Well, it's that time of year again. We've recently had another supplemental set released, and that means more cards legal in everyone's favorite, cheapest format: Pauper! I know we haven't touched much on Modern Horizons, and the main reason for that is here at Land Say Go, we try and keep Standard as much in our radar as possible, which means we typically will stay away from most other formats. We do, however, occasionally break into other formats that we are fairly passionate in: JB loves kitchen table magic, I also love Commander and Pauper. But with Modern Horizons' introduction to the scene, it not only will shake up Modern, but has the potential to shake up Pauper as well.
Here are my top 10 picks for the newest additions to Pauper.
The main thing I wanted to highlight here are the new sliver cards Pauper players are able to get their hands on. The best thing about Slivers is that it is an easy tribe to build around, basically play a sliver and then play another sliver, reaping the benefits. In Modern Horizons, we did get access to a few new Slivers that add some great power to the archetype.
Bladeback Sliver is great for the early game, its a 2/2 for 2 that gives all of our slivers the ability to tap to ping our opponents for 1 damage, so long as we are Hellbent. Since we are looking to empty our hands with our Slivers, this could be a great card to include in a list like that. We also get another powerful Sliver bear with Enduring Sliver. This white creature has Outlast 2 and gives all other slivers we control Outlast 2. Basically, we pay 2 mana and tap the creature at Sorcery speed, and we can put a +1/+1 counter on it. This can be a way in grindy match ups to just go over the top of our opponent. Cleaving Sliver is a good 4 drop in this archetype, as it gives all Slivers we control +2/+0, allowing us to get some incredible damage in. Lancer Sliver gives all Slivers we control First Strike. Then, not to mention all of the Changelings in the set, we have the ability to make a lot of different Sliver decks just from these cards, not to mention the slivers already legal in the format. I love it.
10) Weather the Storm.
We are going to start this out with actually a pretty impactful card. Weather the Storm is a very powerful card for the sideboards of Gx decks. For 2 mana, at instant speed, we can gain 3 life...plus another 3 life for each spell cast before it in the turn. This can be a great card to board in against Burn lists that are looking to throw a ton of damage to your face, then on the end step, you cast this to gain it all back. This can be a decent option in strategies looking to output a ton of creatures, allowing you to effectively fog for a turn or two. You can also build around it a bit to be able to gain a ton of life off of your own storm deck. I think this card is a great answer to some of the things in the meta, but its lower on my list as its a bit more of a case by case.
Affinity is one of the better decks in the format at the moment. So is Tron. Shenanigans gives you a repeatable 2 mana destroy target artifact spell that you can do, in some cases, 2-3 times in a turn if you have the right sequence of cards. This just absolutely butchers affinity, turning off their mana base (which are basically all the artifact lands), and kills pretty much every creature they'd want to run. It is positively devastating. Tron uses a bunch of artifacts as a means to filter through their deck, this can give you another answer to help shut down their game plan. Not to mention, it can be a good way to shut off other artifact "shenanigans" your opponents are running. I think this card is very powerful, but it depends on your meta if it is worth having.
8) Trumpeting Herd.
I think Trumpeting Herd is actually quite powerful for a common. Pauper is the type of format that may run 4 mana 3/3s if they fit your game plan. Well, this is a 4 mana spell that produces two 3/3s over the course of 2 turns. Its a way to get continual pressure built up on your opponent, forcing them to answer your various threats, only for you to easily refuel with no mana investment the next turn with that Rebound ability. I love this card, and I'm excited to build it into some mono green beats lists.
7) First-Sphere Gargantua
I like to see more decks that can utilize their graveyard, and I love that in addition to the Gurmag Angler, we get another expensive/cheap finisher in First-Sphere Gargantua for a deck that wants to mill itself. On its own, a 6 mana, 5/4 beater that draws you a card for a 1 life investment is a really decent card. It is aggressive and can force your opponent to utilize multiple cards to kill it, only to have you Unearth it the following turn for 2B, giving it haste plus its enter the battlefield ability. Sure, it gets exiled, but you can deal a (somewhat) surprise 5 points of damage out of nowhere. This card is also technically card advantage as when you Unearth it from the graveyard, you aren't using a resource from your hand, giving you an additional card. I don't think you should look away from this card, it fills a very interesting slot.
6) Headless Specter
Headless Specter is actually a call back to a pretty powerful, fairly popular older spell: Hypnotic Specter. For 3 mana, we get a 2/2 flyer that has a Hellbent ability. Whenever Headless Specter deals combat damage to a player, if you have no cards in hand, that player discards a card at random. Random discard is extremely powerful and can often have our opponent discard that one spell they wanted to keep. There are definitely ways to get ourselves Hellbent, and I think it could be a fun thing to try to match up with another mechanic like Madness. Not to mention, with the BB in its mana cost, Headless Specter could also see a place in (at the vary least) the sideboards of Mono Black Devotion lists. Give it a try, and watch your opponent weep.
5) Bogardan Dragonheart
If we want to make aristocrats a thing, we need as many free sacrifice outlets as we can get. Well, Bogardan Dragonheart not only can provide that to us, but also can become a 4/4, hasty flyer on top of that? Talk about powerful! This card can definitely turn heads, can be a surprise blocker out of no where in the air, and is an absolutely stellar free sac outlet.
4) Magmatic Sinkhole
Gurmag Angler is one of the banes of the format at the moment. Being able to get a 5/5 for just a single mana after your opponent delves away a few cards is almost unbeatable, especially if you are in red. Well, luckily we get Magmatic Sinkhole. We, too, get to delve away 5 cards from our graveyard in order to cast this burn spell that will deal 5 damage to a creature (and planeswalker, if they will ever make a common planeswalker). So, the delve out an angler, and you just "nope" it right off the board. I'm really excited for this, it'll make a decent sideboard card in Rx decks.
3) Mind Rake
Forcing your opponent to discard cards is one of the best feelings you can have in magic. Being able to force all players to discard two cards for two mana? Busted. Sure, Mind Rake hurts you on the overload. But who cares? If you are playing this you either want things in your graveyard, or you want to be empty handed. This card is AMAZINGLY powerful. Where do you think you can bust it open? Tell us in the comments down below.
2) Winding Way
This card is nuts. It is extremely powerful. Lead the Stampede is a card that sees play in elves, an already busted meta deck. The problem with Lead the Stampede is sometimes you can't get to 3 mana, perhaps your board is getting ravaged by removal and all of your mana dorks are in the bin. Or, perhaps you have your bomb in your hand, and you just need a few more lands to cast it. Winding Way gives us the option to either find our creatures off the top 4 and put each one in our hand, or we can choose land before we reveal and put all lands into our hand (perhaps we want to bin our creatures). This is potentially a draw 4 for 2 mana. it is completely bonkers!
I've saved the best for last, at least I think its the best. The closest we had to a single mana kill spell was Tragic Slip, but in order to make the most use out of it, a creature had to die that turn. Well, with Defile we now get a similar effect in decks that don't want to run creatures or don't want to build an aristocrats style list. With Defile, we get to give a creature -1/-1 for each Swamp we control, all at instant speed. This is great answer to a late game Ulamog's Crusher or Breaker of Armies. And it is even great early game against the majority of creatures in the format. The best thing about the card is that it skirts around indestructibility. The -1/-1 effect doesn't care at all, as it isn't damage. Defile is going to be the closest thing to a black Path to Exile as we are going to get, and arguably is a better card than even something like Fatal Push in mono black or Bx decks. This card is powerful removal.
Wizards of the Coast got to push the power level of the Modern Horizons even more than they do for standard, and it shows with some of the powerful cards we got. While this set doesn't out right create new archetypes, I think it is a strong set that provides some fantastic support and sideboard cards against a plethora of meta decks.
So, how did I do? Did I miss your favorite cards? Am I over selling some on my list? Let us know in the comments down below!