TPDC Season 9 Worlds Preview

PDC Classic has a long, illustrious, and storied tradition. It is the least accessible and the most hallowed of our formats. For some of us, it represents a mysterious, inscrutable, even daunting foray into the murky past of this game of Magic we all love. For others of us, the Classic format is synonymous with PDC itself.

With WotC's impending sanctioning of Pauper Classic, PDC's most venerable format is going to be cast into the spotlight like never before. Lots of speculation about the impact of "official status" on our own community and our own events has been taking place here in the forums, and only time will tell what comes of all the noise.

Before any of that, however, we PDC Paupers have our own Classic events to make some noise about -- namely, the Season 9 Worlds Championship of Tuesday night's TPDC event, organized by Lathspel, and the following Saturday's Season 9 Worlds Championship of the Classic PDC event, hosted by LulThyme (taking over for Evu who is retiring from the role of Saturday's main coordinator).

Heading into this huge week for Classic players, let's take a look back at the Classic landscape for the last four months. For this article, we'll start with TPDC.

I must begin with the obligatory caveat: I am not, historically, a Classic player. I am an occasional and casual follower, but my experience with the format is confined to a few fleeting experiments with Boros (one Top 4 at a Mini-PDC event somewhere deep in the annuls), Deep Dog, Cloak, and Burn. However, I like many others am feeling the pull toward this format. The promise of an MTGO filter is exciting, as is the December release of Tempest, a set that will no doubt evoke childhood memories as well as bring red's best one drop common to life: Mogg Fanatic. But enough about this. I am a seasoned PDC metagame watcher and I can contribute something of value here.

In talking with my clanmate 53N531, I was informed that the deck I was testing is bad against all the commonly played decks in Classic right now. Of course, I had no idea what that meant, because I didn't know what the commonly played decks in Classic were. Being the scholarly type that I am, and having almost all the necessary data close at hand, I decided to do some research. I created a spreadsheet of all the Top 4 decks from each of TPDC's 16 regular season events, and then crunched the numbers to break down each archetype by popularity. Here's that data, along with links to recent decklists:


Mono-Black Control (MBC) - 10

Cloak - 8
(two versions include red)

Cogs - 4
(includes both Grand Entrance and Stars & Cogs)

RG Aggro - 4
(includes decks labeled Aggro, Beats, Thresher, and Mini-Thresher)

Mono-Blue Control (MUC) - 4

Mono-Green Aggro (MGA) - 3
(also called Nettle Stompy)

Burn - 3

Orzhov Lifelink - 3

Orzhov Blink - 2

Esper: Carousel of Progress - 2

Goblinstorm - 2

Grapeshot Kill (GSK) - 2

Endurance - 2

Rogue Mono-Black Aggro - 2

Parlor Tricks - 2

Counterburn - 1

Deep Dog - 1

Wee Dragonauts - 1

Rats n' Removal - 1

Boros Control - 1

GUw Auras - 1

Affinity - 1

RW Mimic - 1

Angelic Evocation - 1

MBC, Cloak, and Orzhov Lifelink are repeat gold medalists. The first two are staples of the format (and perhaps oppose each other nicely?) but Kage72's Orzhov Lifelink seems like a rogue bolt out of left field that took the metagame by surprise twice in a row. Could it do the same at Champs? Find out!

This is a nice, diverse slice of the Classic metagame as a whole. You see a lot of the "big names" but also a fair number of less common decks. icarodx's (presumably) original creation, Endurance, shows up only thrice in Gatherling, but icaro managed to snag a silver and a gold with it during its short run, a testament both to his skill as a pilot and to his ability to read the metagame. This shows that the right fledgling deck, in the right hands, can indeed make inroads on an otherwise well-entrenched format.

So, who's invited to this gala? Here's the official roster:

Randel Flag

I'll leave it to you to make predictions on what these guys will bring to the party... but I know I'll be there to see what happens. I'm eager to get started in Season 10!


2:49 PM, 1 December 2008

Thanks for the breakdown Polyjak. My work schedule makes it basically impossible for me to play in PDC tourneys (sadly), but some paupers may recognize me from the casual room of MTGO where I play as time permits.

With the sanctioning of Classic, I'm moving into that format for the first time (my extended monoblack deck needs very little work), and this is a great intro on what to expect when making my card selections.

I just want to say that I REALLY appreciate all you (and everybody else) do for the pauper community, even those of us who can't make it to the tourneys!

Polyjak Author Profile Page
12:10 PM, 30 November 2008

lath, thanks for your show of gratitude.

9:30 PM, 29 November 2008

Great metagame summary - I really appreciate seeing it all in one place!

Boy, there sure is a heck of a lot of lifegain, isn't there? When you put it all in one place like that, our metagame looks very aggro-hostile (if you avoid classifying Cloak as Aggro).

11:02 AM, 27 November 2008

Thanks for the clarification, Lul, and the confirmation, icaro.

I wouldn't call Classic an "untamed monster" though. If anything, it's super-tamed. But I don't think it's that, either. It's just right. =)

8:18 AM, 27 November 2008

Nice quick review jack! Those links are certainly helpfull.

Also, tks a lot for the compliments! IŽm happy to give people some hope about the format.

It surely seems like an untamed monster from outside but once you start to understand the decks and to follow closely the meta youŽll see some breaches to try out new ideas.

Sadly IŽm still unsure IŽm going to be able to show up at worlds.

PS: Yes, Endurance is my "original creation".

Lul Thyme Author Profile Page
7:58 AM, 27 November 2008

I'm hosting the CPDC champs.

Polyjak Author Profile Page
12:10 AM, 27 November 2008

There was a lot more I had wanted to do with this article, but researching just that data and formatting it all pretty took way longer than I bargained for. Hopefully readers can contribute meaningful additions to this article in the comments.

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