Magic Monday: Pauper of Power

It’s Magic Monday, geeks! That means I sit down with my buddy Stew to talk about what’s happening with the original Collectable Card Game. Stew’s been playing continuously for a long time whereas I drop in and out every five years or so. This week, we talk about Pauper Decks – building without using rare (or rarer) cards.

Szpirs: Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagic! Want to review the new Commander decks or talk about something else?

Stew: Something else. I haven’t been able to read them all yet.

Szpirs: Me neither…you play anything on the weekend?

Stew: Sadly, this weekend I was in New York for work…but I have built a new, 60 card pauper deck to play against some people here at work. Green/blue creature control with Nimble Mongoose and energy counters.amazing-fantasy-15-vector1

Szpirs: New York? Did you see Spider-Man?

Stew: The state, not the city.

Szpirs: You’re not saying, “no”…

Stew: ….

Szpirs: ….so, what’s a pauper deck?

Stew: Pauper decks are a raising format as they are usually wicked cheap. The format is usually like a modern or legacy type with no Rares.

Szpirs: The one you built sounds modern what with the energy stuff…that’s a Kaladesh mechanic. How’s it work?

Stew: Some creatures and spells generate energy counters as they enter the battlefield or resolve. You can spend your energy counters to activate creature abilities.

Szpirs: Cool. How does that play into your deck?

Stew: Blue is mostly card draw and green gets me lands and creatures. The energy pumps up my creatures. Protip: strongest thing you can do in MTG is being able to draw cards. You can’t do much if your hand’s empty.

Szpirs: Ugh. It’s the worst.

Stew: It really is. You have no outs and no way to bluff.

Szpirs: So, what are your key draw cards?


That’s mainly the entire deck….

Szpirs: Any cool tricks for getting/using energy?

Stew: Mostly it’s creature fed. The Sabre-tooth builds up energy from combat damage and  the elephant pushes out +1/+1 counters on all the other creatures.

Stew: I’m thinking of switching out the one equipment for Murderer’s Axe to feed my Nimble Mongoose faster.


Szpirs: Gotcha. So, if you’re looking to build a pauper, what’s the step-by-step?

Stew: I look for fun common/uncommon creatures I enjoyed playing with; Nimble Mongoose, Mog Fanatic, Raven Familiar, etc. I build around a simple mechanic that can be ramped up really easily: Threshold (where having seven cards in the graveyard powers-up creatures or spells) or using energy tokens to ramp up your creatures to scary levels and draw spells to keep your hand fresh. I have a little hate for things that slow you down.

Szpirs: Right…it’s a two player format, most of the time.

Stew: Yeah, but it’s true for multiplayer too. Also, I almost forgot mana curve. I’d rather be done the fight by turn 5 than by turn 10 or 12 so I run a lean mana curve which maxes out at 4 mana.

Szpirs: Cool…any pauper ideas for other colour combos?

Stew: Goblins or zombies would work well… anything with a tribal synergy seems to work consistently… but, remember this is speaking for myself. I know these work because I am used to playing with a limited card pool and I’m used to my own playing style.

Szpirs: Nice. Anything to look forward to MTG-wise for the week/next weekend?

Stew: EDH this weekend with an updated blue red combo deck.

Szpirs: Oh, Commander?

Stew: You heard me.

Szpirs: (EDH is called Commander now…)

Stew: And I’m hunting down some legacy or modern tourneys as well. Something of a challenge and a high probability of getting my ass kicked.

Szpirs: Now you’re thinking like a Szpirs.

Thanks for reading, Magic geeks! If there’s anything you want Stew and I to discuss for next week, comment below.


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