With Hour of Devastation’s very recent release, I can think of no better time to take a look at how I think it is going to affect my favorite format, Pauper. Since I’ve already talked many times of the pros and cons of Pauper, I’ll forgo it this time so we can get into the list sooner.
Before we get started let’s lay down a few rules for this list:
1. The card must be new to the format
2. There will be one card on this list for each color for variety.
3. These are just my opinions, so I may favor particular strategies. Likewise I can’t see the future, so while some of my predictions may be correct, they could also be totally off, and a card I overlooked might instead get the spotlight.
With that out of the way let’s get into the list!
Number 5: Khenra Eternal
Let’s just get this out if the way – Khenra Eternal isn’t amazing, but it is not horrible. A 2/2 with afflict for two mana isn’t terrible, it’s actually above average when it comes to basic creatures. It’s also a zombie so it could fit well in a tribal strategy. But other than that it doesn’t really do much, and unfortunately the other black cards are as equally unremarkable or even terrible. Black really did not get a lot of support in this set for Pauper sadly.
Number 4: God Pharoah’s Faithful
God Pharaoh’s Faithful is in a weird boat. For starters it has alright stats. One mana for an 0/4 isn’t bad, and it’s life gain effect is alright too. Where it really struggles isn’t a problem with the card itself, it’s a problem with Pauper. Due to the lack of fetches, good duals, or other filtering, Pauper decks really need to be one or two colors. Because of this, and the fact that that God Pharaoh’s Faithful really wants to be in a U/B or U/R deck with a splash of White, I don’t think it’s going to see much play. It’s a great card, but I don’t think the Pauper format can really support it easily.
Number 3: Cunning Survivor
This is the point in the list where we go from cool cards, to cards that could actually see play. While this is by no means a broken card, Cunning Survivor is definitely something you should watch out for. Two mana for a 1/3 isn’t great, but getting +1 and unblockable whenever you cycle or discard a card is great. It is a decent creature without much effort, and an amazing creature in the right deck.
Number 2: Firebrand Archer
Firebrand Archer is a great card. Firstly it’s body is good, but that’s not what we’re here for. What really matters is its ability to ping something every time you play a non-creature spell. This goes great with Thermo-Alchemist, and it fits well into both burn decks and Izzet control decks. If any card sees play on this list, it will probably be Firebrand Archer. However the number one spot goes to a card that I think gives a color a much needed tool.
Number 1: Ambuscade
Is Ambuscade more likely to see play over Firebrand Archer? Probably not. Does Ambuscade give green something it’s needed for years? Definitely. Ambuscade is probably the best removal green is going to get in Pauper, even more so it’s possibly some of the best removal green is going to get period. The main downside of playing green is the inability to deal with opposing creatures outside of combat, and Ambuscade let’s you do that. The only issue is that you need a decently sized creature (but you’re playing green so that’s hardly an obstacle). Use it to clear a blocker out of the way, destroy a pesky creature, or help weaken opposing forces pre-combat. I have no doubt that this will see play in many green decks as it’s comparable to Beast Within in some ways!
Overall, Hour of Devastation doesn’t bring too many interesting things to Pauper, but the few that it does are really interesting and have the potential to be pretty good.
But what do you think? Do you agree with this list? How do you think this set will effect the format? As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to say something in the comments section below.