Decided I'd like to brew a bit more in the Pauper environment after thoroughly enjoying my first serious endeavor in crafting something playable that wasn't Delver. I'm seeking a little inspiration, my knowledge is mostly restrained to well established cards. I'm pretty familiar with the meta and conventional card choices of today's Pauper, and I think I've read every Modern legal card ever printed, but I didn't start seriously playing Magic until around Alara/Lorwyn period, so a lot of the more fringe build around cards from the Richard Garfield/Early Rosewater eras are unknown to me.
Any suggestions? I'd love to see some of the cards you think have potential, but haven't quite found a place.
- Someone ought to figure out the best decklist which uses Exalted, Shadow and Banding in the same deck (Exalted + Shadow for offense and stealing Monarch, Banding and your Exalted guys on defense to prevent attack into you). Key cards are Soltari Visionary , Qasali Pridemage and Mesa Pegasus.
- There's likely a functional mono-black aggro list with Agent of Shauku and at least some shadow guys (namely Dauthi Slayer) to both get in for damage and steal monarch. Dauthi Slayer in any black sideboard for boosting devotion, surviving electrickery and stealing Monarch is quality tech all on it's own.
- Some deck, possibly even one of the established archetypes needs to find room for Power Sink. That card's completely nuts, it's just that it got taken out of circulation so long ago that most folks don't know just how nuts it is or that it even exists. I've tried it in Affinity lately and it won me games on it's own (although it is a bit matchup dependent, obviously). No reason it's not a well known format staple, though.
- Azorius First-Wing , Griffin Rider and Wings of Velis Vel make the core of an incredibly effective Griffin Tribal. The exact best build needs to be determined yet, and experimentation might lead to interesting results. So far we're of the opinoin that Griffin Tribal is missing one playable agressive griffin to be a true contender, but it might be that it could work even with the tools already at our disposal.
Those are some ideas for cards and archetypes which seem like they ought to be seen more often or figured out how exactly they're put together into effective decklists.
Also, a card that's likely really good in the current Monarch-heavy metagame is Benthic Infiltrator. It dodges a lot of removal, blocks like a boss (even blocks Guardian of the Guildpact of all things) and steals monarch. And beats face with Bonesplitter, obviously. The random milling is not relevant even though it might occasionally snag an important one-of, but that thing needs to find a home, too.
Went at this for a few hours last night. I tried monocolored for a while, played some games with a rough list centered around Glaze Fiend, Defiant Salvager, and testing some cute interactions with Myr Servitor. Stand out cards were Vault Skirge/Bonesplitter and Glaze Fiend, but the deck was missing top heavy threats, and lacking evasion otherwise, resulting in losses to decks with a lot of ground presence. It also had issues running out of gas, to which I tried Resourceful Return. Eventually I gave up on Monoblack for more artifact lands and better draw, and dipped into blue for Thoughtcast, Etherium Sculptor, Gearseeker Serpent, and Seat of the Synod. Etherium Sculptor lets you dump your entire hand for free or 1 mana basically, and fueled some really busted draws, I think it has potential. Salvage Slasher felt mediocre in practice honestly. I went down to 2 and played more games with the UB list, and think they probably should just be cut. Being an x/1 is a hard life with no evasion or trample in a world full of disposable blockers and Bird Tokens. I think the black creatures have promise, but they have mostly undercosted bodies, and when using nonartifact cards like Dhund Operative, Defiant Scavenger, Aether Poisoner, etc too heavily, it pulled some of the artifact synergy out of the mix and was a nonbo with other pieces. I think this deck has promise, and I intend to keep tinkering, but its sorely lacking another evasive threat and a creature with instant speed sac artifacts for relevant value (No thanks Rusted Slasher). I'd go into red, because that's where all those are at common, but I'm worried that would devolve into strictly worse Affinity. Any thoughts on these points?
While playing the above, I was inspired to build something else with some of the pieces. Experimenting with Myr Servitor and Glaze Fiend produced cute results, cute enough that I wanted to build with it. Glaze Fiend itself was more strategy specific, but Myr Servitor seems like a creature that's honestly lacking play in Pauper. The effect is very powerful, providing 1-4 free recurring sac fodder creatures at the risk of removal blowouts. Obviously the card is a natural fit with sacrifice outlets like Brine Shaman, Plagued Rusalka, and Thoughtpicker Witch. I'm surprised to have not seen it at all yet. A search through the pauper forums yielded minimal results, though I did find a thread that attempts to use Servitor and Witch to close games, it was housed by a very fragile part U/B Control part Wizard Tribal shell. What the engine really needs is a way to counteract or become resilient to removal based blowouts, and a lot of redundancy. Tortured Existence brings all that to the table and a lot more. Here's what a morning of tinkering put forth:
A lock can be assembled quickly and efficiently, with Stinkweed Imp, Forbidden Alchemy, and Trinket Mage digging out the Myr Servitor copies needed. Tortured Existence provides needed pseudo-redundancy and naturally blanks most removal-based answers. It can loop Thoughtpicker Witch by itself if need be, and Trinket Mage can even help bolster TE's natural rough times making land drops, by being looped to find Artifact lands while still controlling the opponent's library. The list closes games with Horror of the Broken Lands or simply by milling them out. There's also no shortage of card advantage with Mulldrifter/Grave Scrabbler, and solid lifegain to recover from aggressive starts with Golgari Brownscale. Mesmeric Fiend takes care of possible answers permanently thanks to stack+trigger manipulation and a sac outlet. Think it has any promise? Might post this in its own thread.
Spent a few minutes on the train scouring scryfall about this, I think there's a an aggressive build here with some combination of cards like Wild Mongrel, Naya Hushblade and friends, Shield of the Oversoul, Basking Rootwalla, Lightning Axe, etc + Verdant Eidolon. I'm having trouble getting the pieces to fit together, but the concept feels solid. The ratio of multicolored to monocolored is the biggest issue I think, Pauper's creature-base is a little limited when it comes to efficient playable 1-2 drops that are also Multicolored. Black might just end up being a better Idea with Putrid Leech and Tortured Existence, but I think the aggro plan could be more fun.