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A guide to the budding Pauper EDH format. After trudging through the Googlian tundra I could not find a cohesive Pauper EDH guide so I decided to make one. I'd also like to thank Podkomorka for creating and running the Pauper EDH Deck Compendium and Gattison for helping to run the Pauper EDH Miscellaneous section, the Primer would not be what it is without you guys. Please read through the FAQ before commenting about commanders being at the wrong rarity.

Pauper EDH plays by the same basic rules of EDH with some slight modifications:

(Rules in red differ from standard EDH)

  • You have an uncommon creature designated as your commander. It exists in a place called the Command Zone and may be summoned at any time you could normally cast it
  • The colors you may use in your deck are limited to your commanders colors and the mana symbols used in your commander's mana cost and rules text. This is referred to as its color identity. Color identity excludes mana symbols in the reminder text (such as Extort) and written colors and land types
  • Your commander costs more to cast from the command zone for each time it has been cast from your command zone. This commander tax applies when summoning your commander for its alternative casting costs (such as Evoke or Ninjitsu) as well
  • If your commander is moved from the battlefield to any other zone (hand, deck, exile, graveyard) you may choose to instead place it in the command zone. This is a replacement effect
  • Your deck must contain 99 common cards in your main board and each spell and non-basic land card must be unique. You can determine a cards rarity using the Scryfall search engine
  • Each player starts off with 30 life
  • Whenever a player has been dealt 16 combat damage by any one commander that player is removed from the game
Having been derived from Pauper, there is often confusion on what constitutes a common and uncommon card. Do you follow the MTGO rarities and not allow cards that are only common in paper, or use the Paper rarities and not allow cards that are only available at common online? Well, Pauper EDH says why not both? A card is legal to use if it has ever been printed at common, physically or digitally (or uncommon for the commander). This means cards that have only been printed at certain rarities in online only sets (such as Bastion Protector at Uncommon in the Legendary Cube or Chainer's Edict at Common in Vintage Masters) or paper sets (such as Ashnod's Altar at Common in Chronicles) are legal for play. You can determine a card's rarity by using the Scryfall search engine.
There is also often the question of whether Pauper EDH follows the Pauper ban list. It does not! There are no currently no cards that are banned in Pauper EDH. There are of course cards that are not legal to play in sanctioned formats such as Silver-Bordered Cards, cards that have only been printed in digital sets, and format specific cards types like Conspiracy and Planes.


Pauper EDH has a couple key differences compared to Pauper and EDH. The format does not have the concentrated power of Pauper nor the blanket effects and hay maker cards of EDH. There are few ways to clear the board and limited draw spells. This means Pauper EDH, maybe more than any other format, is about creatures. Their Enter the Battlefield abilities provide value (sometimes repeatable), their presence deters attackers, and they serve as strong finishers in a format with little in the way of alternative win conditions. And the best creature in your deck, your commander, is the crux of it all. Pauper EDH decks are extremely reliant on their commanders to function and as such the decks are built around getting it out, supporting it, protecting it, and helping to aid the decks win condition. With all of this in mind, here are some important considerations when selecting a commander and building a deck:

  • Clogged fields make evasion a key component of any combat oriented deck. It comes in many forms at the common level: Unblockable, Menace, Fear, Intimidate, Protection, Flying, and Trample.
  • Colors are boiled down to their basic traits making multicolored builds advantageous to shore up weaknesses.
  • The combat oriented nature of the format and the dearth of card draw means many decks make use of creatures with Enter the Battlefield effects to use as combat fodder.
  • The graveyard is an important resource for many decks.
  • Combos are one of the few alternative win conditions in the format (outside of commander specific win conditions) so knowing how they work can help you with threat assessment.
  • The lack of sweepers and heavy reliance on commanders makes targeted removal a must. Targeted removal is also the best way to deal with infinite combo decks.

With these considerations in mind, the list above contains some of the better generals to use in each color combination. Each creature above has been printed at uncommon in at least one set, if you have doubts about a creature's rarity you can use the Scryfall search engine to find which set it was printed in.

A card is legal to use if it has ever been printed at common in paper or online (or uncommon for the commander). This means cards that have only been printed at certain rarities in online only sets (such as Bastion Protector at Uncommon in the Legendary Cube or Chainer's Edict at Common in Vintage Masters) or paper sets (such as Ashnod's Altar at Common in Chronicles) are legal for play. You can determine a card's rarity by using the Scryfall search engine.
There are are currently no cards that are banned in Pauper EDH.

Pauper EDH Commander Tier List

Pauper EDH* Podkomorka

SCORE: 8 | 29 COMMENTS | 2592 VIEWS | IN 2 FOLDERS


No, Uncommon Planeswalkers are not legal commanders in Pauper EDH. If you would like to use them, check with your group before hand and see if they are ok with using them.
Yes, creatures that have the Partner with [name] ability, such as Chakram Slinger and Chakram Retriever, are legal to use as commanders with a 98 card deck.
The way Adventure works involves the Commander Attribute mentioned in rule 903.3

903.3. Each deck has a legendary creature card designated as its commander. This designation is not a characteristic of the object represented by the card; rather, it is an attribute of the card itself. The card retains this designation even when it changes zones.

So the entire card is considered your commander, not just the creature portion, meaning that they have a shared commander tax. The Adventure portion of the card does not need to be cast from your hand, meaning it can be cast from the command zone.

Commanders with alternative casting costs (such as Evoke and Mutate) have the commander tax added if using the alternative casting cost from the Command Zone and must meet the casting requirements stated in the ability.
No, the Ninjitsu activated ability can only be used from your hand.


This is the official YouTube channel for PDH Homebase, featuring games between the staff. Though it hasn't been updated in a while it showcases how a typical PDH game can play out.

PDH Pals is a group dedicated to Pauper EDH content. Though they play with 40 life and 21 commander damage, their high production value, wide range of decks, and bi-weekly streams put them at the forefront of Pauper EDH video media. Be sure to tune into their streams at 7PM EST every Tuesday and Sunday.

Sensei's Kitchen Top is a YouTube channel focused on casual kitchen table Magic, predominately featuring 1-on-1 Pauper EDH games. Though the decks are built for casual play the channel showcases the versatility and fun of the format.

Spell Slam is a YouTube channel dedicated to Pauper content that occasionally branches out into Pauper EDH. Though the decks are played against regular EDH decks you can check them out to see what some decks in the format have to offer.


Pauper EDH Deck Compendium

Pauper EDH* Podkomorka

SCORE: 227 | 847 COMMENTS | 86233 VIEWS | IN 85 FOLDERS


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Date added 5 years
Last updated 10 hours
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This deck is Pauper EDH legal.

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10 hours ago)

+1 Wirewood Symbiote maybe