Pauper Meta Report - Second Week of August 2023

Commander Masters Winners and Losers

As the meta has started to adapt two the newest downshifts, we are beginning to see the cards living up to the hype and unexpected winners that have risen in popularity. Note that these are just impressions based on what I’ve seen in leagues, challenges, and sometimes Twitter, meaning that they are subject to this timing and, as such, meta could change from when you are reading this article.

Winners


All that Glitters, is finally being utilized in some shells but needs more consistency to be reliable enough. I personally like it on Brute Squad or in shells, where you can use countermagic as a backup to protect your creature, but outside of it, I’ve just seen one or two decks that can pull off decent results. That being said, kudos to Mogged, who managed to make the top two in the Saturday challenge with an affinity deck running a complete set of them, and to Beicodegeia, to make the top four on the Sunday Challenge with a similar list.


Murmuring Mystic is another card that has been seeing more play lately in both Dimir and Izzet lists, but the archetype that is happier to have it is Familiars, as now it has another way to close games. Previously against matches like Orhzov Ephemerate or Boros Synthesizer, games took a lot of time to get completed as you had to go through tons of loops to win games by either milling your opponents with Sage Row Denizen or bouncing your opponent's creatures. Now, it just requires Mystic in play and protecting it to close the game from one turn to another, which I find more reliable.


Last but not least, Cryptic Serpent is very happy in the blue shells, and it has now started the debate as to whether or not it is better than having a Gurmag Angler. In my case, it's roughly about the same, but what you need to keep in mind is that Angler eats your graveyard while Serpents doesn't, and that is a strong argument in the Serpent’s favor if you are facing opponents with graveyard hate cards that will keep it small.

Losers

Unlike the other cards on the winning list, Guttersnipe, on the other hand, has seen zero competitive play so far. I do not know how that would realistically change in the near future, but this card becomes part of combo shells, meaning it is just a matter of a crazy madman finding the right angle and breaking the meta with it.

Lastly, while Windrider Wizard was hyped at the beginning in Familiar's shell, the most successful players with the archetype prefer to pass on it and rely on more solid cards like Murmuring Mystic.

Where does the meta stand now?

To be completely honest, the meta is still in the same place. No new combo decks were added, for good or worse, and top decks like Terror or Affinity just got the buff they didn’t need to keep being the best ones at the top of the format.

The unexpected winner for this is Blue Red. This is because it now has access to another solid cheap creature to pressure the board, to cheap removal spells like Lightning Bolt and Skred, and access to the best sideboard to the meta in Pyroblast and Cast Into The Fire.

Aside from that, the same decks are dominant in Pauper. In no particular order, these are the top ten decks that I consider to be the best in the current pauper meta:

  • Burn
  • Affinity
  • Jeskai Ephemerate
  • Dimir Terror
  • Mono Blue
  • Caw Gates
  • Ponza
  • Familiars
  • Golgari Gardens
  • Boros Synth

Top Decks of the Week

Saturday Challenge Winner - LasVegasChaos

Unlike last week, we are now starting to see the impact of Commander Master's Downshift in events. While the Saturday winner was Gruul Ponza, both Esper Affinity and Izzet decks managed to put up good results in both challenges.

Sunday Challenge Winner - discoverN

On Sunday, the winner of the event was Mono Blue Delver, and the field preferred to play the newest version of Affinity than to play Burn, as players like Beicodegeia, who is very well known to play red decks only, decided to try something else in the hope of more consistent results.


Saturday Challenge runner-up - Mogged

This is a similar version of the initial sketches that were drawn when the downshifts took place. While it leads to faster starts, this one has a significant problem: it gets walled easily, which may or may not seem relevant but against decks with tons of fliers like Caw Gates or that can generate multiple of them like Familiars with Murmuring Mystic, this can be problematic.

Still, this can easily get corrected by adding a Wedding Invitation to the 75, as Beicodegeia did on Sunday Challenge.

Undoubtedly, it's an exciting shell worth trying in the following events.

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It's a relief that new cards are starting to see more play, and the meta can slowly start going in the right direction, yet again, without the intervention of any outside assistance. Hopefully, this is the trend onwards, as creating a meta with many opportunities will draw more attention to other players to try the format.

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Take care, and I will see you next week!

Where to Play Pauper?

I have compiled a list of places to play Pauper, mostly IRL. The address may vary, but it's a helpful place to start and check if some of them are near you. They may not play Pauper every day, so it's always a good idea to ask before traveling.


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