Bogleing in Pauper

Slippery Bogle
Hey there! This week, I am taking a break from writing about the regular competitive formats that you might be used to see me writing about. So, that means leave those Standard, Legacy, and Modern decks in their boxes, and follow me on a mind-bogling expedition into Pauper country.

I’ve previously played a bit of Pauper on Magic Online and just recently got into it again, as I wanted a Constructed format to play to earn the last Qualifier Points I was missing for the Magic Online Championship Series. I hadn’t really followed the Pauper scene online, so I had no clue where to start. I thought that the G/W Auras deck that has been making waves in Modern could be transferred to Pauper as well, since many of the key cards are commons. I had most of the cards that I needed, so I started brewing different versions.

Bogle & Friends

The first version I came up with played a fair bit of both green and white, but from experience, I know that making an aggressive two-colored deck in Pauper is difficult, as the lands available really constrain you. I did a bit of research and found a similar idea to mine from the Daily Events lists available on the Magic Online site. For reference, here is the list played by Ripzter.

This list had some of the same ideas I had been playing around with, but also some things I wasn’t a fan of to start with. I don’t particularly like the ten lands plus Land Grant package, and I would rather just play more lands instead, as there are times where you might have your Land Grant countered and lose, and the upsides to thinning your deck are not all that great. I made some modifications and came up with the following version.

I tried this version in a couple of Daily Events, to mixed results. I liked the general game plan of the deck, but I lost to mana problems many times. Both quantity and quality was a problem, as I lost games to both missing white mana and being stuck on two lands with multiple 3-mana spells in hand. I wanted to try out Spider Umbra, as it is good against the black decks running cards like Geth's Verdict that might cause you problems otherwise. Spider Umbra underperformed, and it was often the first card to be cut when sideboarding.

I went back to the drawing board with the ideas I garnered from the two Daily Events, and I changed the deck a bit. This is my current build.

Aura Gnarlid
I added Aura Gnarlid to the deck, as it is good against some of the hate cards people are playing, such as Standard Bearer. I couldn’t find room for the fourth in the main deck, so I moved it to the sideboard. I was very happy with the Selesnya Guildgates, as having access to another white source that is not Manamorphose is nice. Armadillo Cloak and Ancestral Mask are the main reasons to play this deck, as they are super-powerful in a format with not all that many powerful things going on.

Armadillo Cloak has been played in Pauper before, but most decks just had random creatures to put it on, and not creatures that are almost impossible to kill. The deck can potentially kill on turn four, and it is more resilient than some of the other fast creature decks such as Infect.

As you can see, I made no changes to the sideboard, but having played this deck in some additional Daily Events, there are some shortcomings that should be addressed. Some of the cards played against this deck are Curfew, Electrickery, Circle of Protection: Green, and Standard Bearer. The first two are not all that troublesome, but the sideboard really needs some enchantment destruction or you are just dead against a Circle of Protection: Green. When I played against the mono-white deck, I realized that Hornet Sting is not always enough, as if the opponent has Prismatic Strands to go along with a Standard Bearer, you are in for a rough time. This is a good reason to run a third Journey to Nowhere in the sideboard, as it doesn’t care about Prismatic Strands. Aura Gnarlid is also good against the decks that try to get us with Standard Bearer, as we can swing for a lot with just the Utopia Sprawls and Abundant Growths.

Suit up!

Wild Growth
The next time I’ll play this deck, I think I will try out the Wild Growths played by Ripzter, perhaps cutting a land or two, and some of the Spider Umbras. If I played Wild Growth, I would also add the fourth Aura Gnarlid, as playing one of those on turn two can lead to some very quick games.

Overall, I feel that this deck is quite good and has a good matchup against most of the other fair decks. Infect is unfavorable presideboarding, but it becomes better once you have some disruption. Mono-white and Goblins should be very good matchups, but as usual, it always depends on the hate they have. Mono-blue Delver seems as though it should be a good matchup on paper, but I’ve had some tough matches against the deck, and things can be very tight. If Delver has a quick clock and can counter most of your good Auras and Aura Gnarlid, you can be in a bit of trouble. Hornet Sting helps a bit here, as it kills Delver of Secrets before it transforms, but some other cards for this matchup might be a good idea.

Benevolent Unicorn
From the games I’ve played, the Cloudpost deck seems to be a good matchup—unless the player has some kind of really good hate such as Circle of Protection: Green. I haven’t yet had to chance to play against Storm, but I can see it being a bad matchup. You do have a potential turn-four kill, so it’s not as though you are much slower than Storm is. If you are having trouble with Storm, some additional Sandstorms or a few Benevolent Unicorns might do the trick.

I hope you liked this look into an alternative competitive format. At least locally, there are no Pauper tournaments, but Magic Online offers a lot of Pauper play for those interested in the format. The format is good if you are looking for a cheap format to play, as most commons are cheap. There are exceptions, as some of the rarer commons such as Daze, Lotus Petal, and Invigorate are expensive, but there are many decks that feature mostly cheap cards. Be sure to try out this deck if you are looking for something fun and competitive to play in Pauper.

As usual, if you have any ideas, comments or questions, go ahead and contact me either via Twitter or through the comments section below. If there are any topics in particular you would like me to cover in future articles, be sure to let me know. If you try out this deck, be sure to let me know what kind of experiences you have with it or if you have any suggestions regarding the deck.

Thanks for reading,
@thebloom_ on Twitter
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