02: Rivals of Ixalan

So here we are with a new year and a new set.  While the commons in any set are important for draft, the commons in rivals don't seem to offer much for pauper, but a few cards show some promise.  So, here is a top 5 list of cards with pauper potential, but first, a look at some of he over-rated cards.


So gruesome fate seems promising at first.  After all, with all fo the token strategies in pauper, this could be serious reach, right?  The easiest way to dismiss this, though, is that harsh sustenance is a card that is almost always better unless you are playing a tokens deck without white somehow, and that card gets little to no play, not to metion other cards to give you reach, and being black is really awkward for tokens.  

As for Snubhorn, people seem to think that it will be a 1-drop 3/3.  If the deck that wants a 1 drop 3/3 gets to the point to trigger ascend, it's probably in a lot of trouble.  I was shocked to see people making an argument for it, but in case you thought it was any good, no, it is not.


Coming in at number 5 is martyr of dusk.  Having 2 lives seems really good, and 2 power on the front end is relevant.  While aristocrats isn't a serious deck in pauper, this is a good card to put in with doomed traveler and raise the alarm for 2 creature spells.  The ability to trade with relevant creatures on the front end is decent, and it can be pestilenced to death only to leave a creature behind to keep pestilence alive, but the value already in that deck makes me skeptical of this card's potential impact.  Overall, I doubt it will make decklists, but I wouldn't be suprised if it does.


So to start us out at number 4, we have a card that is absolutely not phyrexian rager.  The ability for mono black control to play creatures that give card advantage is already quite good, and I find it hard to see what you would cut for 2 CMC 1/1.  The worst part is that it is a non-bo with cuamaji witches, and pauper is so full of ways to kill 1 toughness creatures that I find it hard to think it would be relevant on the field, but it is a mana symbol, so I won't write it off entirley, but I don't think it will get there.


Coming in a 3 is a card that seems to be a bit less certain.  3 CMC to draw 2 is fine as a backup if muldrifter is any indication, and drawing 3 seems really good in the late game for decks like tron and evencar's justice that have a mass of lands and mana fixing artifacts.  Honestly, the only thing that might kill it is the sorcery speed, but the upside of an extra card may be worth it.  I think we'll see it at least briefly in some builds, even if it doesn't stick, but with the prevelance of cantrips and gush, I'm hard pressed to believe it will become a mainstay.


Coming in at 2 is the first card I expect to make a difference, albeit in a tier 2 deck.  Bogles has been slowly pushed out of main play, and they really needed something to make a comeback and this may be it.  While it may not seem as good as other enchantments, and honestly, I still feel armadillo cloak is usually better,  It has built-in resistance to edicts, wrecks aggro by increasing your ways of getting lifegain, and is costed within the 3 CMC limit in enchantments.  The fact that some bogles lists try running lifelink should be evidence enought that this can fit alongside armadillo cloak, and the extra token and ease of casting makes it more tempting than gift of orzhova, and that was close to making the cut.  Most of all, I hope this revives interest in pauper bogles, and I inted to play it in my lists.


Coming in at 1, we have a card for another deck that has fallen from top tiers lately and needs a revival.  Honestly, any time a goblin costs 1, you have to evaluate it for goblins, and haste as an upside is compelling.  With that being a consideration, the tap to sac ability is what I think makes it playable.  While it isn't a 2/2 like other 1 drop goblin mainstays, quantity is more important in many cases, and I feel that the random sac to ping will make it work.


So, what do you think of these?  Did I over-rate any?  Are there any I missed?  Let me know in the comments, and I'll see you next time.