Doc28’s Pauper Primer

Pauper is back! It’s been a while since we’ve had an Eternal pauper event, and I for one am super excited to see how the format has changed with the release of Echoes of Eternity. To help instigate this format exploration process, I’ve comprised a batch of decklists that highlight the strategies you’ll need to watch out for (and/or play) in this week’s mini-event.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Mono Fire Aggro

4 Furyblade (Set8 #2)
4 Grenadin Drone (Set1 #5)
4 Oni Patrol (Set6 #5)
4 Oni Ronin (Set1 #13)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Blurreechaser (Set6 #7)
4 Kaleb’s Favor (Set0 #3)
2 Ornate Katana (Set1 #23)
4 Shavka Evangel (Set7 #6)
4 Yeti Pioneer (Set1006 #1)
4 Burningcore Drake (Set8 #14)
4 Nimble Conscript (Set6 #23)
4 Streets Aflame (Set6 #26)
19 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
2 Granite Coin (Set6 #1)
4 Granite Waystone (Set3 #1)

Decks like Mono Fire tend to do very well in a format’s early stages, and Pauper is no different. Mono Fire received two crucial upgrades from Echoes of Eternity: Furyblade and Burningcore Drake. Drake offers evasion and potential card advantage, while Furyblade offers consistency and versatility. Blurreechaser is a format staple that provides valuable card selection and allows the deck to maximize its power usage in the early game.

Redundancy is the name of the game for any deck without easy and frequent access to card advantage. When I’m building a deck like Mono Fire, I want to try and make sure that my best card isn’t miles better than my worst card. This used to be harder to pull off when Pauper’s card pool was smaller, but we’re at a point now where the deck can feasibly play fifty reasonable cards. All things considered, I expect Mono Fire to be an immediate frontrunner in the format; it’s fast, it’s furious and it gets to play some of the best aggressive cards in the game!

Praxis Warp

4 Initiate of the Sands (Set1 #74)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Devotee of the Sands (Set6 #55)
4 Magnificent Stranger (Set8 #39)
3 Purify (Set2 #176)
4 Trail Maker (Set3 #65)
4 Avirax Familiar (Set2 #46)
4 Awakened Sentinel (Set2 #57)
4 Infused Guardian (Set5 #67)
4 Cannonbearer (Set2 #31)
4 Champion Grappler (Set7 #154)
3 Powerbreach Sentinel (Set5 #70)
2 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
4 Granite Waystone (Set3 #1)
7 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
4 Amber Coin (Set6 #46)
4 Amber Waystone (Set3 #51)
4 Praxis Banner (Set2 #171)

Praxis has been a consistent tier one strategy of past Pauper formats in Eternal, sporting the best Time units in tandem with Fire removal and Cannonbearer. Cannonbearer is a staple unit in this format just as pre-nerf Heart of the Vault was a staple unit in Throne; a six drop with warp, great stats and conditional removal attached is unsurprisingly great.

While Praxis Warp is fairly unchanged relative to previous iterations, Magnificent Stranger and Champion Grappler increase the deck’s overall power level. This might sound strange given that Praxis has historically been one of the most powerful decks in Pauper, but it’s worth remembering that every set brings with it lots of new commons specifically designed for draft. Hence, time usually gets some solid fatties at common, which explains why this deck continues to be a Pauper mainstay.

Aurelian Relics

4 Unearth the Past (Set5 #38)
4 Araktodon Egg (Set5 #41)
4 Cabal Scavenger (Set5 #150)
4 Calibrate (Set8 #31)
4 Lucky Prospector (Set3 #57)
2 Cryptic Etchings (Set3 #62)
4 Curator’s Spear (Set5 #157)
4 Lethrai Courtier (Set5 #220)
4 Tumbling Sloth (Set5 #234)
4 Wilderness Refuge (Set7 #50)
4 Consuming Greed (Set5 #174)
4 Wurmstone (Set4 #86)
4 Acantha’s Outrider (Set5 #142)
2 Amber Coin (Set6 #46)
4 Amber Waystone (Set3 #51)
4 Cobalt Waystone (Set3 #151)
3 Amethyst Waystone (Set3 #201)
4 Elysian Banner (Set1 #421)
4 Xenan Banner (Set2 #201)
4 Feln Banner (Set1 #417)

I’ll admit that this one is a bit of a brew, but alas I think the concept is very promising. Aurelian Relics is a synergistic midrange deck that looks to exploit the relic synergies at common rarity; we get our very own Ancient Stirrings (a MTG reference) in Calibrate, which helps us assemble a ragtag crew of under-costed units. In a perfect world, you’re getting a 4/4 for 1, a 3/3 with endurance for 1, a 3/3 with flying for 3, a 7/7 for 4 and a 6/4 + a 2/1 for 4.

With all that said, there is obviously a cost associated with those absurd stat lines. You’re forced to play Cryptic Etchings and Wilderness Refuge, which are both abhorrently below-rate cards, in order to maximize the power of your unit base. Furthermore, you open yourself up to extra angles of interaction by heavily relying on the relic card type, which isn’t as much of a downside in Pauper compared to other formats but nonetheless makes a difference. The deck is really sweet, but it might be a couple pieces away from realizing its full potential.

Spellcrag

4 Char (Set6 #3)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
2 Backlash (Set1 #200)
4 Kaleb’s Favor (Set0 #3)
4 Static Bolt (Set1 #194)
2 Torrential Downpour (Set4 #163)
4 Wizened Crone (Set7 #164)
4 Greed’s Reward (Set7 #103)
4 Spellstorm Stranger (Set8 #93)
4 Streets Aflame (Set6 #26)
4 Mortar (Set2 #194)
4 Double Helix Drake (Set8 #108)
2 Fiery Fissure (Set4 #38)
3 Shamanic Blast (Set4 #189)
5 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
2 Granite Coin (Set6 #1)
4 Granite Waystone (Set3 #1)
7 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Cobalt Waystone (Set3 #151)
4 Skycrag Banner (Set2 #186)

We’re obviously missing Garden of Omens and Prodigious Sorcery, but it’s important to realize that many of this archetype’s core burn spells are legal in Pauper. This deck doesn’t play exactly like the Throne version of Spellcrag because we don’t have an immediate stabilizer to lean on and combo off with. Instead, we’re looking to play a longer game and maximize our removal suite until we’re stabilized and can pivot into burn mode.

This particular build is a rough sketch of the archetype, and with some refining the deck seems poised to position itself well in the Pauper metagame. Removal is worse across the board in this format, meaning that you’re relatively likely to stick one of your enabler units and start the engine. Spell-crag can facilitate some of the strongest turns of any Pauper deck, but it’s also fairly easy to disrupt if you bring the right tools; hence, preparation is the first step towards beating this deck. Pack your incidental lifegain (i.e. Vara’s Favor, Extract) and your unconditional removal (i.e. Eviscerate), or else you may pay the price.

FTS Shift

4 Calibrate (Set8 #31)
4 Cloak of Moments (Set1006 #5)
4 Muck Crawler (Set6 #184)
4 Devotee of the Sands (Set6 #55)
4 Displaced Oryctodon (Set6 #56)
3 Mob Rule (Set5 #160)
4 Crooked Alleyguide (Set6 #197)
4 Nimble Conscript (Set6 #23)
3 Rally (Set1 #33)
4 Submerged Titan (Set6 #72)
4 Mining Team (Set6 #31)
4 Stonescar Outfitter (Set6 #216)
2 Tremorshocker (Set6 #87)
2 Direwood Lurker (Set6 #225)
2 Granite Waystone (Set3 #1)
4 Amber Waystone (Set3 #51)
4 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Praxis Banner (Set2 #171)
4 Stonescar Banner (Set1 #419)
4 Xenan Banner (Set2 #201)
3 Token of Destruction (Set8 #181)

Brody138 and I took this archetype to the Tuesday Night Eternal Pauper event a while ago, and at that time we believed that this deck was right on the border of busted territory. Although Echoes of Eternity didn’t give us any new Shift units, it did give us a crucial consistency piece in Calibrate. While Calibrate can’t find us a Shift unit, it can find us Cloak of Moments. Cloak is by far the best card in the deck because its cost reduction leads to some truly broken sequences. I dump my entire hand on turn 2 or turn 3 very frequently, and there aren’t even any board wipes to keep me honest!

While the wheels can sometimes fall off, I believe that the power level of FTS Shift is so high that it’s worth taking the risk of registering it. I’ll definitely be jamming it in the mini-event this week, and I hope to see you there!

ECQ: Aftershock

ECQ: Aftershock was another big success for Team Misplay. A staggering 80% of the playing-group (8 of 10) made the Top 64.

We expected the three dominate decks going in to be Dragons, Strangers, and Unseen. The majority of the team played one of the three while sopayelo, chicityshogun, and gatosujo were on FTS Sacrifice. Locopojo who strolled into Discord at the last hour asking “Is there still time to play?” played Argenport Midrange and absolutely crushed it.

Deedub qualified playing Argenport Unseen. He has made the cut in three straight Expedition ECQs with a near 80% win percentage.

Doc28 set out to build a “lean midrange” Skycrag Dragons deck in opposition to some of the more aggro versions. He nearly put three people into Stage 2. I had a heartbreaking final two games with the list to finish 17-11. Piereese and Doc28 both advanced.

colacoma and imsobad played 4F Strangers with colacoma posting an impressive 22-6.

The story of the day belonged to soapyelo who played FTS Sacrifice into the Top 8. As mentioned, we expected to see a lot of Dragons, Strangers, and Unseen and about two-thirds of his matches were against those three. “I had extremely close three game matches in the Top 64, Top 32, and Top 16. In the Top 32 match, my FPS Dragons opponent was swinging for lethal and I lived at two life thanks to Crack the Earth and a token blocking both parts of a Silenced Berserk Crimson Firemaw then Devouring followed by cracking back for the exact 19 life my opponent was at.”

Sadly, his match against Magikarp (A.K.A. The Misplay Slayer) in the Top 8 was not very competitive and both players traded off not drawing power. soapyelo had a “fantastic time” and looks forward to the next ECQ in April.

We see you Magikarp.

ECQ: Echoes of Eternity

ECQ: Echoes of Eternity was an impressive debut for Team Misplay. Four members – of the eight that registered – played well enough to reach the Top 64 and compete for a Worlds spot.

Early testing indicated Even Elysian presented the highest percent chance to qualify against the field. In particular, Piereese’s variant with Grodov’s Stranger and Maul tested well. This is the deck imsobad piloted to a 20-8 record.

There ended up being 26 Even Elysian decks that made the Top 64. Expect Evenhanded Golem to cost three next balance patch. It’s also a very interesting number if you listened to the latest Misplay podcast. (Haha Mark!)

Initially poised to play Reanimator – the same deck he won ECQ: Promises by Firelight with – colacoma ended up brewing a Combrei Mid-Range deck to target agressive decks like Even Elysian. The deck featured Alluring Qirin to shut off the Golem and take opponents off curve. gatosujo played the deck to a 20-8 while colacoma piloted it to 22-6.

colacoma gives “full credit to LocoPojo” for discovering the best shell for Qirin. colacoma was very happy with his deck choice “and would run Combrei again, but [he thinks] it was over-tuned against Evens” and would probably make some changes to make it better against the field.

chicityshogun put a lot of reps in on FJS Sacrifice in the leadup and also posted a 22-6 record for his 3rd-consecutive Top 64 finish. “While I’m still making plenty of misplays to maintain team branding,” chicityshogun says, “I’m also proud of my strategic and patient gameplay, but there’s still a gap between myself and my Eternal heroes: NotoriousGHP, LightsOutAce, camat0, and Paradox.”

“The whole thing was a great experience,” chicityshogun said, “and was enhanced tremendously by being able to share it with my awesome teammates.” His spirits weren’t even dampened when LSV called him “chickety shogun.” He loved it.

Three of the four (chicityshogun, gatosujo, and imsobad) won their first round matches and moved on to the Top 32. Unfortunately, we did not advance to the Top 16. Congratulations to those that did and to twanbon for taking down ECQ: Echoes of Eternity and securing a Worlds spot playing Combrei Aggro.

The remainder of the team who finished their games posted a 60% win rate, but shy of the 67% needed to make Stage 2. Additional shoutout to soapyelo who made himself available to help others test and put a lot of work into Even Elysian.

More than anything I think we all just wanted that crazed Teething Whelp alt art.

 

Giving Hunter%

“Yes! Yes! Yes!”

This was the cheer Hunter Pence popularized when he was with the San Francisco Giants and perfectly encapsulates how Mark and I felt this week when we had Hunter Pence on our podcast.

This is the behind the scenes story of how that happened. Hopefully you’ve listened already.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

I follow this principle. Goals should be lofty. Goals you can easily reach aren’t goals. When we started the show last year, there was one person I wanted to talk to about gaming: Hunter Pence. I live in San Francisco. I watched him win two Worlds Series. I play baseball. I coach baseball. And more importantly to us, he has become an ambassador for gaming.

The idea to end every show with, “On the next show, future Magic the Gathering Hall of Famer Hunter Pence” came from the reverse of the Matt Damon bit on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show. Did I think we could ever really have Hunter Pence on the show? Yes!

We didn’t get any traction until December and then it all happened so fast. In November, I started tweeting this:

On Christmas Eve, we announced on Twitter that we would be donating our Patreon proceeds for the month to NoKidHungry.org. This of course was a little strategery [sic]. It was also a pretty cool thing to do and an excellent cause to support. Hunter Pence “Liked” this tweet. Yes!

And on our “Eighth weekly tweet to formally invite Hunter Pence…” he commented and gave us his email address. Yes!

The next day – you don’t play it too cool when Hunter Pence tells you to email him – I sent an email pitching our show. I was pretty skeptical. But Ryan (remember him from The One With Ryan?) told me, “Nah, Hunter Pence is the kind of dude who would follow through with that.”

The person I ended up emailing was Mallory, who works with Lexi and Hunter. She was awesome. Full of the same energy Lexi and Hunter have. After a couple weeks of emails, she said, “Yes!”

I reached out to Dire Wolf Digital and asked Scarlatch if there was anything we could give, anything extra they could provide to encourage Hunter to try Eternal. They very graciously set up an account (HunterPence) with a couple of viable constructed decks, cosmetics, and gems for him to jump into Draft.

Mark and I spent about a week refining the questions and flow of the show. Initially, we didn’t have a second half planned because how do you follow Hunter Pence? We came around to the idea when we realized we would probably have a lot of new listeners who had never played Eternal.

I should say Mark rescheduled his flight to be here – in the studio – for the interview. Otherwise, he would have been on Skype and presented a whole host of potential technical issues. We were already about to have two…

First, I remembered five minutes before the call I had “silence unknown callers” on on my phone. Then the first time the phone rang, Hunter couldn’t hear us very well. I solved the issue by changing how my phone connected to our RØDECaster Pro and he called back. We dodged Jekk’s bullet there!

It was an awesome call. He was funny, gracious, had poignant comments on gaming, and was very appreciative of us. While I was editing the show, I noticed how excited I sounded. I was taking breaths between every phrase like a swimmer turning for air:

In honor of the Oscars last night, Mark and I would like to thank our Patrons for their unwavering support and their donation to NoKidHungry.org, Mallory for giving two kids with a dream the opportunity, our partners for the time to chase our passions, and Hunter Pence who is Hunter% headed to the Magic the Gathering Hall of Fame.

If you listened to the show, he said he would love to come back. My guess Hunter Pence is a dude that would follow through with that.

Shavka’s Lute

Behold! The Lute of Shavka. The instrument Endra used to vanquish their foes and banish Lord Combrei and his army to the Void of Eternity.

And Mark says I’m not a lore guy.

The Misplay courtesy of our friend and Patron, yistout, present the newest Eternal spoiler: Shavka’s Lute.

I asked Team Misplay to share their thoughts on Shavka’s Lute:

LocoPojo

It’s solid enough with tokens and flexible in cost. It’s removal late and buffs early units. Aside from Grenadin, I kind of like it with Unseen, they get a lot of benefits from having battle skills and are more likely to pair it with Berserk or Quickdraw. Rate is obviously low, but the total punch it packs if you access two or three of its modes could make it worth it considering how easy it is to slam early.

Piereese

Yah, what he said.

mlntn

It looks like it could fit well in the market of a go-wide aggro deck. The passive doesn’t seem very strong but the Spellcraft can clear a blocker and/or deal face damage. Meanwhile, you get to pay five and two sub-optimal units become a strong flier, which could close a game. This could combo well with Rat Cage which you could swap out for big dragons.

soapyelo

I’d run it in a Grenadin type deck with ramp cards and Kaleb. You get Warcry triggers off tokens that turn into Dragons and if you have extra power Obliterate stuff. Realistically, I’m pretty sure it’s not a very good card.

crylorenzo

Potentially just jank, but it is beautiful jank. As for the competitive side, I think it fits Praxis tokens well. It seem like something I will quick craft four of just because it fits a number of things I love: Warcry, burn, relics, and late game shenanigans.

Deedub

This looks too slow to be in a standard mono Fire deck. It could definitely do some shenanigans in a Stonescar or Praxis shell. A big question is what units will you be running where the Warcry matters?

gatosujo

The card asks a lot. I’m skeptical of meeting all of the things it asks for: units on board, extra units to burn, a ton of power for a dragon without charge. It all seems quite win more. I’m skeptical, but I would run it in draft and am willing to lose to it a few times in constructed before revising my stance.

chicityshogun

It makes me wish that there was a better sacrifice/Aristocrats deck in Eternal. Xenan is doing the most sacrificing but you certainly wouldn’t splash Fire for this. I remember Patrick Sullivan made a super fun Stonescar sacrifice deck during a DWD creators event. Finding a way to maximize the value from the sac outlet is the most interesting to me since it’s repeatable.

Special thanks to yistout for the spoiler. Tell us what you think on Reddit.

Welcome to The Misplay

“Hello and welcome to The Misplay,” as I have so often said.

Before going any further, we need to thank our Patrons who helped us get this far. The monetary support is helpful and covers our web hosting but the “belief in what we’re doing” support that drives many of you to donate is invaluable.

Special thanks to Mark for just simply wanting to “spend time with a friend”, Jared who created our web presence from thin air, and our friend, Todd, who creates the comic.

Our goal has always been two-fold: to entertain and make us all better players. “The game”, for now, is Eternal. I can envision a world where we’re content creators for other games or more than only Eternal. A lot of the articles we write on the site will stem from the podcast or spark podcast conversations. I can write for days on being power stuck, in fact, I did. The next article you see will encapsulate my feelings on being power stuck. Mark says I can’t say “power screw”. We’re a PG production house.

We want to encourage you to join the growing Misplay community in our Discord. We discuss Eternal, share our misplays and decklists, Patrons have access to our show docs, and someone has been registering fake accounts to vote in Mark’s favor in our Mark Can’t Possibly Disagree polls.

We usually end the podcast with an outtake. I’m not sure how to end an article. I will tell you it took me at least three tries before I spelled “encapsulate” close enough that spell check knew what I wanted.