Pauper Burn in the new era

The Pauper bans (Gush, Gitaxian Probe, and Daze as of 5/20) have had a little time to settle into my brain and I now have a few thoughts on what it means for the noble red mage, as well as the format in general.

Honestly, Daze makes sense. It’s probably too “free” of a magic card. It really gave blue a deep reserve, much deeper than any other color has or has had to this point. Ok, fine.

Gush I hated to see go. Card draw and counters are the basic tenants of blue. While I will agree that it was great card advantage, I would argue that it would not be, and wasn’t, backbreaking without Daze. It also powered some of the most interesting combo decks in the format.

That brings us to the topic of Collateral Damage. Izzet Blitz, Tireless Tribe and One Land Spy all got wrecked along the way. That is truly a shame. Three competitive, fragile, fun, high risk/high reward decks that probably wont climb past tier 2 ever again. To me, that’s a bitter pill to swallow in a format whose hallmark is/was “you can plan interesting decks and win”.

All of this occurred while giving the big bully Tron a nice little dose of “We know you are a good kid. Sometimes you push the other decks around, but’s that’s only because your wealthy mommy and daddy don’t give you enough attention. Try and be nice to the other decks on the playground Tronny, we know you mean well.”

All kidding aside, I am worried about a one deck format. But who knows, maybe the format will reorder and the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors that pauper was will return.

Personally I am never in favor of bans, I would much rather see answers printed or produced. Imagine another way to solve this problem. Just removing two perfectly fair cards from the ban list and Delver goes away. All we needed was Grapeshot and Empty the Warrens.

Ok, so now that I got to say that lets talk about burn. Each in turn:

Daze- This ban is great for us. Daze made it easier for blue to never truly be shields down, and we want them to be that way. A daze ban increases the value of the opponent’s end step burn spell to tie up resources headed into our lethal turn. Ummm..maybe I said to much. Yea, burn players don’t do that. Just forget I ever mentioned it.

Gush- Gush was never and answer against us, but rather allowed blue to dig for the answer, I was ok with that equation. I like the moment of: Lethal Lightning Bolt on the stack, float two mana and draw…Did you get it? Taking that moment away from blue wins Burn more games, but makes like a little more boring.

Gitaxian Probe- The one card that burn sometimes played. So this ban actually shapes the burn deck. Burn falls into two categories in my mind. You either play a modern style creature based burn deck in the vein of Modern Burn or you play face aiming spell deck Burn. Banning Git Probe makes this decision for us. The creature based burn is highly dependent on being able to turn on Ghitu Lavarunner on turn 2 as often as possible. This was only possible through the use of a “free” spell which is the role Git Probe played for us.

So how does this all sort out? In my mind the loss of Gitaxian Probe means that Ghitu Lavarunner comes out. I also think it means that we move more midrange and Firebrand Archer comes with it. Now maybe I am wrong, maybe Ghitu and Firebrand become the “fast creature package”, but I don’t think I am. I think that we are going to see Thermo Alchemist come back into favor to do blocking duties in the early and middle game and still get us value from our noble application of Fire and Lightning.

Then comes the question of what to replace Gitaxian Probe with? Literally any burn spell…the cheaper the better. Magma Jet, Incinerate, Shock, those Needle Drops you stupidly took out..whatever. Any cheap CMC card that says “DAMAGE FACE” is your answer. Grapeshot Anyone??


Written by Pauper Embassador Jamie Floyd, the reigning Pauper authority at Pixels & Bricks.