#theweeklywars #20 — Pauper Bogles, Izzet Blitz & Metagame Snapshot

It’s been a while. I don’t currently get to record videos (I’ll post an update video on YouTube at some point) and I don’t feel like I have anything big to write about except maybe a joke article or two about Legacy. However, I miss making content, so here we are. I’ve been playing Pauper again for a couple weeks because Legacy became too frustrating again – for some reason I seem to get worse at things I put time into and I did play a lot of Legacy after Top was banned. Legacy stopped being fun, but Pauper still is, so here we are.

I’m not going to talk about any lessons I learned in the past week because there aren’t any that really stand out. Instead, I’ll be going over the decks I played this week, cards I tried and card I want to try.

Bogles

Bogles was the first deck I played this week. I saw on reddit that people wanted to play aggressive decks, which Bogles does well against for the most part – Slivers and Elves being notable exceptions.

#128 — I don’t think I will ever be really happy with this deck’s mana.

I started out with Ash Barrens and a Plains over the Blossoming Sands. It was okay; I certainly liked access to an untapped white source. Ash Barrens is really bad when it’s your only land though, which is unfortunate in a deck that can otherwise operate on one land pretty well, so long as it’s a Forest. This is also an issue with Blossoming Sands, the number of times you can’t properly operate because you don’t get to cast Utopia Sprawl increases considerably.

#129 — I might want some extra explosiveness.

I’m seriously considering cutting one or two lands to fit in a few copies of Wild Growth. Wild Growth makes Crumbling Vestige slightly better and opens up a few extra nut draws, although producing only green mana certainly makes it much worse than Utopia Sprawl. I tried Hickory Woodlot for one league but quickly realised that the card wasn’t good enough – you might even say it was downright unplayable. The explosiveness was cool, but having to sacrifice it after two uses and coming down tapped were too bad.

#130 — Maindeck Dawn Charm is neat.

I previously had Mana Tithe in those slots, but I like Dawn Charm a lot more against Affinity, which is one of my least favourite matchups to play with this deck – so much can go wrong and losing to Atog is really easy. It helps in the mirror, against Stompy, against Izzet Blitz and countering a flashback Chainer’s Edict always feels great.

All that being said, there’s something about a more linear maindeck that just tries to kill people as reliably as possible. Dawn Charm is definitely flexible enough to be included main and there isn’t really anything else I wish I had access to before sideboarding.

#131 — Cartouches are amazing.

Not only do they both get around Standard Bearer (Cartouche of Strength even kills it), but they both have great effects in general. Cartouche of Solidarity might be my favourite card against Faeries and black decks – your creature will survive a sweeper but you also have insurance against and Edict or Curfew. This card is so much better than Eland Umbra.

Cartouche of Strength is great maindeck playable removal that you play a virtual three copies of thanks to Heliod’s Pilgrim. The way the Fight trigger works is also perfect – you get to chose if you want to fight on resolution, so if your opponent wants to grow their creature with a pump spell or by sacrificing artifacts, you can simply elect to not fight at all, keeping your creature but still eating some of your opponent’s resources.

I think both Cartouches are great candidates for Dawn Charm replacements that I want to experiment with in the future.

#132 — Lignify

This card was initially included as a maindeck removal spell I could tutor for, but I didn’t realise Cartouche of Strength was a thing. It’s currently still in the sideboard to deal with Atog and it’s an extra out to Standard Bearer, but I haven’t gotten to cast it once in the ~50 matches I played with it. I had one game I would’ve won had I not cut it because I had Pilgrim with only five mana so I couldn’t get Cartouche, but I’m not sure that comes up a lot.

#133 — I’m cutting Standard Bearer for now.

Not that I don’t think the mirror is a matchup worth preparing for, I just don’t really think Standard Bearer is better than Ray of Revelation. Standard Bearer, while amazing in the very early game, is pretty close to dead if the game progresses and I think I want Ray instead. I had Natural State in my deck for a while and I thought it was alright in the mirror. I’m not a big fan of Gleeful Sabotage in this deck; I think I prefer the flashback spells.

#134 — Thermokarst is really bad in this deck.

I was having issues with Tron, so I decided to try Thermokarst, which I thought was great in Elves. Turns out Thermokarst is much worse when you can’t reliable cast it turn two or alongside a bunch of other relevant spells later in the game. I had four copies at first and the only reason the list shown above still had three copies is that I couldn’t think of anything else to put in.

#135 — A light splash is almost free in this deck.

Between Crumbling Vestige, Abundant Growth and Utopia Sprawl, it’s pretty easy to cast off-colour spells. I haven’t really been caught with Ancient Grudge in my hand without a way to cast it.

#136 — There probably should be another copy of Flaring Pain.

Yeah, I don’t know. I only have one copy because I only played one copy in Izzet Blitz when I first played it, but Dinrova Tron is a pretty good reason to play more. I just didn’t care enough, okay? Because I was too lazy to buy one, I did try Fling though, which was potentially another solution for a Moment’s Peace lock, Circle of Protection: Green and even Standard Bearer, but I don’t think I ever cast it.

Izzet Blitz

#137 This list is extremely rough.

When I picked up this deck again on Tuesday, I only made very minimal changes to the last list I played, which was… last year I think? I always thought Delver was in here so I cut them for Augurs. Augur is decent but not great, I could see myself replacing them for something like Thermo-Alchemist or maybe just some extra cantrips. There’s probably also another creature somewhat similar to Kiln Fiend (there’s some two mana prowess creature I might try).

As with Bogles, the manabase is by no means perfect. I’m undecided on Ash Barrens vs. Evolving Wilds (Ash Barrens is much better if it’s not your only land because it’s an untapped red source but it reduces the number of keepable hands by invalidating a number of one-land hands). Maybe this deck should straight up copy UR Faeries’ manabase.

Also, the sideboard needs complete reworking. I basically never use Pyroblast, Smelt and Flame Slash, plus Stormbound Geist is pretty mediocre as well.

#138 — I don’t like the way this deck interacts.

I like the more combo-relevant pieces of interaction, like Mutagenic Growth and Apostle’s Blessing; Lightning Bolt I’m not the biggest fan of. Daze is awesome because it’s semi-free (returning a land can hurt a lot, but I can see myself adding more copies of Mutagenic Growth to offset that).

#139 — Fling is fun. A lot of fun.

Fling is basically an extra copy of Temur Battle Rage, only it gets through Moment’s Peace and it gives a creature haste in a way. I’ve run Expedite in the past to capitalise on players’ tapping out/low on empty boards, but Fling might be even better killing someone on your endstep when they’ve just tapped out for Flashback Mystical Teachings is sweet for sure.

I initially considered maindeck Flaring Pain, but I figured Fling was more reasonable by virtue of being dead less often. Maybe the second Fling should be a second Flaring Pain instead, but that’s not something I can say for sure yet.

I will continue working on the deck this week, so if you have any nice technology, please let me know! Before I sign off, here’s a small overview of decks I have faced this week:

meta-chart

What do we get from this? Apparently, having a bad Affinity matchup is not a great idea, given that I faced the deck 16 times in 17 leagues. Stompy also isn’t a deck you should lose to if you want to win a lot.

I don’t have enough recent data to compare this in order to make any real statements about metagame developments, but I can say that there was a lot more Burn the last time I played a lot of Pauper and less than 10% Tron also doesn’t seem right, especially with two aggro decks leading the format, which I would presume Tron doing well against, not having played the deck myself. Murasa Tron was a matchup I didn’t totally hate when I was playing Stompy, but I figure Dinrova Tron is much worse.

Looking at these decks, I don’t hate the idea of playing some Elves – I definitely like Izzet Blitz against Affinity and Stompy, but I’m not too sure about the blue matchups. Faeries has felt extremely bad with the list I played, but it’s probably easier to solve than UB, which doesn’t feel great either.

As a matter of fact, I’m gonna go play some Elves now. If I don’t give up on the deck after one league, you can expect there to be a list next week!

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