Beginner on Pauper? This MTG Format will SAVE YOU tons of Money!

An Introduction to Pauper: The Budget Format

If you are curious about the cheapest MTG Eternal format, look no further; in today’s article, I will guide you to what pauper is, what are the best decks and answer the most common questions about it.

Table of Contents

What makes a pauper deck?

The format has gained popularity due to its easy accessibility and affordability, making competitive play open to those on tight budgets who don't need expensive rare or mythic rare cards.

In Pauper, decks must follow similar rules as other Eternal formats. They must have a minimum of 60 cards, with no maximum deck size. Basic lands and common cards can be included in any quantity. However, main decks can't contain uncommon, rare, or mythic rare cards – these are prohibited.


What is the best Pauper deck?

This is meta-dependent, but in 2023, the best pauper deck has to be mono-red aggro.

Until recently, mono red decks weren't considered very strong, maybe in the lower tiers of competitiveness. However, things changed dramatically when Monastery Swiftspear became a common card. This shift allowed the deck to begin matches very quickly, sometimes even achieving victory by the third turn. The focus isn't on intricate strategies or elaborate combinations; the main goal is to deal direct damage to your opponent swiftly and secure a rapid win.


What is the best Pauper deck for beginners?

In my opinion, the best Pauper deck for beginners has to be mono-black.

Some might say that starting with a mono red deck is a good choice for newcomers in the Pauper format. However, because the main strategy is quite simple, new players might not fully grasp the format's essence. 

On the other hand, mono black is a midrange deck that competes well against the common strategies without having extreme matchups. While it's not among the absolute best decks, it's a solid option to learn the basics of Pauper. If you're looking to bypass the introductory phase, opting for mono red would be a better idea.


Is Pauper Fun?

Pauper is one of the most diverse MTG formats, offering a wide range of decks despite some top choices being well-known. If you enjoy countering various strategies without spending too much, Pauper suits you. People find fun in different things, based on what they like. 

If you're attracted to Pauper's features, it can be a satisfying choice. Personally, I like crafting and testing new decks that might be too expensive in other formats because of costly cards.


Are pauper decks expensive?

When you look at Pauper decks in comparison to decks from other unchanging formats, they're much more affordable. On average, a Pauper deck costs about $50, whereas a Standard deck can be around $400. This helps you understand its affordability compared to other options. If you do the calculations, for the price of one Standard deck, you could have eight top-tier Pauper decks instead.

On platforms like MTGO, there are even decks that cost around 5 tickets or even less than that.


What cards can be played in Pauper?

In Pauper, you can only use cards that have been printed as common in Magic: The Gathering sets. This rule applies to cards from physical sets as well as digital sets found on MTG Online. 

If a card has ever been printed as a common in any set, you can use it in Pauper, even if it's a higher rarity in other sets. 

It's important to note that Pauper, like similar long-lasting formats, has a list of cards that are not allowed and are considered banned. These cards cannot be included in your deck and are not considered legal for play.


What cards are Banned in Pauper?

Here is the complete list of cards Banned for the format. Some are very well-earned, and some haven't fixed anything despite being pushed to oblivion.

How much do pauper decks cost?

Building a Pauper deck can range from absolutely free to about $100, and that's for the pricier ones. I say free because if you've been playing for a long time or have family members who have been into the game for a while and have collected a lot of spare cards, you might find Pauper staples among them and create a good Pauper deck without spending money. The highest-priced cards are usually around $10 at most, and many of these are for the sideboard, like Relic of Progenitus.


Are uncommon cards allowed in Pauper?

If they were at some point printed at a common rarity, then they can be played in pauper. Mythic, Rares, and Uncommon cards that have never been printed at a common rarity can’t be used in the format.

What is the most economical deck?

Mono-white Heroic has to be one of the most inexpensive decks of the format.


It costs around $20 IRL and around 5 tix on MTGO. These prices are different, as you can get some of the cards for mere cents or for free.

It’s not a bad deck, but it's one that you can make a one-time investment and practice around with before switching to others.

Where to Play Pauper?

While most games happen on MTGO, the presence of IRL communities is also significant. Because of this, I've listed a series of places that run Pauper events and that you can check if you live nearby or are traveling around these areas.


Looking for a summary? Check it out in this video!


Tier list of all the top MTG Pauper decks in under five minutes!

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