The Best MTG Arena Pauper Decks

By Jason Parker

February 13, 2020

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mtg arena pauper decks

Not every deck in MTG Arena is going to be Standard; we also have Historic or the odd events like Pauper. Today, I want to focus on Pauper, as it’s a unique format. In Pauper, you can only use Common cards, nothing else. No Mythic Rares, No Rares. That means no planeswalkers, no Elspeth Cheats Deaths, no Questing Beast.

So, with Theros, we have hundreds of new cards. One of the positives about Theros is that there is a ton of incredible commons and uncommons in the set. But we’re here to look at the best of the best in commons.

One of my favorite things about Pauper decks is virtually anyone can build them. It’s a fun, challenging way to build decks for casual and events alike. Now, would I pit this against a deck filled with Rares and Mythic Rares? Likely not. But they could win. That’s not what we’re here to do, though.

If a card was printed at some point as a common, it can be used here. If it shifts up, from common to uncommon, it’s still fair game. That’s going to play into one deck very heavily. Let’s start strong with some enchantments!

One final note: Some of these decks will be Historic Pauper. That’s an event we’ve seen before. I am certain we will see again. Historic is different from Standard and has way more interesting options. I’ll specify if a deck is Historic or not.

MTG Arena Pauper Decks: Selesnya Heroism (White/Green Enchantments)

Oh boy, Enchantments! When I was releasing new cards and deck brewing for Theros, I immediately thought of Selesnya Enchantments! There are some truly titanic cards for the regular Standard version, but many of those won’t work here due to the restrictions on MTG Arena Pauper decks. There are weaker versions, though.

So instead of Setessan Champion, we have Setessan Skirmisher. Instead of Ajani’s Pridemate, we have Hero of the Pride. They don’t receive permanent buffs for enchantments, but instead, it’s an “until end of turn” offering. This means you must be a bit more careful about what you cast where, because you want to make as significant an impact as possible.

This one ought to be a lot of fun.

How Does It Work?

mtg arena theros beyond death transcendent envoy card

The best part of this deck is the mana curve, I think. Almost everything in this deck is 1-2 cost! Then when you drop 1 or 2 Transcendent Envoy‘s, those enchantments will cost 1 mana every time practically. Plus, it’s a ½ flyer. V A L U E. The name of the game here is to play low-cost creatures and low-cost enchantments and start battering your opponent immediately.

Plus, you have Giant Growth to prevent a creature from dying in a poor trade, or even better, Karametra’s Blessing. Karametra’s Blessing is one of the best 1-drops, after all. It gives +2/+2 until end of turn, and if it’s an enchanted creature or an enchantment creature, it also gains Hexproof/Indestructible! This deck is running 16 enchantments and one enchantment creature, so it’s not exactly going to be difficult to do.

Pauper decks in MTG Arena tend to have a lot of creature removal and direct damage, so holding one plains open at all times and a Karametra’s Blessing is a godsend. You don’t want to play a creature and have it immediately Shocked, especially when you have only that to build on.

Luckily, it’s a pretty easy deck to pilot. You can get Trample, lots of +X/+X and vigilance. Setessan Skirmisher is neat, but if I can build around a creature, it’s probably going to be Healer’s Hawk or Transcendent Envoy. Mostly because they have flying, and one has lifelink. Hero of the Pride and Setessan Skirmisher are both nice, though, because they offer buffs for a variety of reasons.

Hero of the Pride gives all your creatures +1/+0 until the end of the turn when it’s affected by a spell that you cast. Setessan Skirmisher, conversely, gains +1/+1 until the end of the turn when an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control. That includes Transcendent Envoy since it’s an “enchantment creature.”

Key Cards

Transcendent Envoy (Enchantment Creature): We don’t have to worry about wildcards in this deck; they’re all common! Transcendent Envoy is a great creature, just in general. A ½ flyer for 2 mana (1 white), it makes all your Auras cost 1 colorless less. If you get multiples, it stacks too. So, you can make Tall as a Beanstalk be a 1G, same with Feral Invocation. A lot of your damage comes from those Green Auras, so making them cheaper is only to your benefit.

Sentinel’s Eyes (Aura Enchantment): This is a card I run in regular enchantment decks! Giving a creature +1/+1 and Vigilance for 1 white mana is seriously underrated. On top of that, it has Escape (and a cheap escape cost, to boot), so it can virtually always come back. Giving your Healer’s Hawk vigilance means it’s a baseline 2/2 flying lifelink vigilance. You can always slap Tall as a Beanstalk on top of it, to give it +3/+3! Now that’s a beater.

Feral Invocation (Aura Enchantment): Why is this 3-cost (1G) aura enchantment so great? It gives +2/+2, and it has Flash. That’s right, you can drop this on your opponent’s turn! If you have Transcendent Envoy, it’s even cheaper, down to 1G total. If you have more than 1 in hand, it could be a silly time when you swing on the other turn.

Decklist

4 Selesnya Guildgate (GRN) 256

10 Plains (THB) 250

6 Forest (BFZ) 270

4 Feral Invocation (M20) 170

4 Sentinel’s Eyes (THB) 36

4 Setessan Training (THB) 201

4 Tall as a Beanstalk (ELD) 178

4 Healer’s Hawk (GRN) 14

4 Hero of the Pride (THB) 22

4 Setessan Skirmisher (THB) 200

4 Transcendent Envoy (THB) 40

4 Giant Growth (WAR) 162

4 Karametra’s Blessing (THB) 26

Final Thoughts

Pauper sounds like a very easy meta to get into. But you really must carefully consider every play, perhaps even more than Standard. You don’t get all those crazy strong Rares to save your bacon in a pinch. But this deck is nice and easy. Play creatures, buff them with enchantments and start slapping the other player in the teeth.

This is essentially a watered-down version of the standard Selesnya Enchantments deck. Weaker versions of this, weaker versions of that, but Transcendent Envoy stands strong. It continues to stand strong as a useful creature, especially here. It’s so nice to see a common have so much strength. All the great cards can’t be rare, after all. I feel like Mono-Black might beat this simply by virtue of punishing your ability to play cards. Or Mono-Red, with how fast it is. This deck has a nice tempo, and if you can keep it up, your opponent won’t stand a chance.

MTG Arena Pauper Decks: Mono-Blue Control (Historic Control/Mill)

A control deck? In Pauper? It’s more likely than you’d think. Not only is it mono-blue control, but it’s Mill! That’s right, a pauper mill deck! That was enough to attract my eyes to the possibility of something wacky, and this is it. If you can keep this on the board and stop your opponent’s momentum dead in its tracks (which it specializes in), you’re going to mill people and make them furious.

Mono-blue is always going to be aggravating. That’s practically in the name. But this deck is loaded down with ways to deal damage, while also putting up a strong front. And of course, counter-spells. More counters than you can shake a stick at. Thankfully though, most of this deck is cost-efficient. The highest cost card is a pair of 4-drops (Muse Drake, and Tamiyo’s Epiphany).

But how can you run a control/mill deck without uncommons and rares? They’re important to the overall scheme. Don’t worry, though. Like Nicol Bolas, we always have a plan. We don’t need other colors, rares, or anything to make it happen. Just a lot of Blue.

How Does It Work?

mtg arena theros beyond death merfolk secretkeeper card

Okay, so you do have the power to batter someone down with damage, via Cloudkin Seer and Muse Drake, even though it might take a while to do so. You don’t have a lot of damage, but you have enough. But that’s not the real strategy here. The deck is built around the Merfolk Secretkeeper, primarily. You want to mill someone down as fast as possible, and that 1-drop 0/4 Merfolk makes it much easier.

There is a card I wish I had room for though, and that’s Treasure Hunt. The only reason it doesn’t work here is it would slow me down. That 2 mana it costs to let that Sorcery fly, I need to hold for mill and interrupts. Those are the big winners here. In a normal mill deck, I could see it potentially used, especially when I have more options at my disposal.

So, what’s the big deal here? We need one creature to make sure this works out the way we want it to: Merfolk Secretkeeper. It has a 1-cost sorcery adventure that puts the top 4 cards of a player’s deck into the graveyard. So, that’s 4 of them, giving you 16 cards to mill down at face value. Then you have counterspells: Didn’t Say Please and Thought Collapse. That’s more mill for your value (and counterspells).

But that’s not enough to mill someone down, now is it? We need something else to really make this happen. We have just what you need, my friend! Run Away Together lets you pick two creatures (1 you control, 1 you don’t), and put them back in their owner’s hands. That means, huzzah, more Merfolk Secretkeeper!

You also have Blink of an Eye, to return Merfolk Secretkeeper (and if you have enough lands, you can also get a card draw out of it). This deck also has some control for aggro decks, with So Tiny. That gives a creature -2/-0, and changes to -6/-0 if they have 7 or more cards in the grave (they will). Not to mention that So Tiny has Flash so that you can drop it during the attack phase of your opponent.

But you also need some card draw to make this work. That’s where Cloudkin Seer and Muse Drake come in, alongside Tamiyo’s Epiphany. Between those, and Omenspeaker, you have a variety of card draw and Scry, to make certain the next card you draw is one you need.

It’s a bit of a gamble, but Mystic Sanctuary can bring back an instant or sorcery from the grave, provided you already have 3 islands in play. I would not take this in your starting hand unless you absolutely must. If you meet that requirement, you pick an instant or sorcery on top of your deck so that you will have it again.

The idea is that you keep bouncing that jerk back to your hand and keep the mill pressure going. You have a few blocking options (including the Secretkeeper, as a 0/4) too. Use the counters wisely to keep difficult-to-deal-with creatures and spells off the board, while also milling further. Be patient, take your time.

This is a deck that I can see people giving up on fighting.

Key Cards

mtg arena blink of an eye card

Oh boy is this deck ever a fun one. There are cards I’d like to put in here, of course. Mystical Dispute, but it doesn’t mill, and is only amazing versus other blue decks. So that is right out. Brine Giant, I’d like to put in here, but we just aren’t running enough enchantments to make it a valuable pick.

Starlit Mantle is another possibility, but I just don’t have space for it. Now, Towering Mystic has a possibility, if I could get it through without dying. That’s the hard part. Maybe a one-off, just in case the possibility presents itself? Some food for thought.

Merfolk Secretkeeper (1-cost Merfolk Wizard): A 0/4 for 1? That’s not what makes it shine. It’s the Adventure ability, “Venture Deeper.” You can cast it as a Sorcery, and it mills a player for 4 cards. Then, next turn (or this turn if you have the mana), you can play the 0/4. That’s when Blink of an Eye and/or Run Away Together becomes useful.

You want to be able to return that to your hand to do it again. If you can keep doing it, and playing other ones, you can shrink your opponent’s deck into nothingness. I can’t think of too many decks in Pauper (standard MTG Arena anyway) that would benefit from being milled down. Keep Venturing Deeper.

Didn’t Say Please/Thought Collapse (3-cost Instant): I picked both because they have identical costs and do the same thing. They both cost 3 mana (2U) and counter a spell. That player then mills the top 3 cards of their deck for the privilege. The downside of this is that it costs 3 mana. In the early game, you get one of these a turn at best. But in the late game, with some card draw you can do it a few times in the late game though. This is a deck that can and should go late. It’s supposed out last.

Blink of an Eye (2-cost Instant): Oh yes, Blink of an Eye. A card I used to loathe. It always seemed to come back to haunt me when I declared an attack. Most of the uses when it was in the meta focused on bouncing the opponent’s cards away. But here? Nope, we want to get more uses of “Venture Deeper.”

In the mid-game this is way better because you can kick it (pay an extra 2 mana) to also draw a card. Sure, you can use this to throw an attacker or better still, a token to the opponent’s hand, but why? Why do that when you can make them mill more?

Decklist

4 Merfolk Secretkeeper (ELD) 53

4 So Tiny (ELD) 64

4 Run Away Together (ELD) 62

4 Omenspeaker (M19) 64

4 Blink of an Eye (DAR) 46

4 Thought Collapse (RNA) 57

4 Didn’t Say Please (ELD) 42

4 Cloudkin Seer (M20) 54

4 Muse Drake (GRN) 46

2 Tamiyo’s Epiphany (WAR) 71

4 Mystic Sanctuary (ELD) 247

18 Island (XLN) 267

Final Thoughts

This deck can and will occasionally be out-aggroed. That’s the serious downside to it. But if you can get that 0/4 and ⅓ on the table, you can at least survive early attacks. This is again, a deck that will go to the mid to late game. It just happens. You don’t have fast mill options, but you have frequent mill moves. That’s just how it works. What is going to bop this hard?

Decks with heavy flying options. UW flying will probably batter your lights out unless you can mill away their early game options, and survive the early attacks. It will be difficult to deal with flight unless you go first and have the way open to constantly counter, bounce, and mill.

It can happen, but boy will it be rough. I feel like WG enchants might eventually overwhelm this deck. Don’t be shy about using Run Away Together in those spots. If your opponent loads down a creature with enchants, use Run Away Together to bounce your Secretkeeper, and their moneymaker away. The enchantments will go to the grave, and they lose momentum.

This is a fun deck that you can build some crazy momentum with. Nothing’s more annoying than having a counterspell to use every single turn. This deck can undoubtedly do just that!

MTG Arena Pauper Decks: MonoRed Jerks (MonoRed Aggro)

This deck is still being experimented with!

A lot of fun spells and creatures cycled out a while back for the mono-red pauper scene in MTG Arena, but I still have some decks that ought to be fun. This one, in particular, builds upon an older deck, but slots in some new, exciting cards. We’re even using some Theros: Beyond Death cards! As always, there are cards I’d like to slot in, like some land destruction.

Land destruction is infuriating, especially in Pauper, but the cost is high (3-mana). We already have plenty of 3 drops in this deck. Most of the deck is 1-cost annoyance, but we have some pretty neat synergies here. Sadly, we aren’t using a lot of THB cards, but we’re working on it.

This deck is a little on the experimental side because I’m still working the kinks out. I’m happy with where it is in terms of cost-effectiveness, though. Plus, it’s red. Mono-Red is always annoying. Many of it is hyper-fast, ultra-frustrating damage. But we’ve snuck in something fun and cheeky.

Fling.

That’s right, Fling is here, and it could be pretty darn fun in the right situations.

How Does It Work?

MTG Throne of Eldraine Barge In Card

Mono-Red does one thing very well: damage. They’re high-speed jerks (Not to be confused with the Megadeth song, “High Speed Dirt”). You have a lot of 1-cost creatures and a few in the other cost ranges. The idea is to use them to get quick damage before your opponent can respond, and buff them with instants.

You have Infuriate, Barge In, Storm Strike for damage and buffs, then Portent of Betrayal to steal something away for your uses. It can also be combined with Fling for hilarious results. Steal your opponent’s best creature, swing with it, and before the turn ends, you hit them with the Fling! Fling will sacrifice the creature and deal damage based on that creature’s power to any target. So you can use it to sacrifice a vital creature to deal damage to another.

Conversely, if they have a high-power creature, you can simply sacrifice it and bop the enemy’s life points directly. That’s what Rubblebelt Recluse is in the deck for. It’s a 6/5 that must attack every turn. If you can find a way for it to attack without being blocked, you can fling it to drop at least 12 damage in one turn (more if you have Barge In). Barge In gives an attacking creature +2/+2, and non-Humans gain trample. So that could be your in to make certain you do lethal damage.

The Rubblebelt Recluse can gain First Strike, Trample, or simply +3/+2 until end of turn! You don’t even have to attack if you have enough buffs to drop. Need more card draw, though? Burning-Tree Vandal lets you discard a card to draw one if you attack with them. You have Wojek Bodyguard to buff your 1/1s and Skewer the Critics for plenty of surprise damage (3, and you’re sure to get the Spectacle cost of 1 mana easily).

Worried about the early game? Weaselback Redcap, Footlight Fiend, Grim Initiate are all 1-cost creatures with useful features. Footlight Fiend deals 1 damage to a target, Grim Initiate has First Strike and Amass 1. Weaselback Redcap can even buff itself. Fire Urchin’s a ⅓ with Trample for 2 mana (1 red) that gains +1/+0 until end of turn when you cast an instant or sorcery.

I think you can see where we’re going with this. Shock counts! With the right mana, you can shock something down, Infuriate it, and then finish up with Barge In to do plenty of damage.

You don’t have to attack every turn with this deck, but if you have the pressure and advantage, it doesn’t hurt. This is a deck you can bring damage out of nowhere with, thanks to buff and fling. You use the weaker creatures to apply pressure and cast those instants when you need to keep one alive. Then, you buff someone, fling and win!

Key Cards

mtg arena fire urchin card

There are several cards in this deck I’ve added 1 of and removed 1 of over the last hour or 2. Do what’s right for you at the end of the day. I’ve shifted the Storm Strike, Fling, Burning-Tree Vandal and Fire Urchins up or down 1. Whatever works best for you, but this is what I’m currently using.

Fling (2-cost Instant): Oh yes, Fling. Fling is such a great card, even though you must sacrifice the targeted creature. What’s Fling do? The target creature is sacrificed. Their power is dealt to any target. So that huge Rubblebelt Recluse, that now has First Strike and Trample? Let’s say, hypothetically, that 6/5 becomes an 11/10, through instant speed spells. You attack, most of the damage gets through thanks to Trample. Then, as a final middle finger, you drop Fling! That total power is dealt to a target (like the other player!) and Ka-Boom! Instant dead player. You can do it with a lot of creatures in this deck, but Rubblebelt Recluse and Fire Urchin are likely to be the targets. What’s more, you can use Portent of Betrayal, and Fling an opponent’s creature!

Barge In (1-cost Instant): Barge In should probably not be a 1-cost, but here we are. It’s an Instant that gives a target creature +2/+2 until end of turn. Then, all your non-humans gain Trample until end of turn. So, you plaster it onto a creature that could use it and swing with all your big creatures. So Wojek, Rubblebelt, a Fire Urchin if you have cast enough spells to warrant it. Barge In is also simply a great defensive tool. Between it and Infuriate, you have lots of options to keep a defending creature from dying, so you can swing with it the next turn. In other decks, with bigger creatures, it’s even more annoying. But I think Barge In’s got a lot of potential value in this deck.

Fire Urchin (2-cost Elemental Creature): Fire Urchin! It’s the poor man’s Chandra’s Firecat. Chandra’s Firecat is a ⅓ flyer that gains +3/+0 until end of turn on direct damage. It’s one of the keys to success in Cavalcade of Calamity. Shame Cavalcade is an Uncommon. So, what’s Fire Urchin do? This weaker version is a ⅓ Trample for 2. Whenever you cast an Instant or Sorcery, Fire Urchin gains +1/+0 until end of turn. So, you pop Infuriate and Storm Strike on it? That’s +4/+2, before the +2/+0 the Fire Urchin gets from casting the spells in the first place. That makes him a 7/3 Trample so that you can follow up with Fling on top of that! This is a creature that you hold back a bunch of spells to batter someone down in one fell swoop. Nickel and dime them down until you can take someone down in one shot. Fire Urchin’s got some real Pauper value, especially in these MTG Arena pauper decks.

Decklist

20 Mountain (BFZ) 265

4 Footlight Fiend (RNA) 216

2 Burning-Tree Vandal (RNA) 94

2 Wojek Bodyguard (GRN) 120

2 Rubblebelt Recluse (RNA) 111

4 Shock (M19) 156

3 Storm Strike (RNA) 119

3 Skewer the Critics (RNA) 115

3 Barge In (ELD) 112

3 Infuriate (THB) 141

4 Grim Initiate (WAR) 130

3 Weaselback Redcap (ELD) 148

2 Fire Urchin (GRN) 101

2 Portent of Betrayal (THB) 149

3 Fling (ELD) 126

Final Thoughts

Most RDW decks just plow forward relentlessly, without regard to cards in hand or what your opponent can do. This deck requires a bit more thought, though. You can just win with your low-cost creatures, pinging away until you win. But I think the more fun way is to sneak that Fling combo out of nowhere.

Be careful or decks with lots of flyers, though, because we aren’t running any. That’s what Shock and Portent of Betrayal, though! You wait for them to play that all-important flyer, borrow it, swing with it, and fling it so they can’t keep it.

This is a very satisfying deck to play too. If you want to get deeper into the Fling combo, you can put one or two more of the bigger creatures in, slot out a few of the 1-costs, and tack in a couple more buff spells. You want to be able to do someone in with one turn. To do that, you must outlast the other player. Don’t be afraid to toss those 1-drops down! Heck, if you lose all 4 Grim Initiates and have a 4/4 zombie somehow, you could use that as your Fling fodder.

Decks that ramp up faster or have a lot of creature removal could do you in too. Mono-Green. They have so much mana, and so many ways to make a creature grow. Thankfully though, Hydra’s Growth is an Uncommon, not a Common. So, this deck is a fun one to start with. With a bit of tinkering, it could be a mighty force to be reckoned with.

MTG Arena Pauper Decks: Ill-Gotten Gains (White/Black Mid-Range)

Orzhov Lifegain is a deck I sorely missed, to be honest. Ill-Gotten Inheritance plus Epicure of Blood is filthy. This isn’t a deck that you must attack with at all (but you can). Epicure of Blood has an opponent lose 1 life whenever you gain life, so with Lifelink creatures, Omen of the Sun, or simply having Grasping Thull come into play will give you chances to lower your opponent’s life total.

This is a pretty neat deck overall. I’m happy with the current state of it, too. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s slow. Most of the deck is 1-3-cost spells, with everything else in the 4-5 cost range.

You have plenty of ways to bring stuff back and make them more annoying than ever. The longer your cards stay on the board or come back, the harder it’s going to be for your opponent to come back, especially if you get more than 1 Ill-Gotten Inheritance on the field! It can be sacrificed in a pinch to deal damage to an opponent (and gain life). That also works with Epicure of Blood! This is a fun way to play the deck, even with just commons. Pauper is one of the tougher ways to build MTG Arena decks, in my opinion. So, I had to look at MTG Arena decks that I love but could still work without all the bells and whistles. Can you nickel and dime someone down with Healer’s Hawk? Sure! But it’s not all you can do.

How Does It Work?

ill-gotten-inheritance

Oh boy, this deck! The biggest part of the deck is Epicure of Blood plus Ill-Gotten Inheritance. As we said, Epicure of Blood has an opponent lose 1 life anytime you gain life. No matter what kind of life gain it is! Then Ill-Gotten Inheritance has your opponent lose 1 life, and you gain 1 life every single turn, no matter what.

Plus, you can sacrifice it in the later parts of the game to deal 4 damage/gain 4 life. That’s great if you need to stay in the game just a bit longer. But much of the game is going to be spent setting that up. How? Kaya’s Ghostform is a big part of this deck. There is no creature in this deck that doesn’t benefit from that 1-cost enchantment. My favorite target for it though de is either Imperious Oligarch or Grasping Thull. Imperious Oligarch lets you bring it back, and when it inevitably dies, it will bring you yet another Spirit token to harass your opponent with.

I’d also apply one to Epicure of Blood to make sure it comes back should it perish; it will come back. This also applies to creatures that are exiled (Kaya’s Ghostform), so it has incredible value. For a 1-mana common enchantment, this is nothing to sneeze at.

Are you stressed about creatures that die again after Kaya’s Ghostform? Want them back for one more go-around? Enter Soul Salvage! That lets you take two creatures from the grave and put them back into hand. If you use it on cheap-cost creatures, you may be able to play them as early as that same turn! The goal here is to gain life for no good reason and punish your opponent for daring also to have life points. You don’t want them to, and you deserve to have them.

You can also cast Omen of the Sun on your opponent’s turn, to gain life, and put some creatures on the board. I’m considering adding a third Omen, but I think 2 is probably enough for now. When you’re done with it, you can sac it on your opponent’s turn as well, so you can Scry 2. You want to make sure cards like Ill-Gotten Inheritance are coming if you have the mana to cast them.

If you want to be a jerk, and have the game closed out with your combo in play, consider winning with Battlefield Promotion. It gives a creature +1/+1, first strike (until end of turn), and you gain 2 life! That could be the cheesiest way to win, but it would feel so good.

Between flyers with lifelink, creatures that give you life simply by playing them, or punishing your opponent by gaining life, this deck is designed to keep you in the game, and slowly, but surely, push them out of it.

Key Cards

mtg arena final payment card

This deck has cards to bring creatures back and put them down! Grotesque Demise to kill, Soul Salvage to bring them back. Imperious Oligarch and Healer’s Hawk are great early game options. But this WB Lifegain deck is playing the long game. I considered putting some enchantments to give -X/-X, but I have yet to do so. So far, I like how it’s set up so far. The aim here is to bop the other player creatures down by killing them or first striking them away, then slowly taking away their health.

Ill-Gotten Inheritance (4-cost Black Enchantment): Frankly, I’m surprised this is a common. I imagine, if it were uncommon+, it would be a bit less expensive to cast. I know it’s a 4-drop, but it’s one of the key components to making this deck work. At the beginning of your upkeep, your opponent loses 1 life, and you gain 1 life. Every turn, and with more than 1 in play, they stack, and Epicure of Blood makes them lose an additional 1 life point every time. But you can tap 6 (1B) and sacrifice it. That deals 4 damage to an opponent, and you gain 4 life. It’s a great way to get the final damage in for a game, and if your opponent doesn’t do lots of damage, you can use it to negate their cheap swings.

Final Payment (2-cost White and Black Instant): With a deck that constantly has you gaining life, Final Payment is a very sound option for destroying a creature. You either pay 5 life or sacrifice a creature. You can 1: use this on a creature with Kaya’s Ghostform to bring it back, or simply pay 5 life if you’re that far ahead. Is your opponent about to swing with a huge creature? Sacrifice the Healer’s Hawk, to destroy your opponent’s annoying ⅘ creature!

Epicure of Blood (5-cost Black Creature): A 4/4 for 5? Eh, that’s mediocre at best. But every time you gain life, each opponent loses 1 life. The errata for this card is pretty fascinating. It doesn’t matter how much life is gained, whether it’s 1 or 100. However, each separate instance of life gain in a turn counts and will proc Epicure of Blood’s ability again. So, if you have four creatures with lifelink, each of their instances of damage will trigger it four times total. But if one creature hits multiple creatures, it only triggers once. But that’s the beauty of the card. You don’t have to attack to make your opponent lose life. Ill-Gotten Inheritance and any other instance of life gain that trigger separately will keep ticking down your opponent’s life total. There are better uses of the card but in Pauper? This is my favorite.

Decklist

9 Plains (THB) 250

11 Swamp (THB) 252

4 Orzhov Guildgate (RNA) 253

4 Epicure of Blood (M20) 99

3 Grasping Thrull (RNA) 177

4 Healer’s Hawk (GRN) 14

4 Imperious Oligarch (RNA) 184

3 Kaya’s Ghostform (WAR) 94

4 Ill-Gotten Inheritance (RNA) 77

3 Final Payment (RNA) 171

4 Grotesque Demise (RNA) 75

3 Soul Salvage (M20) 116

2 Omen of the Sun (THB) 30

2 Battlefield Promotion (WAR) 5

Final Thoughts

Out of all the decks here, this is the archetype I’m most experienced with. The major weakness of this deck is the speed at which it can move. Your two key cards are in the 4-5 range, so you have to play safe, play smart. You have plenty of creatures to keep you going, give you a buffer of life to work with. Your early game cards give you more creatures to throw away, to make sure you last until your steady flow of enemy life loss starts to tick.

Hyper aggressive decks are a problem, so is counter-play. If your only combo cards get countered, the game slows down tremendously. Sure, it’s not the end of the world, but it could very well be the end of that game. Thankfully, you have several creatures to ping away with, but only two of them have decent power and toughness. Both are expensive to cast.

MTG Arena Pauper Decks: Mono-Green (Historic)

This is another deck I’m experimenting with, but it’s been fun in the testing phase. I wanted to mess around with another Historic deck! This week, there’s going to be a Standard Historic blog going up, where I discuss stuff that isn’t just commons, so be on the lookout for that. But for now, let’s talk mono-green Historic!

Some of my favorite green cards can’t be used in this deck, so I figured I would improvise. It only runs a few power creatures, but the key is to buff them, or if you must, buff your weaker creatures and use them to slam someone down with impunity. It’s fun and can bulldoze. Plus, it takes advantage of a few fun cards that aren’t available in Standard anymore.

How Does It Work?

mtg arena core set 2019 talons of wildwood card

Well, not “cards we can’t use anymore,” except for Llanowar Elves. It’s more “cards we don’t normally use because we don’t have to.” So, welcome to Mono-Green! But since we’re in Pauper, we can’t use the crazy fun stuff like the Nessian Beetle, or Hydra’s Growth. We’re only running a few enchantments, and not as many creatures as I’d like.

I might squeeze a few more in and drop a few instants, but the idea is that you mana ramp to play and get to the big creatures – Voracious Typhon, and Garenbrig Paladin. We have a few enchantments to buff them, and we want to keep playing Growth Cycle to buff someone in ridiculous amounts.

We’re also running an enchantment to drop Trample, just in case. Garenbrig can’t be blocked by power 2 or less creatures, so best-case-scenario, he swings, he gets tremendous amounts of buffs, and swings for lethal in one hit. It’s possible to do in this deck. It’s not as aggressive as I’d like, so this is more of a mid-range deck.

Your heavy hitters: Garenbrig and Voracious Typhon. But in all fairness, you can make your Arboreal Grazer as an end-game threat, after you’ve played Growth Cycle a few times. You want your opponent to feel overconfident and drop a ton of instants when you have enough of them. This is the kind of deck where you swing out and hit “Oops!” on the emote options, especially if Arboreal Grazer is attacking. Swing with enough creatures to get one through, and buff it to the high heavens.

In theory, you can Growth Cycle for +9/+9, follow it up with Titanic Growth for another +4/+4, on something that had Oakenform (+3/+3) and Talons of Wildwood (+1/+1 and Trample). Big. Beefy. Numbers. That’s the name of the game in this deck. You want to swing as hard and heavy as you can. Don’t waste spells that you don’t have to.

This is a deck where you want to mana ramp and have as much of it as possible. You have Adventurous Impulse to pull a creature or a land, Arboreal Grazer to drop extra Forests, and Open The Gates for one final Forest.

Your Voracious Typhon is one you can feel free to throw away or discard if you need to. Its Escape cost is high (7 mana and exiling 4 other cards), but it comes back as a 7/7, and that’s before other enchantments! So, bear in mind, it can wind up being quite the powerhouse in Pauper. Wait for the perfect moment, and hammer someone right in the jaw.

Key Cards

mtg arena core set 2020 growth cycle

I usually flood the board with Elves and just hit with overwhelming numbers in Mono-Green, or use a horde of big, beefy jerks. But we have slim pickings. So instead of just a ridiculous number of creatures, I opted for a few, but making sure they all count.

Talons of Wildwood (Green Enchantment – Aura): Talons of Wildwood is a real star in this deck. It gives +1/+1 and Trample. In this deck, Trample is so important if you need damage through that’s being blocked. Alone, the +1/+1 is mediocre at best. But the Trample is what makes it great. You combine that with the other buffs. Not to mention, if you have it discarded or the creature dies, you can tap 3 mana (1G) and bring it back to your hand and cast it again (2 mana). 2 mana and it gives Trample? That’s where the real money is.

Growth Cycle (Green Instant): For 2 mana, you give a creature +3/+3 until end of turn. In this deck, that’s not particularly impressive. We have that already, and another that gives +4/+4 for the same cost. So, what’s so great about Growth Cycle? For every other copy of Growth Cycle in the graveyard, it gives that creature another +2/+2 until end of turn! So, if you have 3 others in the grave, that’s an additional +6/+6. That, paired with Talons, or Paladin? Or both? That’s a whole mountain of damage.

Garenbrig Paladin (Green Creature – Giant Knight): This creature has Adamant: If you paid at least 3 green mana to play this creature, it comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it. Since this is mono-green, you’re guaranteed to have a 5/5 for 5. It also can’t be blocked by creatures of 2 or lower power. If they’re running mono-white weenie or something, you can buff him to heaven and swing lethal without any real issue in the mid-game. Growth Cycle, Talons and KA BAM! Instant KO!

Decklist

20 Forest (BFZ) 270

4 Arboreal Grazer (WAR) 149

4 Llanowar Elves (DAR) 168

3 Giant Growth (WAR) 162

4 Adventurous Impulse (DAR) 153

2 Stony Strength (RNA) 143

3 Open the Gates (RNA) 133

3 Voracious Typhon (THB) 203

4 Garenbrig Paladin (ELD) 157

3 Oakenform (M20) 341

2 Titanic Growth (M19) 205

4 Growth Cycle (M20) 175

4 Talons of Wildwood (M19) 202

Final Thoughts

I feel like Mono-Red could chew through this in a pretty short amount of time. That or it will make you drop your Giant Growths and Titanic Growths earlier than you’d like. It’s a fun deck that makes the mid-game hard to deal with. You must get through the aggressive early-game decks pushes, and if you survive, that’s the end for them. I don’t know that Pauper in MTG Arena has a meta, but most of the decks I’ve seen have been from the aggro-mid game range. So, this may do quite well if you can get beyond the bombardment of weak creatures.

If you start to see a lot of flyers, consider slotting in Forced Landing or Fell the Pheasant to deal with them. This deck also runs Stony Strength, which can help in combat. You declare attack, hit them with Stony Strength, to untap them. It also gives them a +1/+1 token, so even Llanowar Elves can be jerks with time.

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