Commander Masters Hot Pauper Downshifts

Commander Masters Hot Pauper Downshifts

Kristen GregoryPauper

Commander Masters has reprinted a bunch of popular Commander cards, but the set also includes a whole host of Pauper cards. What’s more, a massive 41 of those cards are brand new to Pauper format thanks to downshifts from uncommon, and in some cases rare. 

The updated legality is available on MTGO 8/3 following maintenance, and the cards are legal in paper from preview events onwards (July 28 to Aug. 3). Mox Seattle even has a preview event running on July 29 if you’re local and would like to reserve a place.


The range of cards entering Pauper is pretty vast all things considered. Cards for multiple existing archetypes are being dropped into the metagame, and there are also plenty of cards to get a brewer’s mind going (Dread Return, anyone?)

Before we get down to evaluating some of the more impactful pickups, let’s first look at the list in its entirety:







Yeah, that’s a lot of cards *41, to be exact). But which ones are we most excited about?


It’s safe to say the card on everyone’s mind is All That Glitters. It’s a breath of fresh air for Bogles decks which have access to a powerful way to get closer to lethal that much sooner. But it’s not just traditional Bogles that can benefit from this Aura. 

Affinity Lands are legal in Pauper, at least right now, so getting a sizeable buff for your investment is a lot easier than in formats where those same lands aren’t legal. 

Meanwhile, Cryptic Serpent delivers a noteworthy end-game plan for many self mill and spell slinger decks that exist in the format. These builds already have access to cards like Delver of Secrets and Tolarian Terror. But with the addition of Cryptic Serpent, mono-blue varieties might emerge that drop cards like Gurmag Angler completely. 


Tokens are about to see something of an uptick, thanks in no small part to Myrsmith. Going wide is easy with this two drop Artificer, and White Weenie decks now have another option to consider when choosing what to build around. When combined with All That Glitters, Myrsmith might well birth a new archetype.

Speaking of flooding the board, one thing better than a 1/1 token you pay for is a free 1/1 token that flies. Murmuring Mystic comes in at four mana, which is just low enough for you to protect it. Five mana is a lot, which is why it’ll take a lot more work to make Shipwreck Dowser work (though the ability to grow it outside of Lightning Bolt range with just one spell is still pretty attractive). Murmuring Mystic could be a force to be reckoned with. Flying tokens block and attack well. 

There’s a decent amount of token production in Pauper, and a metagame that leans toward sacrifice. Those conditions make Nadier’s Nightblade worth a look. 

That life drain adds up quickly, especially when you have access to a great consistency spell like Deadly Dispute (plus Mirkwood Bats, too). Clues, Creatures, Treasures… there might well be something there.


Cards like Nadier’s Nightblade also punish board wipes, and given the introduction of the aforementioned potent token production, board clears may see a rise in play. 

That’s especially true of Drown in Sorrow’s downshift. Getting this effect in black with a little card advantage, as a treat, allows more decks to deal with wide boards and early game threats. 

Not to be outdone, red also gets hooked up. Sulfurous Blast is now at common, and that three damage is huge. Maintaining the ability to be an instant speed two damage while giving you the option of dealing three in your main phase is worth the extra mana. 

Many threats in the format evade two damage, and there are only so many Lightning Bolts and Snuff Outs to go around. 


Guttersnipe, meanwhile, does fall to those two damage effects. At three mana, he also comes down a little later than the likes of Firebrand Archer

Is the juice worth the squeeze? I think it might be, but conditions need to be right. Better brewers than me will no doubt give this classic the best go possible. 

Unless you want to wait for the game to be over, Generous Gift is basically the only permanent removal in the format that’s castable when you want it. It comes at a cost, though — a 3/3 is way more of a threat in 1v1 Magic, and in Pauper especially, than in Commander where this usually sees play. 

Is there a home for it? Maybe. Ichor Wellspring is a card, after all, so perhaps its best use is aggressively in some kind of Metalcraft/Weenies hybrid where it can be used in a pinch as a removal spell. 

Blood Aspirant is likely to see play because, as mentioned above, sacrificing permanents is a big part of the format. Having a two drop that grows with the game in mono red or Rakdos decks seems good. 

Lotleth Giant is a heck of a win condition. There’s not much you can do about it when it hits the board. Self mill and reanimator are about to get hooked up. 


How do you feel about four mana for six damage to a creature, twice, and a 6/1? Sure, Spitebellows is fragile, but that’s a lot of value. 

Ephemerate is one of the strongest cards in the format, and it just got better. Plus this is great new art!


Speaking of great new art, Dread Return is probably the most exciting card on this list for me and many other players. It’s reasonable to assume that on first impressions at least, this and All That Glitters will have the biggest impact. 

Between newcomers Mire Triton and a lucky Balustrade Spy or two, you’ll be able to get your deck into the yard with frightening efficiency. We’re all about the Flashback clause here to cheat mana — just like with Prismatic Strands and Battle Screech.

Dread Return is sure to make waves and birth a bunch of new lists. Hopefully at least one of them can put up some results. 


Be prepared going forward to deal with tokens and to deal with graveyards. A lot of the new cards entering  the format are about reanimator and self mill, and so it’s wise to dust off that Tormod’s Crypt. Heck, if you’re playing with Myrsmith, that’s a boardable 0-drop to trigger Myrsmith anyways. 

This is a hefty update that’s sure to shake up the metagame. Got a sweet new Pauper brew? Be sure to let us know on Twitter. And if you want more Pauper content? Let us know!