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Pauper Power Rankings – June Update

Pauper Power Rankings

Modern Horizons 2 has been out for just over two weeks on Magic Online and it has already upended the Pauper metagame. This was expected as the new storm deck fueled by Chatterstorm and Galvanic Relay has taken the format by, well, storm. The potential onslaught of Squirrels has reshaped the metagame, and it has narrowed the band of viable decks, at least initially, rather severely. Storm exerts an immense pressure on the format and even though it’s not currently the top deck, everything pivots around trying to answer or race storm. I’m not going to spend time on the last set of Pauper Power Rankings as they really don’t matter much now. Suffice to say, things are different. There’s a lot of new decks in the format, and if you’re interested in grabbing any of them, you can check out ChannelFireball.com for all your singles needs.

10. Boros Monarch

Palace SentinelsRustvale BridgeCleansing Wildfire
Not much has changed with Boros Monarch. Like many midrange decks, it has adopted Cleansing Wildfire and the new indestructible artifact lands as a way to Rampant Growth and draw a card. Cleansing Wildfire has given many midrange strategies legs in the current metagame as it allows them to jump ahead on board while not going down a card. The fact that it retains utility in several matchups is also fantastic.

9. Gruul Monarch

Boarding PartyCrimson Fleet CommodoreEntourage of Trest
This is just one of the decks that got a boost from Cleansing Wildfire. Taking a page from Gruul Ramp, it runs the top-end cascade threat of Boarding Party. It also gets to run a Cleansing Wildfire and a metalcraft package with Galvanic Blast. This last part comes in handy for sideboard copies of Krark-Clan Shaman, a big player in the fight against Chatterstorm.

8. Burn

Lightning BoltNeedle DropChain Lightning
Burn continues to do its thing. It tries to clock people by turn four consistently. The good news for Burn is that life gain is pretty bad at the moment thanks to storm and Atog going over the top. The bad news is that many of these decks can kill on turn four as well, meaning Burn’s reliable clock might not matter.

7. Wildfire Midrange

Pauper Wildfire Midrange by Tinkmaster

These decks are evolutions of Ephemerate control decks. They take the best cards from their respective colors and try to grind out the long game with Ephemerate and Archaeomancer. Now they get to add the Cleansing Wildfire package as well. The ramp matters quite a bit as one of their best tools in fighting Storm and Affinity is locking out combat with Stonehorn Dignitary

6. Flicker Tron

Urza's TowerGhostly FlickerMnemonic Wall
How the mighty have fallen. Flicker Tron is the same busted deck it was a month ago, formerly the top spot in the Pauper Power Rankings, except now there are other decks doing broken things, but they get to do them faster. If nothing gets banned I expect Tron to slowly climb back up the Pauper Power Rankings as players figure out the optimal build for the current moment.

5. Izzet Faeries

Spellstutter SpriteSkredFaerie Seer
Izzet Faeries continues to be a metagame mainstay. There are a few things holding it back right now. The first is the inefficiency of Gorilla Shaman. While not a slam dunk win against Affinity, the Mox Monkey could do a lot of work in delaying their development while you were able to establish a game plan. Now with the new indestructible lands, it isn’t worth a slot. Second, Izzet Faeries is susceptible to both Hydroblast and Pyroblast; cards which our first place deck can run with ease.

4. Wildfire Bully

Battle ScreechSquadron HawkGeomancer's Gambit
An evolution of Boros Bully, these decks have taken to running the Cleansing Wildfire package but have also added some copies of Geomancer’s Gambit. The result is a deck with less raw offensive power but some additional speed in reaching a lethal Battle Screech. I expect to see this strategy take a step back as better Wildfire piles are developed.

3. Storm

ChatterstormFirst Day of ClassGalvanic Relay
Pauper cannot support a storm deck in a healthy metagame. The tools that exist to fight Storm effectively are not available at common. If there was ever a time to see good storm hate for Pauper it would be in Modern Horizons 2 – a set where storm is a major draft archetype. That being said, this is storm deck. You want to chain together card draw and rituals to resolve First Day of Class into Chatterstorm and then swing for lethal. Decks have started to add Galvanic Relay as a form of failsafe. If you can’t win on your storm turn but find a Relay, you can then convert those cards into a storm count on your next turn, provided you haven’t binned all your lands.

2. Dimir (Faeries)

Echoing TruthEchoing DecayCounterspell
Dimir decks are well set up to succeed at this moment. They not only get access to some of the best disruption in both Counterspell and Duress, but they can also run Echoing Decay and Echoing Truth – two good answers to a resolved Chatterstorm. More than that, they can run Snuff Out, which can be a huge swing against Affinity. Now that the machine has access to fight virtual Myr Enforcer, being able to answer one of them for free can buy enough time to find a reasonable answer to Atog One of the nice things about Dimir is that it can play a range of styles. While Dimir Faeries is the most successful version at this point in the season, Dimir Delver is also putting up solid results. There have also been decks that lean harder on Gurmag Angler, eschewing other threats while running a similar disruption suite.

1. Affinity

Pauper Affinity by Hamuda

I believe Storm is the best deck in a vacuum. However, Affinity is the best deck right n ow, and thus has taken the top spot on the Pauper Power Rankings. It has 11 Top 8s (out of 32 possible slots as of this writing) and can present a consistent clock with Myr Enforcer, Sojourner’s Companion and the looming threat of AtogFling. It can also pivot into a deck that can win the game after sacrificing its own board to Krark-Clan Shaman to wipe out an army of Squirrels and has access to all the best sideboard cards in the format. The addition of the indestructible lands has given the deck another layer of resilience and the result is a beast of a deck that’s going to be hard to dethrone given the current tools at Pauper’s disposal.

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