How to be a Tightwad and still build competitive decks- By Joe Butcher

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DISCLAIMER: All data in regards to meta percentages, pricing and other such data are based on the information gathered between March 31st 2016 and September 9th 2016.
Prices for decks are calculated by halving the price of the example deck on and then halving the value given off TCG player to get the Value in Great British Pounds. Numbers may have changed since this time so please don’t inform me that my numbers are off… I know they probably are…

So. You don’t like paying huge amounts of money for playing Magic: the Gathering but still like to win (most of the time) and that’s why you’re here. Well sir/ madam, do I have the perfect format for you. One where the most expensive playset is only going to set you back $8. Where the meta is actually a beautiful conglomeration of very popular decks. Where Delver of Secrets plays alongside Gray Merchant of Asphodel, where Mulldrifter plays alongside Atog and where the Mirrodin artifact lands are all legal *Evil affinity player laugh*.

It's OK to be puzzled...

The True Intro
Of course I’m talking about Pauper. A format that has been growing hugely in popularity lately, both in regards to the number of players and in the number of articles on the topic. Therefore here’s my jumping on the bandwagon with 2 back-to-back articles about the most popular and interesting decks within the Pauper Metagame:

Part 1
-Mono Blue Aggro

Part 2
-Dimir Control
-Acid Trip

After explaining each deck and how it works, I will be give an example decklist as well as the price of the entire deck to buy in paper form, sideboard included.
MTGO isn’t really my cup of tea, therefore I’ll be avoiding it due to not knowing the value as well as there being a slight discrepancy in card values compared to Paper Magic. Sorry for you MTGO fans out there, but I’m sure you guys can do the maths.

In the Pauper metagame, Aggro decks make up 78% of the field, Combo holds 20% and 1% goes to Control. This information is quite important when building a sideboard as you want to be able to have decent enough answers to the rest of the field. In the coming weeks (positive responses providing), I will do an article on how a metagame truly works and therefore how to adapt to it.
Now, let’s get on with our first decklist and description of what it does.

Mono Blue Aggro

Aggro-Control King

This form of deck looks to build an early lead by playing highly efficient creatures quickly and then being able to defend it or forcing the opponent to deal with it. Playing Delver of Secrets and then being able to swing for 3 damage on Turn 2 (assuming it’s able to transform, which is highly likely with 23+ spells in the deck) gives a massive level of initiative that quite a few other decks don’t have.

Most of the cards in the deck have some kind of 2-for-1 built into them, quite often in the form of: do something, draw a card. This allows for an aggressive approach to the game, knowing that you will have cards to back up the creatures.

Because of its ability to play efficient creatures for a maximum of 3 mana on average, means that the deck only really runs around 17 Islands. Because mana fixing effectively doesn’t exist in Pauper, basic lands are used a lot more and the number of each is more relevant than other formats.


Cloudfin Raptor (56)
Delver of Secrets
Forstburn Weird
Ninja of the Deep Hpours
Spire Golem
Force Spike
17 Island


Coral Net
Relic of Progenitus
Stormbound Geist
Serrated Arrows

Overall this deck is only going to set you back £25.48. That’s pretty crazy for a deck classified as Tier 1 in its format. It also happens to be the single most popular deck to play, so expect some mirror-matches and alter your deck accordingly.


Shenanigans with Auratog...

Green is one of my favourite colours and is the main colour for Stompy decks. Again, an aggro deck, but unlike Mono Blue Aggro the deck looks to play either bigger or even more efficient creatures and win through this method. Green gives access to really strong pump spells like Rancor, Vines of Vastwood and Groundswell.

In regards to creatures, most of them are either large for their mana cost, like Nettle Sentinel, or have an ability that forces multiple removal spells in order to truly deal with like Young Wolf. In some decks, my example included, there are some utility creatures for longer games. Because the mana curve for these sorts of decks are very rarely higher than 2 CMC, mana-sinks like Shinen of Life’s Roar can really be a tide turner versus lategame decks.


Basking Rootwalla
Nettle Sentinel
Quirion Ranger
Skaargan Pit-Skulk
Young Wolf
River Boa
Vault Skirge
Wild Mongrel
Hunger of the Howlpack
mutagenic Growth
Vines of Vastwood
Epic Confrontation
17 Forest


Mutagenic Growth
Scattershot Archer
Viridian Longbow
Epic Confrontation
Gleeful Sabotage
Vault Skirge

This deck is gonna cost you a whopping £27.14 overall. Keep an eye out for getting these in bulk sales to flesh stuff out rather than buying specifically if you can.


mtg Tron lands

The final deck that I’m going to talk about in this article is Tron. Tron refers to the cycle of 3 lands originally brought out in the Urza’s cycle that when grouped together produce a whopping 7 mana. Currently, the deck plays a very defensive game until it hits a point where it has tremendous amounts of mana. 4 colour is the way to go with URGB being the colours of choice.

Creatures swing mainly towards the value end of the spectrum, with Mulldrifter, Mnemonic Wall and Sea Gate Oracle all doing work to keep you alive and move you towards the win condition: Kaervek’s Torch. The other creature is Perigrine Drake which, when paired with flicker effects, can let you untap your Urza Lands to produce disgusting amounts of mana. And with that, let’s move onto the decklist so you can see what I’m talking about.


Sea Gate Oracle
Mnemonic Wall
Perigrine Drake
Kaervek’s Torch
Moment’s Peace
Prophetic Prism
Compulsive Research
Ghostly Flicker
Remote Isle
Simic Guildgate
Thornwood Falls
Urza’s Mine
Urza’s Tower
Urza’s Power Plant


Aerial Volley
Relic of Progenitus
Moment’s Peace
Reaping the Graves
Deep Analysis

Overall, this deck will cost you £15.23 if you buy right. It may take some time to learn how to play so slowly and defensively, but trust me, bombing someone with a Kaervek’s Spite for 20 can be incredibly satisfying.

So that’s it for Part 1 of the Pauper metagame introduction. I hope you all liked it and keep your eyes out for Part 2.
‘Till Next time.

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