For those planning to attend this weekend’s RIW Pauper 1K on November 12th, I wanted to pass on some wisdom I learned from past Pauper 1Ks that I’ve attended at RIW in the past. First, I’ll cover what to expect in a general magic tournament sense, and then we’ll dive into what to accept about some Magic strategy topics to think about heading into Saturday. Let’s get started!
Win or lose, a Pauper 1k at RIW is some of the most fun you will ever have playing competitive magic. The community is phenomenal, the games are fantastic, and the food delicious. I truly can’t imagine having spent the time I have at these events in any other way. If you’re feeling up to joining me, I always go in trying to make one new magic friend by the end of the day.
It may seem like stating the obvious; “one should never underestimate their opponent”. This isn’t the point that I’m trying to make here though. At its heart, the Pauper 1k is a local event. The local scene that you’ll be heading into has been cultivating some of the best magic players in the history of the game for a very long time. This isn’t something to be intimidated by, nor is it anything that should keep you out of a winning mindset. All I’m saying is don’t expect to sit across the table from a slouch just because this isn’t a premiere level event.
Free dinner with entry is a staple of big RIW MTG events and the 1K will carry on this tradition with free BBQ for all players. We love to run a fun, community oriented event and you’ll eat well along with playing a fun afternoon of MTG.
EXPECT TO BE DECK-CHECKED
At the end of the day Competitive-Rules-Enforcement is the name of the game and it is always a good idea to do a quick check to refresh or update yourself with what that entails. Small details here could ruin your run. I’ve definitely gotten a warning during an RCQ for grabbing a playset of a card out of another deck in a 3 a.m. fog for the next day that was the only foil in the deck. Human error really is unavoidable, but it might be a good idea to get some friends together and swap deck checks just to mitigate such kerfuffles.
If you’ve never been to a magic tournament larger than an FNM this one is a big one that can ruin your fun if you’re not thinking about it going in. Magic tournaments can be quite long and arduous even as a live spectator. Swiss rounds are determined by attendance and top 8 isn’t timed, pairing those with the fact that the more players that are playing in the event total naturally raises the number of rounds that go to time during swiss is a potential recipe for disaster for those physically and mentally unprepared that find themselves unexpectedly playing it out in the finals.
A BBQ snack certainly helps keep the energy up!
ACCEPTING TWO DIMENSIONAL REALITY
Playing with a deck of physical Magic: The Gathering cards is quite arguably like playing a completely different game than playing on a computer with an application or online client. This is a claim that I do plan to address in the future, but for now my advice is just to practice how you plan to play. Whether it be online or, as in this case, in-person.
The best red deck in the format is no longer Kiln-Fiend… for now. Kuldotha Rebirth has taken over the last few weeks of the standings as players seemed to have figured out the kiln-fiend match up. In a few more weeks the same may be true for Kuldotha Red. Pauper is a Lightning Bolt legal format so make sure that we’re thinking “Basic Mountain”, not “Kuldotha Red” or “Kiln-Fiend”. This is something that I’ve been working on personally recently and something that I wish I would have paid more attention to earlier in my learning.
Play what you know. If you aren’t familiar with the metagame, have never played a control deck, or simply feel more at home playing a combo deck. If winning is your goal, it is more important that you know what you’re doing and can capably pilot a deck that you feel comfortable with. Pauper is a deep format with a high skill cap and a low barrier to entry. This can lead to some wild occurrences. Take all of the familiarity that you can get.
Magic: The Gathering is not an easy game to play. Particularly so in a competitive setting. There are a lot of rules and a lot of cards that exist at common rarity. If you do make a mistake and receive a warning, that’s okay. It happens. Letting that get to your head can lose you the day. Start looking at each turn as a new magic puzzle until you’re back into a groove and press forward.
Whether you’re playing at this Saturday’s 1k, or another in the future, good luck and have fun!
Hello Everyone, my name is J.D. and I’ll be doing weekly league updates and pauper content from now on. My Competitive Magic resume consists of two RIW Pauper 1k Top 8 finishes at the time of writing. I’ve been playing at FNM level events since the weekend after Shadowmoore released and love that I am still learning new things about Magic every day. My favorite Magic formats are Pauper and Sealed and I look forward to sharing my experiences with everyone here!