Last week, we covered a story around a Pauper Preliminary on Magic Online that had some interesting results. When I wrote the article, we had very little information around what had happened and why. We thought that there was an organized player protest of the state of the Pauper format. Well early this weekend I got a message on Twitter, @HenryMildenstein, and he had some more information on the situation
How This Tournament Came to Be
Henry’s story goes something like this. About 10 minutes before the prelim, someone in the Magic Online Grinder discord made a joke about how any midsized group of people could probably warp the data for the event. A group of players got to quickly talking and decided to make it happen. It was definitely too close to the event for people to rent the cards needed to play really bad brews. Henry then had the idea that they could queue in with 60 basics. That idea got enough people on board to fire the event. This basically turned the entire event into a game of chance, whoever won the die roll won the match, as the person on the draw would deck out first. So with that, the game plan was in place.
60 Basics Undefeated
They got 11 people queued into the event, and someone ended up joining that wasn’t on the 60 basics plan. That player was playing Affinity. Since that player ended up making the finals in about 20 minutes, they did end up scooping the finals to a 60 basics player to showcase that deck at the 4-0 slot.
Ultimately, the question is why this happened? What caused these players to do something to this extent in an official tournament? According to Henry, the Pauper Preliminary events had not been firing for a while, and so this was the perfect event to have some fun. Many of the players who entered didn’t even play Pauper all that much. There was some speculation about Win trading, but there’s a problem with the speculations. These players were losing out a lot on the economy side for getting into this event since Preliminary events don’t pay out by record, so their EV was in the can. This was really just about having fun as a group of friends. While the state of the format did play into it a little bit, it definitely was not an organized statement or strike on it.
Overall, while the intention of this wasn’t to try to bring change, Wizards of the Coast did announce that they will be putting out a Banned and Restricted announcement on pauper soon, which is the first in a long time. This is honestly one of the coolest things I’ve seen from the community and hopefully it won’t take more of these meme events to have formats get some support from WotC.