Streets of New Capenna is coming to Magic Online this week, which means that the cards are bound to start showing up in the Pauper queues shortly thereafter. The story goes that Standard-legal sets have had a low impact on Pauper, but that is not entirely true. Even outside Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, cards from Standard sets have been working their way into the format for some time; just look at First Day of Class, Deadly Dispute or Insolent Neonate to see the proof of concept. So while my hopes are tempered New Capenna Pauper, that does not mean these cards will not show up.
The first week is one of my favorite times in a set’s cycle. It’s a chance to try out all the new cards and see what other people are bringing into the fray. Here are some of the decks and strategies I am going to digitally sleeve up when I get my mitts on the goods.
Pauper Rakdos Aristocrats by Alex Ullman
If you give me an opportunity to run Carrion Feeder and Mortician Beetle, I’m going to take it. Pauper Aristocrat strategies have been fringe contenders for quite some time but have tended to be mono-black or black-green to help mitigate mana issues. Until the printing of Deadly Dispute, green provided some much-needed refuel mechanisms in Lead the Stampede and Winding Way, but now with Village Rites and Deadly Dispute, it’s much easier to let any color in on the action.
Enter Body Dropper. One reason Aristocrats decks work is that each dying creature represents more than one point of damage. A start with one Carrion Feeder and one Mortician Beetle means a Mogg War Marshal represents six points of power. Additional Beetles mean more power and Body Dropper is another suite of Mortician Beetles. On top of that, the new two-drop can also serve as a sacrifice outlet in a pinch in order to crunch through for some of the final points of damage.
This list represents a starting point and I would not be surprised to switch some copies of Body Dropper and Bloodthrone Vampire out for cards like Makeshift Munitions or Plagued Rusalka. It is also possible the deck will want some actual removal.
All these Treasures running around also make Bloodbriar more attractive. At three mana, it’s not as efficient as some of the other Carrion Feeder-adjacent options, but it has the massive upside of triggering off of any sacrificed permanent. If any deck could benefit from Prizefight, it could be one featuring Bloodbriar.
Pauper Golgari Aristocrats by Alex Ullman
Pauper Goblin Combo by Alex Ullman
Staying in the realm of decks built around sacrificing creatures for value, there’s Witty Roastmaster. Pauper already has access to Impact Tremors but this Devil is a creature, which means it can be retrieved with Unearth. This could fit neatly into Goblin Combo – the deck that wants to generate an unbound amount of mana with Skirk Prospector and Putrid Goblin under an active First Day of Class. Not being a Goblin hurts, but adding a redundant spout does not.
Let’s stick with sacrifice-based combo decks for one more go. Zubera Storm is an “out there” deck based around the way the Zuberas from Champions of Kamigawa are worded. Basically, you can target one with an Undying Evil effect and sacrifice it and with the death trigger on the stack, sacrifice it again so the triggers will see two Zuberas dying. This lets you rip through your deck with Floating-Dream Zubera to find an Ember-Fist Zubera and eventually kill your opponent. Fake Your Own Death might cost two mana upfront but leaves behind a Treasure which can come in handy if you have to go off, stop and continue on a future turn. Here’s a list based off of one from Bryant Cook:
Pauper Zubera Storm by Alex Ullman
New Capenna is home to two cycles of lands, both of which conveniently put themselves into the graveyard which seems like a great excuse to try and make Tilling Treefolk work. Tilling Treefolk has been the key cog in several mediocre engines over the years as it can churn through cards like few other green cards. A few months back I tried it in a deck with Marauding Blight Priest and Skola Grovedancer and while it was fun, it lacked the consistency needed to be competitive. I am not sure if Riveteers Overlook is enough to send this strategy to the next level but it’s enough to get me to try.
Pauper Golgari Lands by Alex Ullman
This is where I’m starting with New Capenna but it only scratches the surface. There are new ways to build Mono-White Heroic decks and the potential to use Security Bypass is Bogles and other decks. What cards are you looking to break when it comes to Pauper and New Capenna? What strategy gets the biggest boost in your opinion?