Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Week of August 14th in Standard Pauper

We're two weeks into our new season of Standard Pauper tournaments, and I think it's fair to say that Eldritch Moon is having a big impact on the metagame. We're also continuing to see an uptick in attendance at Monday Pauper Deck Challenge. We had 16 players in attendance this week, which means once again we had a Top 8 playoff, with every player who went 2-1 in Swiss getting the opportunity to battle for the trophy! With 12 decks once again to consider, let's take a look at what archetypes came out on top this week in Standard Pauper.

Izzet Burn and Sultai Control were the big winners this week, accounting for five wins between them. The Izzet deck is a creature-like build based on maximizing the value of your spells and burning out your opponent, aided by the untap ability of Thermo-Alchemist. Sultai Control remains unchanged from its previous iterations, yet is still able to do well against a much more diverse field. Meanwhile, PauperRBust took the build he dubbed the Aristocrats from last week to another Top 4 win, using the GB Control shell and augmenting it with Bloodbriar, It of the Horrid Swarm, and Ulvenwald Captive. The standout accomplishment was probably Amnaremotoas' nearly mono-White Blood Mantle deck, which captured the first place trophy in SPDC with a mixture of Aura recursion and sacrifice synergy built around Bloodbriar and key interactions with Angelic Purge, Lunarch Mantle, and Vessel of Ephemera. Finally, the Top 8 of MPDC was noticeable diverse. It included a familiar BW Allies deck, a Dimir Tempo build by olstyn, a Rakdos Burn build from Paranoid_Android, and a Gruul Monsters deck by rremedio1.

Here's what I am seeing at this point in the season:
  1. While Green Control builds with Pulse of Murasa continue to do well, they no longer seem as dominant. In some ways it's surprising that burn archetypes did so well this week, given the power of Pulse to keep your Life total high. But with the diversity of Red burn and the availability of Blue card draw, Izzet is going to be a difficult combination to beat.
  2. There's still plenty of room for innovation and rogue archetypes to perform well, with four out of the twelve top decks making their first appearance this week. This also means that the metagame is harder to predict, complicating deckbuilding, especially for the Sideboard.
  3. On a related note, all five colors are making their presence felt, although White overall seems like the weakest of the five. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as White felt somewhat weak in Eldritch Moon.
  4. The inclusion of so much removal in both Red and Black hit the Emerge decks hard this week, making It of the Horrid Swarm and Wretched Gryff much less important. It's hard to invest lots of mana in creatures just to see them immediately go to the Graveyard.
That's it for this week. Hope to see you across the virtual table sometime soon!

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