My “Emerging” Love of Standard Pauper

Brewing in Standard Pauper has been a blast. Decks are cheap, and I’ve got a bunch of ideas for the current format.

The most straightforward way to brew is to look for fun and interesting Commons, often cards that are really strong in Draft or even normal Constructed, and then looking for other cards that support them. Some of those cards will obviously come from within the same block, but it’s much more fun to connect cards from across blocks to find combos that won’t see play anywhere else. My favorite interaction so far is the combination of Zephyr Scribe‘s looting and untapping abilities and Fiery Temper‘s Madness.


With that in mind, I’ve been trying to find the best things to do with Wretched Gryff, which is arguably the best Blue common coming out of Eldritch Moon.

wretched gryff.jpg

I’ve come up with a few different lists that use the Eldrazi Hippogriff (That type line!), in a variety of colors. The ones I’ve liked most so far are the ones that use some combination of Blue, Black, and Green. I’ve tried very hard to make the three-color version of my Wretched Gryff deck work, but the mana doesn’t feel good enough to make it worth splashing for Black within a Blue-Green deck. The choices then are to make either a Blue-Green deck, which focuses on the Emerge theme present in Eldritch Moon, or to make a Blue-Black deck, which contains some Emerge but focuses mainly on the Exploit theme from Dragons of Tarkir.

The Black cards from the Blue-Black version interest me more than the Green cards from the Blue-Green version, and there’ll be plenty of time to shift to a Blue-Green deck after Dragons of Tarkir rotates out of Standard. So I’ve chosen to focus on the Blue-Black version, looking for those cross-set synergies!

Here’s my current take on the deck, with no sideboard at this moment (and here’s a TappedOut link for better visuals):

4 Wretched Gryff
4 Eldrazi Skyspawner
1 Mortuary Mire
4 Evolving Wilds
9 Swamp
10 Island
4 Palace Familiar
4 Ghoulcaller’s Accomplice
4 Bone Splinters
3 Silumgar Butcher
3 Sanitarium Skeleton
4 Spontaneous Mutation
4 Vulturous Aven
2 Oblivion Strike

The idea is pretty basic: play creatures that do good things when they enter or leave the battlefield, then use those creatures to fuel the Exploit and Emerge abilities on the larger creatures. I don’t know how happy I am with the list overall, as it feels like some of the cards, like Bone Splinters and Sanitarium Skeleton, might be too cute and wind up not actually doing anything in games.

But, hypothetically, we have the tools to draw a lot of cards, remove all of our opponent’s creatures, and then win the game by attacking with fliers like Wretched Gryff, Vulturous Aven, and Eldrazi Skyspawner. Which is a pretty normal and good plan for a Blue-Black control deck made up of Commons.

Should the Bone Splinters just be Reave Souls? Is Silumgar Butcher any good? Is Oblivion Strike too expensive? These are all questions I’m hoping to find answers to sometime over the course of the next couple weeks. Hopefully, things will go well enough (or poorly enough, I guess) that it’s worth coming back to write about the deck again.

In the meantime, if you wanted to put this deck together yourself, it looks like it’d run you about 3 dollars if you wanted to buy it all straight from TCGPlayer. But, it’s more likely that you already have half of the pieces laying around in your piles of unused cards somewhere. Go dig them up, and get out there and play some Standard Pauper! This format is tons of fun for those who like to brew without breaking the bank.


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