of commons from Allegiance. Skewer the Critics was the first card to attract my attention and I own one already for my legacy deck. The second card that put a ! On my head is Petitioners and the card itself (sadly I didn't pulled any :( and I am after them) and I am building a Pauper deck around it, it is just an amazing card for the format. Overall, the New Ravnica block (I mean Guilds and Allegience) had a good selection of cards and Ravnica remains a favorite. WOTC did a great job with this set since Dominaria.

Adzila(2019-03-03 01:50)

Excellent article, Mark.