You turn the key and lock up the shop for the day, ready to go home and get some grub before heading out to Friday Night Magic, ready to test out that shiny new Heroic deck you’ve been tweaking when your phone goes off. It’s your little cousin, and he is going on about how Grandma got him the Magic Holiday Gift box for Christmas, bragging about how he pulled a Fabled Hero, Prognostic Sphinx and Polis Crusher. He sounds so excited about his loot, when he asks you if he can come with you tonight. You think about it for a second and say why not?
You go and pick him up and bring him home, looking at his collection realizing quickly that what little has isn’t going to stand a chance at your local game shop. You walk over to your overloaded shelf of magic cards and pull a deck off of it. It’s one of those Pauper decks that you read about on Three Kings Loot’s website the other week. It’s the mono black one, which only seemed appropriate after you saw your cousins reaction to the dreaded Gray Merchant of Asphodel. Like a kid in a candy store.
So you both scarf down some pizza while playing a few matches before heading over to the shop, only to realize once you step through the door that it wasn’t Standard tonight, but Vintage. Your heart skips a beat thinking about how wrecked your cousins deck is going to get against that kind of competition. A Standard Pauper deck isn’t built to take on those types of decks. So you ask him how much money he has on him, thinking that maybe you could get a few cheap cards to give him a chance. He looks at you and says that all he has is the twenty dollars that aunt Gladys gave him. Twenty dollars isn’t going to go far in Vintage, not by a long shot. But then you have a brainstorm and hop on your smartphone and look up Classic Pauper decks. They are cheap enough and might just have a chance.
Given your cousins fascination with the Gray Merchant you settle on a Mono-Black deck and walk up to the counter giving the list to the owner, before realizing that Classic Pauper is an online format only and that there are cards printed from sets not released online that could be added. You make a few changes to the list and smile as your cousin begins gathering all the cards together to take on his first challenger.
The store owner calls out the pairings and you sit down beside your cousin and watch as he drops down a first turn swamp and Duress to draw out his opponents Force of Will, followed by a second swamp and a Hymn to Tourach. His opponent groans and your little cousins face lights up. Maybe, just maybe, he can pull this off.
The above is a Mono-Black Control deck in Classic Pauper, a format that is almost exclusively online. There are a few stores that hold tournaments and the format is growing in paper popularity, but it isn’t mainstream yet. Inside you can see a healthy mix of discard and removal and card draw, a board wipe to keep things under control, and your end game Gray Merchant and Corrupts. A deck like this costs under $20 at 3KL, and is a great way for a new player to have a deck that has a chance of being competitive if they ever come across some really old school players, and they don’t have to give up their college loan to afford it.
As a quick rehash, if you are not familiar with the Pauper format or did not read my previous article on it, Pauper is a format made up entirely of commons. All the standard rules to Magic apply with a 60 card (minimum) deck and a 15 card (maximum) sideboard. The major thing to note about Classic Pauper is that it allows for any card that has ever been printed at the common level to be used. Yes, even a card like Rancor. Speaking of…
So, like I did with my last Pauper article I am going to throw an extra bone at you, an alternative if you aren’t a control player is Green-White Hexproof. One of my personal favourites. The deck ‘runs on rails’ as it were, and is relatively easy for young or new players to pilot. It’s very simple in that you try and get your Hexproof creature down and then load it up with aura cards and beat your opponents face. “Cheap” and effective auras include Armadillo Cloak ($1.99 each), Rancor ($3.75), Ethereal Armor ($0.25 each), or it’s older and more effective brother Ancestral Mask ($0.49). Combined with aura’s like Abundant Growth ($0.25) that enchant your lands to mana fix, you can quickly make quite the untouchable beat stick of a creature.
So there you have two cheap and effective Pauper decks you can build for new players to help them get into Vintage.
Who says that Magic has to be expensive?