Izzet Skred in the New Pauper World

Last weekend I attended an event named Pauper Goat, a 34-player tournament played the first weekend after the banlist was updated and Gush, Gitaxian Probe, and Daze were removed from the format.

I hated this ban. I don’t think Daze was even good in Pauper. It felt to me like Wizards of the Coast just disliked U/B Delver, and wanted to kill it.

The other two cards are definitely powerful, and are banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage, but I don’t think they were good in Pauper, either. I have to thank Wizards for banning Gush. It forced me to replace it with Accumulated Knowledge, which ended up being better in so many more scenarios. My deck, which I’ve written about in the past, wasn’t much hurt by the bans, and I was excited to run it back.

New Pauper Metagame, Same Izzet Skred

Andrea Mengucci, 2nd place at Pauper Goat – 5/26/19

3 Ash Barrens
4 Evolving Wilds
11 Snow-Covered Island
2 Snow-Covered Mountain
4 Augur of Bolas
4 Faerie Miscreant
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Accumulated Knowledge
1 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
1 Fire/Ice
2 Lightning Bolt
4 Skred
4 Ponder
4 Preordain

1 Dispel
2 Electrickery
2 Gorilla Shaman
3 Hydroblast
3 Pyroblast
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Swirling Sandstorm

I went undefeated and the deck felt unbeatable. I went 4-0-2 in Swiss, but ended up dropping in the finals as I had to leave, but I would have loved to play against the mono-black deck that won the event.

Accumulated Knowledge

Accumulated Knowledge was great against Tron, Monarch decks, and blue decks. I sideboarded it out against Goblins, Elves, and Affinity. You often pass the turn with 2 mana up to represent either Spellstutter Sprite or Counterspell, and having access to Accumulated Knowledge to fight the tempo loss was huge. A friend of mine tried to replace Gush with Fathom Seer, but I prefer the raw card advantage of Accumulated Knowledge, which you can find with Augur of Bolas.

I was happy to play 20 lands. This deck is mana-hungry and wants to hit land drops up until turn 6-8. The mana base isn’t the best, as you need a lot of blue and at least one red. Without dual lands that isn’t easy, so you need to set it up in the early turns, when I usually play taplands to make sure I can deal with the board later. One of the common mistakes is to play Faerie Miscreant or Ninja of the Deep Hours too early. You want to play those later, when you can protect them and gain the most advantage possible.

I hate Brainstorm, and I wouldn’t mind cutting the last one from my deck. You rarely have extra lands to shuffle away, as you need all of them in the first few turns, and in those first few turns you need your cantrips to shuffle or scry to the bottom because hitting land drops is crucial.

Ninja of the Deep Hours

Make sure not to deck yourself. Make sure to count the racing math correctly. Remember that Ninja of the Deep Hours can choose to not draw an extra card when it deals damage, whereas if you are the monarch you are forced to draw.

To avoid decking, don’t play a huge Accumulated Knowledge. Remember that your opponent’s count too, and remember that you are allowed to miss on Augur of Bolas intentionally. Those plays came up a lot, and I often won with two or three cards left in my deck.

Time is also an important factor in Pauper. I’m a blazing-fast player, and on Sunday I ended up drawing a match against a Boros Monarch player who was also moving quickly. The format is extremely slow, and Wizards killing Delver slowed it down even more. It’s a huge problem in Pauper and I wouldn’t be shocked if the next Pauper event set the timer at 60 minutes, as every round had one or two draws. Make sure to concede quickly if you feel like you’re locked out game 1, because you need the time to win games 2 and 3.

Izzet Skred is the best deck in Pauper, and it’s definitely the deck I love the most. I can’t see myself playing anything else.

Boros Monarch

Since Pauper Goat was one of the first Pauper events with the new banlist, I would like to post all the lists that made the Top 8. Our Pauper league—Lega Pauper Marche—is a pretty solid one. They hold tournaments every week and there are roughly 20 players every time.

In particular, the deck I like the most after mine is Boros Monarch. In this case, the deck splashed black for Okiba-Gang Shinobi.

Francesco Tarricone, 4th place at Pauper Goat 5/26/19

1 Mountain
1 Plains
3 Ancient Den
2 Bojuka Bog
3 Boros Garrison
3 Great Furnace
2 Radiant Fountain
2 Secluded Steppe
4 Wind-Scarred Crag
4 Glint Hawk
4 Kor Skyfisher
2 Okiba-Gang Shinobi
3 Palace Sentinels
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Prismatic Strands
3 Alchemist’s Vial
4 Prophetic Prism
2 Battle Screech
3 Journey to Nowhere

2 Electrickery
2 Gorilla Shaman
1 Krark-Clan Shaman
2 Lone Missionary
1 Prismatic Strands
3 Pyroblast
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Standard Bearer

Despite having only six sources to ninjutsu Okiba-Gang Nishobi, this deck sees a lot of cards. Pauper games aren’t known for being short, so you have plenty of time to find your black mana, get in with a flyer, and get all your advantage thanks to the ninjutsu ability.

Kor Skyfisher

I also saw Francesco return Kor Skyfisher to his hand, play it and return the Shinobi to his hand to ninjutsu it again the next turn, decimating his opponent’s hand. That’s the name of the game in Pauper.

I played Pauper for a week. It seems like a very skill-intensive format, almost as much as Vintage before they ruined it with Karn, the Great Creator. I love to play games where it’s all about resource management and card advantage and not about racing. I hope to one day attend a Pauper Grand Prix, because the format is that good!


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