It's been quite a while since I really did a bunch of Pauper content! Apart from my regular set reviews, I haven't done a whole ton with the format over the last few months content-wise. I'm sure a bunch of people are asking why that is, when I've been such an ardent fan and proponent of the format for many years. There're a couple reasons, ultimately:
- The big one was a lack of time to be able to play the format. Working a day job, writing articles, and more while trying to find time for yourself takes a pretty big toll, after all. At one point, a lot of my play started to be at local events, which ultimately came to a screeching halt with the global pandemic. This made it a little harder to write about overall despite continuing to have regular exposure to decks and how they play.
- The much bigger reason is that, honestly, the metagame's been by and large fairly stale over the last few years. We've seen the same decks over and over and oftentimes there's rarely any innovation. That makes it feel kind of pointless to write about decks over and over again when they largely feel the same to play with in spite of those changes.
In relation to reason number two, though, there's actually been a number of new decks popping up over the last year or so. Commander Legends was a huge boon to the format and offered a lot of sweet new options. Once Fall From Favor was banned, the format really opened up and we saw a bunch of new brews. That kind of came crashing down and it was difficult to talk about again when the format narrowed down to just a couple of really powerful decks in the form of Storm and Affinity.
With my joining of the Pauper Format Panel and the several bans that have recently impacted the format - including the ones announced just yesterday - I think it's pretty safe to say we can start talking about those fresh decks again! This is something I've actually been wanting to do for a bit now and simply haven't had the time to sit down and work on until recently. There's bound to be a bunch of interesting shakeups soon and so I think there will be a decent amount to discuss, though I will still be doing it a little more sporadically so that way I don't run out of material going forward.
While many decks will no doubt be changing soon in the wake of the recent bans, there is one newer archetype that I think is likely to stay more or less as it already was. That deck is Goblins Combo. Let's check out a list!
Goblin Combo | Pauper | Hamuda, 2nd Place MTGO Pauper Challenge
- Enchantments (2)
- 2 Makeshift Munitions
There's been a number of Goblins decks in Pauper already over the years. The most well known are the two Mono-Red Aggro versions. One is more all in on the Goblins strategy while the other is more of a Red Deck Wins style deck that just happens to feature a bunch of goblins in it. Then there was also a Rakdos Goblins Sacrifice deck a few years back that made waves for a bit. None of these has ever really been top tier and has always been kind of relegated to the backburner in metagame tiers. That all changed with a little Strixhaven card called First Day of Class.
The card looked great on its own, until players realized that if you used it with a creature that has persist, you can repeatedly sacrifice it and capitalize on it. This works because the +1/+1 counter granted by First Day of Class negates the -1/-1 counter that would be put on due to the persist trigger. Because of this, when you sacrifice the creature, it comes back in with no counters, meaning that you can sacrifice it again and again and again. Players quickly realized that due to various synergies with goblin cards, Putrid Goblin worked great here.
When Strixhaven came out, there was a mad scramble to figure out the optimal build, as players thought this might be a pretty good deck. As it turns out, it ultimately was a pretty solid deck! This current build wins like this: you cast First Day of Class. Then, start sacrificing Putrid Goblin to Skirk Prospector. Now that you have infinite Red mana, you do one of two things. You either activate Flamewave Invoker an infinite number of times, or you repeatedly sacrifice Putrid Goblin to Makeshift Munitions in order to get as much damage as necessary to take out your opponent.
There's lots of great setup cards too. Ichor Wellspring and Chromatic Star both dig deeper in your deck and they fuel your Makeshift Munitions as well. They also happen to fuel your Deadly Disputes, which draw you a whole bunch of cards as well as giving you a little extra mana to get your combo online faster. There's also cards like Faithless Looting and Reckless Impulse to draw cards a bit. In the worst case, you can also cycle Unearths to draw a little deeper, or you can use them to revive a key creature your opponent was able to remove. They work really nicely with your Goblin Matrons, though, which help find the critical pieces to your combo in one easy package.
What you're left with is ultimately a very powerful deck! It hasn't put up the greatest numbers generally over the last few months, but with the threat of Affinity - and hopefully Tron - no longer lingering to the degree they have in the past, perhaps it's time for it to shine! Regardless, it offers a really cool new way to play Pauper, and that's always extremely welcome in my book. There're several other cool new decks out there too over the last year that I hope to cover soon, but with most of those, I'll need a little time to see how things shake out in the new meta first. Either way, whether you're playing online or in paper, give this deck a try. Goblins are sweet, and so are combo decks - especially in a format made entirely of commons!