Magic: The Gathering – 8 Best Cards From Zendikar Rising For Pauper

Magic: The Gathering is an extremely vast game with tens of thousands of cards at your disposal to create myriad decks. But alongside the casual aspect of the game, you also have the competitive side, with countless formats that each have their own rules and limitations.

Pauper is one of those formats which is becoming increasingly more popular, with the only limitation being that you can only build decks with cards that are either common or were at least once printed as a common. Zendikar Rising introduced a lot of cool new tools for Pauper, and has left a lasting impact on the format.

8 Utility Knife

An artifact Equipment card, Utility Knife costs one generic mana and has an equip cost of three. It can be freely attached when entering the battlefield and gives +1/+1. Even though you will be limited by the actual equip cost, if you can use it on a creature with innate defenses, you won't have to worry about that pesky equip cost.

This is a decent Equipment, since giving one of your creatures +1/+1 for just one mana is a pretty good deal for most decks, especially in a format such as Pauper. It can find a spot in any creature-heavy deck, such as an aggro or a midrange. The only true weakness is the expensive equip cost, even though that won't matter as much the further you get into a game.

7 Marauding Blight-Priest

This is a 3/2 Vampire Cleric creature that costs two generic and one black mana. Each time you gain a life, your opponent will lose 1 life. Keep in mind that the amount that you gain can be any amount, this creature will still deal one damage back. This is why it would work great with any other creatures that give you lifegain in increments of one, instead of big, blow-out effects of massive lifegain.

Ideally, a white/black deck could make excellent use of this card, with various other cards that have you gain life whenever a creature enters the battlefield, such as Sol Warden and Ajani's Welcome. This tactic can prove very annoying for your opponent, especially in a game that has gone on for far too long.

6 Roil Eruption

Roil Eruption deals three damage to any target, or, for an added kicker cost of five generic mana, it can instead deal five. Some may argue this card is a worse variant of Lightning Strike, since it's a sorcery instead of an instant. But casting speed is not everything, as burn spells that deal damage to any target are not that common nowadays.

The added benefit of dealing five damage, while expensive, is pretty great in a format that is generally dominated by creature-focused decks. Plus the fact that, in a pinch, this card can also be that finisher that you've been waiting to topdeck for four turns helps make it stand out from its quicker cousins.

5 Mind Drain

When cast, a target opponent will have to discard two cards, mill one, lose one life, and you gain a life point. Having your opponent discard two cards alone is a pretty good effect for just three mana.

This card can be an excellent addition to a deck focused on disruption in all forms. Alongside a ton of removal, this could be a great card for a Blue/Black control deck. It could also work in an aggro deck that needs a bit of card disruption in its repertoire.

4 Joraga Visionary

Creatures that allow you to draw a card are always something to look for, and this one is no different.

Because card advantage is extremely important in Pauper, Joraga Visionary can be played in pretty much any green deck. Having a 3/2 body on the board while drawing a card is an excellent trade for just four mana. And if you're thinking about running an Elf tribal, this is clearly a winner, since you always need more steam when trying to overwhelm your opponent with creatures.

3 Into the Roil

An instant spell that costs one generic and one blue mana, Into the Roil can return any target nonland permanent to its owner's hand. You can also kick this spell to draw a card, giving you an additional edge over your opponent.

Into the Roil has even seen competitive play over the years, mostly in blue tempo decks or control decks. In the Pauper format, it can find a home in any creature-based deck that focuses on using tempo to gain board advantage over your opponent in the first few turns of the game.

2 Territorial Scythecat

Territorial Scythecat has the landfall ability, which gives it a +1/+1 counter whenever a land enters the battlefield. This is obviously a very powerful creature, since it keeps getting bigger with every land that you put into play, slowly turning into a huge problem for your opponent.

The only real downside that this card has in a format such as Pauper is the fact that ramp decks are pretty inexistent. Your best bet is to play it in your average aggro deck, since even without being able to put more lands into play on a single turn, this Cat will keep growing.

1 Negate

One generic and one blue mana to counter a noncreature spell is an incredible effect, and is the reason why this card has been reprinted countless times – including in Zendikar Rising. Currently, this card is still one of the best and most accessible counterspells in the game, even though it is usually relegated to the sideboard.

In Pauper, this is definitely an excellent counterspell to have in your deck, even if it's just a few copies. You're better off playing one or two in your main deck with the rest in the sideboard, waiting for that control matchup.

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