Magic Origins is about to be upon us! Granted, I do not think the set is going to do a whole lot for the format, but it does provide a lot more punch than previous core sets. With one really good card and then a bunch of interesting, but not great cards, I am interested to see what this does for the format, mainly in focusing in on one of Pauper’s biggest threats – Delver. But, no need for a long intro, lets get into the action!
Enjoy, and thanks for reading! – Najay1
These are cards that have a high enough power level to see play right now. They either slot into existing decks or are powerful enough to spawn a new archetype. (Ex. Delver, Lightning Bolt, Gray Merchant of Asphodel)
Aerial Volley – This is one of the more interesting cards in the set. It does some things that other cards cannot do at all, namely get a 3 for 1 for one green mana. Granted there has to be 3 1/1 flyers, but that actually happens in Pauper. The main reason to play this card is because of Delver of Secrets. It can deal with the Cloud of Faeries into Spellstutter Sprite very well, getting both (or even another of them) off of the table. It can also deal with a flipper Delver and another flyer very easily. In addition to being great against Delver, the card has game in other matchups. It can deal with Auriok Sunchaser, Stormbound Geist, Mulldrifter, Sultai Scavenger, multiple Squadron Hawks/Triplicate Spirits and so on. The most obvious comparisons are to Gut Shot and Scattershot Archer. Gut Shot is really not great in too many other matchups than Delver and I think that Volley may actually be better. It deals with a flipped Delver, can 3 for 1 their fae, and so on. Despite that, it cannot be cast for free meaning that you will often have to cast this into open mana, unless they took some bait. Overall, I think I prefer this card (it has so much potential for card advantage) over Gut Shot. On the other hand, Scattershot Archer is a strong card. It shuts down their fae unless you can take it off the table and can come down before counter mana is up. Despite that upside, it cannot deal with bigger threats. This card can take down a flipped delver. That is huge and I think it pushes the card over the top. I like this card and for now I like it more than Scattershot. Expect this to be played.
These are cards that have enough power or synergy to potentially see play. They may never find the right deck, but if they do a spot could be made for these cards. Solid role players in the right deck. (Ex. Essence Warden, Nivix Cyclops, Impulse)
Subterranean Scout – The more I think about this card, the more I like it. The card has serious game simply because of the Goblins deck. Now, most decks do not want something that can only slip in 2 damage, but Goblins is an Aristocrats deck with 8 sac outlets that can make the unblockable creature huge. This means that it can often just mean a win if they are leaving up multiple blockers. The main card that this competes with in the deck is Goblin Heelcutter which is also an extremely strong card. Goblin Heelcutter is slightly bigger, can have haste, and doesn’t need the sac goblins to go off, but has 2 major downsides. First off, it can only stop one creature from attacking. Secondly, it costs 3 mana and you basically have to spend that every single turn (you almost never just want to pay 4 for the card). Scout is much better versus other aggressive decks and decks that play multiple blockers. Heelcutter is better versus Angler lists and control lists.
In addition, this card could see play in some kitty lists as a way to make multiple creatures unblockable and swing in. I don’t think that this is the best card for the job, or will be played, but it is something to think about. Overall, I think time and the meta will determine how much this Scout is played, but I really like its chances.
These are cards that are unlikely to see play, either because they aren’t high enough power or they need to many cards to work, but they do have some potential in the right circumstances. (Ex. Sidisi’s Familiar, Cavern Harpy, Zephyr Sprite)
Alchemist’s Vial – I see potential for this card in Boros Kitty and other kitty variants. They already have 4-of Prophetic Prism and Ichor Wellspring, but this card provides potential that is not seen in these 2 mana artifacts. It can close out a game. Boros Kitty does not always have a ton of threats, and often relies on burn to end the game, so this provides another way to sneak in damage. Now the deck already has a ton of evasion, so the second effect may not be necessary in most games, but it has the ability to win games. I have seen Elsewhere Flask be played before and this card is way better. It won’t be played much, but I can see this card having minor potential in those kitty decks.
Bonded Construct – I do see some potential in this card, and I’m glad that it was one of Pauper’s first preview cards, but I wish it would have been something with a bit more potential. It certainly has some upside, but I like Flayer Husk a lot more than this. It is repeatable and much more resiliant. At that same point, I think this is a very interesting card in 1-2 color builds like W Metal. Cards like Court Homunculus are already played and most of them need one color open on T1, whereas this is colorless. At that same point, cards like Court Homunculus and Jackal Pup are not great, and I don’t see this being significantly better, but an interesting card to look out for none the less.
Enlightened Ascetic – There are a significant amount of strong enchantment kill spells, but this does come with a creature. In a deck with Kor Skyfisher and other bounce effects (like a kitty deck), this is a really interesting option. It can repeatedly go after enchantments. Boros Kitty already utilizes Kor Sanctifiers in this way and this is more efficient for enchantments. Interesting sideboard choice.
Faerie Miscreant – I do not think Cloud of Faeries will be banned. Yet, it was a major point of discussion for a while in the community. If that happens, I think this card has really good potential. I have seen Zephyr Sprite played in these types of decks and this is basically strictly better except for those pesky anti-rogue cards. Actually, I could see this being playing in some Fae brew (which have popped up). Definitely a card with potential.
Infectious Bloodlust – I am really interested in this card for Mono Red Heroic and Aggro decks. Furor of the Bitten is a great card in those decks and this provides a way to get that effect repetitively. One of the main problems in that deck is running out of gas and this allows you to keep the gas going later in the game along with giving potential for late game bursts. At that same point, if they kill the creature you try to attach it to, you get nothing! I like this card, but it really depends on how often you can land it.
Kytheon’s Tactics – This is an interesting card, but if Righteous Charge doesn’t see much play, than I cannot see this making a big splash. One more toughness is not that much different than vigilance. Vigilance is very different in that it is not worth anything against most decks, but it does shore up one main weakness. If you cast Righteous Charge (or any mass pump), and they are able to not take lethal, than they could swing back. Vigilance is good in that regard as you can cast this without needing to do lethal and leave yourself open. This can be more of a tempo swing versus aggro decks than a finishing blow. At that same point, instant speed is just so important that I cannot see this being played all too much, but it has a home.
Mage-Ring Bully – This is one of the most interesting cards in the set. I think there is 2 decks that it definitely has a chance at going in. The first is Burn. I do not think that Burn really wants creatures, but this card represents 4-5 damage on turn 3. It becomes a must kill creature that can deal a ton of damage very quickly. In addition, I really like this card in a Mono-Red Heroic or Aggro deck. The downside isn’t really a downside (as if you aren’t attacking, you aren’t winning). Plus, it just grows with each spell that is played and gives you a massive creature that you do not have to target to make work. It lessens the all-in nature of the heroic deck and gives you another strong threat. In addition, I am sure that there are other possibilities for this card as it is in the right colors. Now, the card may actually be better than Kiln Fiend just because it survives combat. With more than 2 toughness, this can be a beater that stays. Despite that, Kiln Fiend just takes away a lot of the potential of this card. 3 damage is just so much.
Send to Sleep – I don’t know if this card is as much good as it is interesting. This is a great tempo hit early on in the game which can stall out some of the more aggressive threats. For a blue deck, being able to tap down multiple creatures and keep them tapped is huge. I can see this being played in slower control decks like a Rhystic Tron which really just needs time. At that same point, it probably won’t be powerful enough to make the cut.
Topan Freeblade – This card has a lot of things going its way. It already a decent creature at a 2/2 for 2 with vigilance (in the color that wants that), but it can also grow to a 3/3 after one hit. This has some potential although I don’t know that it is going to be high enough power to make it in the deck that has a wide variety of strong creatures. One of the other major things is that it is a soldier. That means Veteran Armorsmith and Veteran Swordsmith can make this bigger than just a 3/3. A soldiers deck is really where I see this having potential as it is reasonable to see this as a 4/4 or bigger in that deck, that you can cast for 2 mana. And has vigilance. Interesting card for sure.
Undead Servant – This is a very strange card. I do think that it has potential in graveyard (and probably Tortured Existence) lists. In those lists, I think it is almost always going to be a 5/4 for 4 (on turn 4) which is not fantastic, but is still decent. To have that over 2 creatures is even better. Where it really gets good is when you have 2 in the yard, which is very nice as it is a 7/6 for 4 across 3 bodies, very hard to deal with. I don’t think anybody doubts that this is a very strong late game plan. Yet, I do think there are 2 main problems with this. First, those decks really were not looking for a very strong late game plan, going late is what they exceled in already. What those decks need is a better early game which this really doesn’t provide too much of (other than being an OK stop to aggro). The other problem is that you have to devote 4 spots to a lategame plan that I am not sure they needed. Granted, I still think that it will get played, but I do not know if it actually solves any of the decks weaknesses. Interesting card though.
Ampryn Tactician – There is already a ton of mass pump effects in white and they are usually cheaper and can be used as a combat trick. Despite the fact that it comes with a creature, giving away the pump really is not how the decks want to do this. GW Tokens has Leonin Armorguard which is never played anyways and I do not see this card being much better.
Cleric of the Forward Order – This is an interesting card to me for White Weenie. It needs to be better than Lone Missionary, which it isn’t, but it can be in a deck that is concerned about Electrickery or other sweepers. While interesting, I don’t see this having a place.
Dark Dabbling – This card is interesting for a future where there is a mass kill/target spell. I don’t think that will ever happen, but this is a potential playable card in that case, albeit not great.
Ghirapur Gearcrafter – A very similar card to Sandcrafter Mage which does not see much play, I do think that the card has some potential, but in general this looks like a card much more suited for white than red. In order to be playable in Pauper at 3 mana, you have to provide a large advantage. Whether that is a 2 for 1 like Chittering Rats or Sea Gate Oracle or some other advantage, it is very difficult to see play. I just do not think that 1 1/1 flyer is enough. Just not seeing it.
Ringwarden Owl – This may actually be one of the bigger creatures you can play in blue, with it being a 3/3 at minimum and with potential to grow up to a 5/5 or 6/6 regularly. At that same point, I do not know of any deck that wants to tap out for a killable threat on turn 5.
Shambling Ghoul – At first this card looks to be good as one of the bigger threats at 2 mana, but really the stats are on the wrong side of the creature. This is 2 power for 2 mana with a downside and I just do not think any potential black aggressive decks want something that packs so little punch at 2 mana. You can get some strong evasive threats with 2 power and evasion is way more important than 3 toughness. I do not see this card doing work.
Thornbow Archer – An interesting card for elves, but as the deck is a combo deck and not black, this certainly won’t be played there. On the other hand, it really can do just 2 damage without needing any other elf shenanigans. A card to look at in mono black as a “2 power” card for 1 mana that doesn’t die to Electrickery
Aven Battle Priest
Bone to Ash
Grasp of the Hieromancer
Knight of the Pilgrim’s Road
Mantle of Webs
Touch of Moonglove