So there I was, under the dim lights of my laptop, and carrying a sinister grin, thinking of where I can get my copy of Snow White. After sorting through the Grimm Block cards, I’m pretty sure that nothing can beat her as long as I draw my apples.
Out of the common, and uncommon cards at least.
Now, why was I doing this?
I’m not too confident that I’m the only one on the Snow White train. The other viable option was Bahamut, who can J-Activate more consistently and has flying, but at the cost of having less stats and no Target Attack.
And then there’s the concept of breaking the format.
Now, I’m not advocating the idea of not looking for things that are imbalanced and riding them to victory. It’s an inherent trait of card games (and other games in general), and I believe it’s every player’s responsibility to at least give a shot in trying to solve a given format or metagame because that’s how mistakes come to light, and from there we can solve them.
Anyway, going back to our scenario, imagine if this thing went under the radar, and news spread like wildfire – Turn 2 Snow White wins Pauper tournament! Guess what happens on the next one? Probably a Snow White top 8, each trying to get their Poison Apple.
With a limited card pool, all the strategy, possibilities, and potential fun of the format devolves into a frantic mulligan for a certain card, and praying to go first.
So I had this conundrum in mind as I made my way to Glorietta 2. Should I play Jeanne d’Arc on the sideboard? Then it doesn’t move the initial problem too much – it now becomes a Jeanne vs Snow White format, with everyone else becoming canon fodder.
And that’s the whole point – everyone else is simply too weak for these two ladies.
Alex was quick to notice this as well, and came to the conclusion that J-Rulers in general are a bit too overpowered for Pauper, and I think I’ll have to agree too (no matter how much I love my 2nd turn Snow White). So we started looking for alternatives – ban Snow, Bahamut, and Jeanne? Maybe, but there will always, always, always be arguments on specific bans, especially if these aren’t backed up officially. And even if it does push through, someone will always find another Ruler to exploit. Simply put, as cards they are inherently powerful enough to warp the Pauper format around their selection.
Then a ray of hope showed up: “What if we do it like in draft, where any resonator can be a face-down ruler, then we can pay their cost to flip them up and put them in the field and treat them as regular resonators? Then if they die, they simply go back face-down to the ruler area and, just like the real thing, still be able to call up stones?”
Oh FoW Draft, I have never experienced you before. But it did make a lot of sense – first of all the “Ruler” is at least on the same power level as the other cards in the format, yet at the same time, they present a strategic element in that they can be played in a timely manner to potentially turn the tables around since they’re readily accessible. And there’s TONS of them to choose from! Endless possibilities anyone? 😀
All while still being realistically beatable.
In fact, this idea can instead be the foundation of the ongoing Deck-raising campaign, wherein all of the giveaway decks are Pauper decks (since it’s very costly to give away Rulers). So we teach new players Pauper first, let them enjoy it a bit, and then teach them the regular game as a way of moving forward. This can be the rule that can separate casual play/tournaments from serious/big competition, and I think that it’s a great tool in increasing the number of potential players.
So yeah, I think that’s awesome.
Finally, there’s another issue that I’m partial to, and that’s allowing cards from the Valhalla block, but that stems more from my lack of knowledge of the older sets. However, if it keeps the format fresh, evolving, fun, and most importantly, encourage people to play, then I’m all for it.
Well, those are my thoughts on Pauper for now. How about yours? Let them be known at the comments!
Until then! 🙂