Hello all! Austen from Pauper Ponderings here and today I decided to take a break from recording Pauper videos to try out Magic’s hottest format, Frontier! My local game store, Fusion Gaming, has started to run Frontier tournaments.
And, as you all know from my Pauper series, I love me a spicy brew, so I decided to highlight some of the more interesting lists from the tournament yesterday.
Mardu Goggles by Justin Krahn
A Mardu mid-range/control deck, Justin is looking to control the board early with burn spells like lightning strike and incendiary flow, then begin to pull ahead with cards like Chandra, Nahiri, and Goblin Dark-Dwellers. Pyromancer’s Goggles serve as not only a mid to late game card advantage engine, but combined with crater’s claws, can act as a sort of combo finish, easily burning an opponent out from a fairly high life total.
3 colours seems to be viable in Frontier, and the addition of black gives you access to a powerful man-land in shambling vent. As well as possible sideboard options like duress and read the bones. Being 3 colours also allows you to play converge spells like radiant flames and painful truths if you are so inclined.
Overall, I like the look of this list, and believe it can be pretty decent. My few reservations are playing such a long drawn out game and not having access to blue and dig through time. And, not having a real game ending threat to cheat into play with Nahiri. Something like an Ulamog may be an okay choice as you can discard it early to Nahiri if you draw him and late game 10 mana does not seem out of the question.
Jeskai Ensoul by Richard Randall
Going with a more aggro approach here, Richard is attempting to construct either a 5/5 flyer on turn 2 or an indestructible 5/5 on turn 2. Both seem relatively more powerful than most things in this new format. The addition of white to this archetype is a relative new one, but both toolcraft exemplar and thraben inspector are welcomed guests. Toolcraft not only hits hard but will almost always have first strike making it very difficult to block, and thraben inspector, as we’ve seen from past standards, may be the best non-dwarf pilot in the multiverse.
Bomat courier also shines in a deck low on card advantage engines, and when he’s done actually getting into the red zone himself, he’ll gladly wait to cash in his 2 or 3 cards while he drives the looter scooter around in the mid game.
The only real weak point of this deck, in my opinion, seems to be the ornithopters. While giving you the ability to attack for 5 in the air on turn 2, they are usually dead draws at any other point in the game. And, in a aggro deck like this one, having any dead cards is devastating. I’m surprised at a lack of nerd ape here, and that’s maybe what ornithopter should become? Maybe the opportunity to have a 5/5 flyer on turn 2 is enough to justify playing ornithopter, but I think the power level of this deck is already high enough.
UB Control by Kevin Trieu
The last deck I’m highlighting is as pure control as you can get. Kevin played this UB control deck to 1st place last night and after looking at the decklist, I can see why. Card draw engines in Jace and Torrential Gearhulk, removal for any situation in the forms of fatal push, languish, and murder, and just enough counter magic to maintain a stranglehold on any deck.
Kevin clearly knew what enemy number 1 would be at this tournament and he constructed a deck with all of the right answers in mind. Plus, having a card like Torrential Gearhulk is such a huge crutch for a strategy like this. When this deck existed in standard a few years ago, you were tasked into winning the game with Pearl Lake Ancient, a slow durdling creature that stunk up your hand, and was awful in multiples. With old fatcaster mage, you get mid game board control, late game mystic snake, and game ending card advantage machine. What more could you ask for in your win con?
If there is anything negative to say about this list, it would have to be the lack of a 26th land. As this deck needs to hit land drops 1 through 6 pretty consistently, but sometimes you can just run really well. Having access to an edict effect may also be necessary as this list seems fairly cold to a turn 2 indestructible 5/5.
Control can and must be built in many different ways, and what Kevin did here was create the perfect answer, to a very hard question. Will this build be optimal for next week? Probably not, but with this shell I can see a whole new subsection of the meta-game begin to form.
Well, thanks for reading everyone, and make sure to join me here next week, when we discuss more interesting Frontier brews.