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Why Pauper is Magic’s Greatest Format

If you are a keen follower of Magic at a professional level, or if you play Friday Night Magic at your friendly local gaming store, you’ll have no doubt seen cards like Oko, Thief of Crowns, Hydroid Krasis or Questing Beast dominating the current Standard format. These rare and powerful cards can win games outright, and with that rarity and power comes a price tag to match. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard how expensive it can be to stay up to date in the Standard format, and I have to admit it, its true.

For every “normal” format such as Standard, Modern or Commander, there exists a “Pauper” version, and as both a player and a tournament organiser, I think it’s the greatest sub-format that exists in Magic the Gathering today. Here’s my top 3 reasons why…

It’s Affordable

At the time of writing, Oko, Thief of Crowns is currently commanding anything upwards of a £40 price tag. For that price, you can build a Pauper deck for Modern, Standard and Commander, and still have enough left over to get the bus in to your FLGS and some snacks. Depending on your gaming store, Pauper decks can cost as little as £6, making it a great format for beginners. Speaking of beginners…

It’s Beginner Friendly

Pauper decks will, more often than not, consist of cards that make use of the “evergreen” keywords in Magic the Gathering, such as flying, trample or haste, and this makes cards and combinations much easier. There are few, if any, explosive combinations that can end a game before you even reach turn 3, especially in rotating formats like Standard. This gives newer players a more even playing field when it comes to constructed decks, but for the more experienced players…

It Encourages Creativity

It’s turn 6, and your opponent is looking to end the game in their next turn. They play Aggressive Mammoth, a rare, 6 mana green creature with 8 power, 8 defence, and it’s giving all their creatures trample. It looks like game over next turn… or is it?

Your opponent passes. You’ve a couple of 2/2 creatures on your side, but nothing else on the field that can deal with a giant, angry, prehistoric elephant. You draw for turn… It’s Act of Treason, a 3 mana red card that lets you steal an opponents creature, untap it, and give it haste. Now YOU have the 8/8 creature, and your board has trample. You swing out at your opponent, and he blocks, but they can’t deal with their own creature coming at them and you hit them for 8 damage. To add insult to injury, you then play Fling, another red card that costs two mana, that allows you to sacrifice a creature you control to deal damage equal to its power to any target… 5 mana, 16 damage and the Aggressive Mammoth is in your opponent’s graveyard.

When Oko isn’t around to turn everything into an Elk, you have to think outside the box, and when you do that, you start to see the common cards in Magic the Gathering for the real powerhouses they are. There is a myriad of other reasons to enjoy Pauper Magic, and these are just my top 3. If you’ve played Pauper before, what are your top 3 reasons for enjoying the format?

For more information on how you can get into Magic the Gathering and join the Pauper Revolution, drop me an email on, or hop on over to the Facebook page and send a message there!