Arena Pauper Decklists for War of the Spark

II: No Escape - Pauper

Pauper is back on MTG Arena as part of the War of the Spark story. There are some new cards since we last were able to play Pauper on Arena, so we figured we would post some decklists for anyone looking to dive into the format. Below are a few of our brews that have proven successful.

Pauper Dimir Control

4 Submerged Boneyard
8 Swamp (339)
1 Crashing Tide
2 Divination
2 Secrets of the Golden City
3 Muse Drake
3 Salvager of Secrets
1 Watcher in the Mist
2 Dead Weight
8 Island (335)
4 Dimir Guildgate
3 Burglar Rat
3 Dusk Legion Zealot
2 Moment of Craving
1 Vicious Offering
1 Mephitic Vapors
3 Soul Salvage
1 Recover
1 Teferi's Time Twist
2 Spellkeeper Weird
1 Tamiyo's Epiphany
1 Ob Nixilis's Cruelty
1 Spark Reaper
2 Undercity's Embrace

Arena-Formatted Decklist (Pauper Dimir Control)

4 Submerged Boneyard (M19) 257
8 Swamp (RIX) 194
1 Crashing Tide (RIX) 34
2 Divination (M19) 51
2 Secrets of the Golden City (RIX) 52
3 Muse Drake (GRN) 46
3 Salvager of Secrets (M19) 70
1 Watcher in the Mist (GRN) 59
2 Dead Weight (GRN) 67
8 Island (RIX) 193
4 Dimir Guildgate (GRN) 246
3 Burglar Rat (GRN) 64
3 Dusk Legion Zealot (RIX) 70
2 Moment of Craving (RIX) 79
1 Vicious Offering (DAR) 110
1 Mephitic Vapors (GRN) 76
3 Soul Salvage (DAR) 104
1 Recover (RIX) 84
1 Teferi's Time Twist (WAR) 72
2 Spellkeeper Weird (WAR) 69
1 Tamiyo's Epiphany (WAR) 71
1 Ob Nixilis's Cruelty (WAR) 101
1 Spark Reaper (WAR) 106
2 Undercity's Embrace (RNA) 89

Dimir Control is probably the most consistent value-based control deck in the format. Since Persistent Petitioners has been banned, control no longer has any fears. This deck used to be based entirely around creating infinite value in the late game with Salvager of Secrets and recursion such as Soul Salvage. Spellkeeper Weird gives us a more consistent way to start the value train that also provides a sizable blocker for staying alive early. Our list here includes quite a few 1-ofs to try different cards and prepare for a variety of decks. For example, Undercity's Embrace is Dimir's only out against the hexproof-auras strategy, but it is a passable card in other matchups. The same applies for Mephitic Vapors against Rat Colony decks. Cold-Water Snapper is a pretty good way to close out the game if you can find room.

Pauper Rakdos Rat Colony

22 Rat Colony
3 Soul Salvage
4 Crash Through
16 Swamp (339)
4 Warlord's Fury
3 Cosmotronic Wave
4 Rakdos Guildgate
4 Cinder Barrens

Arena-Formatted Decklist (Pauper Rakdos Rat Colony)

22 Rat Colony (DAR) 101
3 Soul Salvage (DAR) 104
4 Crash Through (M19) 133
16 Swamp (RIX) 194
4 Warlord's Fury (DAR) 151
3 Cosmotronic Wave (GRN) 95
4 Rakdos Guildgate (RNA) 255
4 Cinder Barrens (M19) 248

Rat Colony is an obvious pillar of the format. We like it best with red since the 1-mana cantrips give you ways to get in damage without putting you back on card parity, and Cosmotronic Wave easily ends the game. We also included a smattering of Soul Salvage as a sort of Divination that always hits the two cards you need. This strategy won't be super fun to play for very long as it's very repetitive, but it's a quick way to get some wins with very few common wild cards since you only need 4 copies of Rat Colony to put an unlimited amount in your deck.

Pauper Hexproof Auras

4 Jade Guardian
4 Jungleborn Pioneer
4 Oakenform
2 Luminous Bonds
2 Candlelight Vigil
8 Forest (347)
4 Squire's Devotion
4 Knight's Pledge
8 Plains (331)
4 Adventurous Impulse
4 Tranquil Expanse
4 Selesnya Guildgate
4 Sumala Woodshaper
2 River Heralds' Boon
2 Talons of Wildwood

Arena-Formatted Decklist (Pauper Hexproof Auras)

4 Jade Guardian (XLN) 194
4 Jungleborn Pioneer (RIX) 137
4 Oakenform (M19) 191
2 Luminous Bonds (RIX) 12
2 Candlelight Vigil (GRN) 3
8 Forest (RIX) 196
4 Squire's Devotion (RIX) 25
4 Knight's Pledge (M19) 19
8 Plains (RIX) 192
4 Adventurous Impulse (DAR) 153
4 Tranquil Expanse (M19) 259
4 Selesnya Guildgate (GRN) 256
4 Sumala Woodshaper (GRN) 200
2 River Heralds' Boon (XLN) 204
2 Talons of Wildwood (M19) 202

This deck didn't really get much from War of the Spark, but it's still incredibly potent. The strategy is simple: resolve a Hexproof creature and stick it with loads of enchantments. Squire's Devotion is key to winning any race and Talons of Wildwood lets you break through any clogged board. It's also possible to add blue to gain access to One With the Wind.

Pauper Izzet Spells

4 Spellgorger Weird
4 Goblin Electromancer
4 Crash Through
4 Aven Wind Mage
4 Divination
4 Warlord's Fury
4 Shock
4 Jaya's Greeting
2 Chandra's Pyrohelix
4 Highland Lake
5 Island (335)
4 Izzet Guildgate
5 Mountain (343)
4 Sky Theater Strix
4 Opt

Arena-Formatted Decklist (Pauper Izzet Spells)

4 Spellgorger Weird (WAR) 145
4 Goblin Electromancer (GRN) 174
4 Crash Through (M19) 133
4 Aven Wind Mage (M19) 45
4 Divination (M19) 51
4 Warlord's Fury (DAR) 151
4 Opt (XLN) 65
4 Shock (M19) 156
4 Jaya's Greeting (WAR) 136
2 Chandra's Pyrohelix (WAR) 120
4 Highland Lake (M19) 252
5 Island (RIX) 193
4 Izzet Guildgate (GRN) 251
5 Mountain (RIX) 195
4 Sky Theater Strix (WAR) 67

This one is a bit of a work in progress, but the idea is exciting. Spellgorger Weird from War of the Spark gives us a critical mass of "casting instants and sorceries matters" type cards at common. Try to play like a tempo-control deck where contain the board early with burn until you can set up a couple of huge flying attackers to kill in one or two turns. Burning Prophet could be considered for this deck as well.

Pauper Merfolk Proliferate

4 Pollenbright Druid
2 Courage in Crisis
4 Mist-Cloaked Herald
4 Bloom Hulk
1 Jade Guardian
4 Jade Bearer
10 Forest (347)
2 Ironshell Beetle
4 River Heralds' Boon
4 Woodland Stream
4 Island (335)
4 Simic Guildgate
4 Contentious Plan
1 Teferi's Time Twist
4 Aven Eternal
2 Crashing Tide
2 Jungle Delver

Arena-Formatted Decklist (Pauper Merfolk Proliferate)

4 Pollenbright Druid (WAR) 173
2 Courage in Crisis (WAR) 158
4 Mist-Cloaked Herald (RIX) 43
4 Bloom Hulk (WAR) 154
1 Jade Guardian (XLN) 194
4 Jade Bearer (RIX) 134
10 Forest (RIX) 196
2 Ironshell Beetle (GRN) 134
4 River Heralds' Boon (XLN) 204
4 Woodland Stream (XLN) 284
4 Island (RIX) 193
4 Simic Guildgate (RNA) 257
4 Contentious Plan (WAR) 46
1 Teferi's Time Twist (WAR) 72
4 Aven Eternal (WAR) 42
2 Crashing Tide (RIX) 34
2 Jungle Delver (XLN) 195

Proliferate feels like it has potential to be the most powerful aggressive mechanic of the format. When you can cast a cantrip or a 4/4 for 4 that pumps your entire team permanently, you get to laugh at white mages who are playing cards like Charge. This list streamlines the creatures a bit to include enough 1-drops to enable Jade Bearer. Aven Eternal is a particularly exciting creature in this strategy, since it creates multiple bodies, one of them having evasion and the other starting with a +1/+1 counter.

These are our favorite decklists for now! We'll update this post when we discover any more interesting or powerful strategies, but you can be sure to check back whenever there's a new iteration of Pauper on MTG Arena.

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Michael Schuller