Here we are with the new version of our traditional monthly analysis of Pauper's meta. This analysis will not concern the data about the MTGO's leagues but only the statistic data about Pauper Challenge (there are big weekly events occurred in MTGO). It is not a problem: we have in any case reliable data.
We should thank the Reddit's user pproteus47: he gathers all the data about the PC.
The metagame evolves. We have thought about a meta dominated by Elves with a unique solution: introduce mass removals in the format, like Pyroclasm, or an increase of archetypes specialized against Aggro (main reason of Mono Black Control's return). The reality is different. The Pauper is moving to more efficient and versatile archetypes and it is backing to a situation like the meta before Peregrine Drake (first half of 2016). The Midrange is the most winner gameplan.
Don't be surprised, it is just the natural evolution of a format. It is healthy because the most invasive and extremes strategies are contrasted by removals, counter-magic and answers (for example the most strong and played Combo are UR Kiln Fiend and UW Tribes and both pass to creatures and battle phase).
The meta dominated by Mono Green Stompy has been substituted by a meta dominated by Elves and other aggressive but no resilient Aggro and so there is a comeback of strategies based on removing the creatures. It is normal for an Aggro like Mono Green Stompy, less aggressive but more resistant to removal, continue to survive.
The increasing of Murasa Tron and the disappearing of Dinrova Tron depend on two factors: an increase of Delver.deck and a general increase of Midrange. Murasa Tron is more oriented to late game, it generates card advantage and it has more removals and counters. A metagame full of archetypes Aggro with a strategy based on a few creatures (like Elves in a lot of matches) rewards using removals 1 x 1 in order to break the opponent's gameplay. It is better instead of stop and slow the opponent with cards like Dinrova Horror and the lock of Ghostly Flicker, Mnemonic Wall and Moment's Peace.
Burn is in decreasing because there are UR Delver and Mono U Delver, two of the worst MU for this archetypes: only 8 creatures in order to create pressure and the other sources of damage are silver bullets with a non-continuing damage (with the exception of Curse of the Pierced Heart).
In the graph above the aren't the name of archetypes with a presence of 1% or less (but there are the "slices"). These have 1-2 presences (so they aren't useful) and you must find it in this list (the data are in order of quantity and not in percentage).
Unfortunately, there are the data about the February 4's Challenge and we have only the top32. It is in any way useful: we have reliable data and we miss only the lists of a challenge.
WHICH ARE THE WINNERS?
The best method for individuating the best archetype is not watching the metagame's presence but it is watching the number of victories.
Let's take a look at the decks in top 8 in this month.
The top8 appear very similar to the total presence in PC.
Izzet Delver and Boros Monarch continue to be the first two archetypes and especially Izzet Delver, a deck with a popularity exploded in the last period of time, has a clear estrangement in terms of popularity and results. For example, there is an Izzet Delver every five in the top8 of this month, whereas there is only a Murasa Tron every ten.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT THE META
The metagame of every format is seesawing and Pauper is a not-rotating format. Some archetypes disappear, another return or "born" (maybe they existed since years but never in a competitive way).
For this reason, an archetype like Mono White Heroic had a boom of presences in January, but it has knocked into archetypes with a bad MU (MBC e Boros Monarch) and it has a decreasing in terms of numbers.
For still this reason, an archetype like UB Delve (aka Angler Delve) has a little comeback in the month.
We must consider the increasing of Izzet Delver (it has started since many months) and Boros Monarch, archetypes with a well-known power level in a favourable meta.
It is curious the UW Tribe's decreasing, but it is probably a reaction in an ambient with a good presence of MBC and an increase of Delver.deck.
However, the metagame is sane and playable.
We have interactions and we haven't archetypes with an excessive presence. If you want the banhammer i remember some period of time of the format, according to MTG Goldfish's data, where there was an archetype with 20% or more (typically Affinity or Mono U Delver) and we haven't seen any banned list's change. The metagame and the players have adapted or the new stamps have changed the situation.
The future situation of the format is a meta where the 3 principal archetypes will be Izzet Delver, Boros Monarch and
Murasa Tron (it is not so diffused, but there aren't reasons to avoid a develop in a favourable ambient with the exception of a Combo decks' increasing.)
NEWS AND TRADITION
Let's take a look at the lists appeared in the Pauper Challenge February 2017. There is someone with the potential to enter with vehemence in the Pauper?
Wr Heroic by Vagar, 15° posto Pauper Challenge 04/02/2018
4 Akroan Skyguard
2 Benevolent Bodyguard
2 Deftblade Elite
4 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
4 Seeker of the Way
4 Defiant Strike
3 Emerge Unscathed
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Mutagenic Growth
2 Temur Battle Rage
4 Cho-Manno's Blessing
2 Ethereal Armor
4 Hyena Umbra
3 Boros Guildgate
1 Secluded Steppe
4 Wind-Scarred Crag
1 Circle of Protection: Green
1 Gorilla Shaman
3 Prismatic Strands
2 Standard Bearer
The red guarantees great side's solutions, from the well known and played Pyroblast to the less intuitive Flaring Pain (it isn't on this list). This last one allows playing around Circle of Protection: White, a card in increasing due to Boros Monarch and UW tribe.
Some red cards on the list don't convince me: the splash is valid but the list must be sharpened choosing the good cards to insert and the bad cards to avoid.
Angler Kiln by tinmanbrager, 12° posto Pauper Challenge 25/02/2018
4 Gurmag Angler
3 Insolent Neonate
4 Kiln Fiend
2 Alms of the Vein
4 Chain Lightning
4 Faithless Looting
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Fiery Temper
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Temur Battle Rage
3 Bloodfell Caves
4 Evolving Wilds
3 Boiling Earth
3 Searing Blaze
2 Smash to Smithereens
4 Tyrant's Choice
The user tinmanbrager shows us a new and interesting archetype with a development in version most Aggro deck than a classic Mono Red Burn. I compare it with Burn because there are 18 bolts in maindeck.
Kiln Fiend used to be played in the very first versions of Burn and the combination with Temur Battle Rage is a classic of the format.
I will try this in list due to the fullset of Tyrant's Choice in side (finally i can bring out it from the binder :-p
Whirlpool Delver by m0torhead, 10° posto Pauper Challenge 25/02/2018
1 Augur of Bolas
4 Delver of Secrets
1 Spire Golem
4 Whirlpool Rider
1 Echoing Truth
4 Thought Scour
4 Jace's Erasure
3 Spire Golem
4 Faerie Miscreant
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Spellstutter Sprite
Let's conclude talking about a deck very particular.
Mono U Whirlpool, a.k.a. TurboErasure, is the version without the green of UG Erasure: no green for fog effects, more counters.
The most recent versions add an Aggro component with Delver of Secrets in order to have a very solid plan B and tricks the opponent to think to play against a different archetype. This error can be induced also thanks the possibility to transform the deck into a classic Mono U Delver post side.
The strange thing in this list is the absence of Jace's Phantasm, so it isn't a fundamental card and Delver guarantees more easily a better attacker.
The conclusions of this monthly analysis are: the format continues to progress. It is a very positive sign because it shows a living format and as long it evolves it can be something more funny and new.
There is variety in the format and there aren't strategies and archetypes excessively oppressive, but it is an affirmation true and false at the same times. There are some gaps in the format, like the absence of specific effects and cards like universal mass removal (Wrath of God – style).
I don't see it as a lack.
There is the virtue of a format rewarding good playing the match, ALL the match, instead of rewarding have better draws of the opponent.
Do you prefer a game where the winners are lucky or where the winners are good and know better the cards and the format?