For the past several months the Magic Online Pauper metagame has been stagnant. The release of Modern Horizons 2 injected a ton of power into the format, concentrated largely in Storm Combo and Affinity. Today, action was taken to reduce the dominance of those two strategies. Effective later today, Chatterstorm and Sojourner’s Companion are banned in Pauper.
Chatterstorm was the key card in the current iteration of the Pauper Storm deck. Using an abundance of cheap rituals and card filtering, the deck would eventually resolve a First Day of Class to create a massive army of hasty squirrels. Given the nature of the Pauper card pool, the combo was hard to attack in any reasonable fashion and the deck quickly became dominant.
Galvanic Relay gave the Storm deck another angle of attack, allowing it to “go off” twice, storing spells for a second chance. While it was under consideration for a ban, Relay will remain legal. The stated goal here is to give Storm the potential to survive, albeit in a less consistent fashion.
Behind Storm, Affinity was a huge player in the metagame. The addition of indestructible Artifact Lands and a second copy of Myr Enforcer in Sojourner’s Companion reduced the risk and variance in running the deck. While many cards were considered for the ban – including Atog and Disciple of the Vault, they were saved due to the novelty of Affinity’s strategic angle. Instead, Sojourner’s Companion was banned to reduce Affinity’s consistency.
The hope is that these bans will improve Pauper’s overall metagame health. Other bans were considered but no action was taken. Due to the format’s card pool restriction and the intricate metagame, Play Design decided to take a slower approach this time around. The plan is to monitor the format before potentially adding to the ban list in the future.