Monday, July 15, 2019

July 14th Pauper Challenge Winner's Metagame

The July 14th Pauper Challenge had 24 copies of Arcum's Astrolabe in the Top 8 and another 16 copies in the Top 16. The card is everywhere. If you want some more of my thoughts you can check out this thread on Twitter

Blue Astro Tron won the Challenge and also finished just outside the Top 8. The deck has taking the old Ghostly Flicker engine and supplemented it with Ephemerate. Ephemerate is fantastic with Mnemonic Wall as it can get back a spell on the first half and then wall can get back the instant on the Rebound. This shrinks the engine and gives the deck an added layer of resiliency and inevitability. It also conveniently keeps a key card out of the graveyard to ignore common hate like Relic of Progenitus.

Arcum's Astrolabe has completely remade Pauper in its image. While the four of the five Tron decks run the card (and have similar lock plans for the late game), there are 12 Jeskai based midrange value decks that all lean heavily on the card to help keep seeing new cards and stitch together their mana.

Previously I had said that the rise in these decks has also given Affinity a shot in the arm. Aggressive decks like the Machine can take advantage of the set up time and prey upon slow starts. It appears as if these decks have adapted, both in construction and play style. As such Affinity did not crack the Top 16 this week. There were four aggro decks in the Top 16 - two Stompy, a Hexproof, and a Red Deck Wins.

Are people not being aggressive enough? That is a legitimate question. Playing the value game is fun and Astrolabe decks are great at seeing a ton of cards. More aggressive decks should be seeing play as a check on these strategies but they need to figure out a way to content with Weather the Storm and Moment's Peace.

Two events in and we are looking at the metagame as sorted by total Win+ - that is wins above a 4-3 record. Jeskai Trinket and Affinity are the moist popular decks, with Stompy not for behind. That being said if you combine various control Tron decks, that macro becomes the second most popular archetype. Any deck currently looking to attack the meta should have a plan to go under Tron but also be able to fight the multicolor Astrolabe decks. While I've had some success with Goblins, that deck can falter in the face of Boros. Zombies may be an answer as Shepherd of Rot is a quick clock, but may struggle in the face of Weather the Storm.

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!

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