Best Pauper Decks – Pauper Power Rankings – Crimson Vow Update

Crimson Vow has been out for over a month and while it hasn’t reshaped the Pauper metagame, it has certainly had a massive impact. The printing of Blood Fountain, Reckless Impulse and Wedding Invitation have given existing archetypes some much needed oomph and have pushed one deck to another level entirely. After eight Magic Online Challenges, a Qualifier and a Showcase, here’s how I see the format and the best Pauper decks.

Outside of these decks, there are plenty of fun and somewhat competitive options to try. Heroic has had solid results in a small sample size, while old stalwart Stompy continues to try and attack for two like it’s still honest. Kiln Fiend decks, both mono-red and Izzet, have shown up occasionally and Cycle Storm has caught on as of late. While all of these are fine choices, I think they’re a notch below the other decks listed here today.



Tier 2


10. Mono-White Aggro


Pauper Mono-White Aggro by saikyoluige


This deck has taken off in the past few weeks. The aggro strategy can put a lot of power on the table early while backing things up with Daybreak Chimera and Guardians’ Pledge. Card flow is not the problem it once was, with Thraben Inspector being joined by Search Party Captain. The addition of Cathar Commando gives the strategy a solid offensive threat that can also remove a Myr Enforcer in a pinch. The fact that the deck can also run Dust to Dust cannot be discounted and is likely part of the reason it has caught on in light of Affinity’s rise to prominence. 


9. Pestilence Control

PestilenceGuardian of the GuildpactChainer's Edict

Another deck that can run Dust to Dust, Orzhov Pestilence combines efficient removal with the ability to gain life with ease. Pestilence remains a fantastic card in a format where Spellstutter Sprite sees heavy play and pairing it with Guardian of the Guildpact leaves the controller with a recurring board wipe and a threat that can crash through.


8. Jeskai Ephemerate


Pauper Jeskai Ephemerate by Joao_Andrade


These decks have a few different looks. The most popular one these days also runs Cleansing Wildfire and the Modern Horizons 2 Bridges to accelerate towards an endgame. Using Ardent Elementalist or Archaeomancer in conjunction with Ephemerate, the graveyard becomes a pile of tutor targets. Also, there are few things as fun as targeting an evoked Mulldrifter with Ephemerate.


7. Bogles

Slippery BogleGladecover ScoutEthereal Armor (Timeshifted)

What else can be said about Bogles? The deck remains largely unchanged and wins by presenting a hard to solve threat. While the strategy still has all the same weaknesses, the recent trend in the metagame of fewer Chainer’s Edicts running around means that Bogles can often enact their strategy with ease… provided it can dodge Krark-Clan Shaman.


Tier 1


6. Dimir Faeries

Spellstutter SpriteFaerie SeerNinja of the Deep Hours (Timeshifted)

What happened to Dimir? It remains a fantastic deck, but players have been moving off of black removal in favor of red options recently. While Gorilla Shaman and Shenanigans don’t deal with the Bridges, they do a fine job of hitting the other artifact lands as well as cards like Blood Fountain


5. Izzet Faeries

Spellstutter SpriteFaerie SeerSkred

As mentioned red has access to some solid, if currently unremarkable, artifact removal. Combine this with potent creature removal in Skred, blue cantrips and counters, and you have the recipe for a deck that can hold its own in most metagames. Izzet has also been aided by some Affinity decks eschewing blue and Blue Elemental Blast in favor of a more streamlined Rakdos build.


4. Flicker Tron

Urza's TowerEphemerateMulldrifter (Timeshifted)

I want to make an Ironborn joke here, but considering the best deck in the format actually runs artifact creatures, just assume I wrote something clever. Flicker Tron is one of the best decks in Pauper provided it can get online. While Affinity’s clock makes that more difficult these days, once it gets going Tron has one of the best end games in the format. An abundance of mana and the same Ephemerate engine that powers the Jeskai deck makes for a strategy that can double up on potent options with ease.


3. Delver

Delver of Secrets // Insectile AberrationSnapCounterspell

Delver has managed to insert itself back into the conversation. No real removal to speak of, instead it plays almost a pure tempo game. Snap is a powerful play when you’re also holding on to a Counterspell or Spellstutter Sprite. Delver can also take on a more aggressive bend with Mutagenic Growth as a way to push through extra damage.


2. Boros Bully


Pauper Boros Bully by Supremoguy


Boros Bully is buoyed in part because it’s one of the better proactive Dust to Dust decks, but also a new build has taken hold. The deck leans more on graveyard interactions with Sacred Cat and Lunarch Veteran, both of which serve to bolster a solid life gain plan. It also does not lose out on the ability to go over the top with Rally the Peasants.


Tier 0

1. Affinity


Pauper Rakdos Affinity by Hamuda


Affinity is the best deck in the format right now by quite a bit. In the past, Affinity was held in check due to the fragility of its mana base. The Modern Horizons 2 Bridges removed this weakness and the deck has started to run roughshod over Pauper. Affinity can present a quick clock in Myr Enforcer, a slow grind with Disciple of the Vault and Makeshift Munitions or a combo kill with Atog and Fling. These three angles all intersect, creating a monster of a deck. The newest innovation in builds has been to forego Prophetic Prism, and as a result blue, to run Wedding Invitation as another way to go lethal with Atog.


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