Eternal Masters has already arrived in paper, and it’s digital release is mere days away. If you have been following these articles, you know I believe this set will have a massive impact on Pauper. The influx of highly powered cards like Peregrine Drake, Desperate Ravings, Elvish Vanguard, and Nimble Mongoose mean new strategies are likely to emerge while old powerhouses may return. In the past, when Pauper has featured strong decks, the format has seen an influx of players on Magic Online. Whether this is because the nature of the decks attracts new blood or grinders smell that same blood in the water, there is likely to be plenty of people populating the league in the weeks to come. If you’re reading this, you are liketrying to find some information on the common format.
Of course I am not the only resource for Pauper out there. As we enter into what I believe will be a transformative season for Pauper, it is the perfect time to examine the other information out in the world about my favorite constructed format. Consider this a Pauper syllabus.
What? You think I wasn’t going to use this opportunity to toot my own horn? In all seriousness, if you want to learn about Pauper through the ages, I happen to be one of the few people who has written about the format since its player run event days. You can find current my work here on Gathering Magic. If you want to dig deeper into the archives, you have to search under SpikeBoyM on PureMTGO. My articles on Star City Games have seemingly been lost in their search function but if you’re up to some use of Google you can find my work from that time period.
But wait, there’s more! In addition to my Twitter feed (@nerdtothecore), where you can read my random Magic musings as well as find out a little bit more about my life outside the game, I maintain a Facebook page (facebook.com/nerdtothecore) that collects my Pauper writing and links to articles and content I think is valuable. I also link to the results of the Pauper League and write a weekly metagame update. While this is far from a one stop shop with regards to the format, it represents a solid start. Now, that’s enough about me. What else is out there? In no particular order . . .
This website has quickly gained a well deserved reputation as a solid resource for Pauper. There are two main attractions here. First is their metagame page which aggregates the results from the league and links to the decks. Discerning users may see that my metagame data differs from theirs. The information I present on my page goes back to the start of any particular “season” (the Wednesday before a set’s prerelease). I do not know how far back Goldfish’s data goes. As a rule of thumb, their results are more current while mine represent a long range view.
MTGGoldfish also hosts Jake Stiles. Jake has created a series of videos about some of the best (and also popular) decks in the format. For anyone just getting started this series, Playing Pauper, is a great way to see the cards in action. Jake’s commentary is insightful and the ability to watch game after game can do wonders for someone just getting started.
Where do these decklists come from? The Pauper League on Magic Online. Every day (barring a hiccup), these decks are posted to the official Magic Online deck list page. No insight, no commentary; just cards. For anyone looking to craft their own opinion of Pauper and the metagame, there is no better jumping off point.
A website dedicated to Magic Online, PureMTGO has become a haven for burgeoning Pauper authors. Sponsored by MTGOTraders, Pure is a longtime supporter of the format, and has consistently offered articles on the format for nearly a decade. While the quality can vary the archives are strewn with insights. Site manager Joshua Claytor has made a few videos but his impact is far greater than that. Josh has given a number of Pauper writers (including me) a shot at creating regular content and the community owes him a debt. Take writer Christopher Oliver for example: Josh gave him an opportunity and Oliver has made his mark on the back on his work with Bleak Coven Vampire.
Currently PureMTGO is home to Anthony Davis (@BlackDeckWins). Anthony has been in the trenches for a while and has a fresh insight into the format. If you are looking for someone who has insight into the metagame and is willing to try new things, both in games and in writing, Anthony is the guy for you.
The player known by the moniker Deluxeicoff has a long history with Pauper. He wrote some visually striking and information dense article for PureMTGO in the past and has recently returned to that site with his Pauperganda video series. The slickly produced videos feature replays, humor, and some tutorial content. Deluxe (as he is sometimes known) also maintains a Facebook page that will often chronicle his endeavors with rogue lists. A deck-builder first, Deluxeicoff tries to set himself apart from the metagame with decks that attempt to craft unbeatable draws. While the content is sporadic, it provides a counterpoint to the heavily metagame influenced work that other writers produce.
My former co-columnist at Star City, Jason is certainly prolific. With regular content on MTGOAcademy and BlackBorder, Jason has appeared on more websites than any other Pauper writer. Jason works in mixed media, combining text and video. His lists trend rogue but he is unafraid to try something new. Jason can be found on Twitter: @dimecollectorsc.
An upstart website that has been a longtime home for Pauper content, MagicGatheringStrat is best known for their Pauper Gauntlet. This video series takes user submitted decks, as well as metagame staples, and battles them against each other to see which one comes out on top. With occasional written content, this site definitely errs on the “try anything” style of deck construction and is a haven for people with ideas outside of the box.
A newcomer to the game,the Color Commontary podcast shows promise. Currently the only regular Pauper podcast, of which I am aware, Mike and Adrian (not Deluxeicoff) have carved out a niche for themselves. Their work shows promise and is getting more polished every episode. Check them out on YouTube and Twitter.
Oh Reddit. I am of two minds about this message board system. On one hand it provides a wonderful way to interact with a wide swath of the community. Conversely, topics are often recycled and the upvote/downvote system can make certain topics a battleground (despite the rules). That being said, the Pauper subreddit; /r/Pauper, is currently the most comprehensive home for discussion around the format. /r/Pauper features conversation about both paper and online Pauper and often hosts links to content created by infrequent contributors that would otherwise fall through the cracks.
I encourage those of you looking to have conversations about the format and the metagame to drift toward /r/Pauper. The community there is only as strong as the contributors and as the main public message board it is the best place to advance discussion of Pauper.
Class is in session. The Professor at Tolarian Community College is a staunch supporter of Pauper on both Magic Online and in the physical realm. Professor is perhaps the loudest advocate for a unified paper and digital ruleset and I support his crusade for using online legality as the ultimate arbitrator.
As is the case with all his videos, the Professor’s style shines through as he educates the masses about a deck or, in one important case, the format itself. His deck techs focus less on a particular build’s spot in the metagame and more on the intricacies of each build, as well as how the deck operates in a vacuum. The Professor’s wide array of knowledge is also on display as he does a wonderful job of linking Pauper to other popular formats.
This Seattle based retailer has quietly become one of the staunchest supporters of Pauper. From their Rags to Riches paper tournaments, covered on twitch.tv, to their current Gauntlet of Greatness with Hall of Famer Randy Buehler, Card Kingdom is attempting to bring Pauper to the masses. Videos from these events can be found on YouTube and I encourage you all to check out the Gauntlet when it’s broadcast on Mondays. I was honored to help them pick the decks for this season and cannot wait to see what happens when you put Pauper in the hands in one of the game’s all-time greats.
There are other content sources, of course. Paupergeddon is a tournament series held in Italy that regularly attracts over 100 competitors (with results published to the subreddit). TCGPlayer has an in-house Pauper league that has created a devoted following of the format in their offices. This in turn has spilled over to the content side of things with recent videos. Cardhoarder, another online retailer, recently ran a Pauper Challenge on their stream which featured Jeff Hoogland in the trenches and Chris VanMeter on commentary.
Finally there is Twitter. Searching #MTGPauper will bring up a ton of fans and creators who are just starting out. When I want to reach the community, Twitter is my first stop. It is also the most visible home for Jason Sirichoke, my frequent collaborator who uses the medium and hashtag to provide his own commentary on commons.
Eternal Masters is right around the corner, and Pauper is primed to explode. Be prepared and study up. While the Professor might not be planning a pop quiz a little knowledge is not a bad thing.
A lot of knowledge is better.