If you want to convince me that Pauper can play on a similar power level to Modern, you’re going to have to prove it with some truly busted cards. Today’s deck delivers those in spades.
This is a Delver of Secrets deck at its core. Delver is one of the best creatures in the history of Magic when you can reliably flip it. When you can’t, it’s one of the weakest. Delver dominated Standard before taking its talents to Modern, Legacy, and Vintage alike. You’ll need plenty of spells and deck manipulation to make sure you’re getting a 3/2 flying creature.
Preordain and Ponder are both legal as 4-ofs in this format. That’s just nuts. You can’t even play more than 1 copy of Ponder in Vintage, and both cards are banned with good reason in Modern. These are some of the most efficient ways to streamline your draws in a blue deck. They allow you to play an incredibly low land count—this deck is only running 17 Islands. Both Preordain and Ponder do wonders to make sure the top card of your deck can flip Delver in your upkeep, but they also just make sure you have threats or interaction when you need them.
Modern control mages have wanted Counterspell for years. It’s a simple card that dates back to Alpha, but being able to counter anything for just 2 mana has been deemed too powerful for a long time now. While Counterspell rarely sees play in Vintage or Legacy, it is a cheap and effective answer to everything that has never seen the light of day in Modern.
Daze provides additional cheap interaction that can be an incredible tempo play if you have any sort of clock on the battlefield. Force Spike isn’t free, but provides a similar boost. Logic Knot is a great way to utilize the spells you cast early to counter a bigger spell.
The other creatures in this list are efficient threats that yield a large advantage. The first copy of Faerie Miscreant is mediocre, but each one thereafter is going to give you extra value. They’re also great combos with each of the next two creatures on the list.
Ninja of the Deep Hours is an engine in itself, and with Delvers and Miscreants to enter the battlefield and start drawing cards as early as turn 2, you’ve got a really powerful threat. Note that this can also pick up that second copy of Faerie Miscreant to draw yet another card on the value train.
Spellstutter Sprite brings more interaction, this time attached to a reasonable creature. Miscreant is a Faerie to help with the Sprite, and Sprite can be returned via Ninja for additional value.
Spire Golem’s floor is essentially a 3-mana 2/4 flying creature. This is big enough to survive Lightning Bolt, block most creatures in the format (including a flipped Delver), and is actually reasonable to bounce via Ninja when you have extra Islands in play. It’s a huge nombo with Gush, so keep that in mind, as normally any time you have access to 3 mana in a deck with all Islands this would be online. Not so when you have 2 Islands and are looking to Gush to get your 3rd mana!
The ability to play 4 Preordains, 4 Ponders, and 4 Counterspells alongside the already powerful Delver of Secrets gives Pauper a strong argument as to its power level. This deck looks like a blast to play—who doesn’t love cheap beaters, card draw, and disruption?