Grand Prix Santa Clara did an incredible job of highlighting the popularity of Pauper. Over 100 players signed up for a Sunday side event to help reinforce how many players are interested in playing this format. I’m going to try to take a look at some of the different archetypes you might play at the GP Indianapolis Pauper event!
Lagonna-Band Trailblazer and Akroan Skyguard are at the core of the attack force in a Mono-White Heroic deck. The Trailblazer gets to come down turn 1 and is immediately out of range of opposing Bolts. It’s protected against some of the more popular removal spells, and it can block any opposing early creatures. That said, the Trailblazer is going to need some help before you can start turning them sideways. Skyguard starts off as a 1/1 flyer, but this little creature can quickly grow out of control. Evasion and base power are nice, but your entire deck revolves around pumping these creatures by targeting them and triggering heroic.
Seeker of the Way doesn’t have heroic, but it’s close. The fact that you can play your Seeker and then target your heroic creatures while still getting the prowess triggers is perfect. You’re playing a deck with a very low land count and lots of ways to target and enhance your creatures. This means that Seeker will almost always be a 3/3 lifelinker whenever you need it to be, and you can choose to grow them from there.
Your creature enhancement spells start with some of the cards that makes the Bogles archetype. Ethereal Armor can grant massive bonuses to the creature it enchants as you’re starting with +1/+1 and first strike, and only increasing from there even before you factor in any heroic triggers. Hyena Umbra does triple-duty as a way to target, pump and protect your creatures.
Cartouche of Solidarity gives you yet another 1-mana aura that can pump your creatures and give them first strike. The bonus creature that comes with Cartouche is critical against matchups like Mono-Black where Chainer’s Edict can be a real concern.
Cho-Manno’s Blessing completes your suite of Auras and it’s the only one that actually costs more than 1 mana. The instant-speed is great at both protecting your creature from removal or in combat, and giving your creature protection from a color can mean that your opponent can’t target or block it for the rest of the game.
Your pump spells are extremely efficient. You start with Defiant Strike as a way to trigger prowess, pump your heroic creatures, and even draw a replacement card. Mutagenic Growth is extra insane in these decks as a “free” way to win in combat or protect your creatures. Responding to a Lightning Bolt on your Akroan Skyguard with a Mutagenic Growth means that your flyer survives and gets a +1/+1 counter to hold on to for future turns.
Emerge Unscathed gives you another way to protect your creature and get multiple heroic triggers out of a single card. It does require you to leave mana open, so you have access to some copies of Benevolent Bodyguard to also protect your threats. A 1-mana creature that can get in there, wear Auras, and protect your biggest creature makes life really rough for the opponent.
Sacred Cat gives you more lifelink and another solid target for creature enhancers, namely Ethereal Armor for a huge lifelinking kitty. Double Cleave combos well with your pump effects as a 1 shot way to finish an opponent off thanks to the power of double strike.
Cheap threats, ways to pump them, and protection spells are the name of the game in this Pauper deck. Growing your heroic creatures to the true size of heroes is a great way to win a quick game!