Power 9 Equivalent in Pauper?

Pauper forum

Posted on Feb. 3, 2018, 10:46 p.m. by Gattison

My friend, eyes2sky, and I came up with an interesting idea the other day, and I wanted to share it with everybody and see what others think.

Since Pauper is sometimes called "Legacy-lite," we were thinking that it would be cool to figure out a Power 9 equivalent for Pauper. A Pauper IX, if you will.

(And as far as aesthetics go, I think it would be cool to stylize it as "pauper ix," with (less advanced) Roman numerals. Cuz it feels right, lol.)

Anyway, we tossed this idea about for a bit, then realized that we would first need to define the Power 9, and then define what a Pauper IX would be.

So now I'd like to open this up to discussion. I'll go first, to get things rolling.


I feel that the Power 9 are not only some of the most powerful, broken cards ever, but that they are also a toolbox of stuff that can basically be slapped into any deck and make it better. Even if you're playing Mono- in Legacy, you can put a Mox Pearl in your deck and use it for a FREE somewhere.

I think that this is the aspect the Pauper IX should focus on. Not exactly staples, or the most expensive cards, but cards that every pauper player should know about, and will most likely want in their deck. Keep in mind since this is pauper, and commons-only, these cards would probably make 75% of all pauper deck better, whereas the Power 9 probably makes 95% of all Legacy decks better. So my choices below could all be debatable.

I also propose the Pauper IX contain only cards that BOTH MTGO AND paper players can use, so no Chainer's Edict or Goblin Grenade, imho.

Here is how TappedOut.users have voted thus far:

  1. Lightning Bolt - 8
  2. Lotus Petal - 7
  3. Gurmag Angler - 6
  4. Delver of Secrets  Flip - 5
  5. Gitaxian Probe - 5
  6. Brainstorm - 4
  7. Ash Barrens - 4
  8. Urza's Tower - 4
  9. Preordain - 4

These are the honorable mentions:

  1. Urza's Power Plant - 3
  2. Urza's Mine - 3
  3. Apostle's Blessing - 2
  4. Chromatic Star - 2
  5. Dark Ritual - 2
  6. Gush - 2
  7. Rancor - 2
  8. Simian Spirit Guide - 2
  9. Ponder - 2
  10. Slippery Bogle - 2
  11. Counterspell - 2
  12. Blazing Salvo - 1
  13. Daze - 1
  14. Hooting Mandrills - 1
  15. Pestilence - 1
  16. Quirion Ranger - 1
  17. Nettle Sentinel - 1
  18. Prophetic Prism - 1
  19. Augur of Bolas - 1

...And this conversation would only benefit from having more participants, so I'm always open to new suggestions. What do other people have to say?

I hope nobody minds, but I'm going to tag bunch of known pauper players here, some of you I've spoken to before, others I've just seen around recently and am hoping would be interested: Modern_Brews, eyes2sky, LunaCelt, Boza, malfeischylde, Dalektable, UrbanGirlScout, Captain_Howel, thattallguy, Dark Magician , IlGuale, Wurmlover, TheHelvault.

Please share your thoughts. =)

DarkMagician says... #2

1) Gitaxian Probe - Any deck can run this to gain advantageous information about their opponents hands while simultaneously thinning their own deck.

2/3) Lotus Petal/Simian Spirit Guide - Essentially Paupers version of Black Lotus these give free mana to accelerate into an earlier win and can be played in any deck.

4/5) Preordain/Brainstorm - Digs deep to find combo pieces.

6) Daze - Free counterspell.

7) Lightning Bolt - Cheap, efficient removal that can be used to close out a game.

8) Pestilence - Controls the board and can be extremely difficult to fight through.

Can't think of a ninth card.

February 3, 2018 11:18 p.m.

Gattison says... #3

Oh yeah! I almost forgot to mention, Modern_Brews had his own ideas for a pauper 9 also. He randomly noticed us talking about it on eyes2sky's profile and added his thoughts. In case he never makes it over here, you can still see his comment, which is still on E's profile wall.

DarkMagician: I really like your idea for the Nine. I think Ash Barrens would be the perfect way to finish your list. I forgot that one for mine.

February 3, 2018 11:31 p.m.

TheHelvault says... #4

Well first of all, power 9 is mostly Vintage :-p BUT formats don't matter, formats are a conspiracy

BUT that being said I agree with this list. Brainstorm should be on here because it's bonkers in Pauper. Imo Delver wouldn't survive without Brainstorm.

I'd say Slippery Bogle should be in the list, I mean it's a formidable foe and that hexproof ability really screws games up.

Gurmag Angler and Treasure Cruise were both crazy for pauper. I mean a big ass fish for 1 Mana? 3 cards for 1 Mana??? Come on man.

Urza lands are cool and all but it's not like tron is the best thing in the world lol. I personally don't find urza lands to be that good, like Myr Enforcer is just as good imo.

February 3, 2018 11:38 p.m.

eyes2sky says... #5

I think it most important that the Pauper ix include as many cards as possible that can be played in any deck. If not, the whole list will end up populated with blue one-drops...Here's my 2 cents:
1)Gitaxian Probe
2)Apostle's Blessing
3)Lotus Petal
4)Chromatic Star
5)Lightning Bolt
6)Delver of Secrets  Flip
7)Ash Barrens
8)Gurmag Angler
9)Preordain
Honrable mentions:
Welding Jar, Phyrexian Walker, Glint Hawk and the artifact lands.

February 4, 2018 12:07 a.m.

stewartthewolf says... #6

Blazing Salvo is another good choice, if you haven't seen or heard of it. I personally prefer to run that as opposed to bolts, but that's my personal preference.

February 4, 2018 2:49 a.m.

Wurmlover says... #7

I would say that my pauper cards that are closest to the actual power 9 are:

  1. Lotus Petal - free mana
  2. Gush - goes in ANY blue deck and easily the best draw spell in the format
  3. Ash Barrens - pauper equivalent of a fetchland
  4. Urza's Tower, Urza's Mine, Urza's Power Plant - while they don't get slapped into every deck, they fuel one of the most oppressive and overpowered decks in the format.
  5. Dark Ritual - free mana
  6. Chromatic Star - fuels affinity and, if nothing else, pay 2 colorless to draw a card.
  7. Gitaxian Probe - the card that was too good for modern (rest in spaghetti, never forgetti)
  8. Lightning Bolt - best removal in the format
  9. Delver of Secrets  Flip - debatably the best creature in the format.

There's my list, tell me what you think!

February 4, 2018 8:23 a.m.

eyes2sky says... #8

February 4, 2018 9:21 a.m.

Hooting Mandrills is pretty crazy for 1 mana.

February 4, 2018 noon

I haven't played too much competitive Pauper, so I guess you can take my list with a grain of salt. That said, there are some pretty strong arguments for these:

1) Lotus Petal - Free mana is a powerful effect in any format, and this card is the most flexible variant in Pauper (Simian Spirit Guide can only produce red).

2) Lightning Bolt - The most versatile removal/game ender in Pauper. So good, it's even banned in Standard. :P

3) Delver of Secrets  Flip - One of the most efficient creatures in the format, has decks named after it even in normal Legacy. Should say something about his power level.

4) Brainstorm - Instant-speed card draw that gets all the better with shuffle effects. Great with the aforementioned Delver; just so versatile.

5) Rancor - The card that wasn't supposed to be. Apparently it was originally put in the file as a card costing 1g, but it got printed at one mana. Counters the one thing bad about enchantments; getting two-for-one'd.

6) Gurmag Angler - The best creature in Pauper because its 5/5 statline and color is crucial. Oftentimes comes out early, crushes blockers and shrugs off most removal.

7, 8, 9) Urza's Tower, Urza's Power Plant, Urza's Mine - Never actually played against these cards before, in any format, and I almost discounted them because they need to be set up, but seven mana on turn 3 if you play your cards right is an absurdly powerful advantage in Pauper. They drop threats even the Angler can't compete with. For that reason, they take the last three slots.

February 4, 2018 1:58 p.m.

lukas96 says... #11

Power 9 in Legacy, that made me laugh a little.

Im not much of a pauper player but id try to pic some cards.

Lotus Petal: well its actually a mini black lotus it has to be there.

Gush: well its as close as we guess for ancestral I guess. Imagine they printed that as common as they did with lightning bolt...

Gitaxian Probe: similar to gush, pretty powerful and bannedrestricted in several formats.

Brainstorm: best cantrip ever not as good in pauper as in legacy but still pretty good.

Ponder: propapbly the best cantrip in this format yes the og powernine have four blue cards I dont see why p ix should have less.

Simian Spirit guide: p9 has a lot of fast mana p ix needs some too

Lightning bolt: Running out of cards that are similar to p9 great flexible removal so ot shpuld be here.

Gurmag angler: 1 mana for a 5/5 thats worth to be a p ix

Unfortunately my pauper knowledge ends here im only aware of cards that also see play in other formats.

February 4, 2018 3:20 p.m.

Gattison says... #12

So, first of all... I'm obviously not a Vintage or Legacy player, lol. My bad. X)

Secondly, I like everybody else's lists better than my own. =D

Here's the breakdown of what everybody thinks so far:

  1. Lightning Bolt - 6
  2. Lotus Petal - 6
  3. Gurmag Angler - 5
  4. Brainstorm - 4
  5. Delver of Secrets  Flip - 4
  6. Gitaxian Probe - 4
  7. Ash Barrens - 3
  8. Urza's Tower - 3
  9. Urza's Power Plant - 3
  10. Urza's Mine - 3
  11. Apostle's Blessing - 2
  12. Chromatic Star - 2
  13. Dark Ritual - 2
  14. Gush - 2
  15. Preordain - 2
  16. Rancor - 2
  17. Simian Spirit Guide - 2
  18. Blazing Salvo - 1
  19. Daze - 1
  20. Hooting Mandrills - 1
  21. Pestilence - 1
  22. Ponder - 1
  23. Slippery Bogle - 1

lukas96 brings up an interesting point, too. Because pauper is kind of made up from combo-pieces, stepping-stones and straight-up-chaff from other formats, should it also be a "requirement" that the Pauper IX be useful in other formats, i.e. as a bridge to allow players to "graduate" to more expensive formats?

I personally do not feel that this needs to be a requirement. I feel it will be an inevitable "happy coincidence" in the end, regardless of our restrictions. I just wanted to bring the thought up though. =)

February 4, 2018 5:26 p.m.

IlGuale says... #13

I would say with no doubt that Lightning Bolt and Brainstorm deserve to be P9s more than the Urzalands because, imho, a P9 should be a card which is too good not to play if you are in its colours more than a build around card. But i have zero experience in vintage and it's possible that my idea of P9 is wrong.

February 4, 2018 5:35 p.m.

lukas96 says... #14

i think your right p9 (maybe with the exception of Timetwister ) are cards that are playable in almost every deck (color is not that important because most of them are artifacts) and the urzalands are defenitely powerfull but you have to build around them to make them work (tutors for them and high cmc threats)

February 4, 2018 5:40 p.m.

Gattison says... #15

Yeah, even though I originally put that idea out there (of putting the Urza's lands in the P IX), I'm leaning away from it the more we discuss this. I do have a couple solutions, though.

I propose if the Urza's lands are to be included here, then we include ONLY Urza's Tower, the big one. the other two lands that you need are named right on the card, so the combo isn't hard to figure out. However by putting the "big one" in the pIX, we insinuate the rest, basically.

Either that or get rid of all three of them from the list, which I could understand also.

February 4, 2018 5:56 p.m.

Modern_Brews says... #16

February 5, 2018 6:18 p.m.

Captain_Howel says... #17

Hey, thanks for the tag! I'm new to Pauper and not very familiar with its meta, so take all this with a grain of salt, but I'll do my best.

I think it's not only accurate, but fitting in an almost poetic way, for the crown jewel of the Pauper IX to be Lotus Petal.

When picking the others, the first thing that strikes me about the original Power Nine is that 6 of them are mana production, 1 is card draw, and the last 2 are just other stupidly broken abilities. Therefore naturally mana production/fixing belongs at the forefront for the Pauper IX, but with how limited the options available are, I'm certain it won't take up 6 slots. Card draw should also get at least 1 slot, and I wouldn't be surprised if blue cards take up around 3 slots. There's nothing in Pauper that even comes close to those last two stupidly broken cards, so something more uniquely powerful in Pauper will have to take their place.

For the second, I have to agree with the common opinion ITT: the Urza's land trio deserves to be there, but there's no reason to fill 3 slots with a set of combo pieces, so giving 1 slot for Urza's Tower seems reasonable.

For the third slot, I gotta give it to Ash Barrens. The only decks that don't benefit from running that are mono-color decks and decks that entirely use nonbasic lands, like artifact affinity decks that fill up on the artifact lands.

I think that's enough for mana production in the Pauper IX. Now's when things get interesting.

For the fourth slot, staying predictable, but Lightning Bolt really earned it. Virtually every deck that contains red is going to run it. The only ones I can think of that won't are, again, artifact affinity decks (which would run the even stronger Galvanic Blast) or two-color Aggro decks that REALLY focus in on red's creatures and pumping them up.

For the fifth slot, several blue card draw options have been mentioned, and I recommend picking one. I don't have the experience to confidently pick one, but Ponder and Preordain seem the most appealing to me given the user control that they offer.

For the sixth slot, Slippery Bogle is my pick. With Pauper's limited options for mana fixing, hybrid mana costs are a big help, and with the kind of basic functions that each color keeps to, the most well-known evergreen creature abilities are all good, but hexproof is one of the best. Any deck with blue, green, or both in it that's running any kind of Equipment, Auras, or other things to pump up a creature and needs to fill a few slots can use a Slippery Bogle. It's no wonder that one of the notable builds of the meta -- something to which plenty of Sideboards run specific counters -- is based around, and named after, these little guys.

Is control big in Pauper? If so, I'd give slot 7 to either Gitaxian Probe or Counterspell.

That's as many as I can really say something about. I don't really see what makes Gurmag Angler so great though; plenty of decks just aren't going to be putting enough cards into the graveyard to reliably play it. On the other hand, given some decks run graveyard removal specifically to shut down Delve creatures -- which is similar to the justification I gave for Slippery Bogle -- maybe it deserves a slot.

February 6, 2018 5:47 a.m.

Gattison says... #18

I'm back. Sorry for taking so long to return, but I have been mulling everything everyone has said over, and I have some thoughts. I'd like to keep this dialogue going and reason out our choices.

Firstly, I've updated the Original Post, took my silly pIX list off and put up the running talley. I really like the way the current top 9 looks, honestly, despite that less than 10 pauper players voiced their opinions on it, lol.

Secondly, Modern_Brews, with all due respect, I think the pIX should be a list of the most broken pauper cards, because that's exactly what the Power 9 is. The P9 also doesn't care about representing the color pie fairly, and thus I feel that neither should the Pauper IX. I guess I did make it sound otherwise in my statement above, and my apologies for not clarifying earlier.

Third, Captain_Howel, I would actually argue that all three of the blue cards in the P9 could be called "draw." At the very least, every single one of the power 9 cards do essentially the same thing for a deck. They accelerate it. They give you more mana, cards or turns (which is really just card advantage, imo) than you would normally get, under normal circumstances.

I'm not trying to be argumentative with either of you, instead I'm just hoping to further define what the Pauper IX should be. =) Feedback is welcome!

Now on that line of thought, let's get back to the culmination of our votes in the list in the OP. Let me first say that I personally feel that, ignoring everything else, Lightning Bolt, Lotus Petal, Gitaxian Probe and Ash Barrens all NEED to be on this list, and there's no getting around it. Does anybody else feel this way?

I also feel that Simian Spirit Guide should definitely be on this list alongside Lotus Petal, because like DarkMagician said, it is literally a pauper version of Mox Ruby. It doesn't matter if people aren't playing this card currently, or if it's not "paupular". Not everybody always plays the P9, the same would therefore obviously be true about the pIX, wouldn't it? What does matter is that this card is free , which is crazy good no matter what color it is, and as a pauper player "you should know about this." For the same reasons, I feel Dark Ritual is the pauper version of Mox Jet, and should rank on the list.

I also feel the same way about Apostle's Blessing, but to a lesser extent. I also want to point out that this same line of reasoning (first iterated by DarkMagician above) is exactly why we "all" agree Gitaxian Probe should qualify. Because ANY deck can play it. And ANY deck can play Simian Spirit Guide for a free or a free , and to a lesser extent, any deck with in it can play Dark Ritual.

Next, I agree with Captain_Howel (and eyes2sky) about Gurmag Angler that it's not an auto-include in decks running . However, it is quite easy to alter most decks, just a bit, to allow 1 or more Anglers. I think that is why people play it so much, and why it got so many votes here. One more vote than Delver of Secrets  Flip in fact, and I think that is indicative of how it's slightly harder to alter "just any deck with in it" to squeeze some Delvers in.

Finally, I do think we should all stop and reconsider whether Slippery Bogle should be on this list or not. It's not a game accelerator, like Lotus Petal or Preordain, but it is a super useful creature that should be known to all pauper brewers and builders.

Thanks for your input so far everybody!

February 14, 2018 8:05 p.m.

Gattison says... #19

Ruffigan, Podkomorka: do you guys play 60-card too? If so, want to share your thoughts? =)

February 14, 2018 8:07 p.m.

Podkomorka says... #20

I agree with the Tappedout voted list. I thought Preordain and Ponder would make it in. Tortured Existence maybe.

February 14, 2018 8:28 p.m.

lukas96 says... #21

I agree with Lightning Bolt, Lotus Petal, Gitaxian Probe, Ash Barrens and Simian Spirit Guide.

I disagree on Dark Ritual because you actualy need black mana to cast it which makes it different from Guide and aldo different from the actual Moxen.

February 14, 2018 9:13 p.m.

eyes2sky says... #22

GattisonAgree about the boggles...not pIX worthy imo...and you you know how I feel about Dark Ritual ;) ...also interesting that Chainer's Edict didn't even get an honorable mention. The list looks good!

February 14, 2018 10:47 p.m.

Captain_Howel says... #23

Gattison, I agree about your 4 must-haves. They're really good fits, and they perfectly illustrate the range of effects that belong on the list.

As for Gurmag Angler topping Delver of Secrets  Flip in vote count, I wouldn't read into the current vote counts too much given they're all in the single digits.

That hybrid mana is a BIG factor for Slippery Bogle. While it still is best in a green & blue deck, it can be used just like a mono-colored mana cost in any green OR blue deck. It's immune to burn and removal spells. It can ONLY be destroyed by an opponent in direct combat.

Put another vote down for Simian Spirit Guide from me. Let's see if we can get that onto the list proper, and bump off Brainstorm or Gurmag Angler!

February 17, 2018 3:41 a.m.

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