Lately I’ve been trying to find a deck to play in a non-Vintage format and I haven’t had much luck. Vintage doesn’t get leagues on MTGO and I’m rarely able to manage to play a Daily Event so I’m stuck with the Tournament Practice room or the 2-Player queues.
The on-demand, paid 2-Player events might seem like a good way to get some competition in, but frankly I have no desire to pay to play something that pays out only more play points in prizes. The problem is that I manage to keep enough points in my account for a few larger events, so if I happened to lose a couple rounds of paid play I suddenly can’t enter as many large events. I don’t have the time to try to win those points back, so I’d end up having to pay more out of pocket for my next tournament. Frankly I am to cheap to want to do that. If there was something I wanted to win offered as prizes for these things I’d play for sure.
The Tournament Practice room is fine a lot of the time because I know a lot of good players I can be paired with. Unfortunately we’re not always online at the same time so I might end up paired against someone’s EDH deck or worse. It’s fairly rare for this to happen, but it is still an annoyance that ranges from mild to severe.
With that in mind I decided that I’d make a deck for either Legacy or Pauper so I could play a league. Legacy is the closest to Vintage, but making a deck for it required a few hundred dollars that I didn’t want (or couldn’t afford) to spend. With that in mind I payed a few dollars for a couple Pauper decks and tested them out against the randoms in TP.
Pauper is great. I like that its cheap and easy to access. I like that it has some neat decks and it gives life to cards that would otherwise toil in obscurity. The problem I have with the format is that I always end up finding the games very frustrating.
Pauper is full of some powerful cards like Gush and Brainstorm, but it is also filled with chaff like Evolving Wilds and Tap-lands. This means that games are often much slower than in other formats, and many times a cool strategy ends up failing because the mana is so wonky.
For example, just this morning I tried playing the U/R Delver/Kiln Field deck. I had a hand with Delver and Fiend, so it looked good. Unfortunately the slow lands I drew made it so I couldn’t play my hand out very fast and I lost to discard and removal while waiting to cast my spells.
The slowness of the format isn’t “bad”; it’s just part of the way things work. Unfortunately for me I’ve been spoiled by Vintage for so long that I find slow and suboptimal cards extremely frustrating. In Vintage I feel like I can will things to happen by using cantrips and tutors effectively. In Vintage I can Gush and Cruise my way back into a game from a bad board position. The fact that I’m able to do so many more things in Vintage to try to avoid losing a game is what makes me love the format the most. Pauper and other slower formats sometimes feel like a slow-motion train wreck to me now; I know I’m going to get crushed, but it’s taking forever to happen! Perhaps I should keep looking for a new Pauper deck until I find one I just love, but the busy life of a husband and father makes for limited leisure time.
As I mentioned before, Legacy is the closest thing to Vintage that is available to me as far as leagues are concerned. I’ll probably end up making a U/B Reanimator deck again soon. I have played Reanimator before, I know I like it, and I’m working on making it in paper as well so it makes sense.
Until next time, thanks for reading! I’ll be back with something new as soon as I find the time. Thanks to all who have given me their support over the past few years, it’s been amazing.
If you’d like to support more content, click here.