Pauper Meta Report - Impact of Monastery Swiftspear's Ban on Pauper

Table of Contents

Banning the Best Card of the Format


There's no doubt to anyone that the best one-drop creature from Pauper was Monastery Swiftspear. Since its downshift to a common in September of 2022, it changed completely the way people approached the format.

Red players now had a threat that, when unanswered, could present a faster clock to other players than they could have experienced so far. In turn, the format became faster as slower decks quickly got punished by not being able to deal with a turn-one threat and, god forbid, two or three by turn-two.

However, like any story, context matters to understanding the red dominance over Pauper.

Behind Monastery Swiftspear's Removal from Pauper

To understand the Ban From Monastery Swiftspear, we need to understand better the environment where it was drawn into Pauper. Red got insane buff's from the end of 2021 until the recently released Lost Caverns of Ixalan (LCI). Here's the breakdown for you.

Crimson VOW released on 11/19/2021: Kessig Flamebreather+ Voldaren Epicure + Reckless Impulse + End the Festivities

NEO released on 2/18/2022: Experimental Synthesizer

Ufinity released on 10/07/2022: _____ Goblin (Sticker Goblin)

BRO released on 11/18/2022: Goblin Blast-Runner

MOM released on 04/21/2023: Wrenn's Resolve

LOTR released on 06/23/2023: Cast Into the Fire

LCI released on 11/17/2023: Goblin Tomb Raider

As you can see, the success of Mono Red in Pauper is more than just one card, but rather, a compound effect of multiple cards that can be swapped back and forth to create different versions of the deck. In that Period of time, of little over a year, Red got several buffs with almost every major set release, while other decks just got specific tools to make them a bit better, but non of them got as many upgrades as the red menace has had.

From the most common burn version to the grindy version with eight Reckless Impulse effects to the more aggressive combo approach using Lotus Petal and Sticker Goblin, mono red has more to it than just one card. While the deck will feel its loss, I personally don't think it's going to shake the meta as much.

What this change potentially did was to lower your counts of Hydroblast from six to four on other deck sideboards, but probably nothing more will change.

Speaking of it, mono red up until now has been kept in check by the decks that try to beat it, namely mono blue, Caw Gates, and pretty much any other deck that runs some sort of life gain or a dedicated plan pre and post sideboard against it.

It's funny because you see most of these decks banging heads against each other and lacking good ways to interact between them, as they can't lower the counts of hate cards they may run against red, in fear they got paired against it, but that's another whole topic.

What matters now is to understand that the problem has not been resolved. While the Monastery Swiftspear needed to be gone a long time ago, I recommend not to lower your defenses unless you want to be caught off guard by a very unpleasant surprise.

Wrap Up

This was a short write-up that I needed to put together to express my thoughts about the format and about the Ban itself.

If the plan was to nerf mono red, well, they certainly did, but if the actual plan was to change the Pauper meta, then we will probably need to go back to the drawing board.

Thanks for reading up until now, and we will all wait for how this story unfolds on Monday.

Up until then, take care, and we will catch up in my next meta report!

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