With all the attention paid to Standard and Modern over the last few months, it would be easy to forget that there is more to Magic. Some people love Limited, others can’t get enough of Commander, but for me Pauper is my go-to secondary format. Not only is Pauper hugely popular on MTGO but it has a growing paper scene too. While the format has its own distinctive meta, it is also home to a ton of brews and many players find success trying new and exciting decks. For the last few months now I have been tweaking my own little creation…
Gruul-fall (as it has become known) is an aggressive combo deck which makes use of landfall creatures and spells to quickly close out the game. Working in a similar way to the Modern Infect deck, we get down an early creature then trigger landfall multiple times the following turn to take a large chunk out of our opponent’s life total, then bolt to round out the game and leave your opponent scratching their head, trying to figure out what just happened.
Plated Geopede, Makindi Sliderunner, Snapping Gnarlid and Valakut Predator make up our creature package. All of them are pretty lacklustre when compared to other two and three drops in the format but with a landfall triggers can become a force to be reckoned with. Although landfall can make all our draws live, we need to be able to trigger landfall multiple times in a single turn so a spell package aimed at playing out our lands are a must. Swell of Growth not only allows us to play a land at instant speed, functioning as a combat trick, but pumps up one of our creatures too. Once equipped, Adventuring Gear allows our creatures to benefit from two landfall triggers, quickly ramping up the damage. Harrow and Khalni Heart Expedition both allow us to go looking two basic lands, and when used in conjunction with each other, can let use play up to five lands in a single turn (one per turn, then Harrow, triggering Khalni Heart Expedition).
We also use some more pump to help deal more damage, with Groundswell and Temur Battle Rage. Groundswell, once landfall is triggered, is one of the best pump spells in the format, if not the game, and the battle rage can easily finish the game with double strike and trample. We also include a playset of Lightning Bolt, to both act as removal, and a finisher if our creatures can’t close the deal.
For the mana base, we have a healthy spread of basic Mountains and Forest, as well as the common fetch lands, Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse. Both of these cards not only fix our mana if we need it but give us instant speed landfall trigger or two triggers in a turn. The sideboard is fairly straight forward – Grazing Gladehart is a great creature to board in against aggressive decks and Searing Blaze can work wonders when going up against heavy creature decks, such as Slivers. Zektar Shrine Expedition can sit on the board, ready to strike when the opponents shields are down. Naturalize removes problematic enchantments and artifacts, and Relic of Progenitus takes care of graveyard tomfoolery.
The deck has been performing well for me and I’m having a ton of fun with it. Not only can it win games quickly (something I really like) but it really gets you to think about your plays, rather than just burning out your opponent ASAP. But I’m curious, what do you guys play in pauper? Do you try home brews or play the meta? If you have a sweet looking deck, why not share it with us, and I may talk about it in a future post. Until then, draw well.