Monday, January 28, 2013

Initial reaction to Pauper bans

Here's my initial reaction to the banned list updates for Pauper.
Disclaimer: I wrote two letters, one to Mark Rosewater, one to Lee Sharpe, in the past month about Pauper. In it, I advocated making no changes. In both those letters, however, I made a statement to the effect of "Storm is a mechanic with no potential answer at common."
On each card
Invigorate: No real loss. Yes, it removes Infect as a combo-kill deck, and largely kills the deck (Stompy is now a more reliable Rancor deck). While Infect will likely continue to exist, it will be far slower and less "combo." I fully expect to see some people try Simic Infect once Gatecrash comes online (with heavier control elements).
Grapeshot: The biggest problem card. Let's be real - there was no real answer to this card aside from racing. It made mulligans very important, and kept deck discovery space finite.
Empty the Warrens: This card probably didn't need to be banned. Every color had an answer that was on curve with this spell, and this helped keep Goblinstorm in check. However, I can understand removing it since again, there is no common answer to Storm.

So what does this mean for the format? Every deck, aside from Storm and Infect comes out okay (if not better, as some terrible matchups were removed). Temporal Storm likely becomes the default combo deck, and Cloudpost also sees a rise in play. But both of these strategies are susceptible to Stone Rain (and its ilk), meaning that while these decks aren't going away, they aren't likely to be long term issues.

Other decks that were packing "answers" to ETW main now have that space back. Electrickery and Echoing Truth will see play, but not nearly as much. Sideboard slots will open, and deck discovery space grows. The format has gotten a lot slower with one banning, which opens up chances for Guildgates and two color decks.

Please stay tuned to Star City for more in depth analysis in the coming weeks

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