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The Best Decks In Magic The Gathering’s Pauper Format

Magic The Gathering's Pauper format has been steadily growing in popularity for a few years now. It is a budget-friendly format that only uses cards printed at common rarity, it manages to be kind to your wallet while still having spicy plays and complex decks.

Whether you're getting started with Pauper and want a good place to dive in, or a veteran looking for your next deck, the Pauper metagame is vibrant and varied. Here are the top five decks currently played in the Pauper format.

Updated August 29th 2022 by Johnny Garcia: Pauper is in the midst of one of the most diverse formats it's seen in quite some time. With recent set releases such as Commander Legends: Battle For Baldur's Gate, many new powerful commons have entered into the format, causing certain decks to rise up in the metagame and others to fall. The format is closely monitored thanks to a Pauper Format Panel introduced at the start of 2022. The panel has ensured the format stays healthy, and is very transparent with the choices they make when it comes to bans and unbans, and lets players know what considerations were made for other cards.

10 Rakdos Persist

Sample Decklist:

4 Goblin Matron4 Putrid Goblin
4 Skirk Prospector2 Dark-Dweller Oracle
1 Masked Vandal4 First Day Of Class
4 Deadly Dispute4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Chromatic Star2 Makeshift Munitions
4 Unearth4 Faithless Looting
4 Drossforge Bridge2 Vault Of Whispers
2 Great Furnace2 Rakdos Carnarium
3 Swamp6 Mountain

The black/red Rakdos Persist is a combo deck taking advantage of Putrid Goblin and First Day Of Class to make infinite mana and sacrifice fodder to burn your opponent for their whole life with Makeshift Munitions. As such, the main deck is compromised of ways to dig through your deck to get to your combo pieces as quickly as possible.

Goblin Matron allows you to search out Skirk Prospector or Putrid Goblin directly. First Day Of Class will cancel out the -1/-1 counter given to Putrid Goblin when its persist ability triggers. This lets you use Skirk Prospector's ability to continuously sacrifice it to produce infinite mana, allowing you to play out your entire hand and burn with Makeshift Munitions.

9 Gruul Cascade

Sample Decklist:

4 Boarding Party4 Annoyed Altisaur
4 Sarulf's Packmate4 Llanowar Visionary
4 Arbor Elf2 Owlbear
4 Jewel Thief2 Maelstrom Colossus
4 Utopia Sprawl4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
2 Wild Growth3 Lightning Bolt
4 Highland Forest15 Forests

Cascade has had many variations of it over the years, with the Gruul (red/green) variant being the most popular. As the name implies, it's based on Boarding Party, Maelstrom Colossus, and Annoyed Altisaur triggering cascade abilities to play out your powerful creatures to flood the battlefield.

The early game is based on ramp, using cards like Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl to ensure you can play your cascade spells quicker. Cards like Mwonvuli Acid-Moss help you to ramp and hamper your opponent by destroying land. Many of the creature payoffs involve card draw, such as Owlbear and Sarulf's Packmate.

8 Selesnya Bogles

Sample Decklist:

4 Slippery Bogle4 Gladecover Scout
4 Silhana Ledgewalker2 Spirited Companion
4 Abundant Growth4 Ancestral Mask
4 Armadillo Cloak4 Ethereal Armor
2 Cartouche Of Solidarity3 Rancor
3 Commune With Spirits4 Utopia Sprawl
12 Forests4 Plains
2 Ash Barrens

Bogles have been pretty popular in Pauper for a while, but they got a lot of attention in late February when competitive Pauper player Dimitry Medvedev secured his place at the Neon Dynasty Championship with their white/green Selesnya take on it.

The deck is focused on Slippery Bogle, a 1/1 beast with hexproof. By using lots of land ramp enchantments, like Utopia Sprawl, Unbridled Growth, and Abundant Growth to generate as much mana as possible, you can then enchant the Bogle with Armadillo Cloak, Rancor, and the finishing moves of Ancestral Mask and Ethereal Armor to deal massive damage with it. Though the Bogle is the namesake of the deck, they often use other self-protecting creatures, like Gladecover Scout.

7 Grixis Affinity

Sample Decklist:

3 Frogmite4 Vault Skirge
4 Myr Enforcer1 Krak-Clan Shaman
4 Blood Fountain4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Chromatic Star4 Metallic Rebuke
4 Galvanic Blast4 Deadly Dispute
2 Reckoner's Bargain2 Thoughtcast
2 Makeshift Munitions4 Great Furnace
4 Vault Of Whispers4 Seat Of The Synod
2 Mistvault Bridge2 Drossforge Bridge
2 Silverbluff Bridge

Though Affinity has been hit with a handful of bans, losing its iconic Fling+Atog combo, this blue/black/red deck is still fantastic as a midrange deck. It was experimented with many color combinations, with Grixis winning out thanks to the many fantastic value cards in black such as Deadly Dispute and Reckoner's Bargain.

The deck wins by bringing out creatures with Affinity like Myr Enforcer and burning the opponent with cards like Galvanic Blast and Makeshift Munitions. Cards like Blood Fountain and Ichor Wellspring give you a lot of artifacts to build your affinity count, all while giving you sacrifice outlets for your card draw.

6 Azorius Familiars

Sample Decklist:

4 Mulldrifter4 Sunscape Familiar
4 The Modern Age3 Archaeomancer
3 God-Pharaoh's Faithful1 Dawnbringer Cleric
2 Stonehorn Dignitary4 Preordain
3 Deep Analysis1 Mystical Teaching
4 Snap2 Ephemerate
2 Ghostly Flicker2 Prohibit
1 Mortuary Mire4 Ash Barrens
7 Islands3 Plains
4 Azorius Chancery2 Evolving Wilds

The blue/white Azorius Familiars is a blink deck that takes advantage of creatures that trigger when they enter the battlefield. Most notably, Mulldrifter, which can be evoked for just three mana. Since Azorius Familiars plays a lot of cards that allow you to blink it, you can do so before the second half of the evoke ability triggers, keeping it on the battlefield while gaining its effects.

Cards like Archaeomancer allow you to continuously loop your instant and sorcery cards by blinking it. Stonehorn Dignitary lets you use its effect repeatedly to make sure your opponent never gets a chance at another combat phase, less they have a way to remove it. Even then, with so many instant-speed blink effects, Stonehorn Dignitary, as well as the rest of your creatures, are very hard to get rid of.

5 Mono-Blue Spirits

Sample Decklist:

4 Faerie Miscreant4 Faerie Seer
4 Moon-Circuit Hacker4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Ninja Of The Deep Hours4 Snap
2 Spell Pierce4 Of One Mind
4 Counterspell4 Bind The Monster
4 Mutagenic Growth18 Islands

Mono-Blue is just that: blue doing what blue does best. It is an excellent control deck that limits what your opponent can do while beating them down with lots of flying and otherwise evasive creatures.

On the control side, there are lotsof counterspells. Dispel, Spell Pierce, and Counterspell all play prominent roles, as does Spellstutter Sprite – who doubles up as an attacker. It also makes use of freezing enchantments like Bind the Monster to ensure your opponent can't hit you back.

There's lots of great card draw too, thanks to Of One Mind, Faerie Miscreant, and Ninja of the Deep Hours. This deck in particular has really benefited from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, thanks to the introduction of Moon-Circuit Hacker into the format. Ninjas go very nicely with flying creatures, and they're an excellent way to bounce a Spellstutter Sprite or Faerie Miscreant back to your hand.

4 Mono-White Heroic

Sample Decklist:

4 Akroan Skyguard4 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
4 Deftblade Elite2 Seeker Of The Way
2 Benevolent Bodyguard4 Karametra's Blessing
4 Emerge Unscathed4 Hyena Umbra
4 Cartouche Of Solidarity4 Sentinel's Eyes
4 Ethereal Armor4 Benevolent Blessing
16 Plains

Mono-White Heroic is a low-to-the-ground aggro deck based on the heroic ability. These are creatures that have effects that trigger whenever they are targeted by a spell such as cards like Akroan Skyguard and Lagonna-Band Trailblazer.

To trigger these effects, Mono-White Heroic plays many auras to give them boosts. When mixed with heroic triggers, this makes the creatures hit high stats rather quickly. It also runs cards that protect creatures while targeting, such as Hyena Umbra. Mono-White Heroic tends to put a lot of resources into one creatures, so having this kind of protection is very important.

3 Boros Gates

Sample Decklist:

4 Guardian Of The Guildpack4 Squadron Hawk
4 Lunarch Veteran4 Sacred Cat
4 Prismatic Strands4 Flame Slash
4 Faithless Looting4 Journey To Nowhere
4 Battle Screech2 Rally The Peasants
4 Basilisk Gate4 Citadel Gate
4 Cliffgate4 Plains
4 Mountains2 Boros Garrison

Gates are a land type that saw no play for quite some time. However, with Commander Legends: Battle For Baldur's Gate, Basilisk Gate was released, making for an entirely new deck based around them. The new gates introduced in the set also brought about a new form of dual lands, letting you name an extra color for them to tap for.

Boros Gates is a red and white deck built around low-mana creatures that can attack easily. Squadron Hawk is one of the most played creatures, allowing you to thin out your deck and have a fresh selection of creatures to continuously cast. Basilisk Gate gives creatures a stat boost based on the number of gates you control, and since that's the majority of the land you play, this gets to high numbers very quickly.

2 Rakdos Burn

Sample Decklist:

4 Kitchen Imp4 Voldaren Epicure
4 Monastery Swiftspear4 Lightning Bolt
4 Fiery Temper1 Fodder Tosser
4 Galvanic Blast4 Chain Lightning
4 Vampire's Kiss4 Alms Of The Vein
4 Faithless Looting4 Vault Of Whispers
4 Great Furnace4 Drossforge Bridge
5 Mountain2 Rakdos Carnarium

Burn is one of Magic's most straight-forward deck archetypes, focused on dealing direct damage to your opponent using instants, sorceries, and abilities on creatures. While Mono-Red Burn was the way to play the deck for a while, a stronger version emerged by splashing black into the deck as well.

Rakdos Burn is a mixture of burn and madness, letting cards like Fiery Temper be played for extra cheap burn spells. It's more consistent as well, with creatures like Kitchen Imp and Monastery Swiftspear to deal creature damage along with burn damage.

1 Mono-Red Blitz

Sample Decklist:

4 Festival Crasher4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Kiln Fiend3 Apostle's Blessing
4 Temur Battle Rage4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Lightning Bolt4 Manamorphose
4 Lava Dart4 Crash Through
4 Reckless Impulse17 Mountains

Blitz has always been a popular archetype, but with the downshift of Monastery Swiftspear to common in Double Masters 2022, it's become one of the best decks in the format. It plays hardly any creatures, just Festival Crasher, Monastery Swiftspear, and Kiln Fiend. All of these have power boosts when you cast an instant or a sorcery, making for a formidable aggro deck.

The most mana needed for any spell is two, allowing you to play multiple spells in a single turn for massive damage outbursts. In addition to a few burn spells like Lightning Bolt and Lava Dart, it's not uncommon for Mono-Red Blitz to win in just a few turns.

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