Mid-Week Pauper Meta Report: Esper Explosion

About this article: This is a weekly report on the online pauper meta. The data it uses are from last week Wednesday to this past Wednesday. It looks at the data that I collect from a selection of dailies. I watch the replays on MTGO to figure out how each person did, not just the 3-1s and 4-0s that Wizards publishes. This allows us to see the whole iceberg and figure out how well each deck did in total. Now, this data is just for this week and just from this data, so it does ignore the other 3-1/4-0 results which means it is not perfect. Additionally, the conclusions in this article are just based on this week, and as the meta is fluid, the top decks shift. This is intended to see what decks are performing well this week and is not necessarily a reflection of the deck’s overall strength.

This article uses data from the 6-27 Afternoon, 6-28 Evening, and 6-29 daily results.

Coming out of last week, a few things were expected to happen. First, Burn was expected to drop in popularity. Secondly, Stompy and Delver were expected to rise a bit. Lastly, MBC was expected to go back to bad results. All of those came true, but nobody really predicted everything that was going to happen.

First off, Delver absolutely dominated this week. Even as the top deck (by a growing margin), they still managed to gain 8% prominence from overall to cash. It’s time to bring in the [c]Gut Shot[/c], if that card is ever going to be good, it is this upcoming week. Delver was not the only deck to have a strong week, Stompy and UB Angler also did fantastic and were the top 3 decks in the cash. On the other hand, MBC, Burn, and Esper Fae Combo all had bad weeks. Esper Fae didn’t do terrible, but for the first time in a long time the deck actually didn’t do well. So why didn’t the deck do well? Here is a full list of every match (not individual games) Esper Fae played and why it wasn’t able to achieve success.

Every single one of these matchups are within one game except for UR Fiend (which is within 2) and Delver. Esper Fae went 4-8 versus Delver. You simply cannot have such a bad record against the best deck in the meta! I didn’t actually expect Delver to do this well, but it really was a great deck against Esper Fae. Unlike most other decks in the meta, it was able to play the aggro role (necessary to be truly great against the deck) while keeping up tons of prevention. It seemed like the deck had the most success when it decided what role it wanted to play and stuck with it. Interested to see whether Delver can continue beating Esper Fae this bad. I watched Esper Fae’s games and determined the turn they ended again as well.

This week was certainly a bit different than last week. Significantly more 5 turn combo wins were seen from Esper Fae, and I think I was wrong in declaring turn 6 as the turn that you can expect them to be able to go off. Turn 5 may be that turn where you need to be ready to stop them going off. Also, the deck was able to go off on turn 7 or earlier in 62.50% games where it went off and on turn 7 or earlier in 49.02% of games it won. Finally it went off that early in 24.27% of games. Now that is low this week simply because it lost so many games. It is also interesting that the games it won were mostly decided pretty quickly or took much more than 10 turns. I’ll continue looking at this to gain some more data and get a better insight into the deck.

Here we see another week with some very strong, and very weak, decks. Stompy has the best week by far, but UB Angler and Delver also did fantastic. Affinity and UR Fiend continue to be simply above average, but not fantastic. Burn and MBC did not do well as usual, but the real kicker is Esper Fae. It had a cash rate of 20% (less than half of its usual) and it had a win rate of 46.94%, not amazing either. But we’ll jump into that later on.

Enjoy, and thanks for reading! –Najay1


1. Stompy – Stats: 5.74% Prominence; 66.67% Cash Rate; 62.79% Win Rate. This is one of the better weeks that we have seen in quite a while. Out of the 12 pilots, 8 of them went 3-1. That is insane! After that, 3 went 1-X and 1 went 0-X. The deck had a fantastic week and it is just quite well positioned in the meta right now. It has quite decent matchups versus the majority of the meta including MBC and Delver, the two top decks. In addition, it is a great [c]Scattershot Archer[/c] deck, a card that is now starting to become strong enough to be played mainboard, as it is in about half of the top Stompy lists. I think this deck will become more popular soon, but it has dipped to unusually low levels for a top deck.

2. UB Angler – Stats: 10.53% Prominence; 40.91% Cash Rate; 62.34% Win Rate. This is one of the bigger surprises this week. It hasn’t been too fantastic recently, but this week it went insane. It had 6 people at 4-0 and 3 people at 3-1. This is one of the stranger results as UB Angler had double the amount of 4-0s as 3-1s. One thing this could suggest is that the deck is well positioned against the top decks, but it also could just be variance. Definitely one to watch as the meta progresses.

3. Delver – Stats: 15.79% Prominence; 45.45% Cash Rate; 58.77% Win Rate. This is the dominant deck over the past few weeks. After a long time where it had strong results, but low prominence, it has finally taken over the top spot as the king of the meta. Now it did not have the best results this week, but it one of the few decks that has had great weeks over and over and over. It has not had a bad week in forever. It is time to start bringing in Delver hate or playing the deck, I wouldn’t be surprised if the meta goes back to Delver v. others.


1. Burn – Stats: 5.74% Prominence; 8.33% Cash Rate; 36.11% Win Rate. Finally Burn has fallen! The meta has been hostile to a deck that needs the right meta to succeed. It seems that its continual failure has caught up to it and people are dropping the deck like hot potatoes. The deck has not done well in a while, but finally it seems like it’s not going to played quite as much. I would expect Burn to lower in the meta and you don’t need to build around it quite as much.

2. MBC – Stats: 12.44% Prominence; 19.23% Cash Rate; 43.37% Win Rate. After a bit of sunshine, MBC is back in its normal place – the losers circle. I still am not a fan of this deck, but as Delver grows more and more popular, it may gain a bit in success. I would be surprised to see MBC get more strong results continually.

3. Esper Fae Combo – Stats: 7.18% Prominence; 20.00% Cash Rate; 46.94% Win Rate. Here is the shocker. It still wasn’t as bad as some other lists, but the deck was not able to place in the winner’s circle close to as much as it wants to. I think a decent bit of that is because Delver was such a force this week. In addition, the deck was not able to combo off as often on Turn 6 or earlier as often. In addition, it faced much faster decks this week as they lost many games before they were able to go off. If you can go off before them, they are forced to try to combo off when they may not have all the pieces in place. I would be surprised if you see the deck do this badly again, but I’m certainly watching and recording.

Deck to Watch For

UB Teachings – Stats: 4.78% Prominence; 30.00% Cash Rate; 41.38% Win Rate. A deck that I thought was mostly gone, but has experienced a resurgence in the past few weeks. Now, it never put up fantastic results, but it has been strong enough that I would not be against playing the deck if you enjoy the style. Also, as this deck and UB Angler are very similar, make sure you know the differences so you know what deck you are playing at the start, as they end up playing out very different.


PCT Results – The PCT is a weekly tournament hosted on Gatherling.com by LongTimeGone. It occurs Tuesday at 8 pm est.