On July 21st, it was right to be the Beatdown in the Pauper Challenge. Stompy and Heroic met in the finals and although Stompy was crowned the winner, it appears that the finalists split. This was in the wake of yet another event where Arcum's Astrolabe value decks were everywhere. It appears that when decks take time off to play with trinkets, creatures can do some work on a life total.
That's only part of the story. As Astrolabe decks have become a plurality of the metagame it makes sense that decks start gunning for them. That is, in order to beat the best you have to adjust to their weak points. The Jeskai Faeries deck in the Top 4 was able to use Spellstutter Sprite as a way to foil commonly played cards out of the Astrolabe decks including the namesake card, Ephemerate, and Skred. Sprite does not need friends to get the job done in these situations. Another deck, just outside the Top 16, took a different approach and paired Ingot Chewer with Ephemerate to nab multiple Artifacts on one 3/3 body.
While decks can (and should) prepare for the mirror, there's something to be said for putting butts in seats. The Astrolabe decks do take time to set up and can have a hard time dealing with multiple threats - or one sufficiently large threat. Heroic and Stompy make sense as a way to attack these until a Stonehorn Dignitary shows up. With only two decks in the Top 32 running the rhino it was a good day to trample some birds. Still, the meta will adjust. It is almost trivially easy for these decks to run Weather the Storm - no non-Tron Astro deck ran the card this week - and build up a high enough life total that combat will not matter.
Looking to next week, black removal seems decently well positioned. Chainer's Edict and its ilk do rather nicely against Lagonna-Band Trailblazer, while not being completely dead against Stompy and Red Deck wins. Disfigure and Defile are still good cards and they allow you to potentially dodge some of the hate being throw Arcum's Astrolabe's way. Whatever you do, though, be sure to have a plan to beat the Tron Flicker Loop endgame.
2019 is going to be a banner year for Pauper. I want to continue to be at the forefront of the metagame. If you like the work I do, please consider becoming a Patron. Thank you!