Pauper format - 1/2023

  1. What is Pauper format?

Hello, my name is LordPerth from Team not-Tavrod (TNT). We organise community tournaments regularly, focusing on alternative formats (formats that you can’t play on ladder), one of which is pauper. The rules for pauper deckbuilding are pretty simple:

That excludes a huge part of the card pool: There is close to 0 market access, barely any good board wipes, most removal is either damage based or a lot more expensive than in expedition/throne, the only dual influence powers are banners and expensive units and flyers are much less threatening.

  1. Meta analysis

Preface: My meta analysis is only based on a few community tournaments and the few DWD pauper events that we had so far, the last one of which was more than a year ago, so take it with a grain of salt. It’s very possible that there are some strong decks out there that just haven’t been discovered yet because the format isn’t played a lot.

Pauper has a lot of decks that are playable, but based on our tournament experiences and the experiences of the official DWD pauper events so far there are 2 decks that stand out the most: Xenan Sacrifice and Corrosive Dagger decks. Both can put on pressure, the first through buffed Nahid Faithful’s, the second through armies of 1/1 grenadines, while both are also able to grind out games via recurring those threats.

Aggro decks have a lot of tools available (justice has most it’s cheap buff spells and good 2 drops, fire has cheap removal and good 1 and 2 drops), but it struggles against the aforementioned top decks because they both combat the board well early and then overwhelm aggro with boards that are too big or wide to get through. Your best shot is to deal enough damage early and to then burn them out late, but that can be difficult against Marsh Dragon or Nahid’s Faithful. Both top decks don’t have a lot of air presence and removal though, so flyers/spells that grant flying can be another option for aggro.

Midrange is either highly synergistic (like Xenan Sacrifice and Corrosive Dagger decks) or they go for the basic midrange curve and try to play the cards with the best rate on curve. Time has access to efficient ramp units, sizable 5 and 6 cost threats (like Corrupted Behemoth and Infused Guardian) and silence to combat the recursive threats of the 2 top decks. Shadow offers good removal (like Extinguish and Execute) and good inscribe cards (Call the Hit and Eavesdrop). The latter is also very good at stopping recursion and it helps with grinding out other midrange and control decks. Justice grants good 2 drops that are simultaneously aggressive and good at stopping aggression (like Myrmidon Drone or Unseen Marksman) and it offers a strong flexible finisher with Starkissed Wings (especially on units with berserk or double damage).

Control loses most of the cards that make it strong in expedition or throne (efficient market access, board wipes, strong win conditions) and card draw is mostly limited to primal. Because of that your choices for control factions are a bit limited, the only one that really got explored so far is Feln (more about that deck later).

Combo in the sense of deterministic game winning combos is pretty much unplayable in pauper, but there are some highly synergistic decks that can grant a similar feel (in addition to Xenan sacrifice and Dagger decks you can try to build around ping effects with cards like Stormhalt Concoction, Tainted Mark and Mercenary Vanguard).

  1. Decklists

I tried to build at least one deck for each dual faction combination. For some it was pretty easy (like Xenan or Praxis), for some it was a bit harder (Feln, Elysian).

3.1. Aggro

3.2. Aggro/Midrange

3.3. Midrange

3.4. Control

  1. The end

I hope you enjoyed this introduction into the pauper format. For anyone interested in trying it out now I’ll include a link to our upcoming TNT pauper tournament below (it also includes a permanent invite link to our discord server under “rules”). Thanks for reading!

TNT TD 2023 #1: Pauper by Team Not-Tavrod (

Thanks to my teammates marvin_the_imp and Kuamie for proofreading!