Friday, June 24, 2011

EVE and the case of the $60 Monocle

On June 21st, CCP games launched the most recent expansion to EVE, EVE: Incarna. This added the ability to walk around for the first time and to see your entire avatar rather than just your portrait and ship. In addition, they introduced new vanity items and a new type of currency to purchase them. The reaction so far has been pretty negative, mostly due to the crazy prices on some of these new items. There is also concern that CCP will offer in game benefits with this system.

A leaked email recently showed that 52 monocles were sold in the first 40 hours which is quite underwhelming, especially considering over 1500 accounts have been confirmed canceled. In addition, the total player count numbers have been much less when compared to previous new expansions.

I figured I'd write a quick blog to explain to non-EVE players what PLEX/ISK/Aurum/etc are, how the current system is set up and what CCP can do to fix it.

In EVE, the most basic unit of currency is ISK (Interstellar-Kredit, also the Icelandic Kronar where the game is produced). This currency is dropped by npc enemies and given as rewards for completing quests. It is used to trade for goods and services between players.

There is also the PLEX (Pilot License EXtension), which can be consumed to add one month of game time to an account. PLEXs are created by purchasing a 60 day Game Time Card (GTC) with real money and then converting that into 2 PLEXs in game. PLEXs can be sold between players and give some players an opportunity to essentially purchase ISK by paying for another players monthly subscription. In addition, players can "play for free" by buying a PLEX from another player. A PLEX is worth about $17.50 and is currently trading for about 400Million ISK in game.

With the new expansion, CCP introduced a new currency called Aurum. The exchange rate is 1PLEX for 3500 Aurum. Aurum is the only currency able to be used to purchase the new vanity items.

So, with this arrangement, a monocle is worth:

(1Monocle/12000Aurum)*(3500Aurum/PLEX)*(1PLEX/$17.50) = 1Monocle for $60

That's pretty spendy for a single item that at the moment you can barely see.

There are 2 main problems with this system. The first is that the price of items is locked in terms of game time. EVE is built on a player run economy and prices of items fluctuate with supply and demand. A monocle however will always be worth exactly 3.42 months of game time no matter what the demand is and the supply will never run out. If vanity item prices were allowed to fluctuate the prices would be determined by what players are willing to pay. In a blog post, CCP explained that players should want the items because they are expensive, comparing them to designer clothes. However real world designer items are expensive because there are differences in quality, supply and demand.

The other issue is that there is no real use for the items. You can not yet interact with other player's avatars, so many of the new vanity items can not actually be seen at all. In addition, there are already many ways to flaunt your wealth in game. For the price of a monocle, you could build a starbase, buy a dreadnaught or carrier and claim space, buy a freighter and start a career as an industrialist or upgrade your ships with rare items.

I think the way to solve these issues is to take an idea from Team Fortress 2 or Magic the Gathering and introduce an element of randomness to the system. Both games are successful and have vanity items that regularly sell for over $100. In Team Fortress 2, there are hats with particle effects like flames while in Magic there are foil cards which are identical to standard cards except shiny. In fact, team fortress 2 recently became free to play because of the success of their in game store The difference is that neither of these companies directly set the price of their rare items as CCP has tried to do. Instead, they sell a chance for a rare item and set the percentages. Magic sells $4 packs and Team Fortress 2 sells $2.50 keys each of which has a chance of resulting in a rare item. Gamers love to gamble and this type of system has been proven successful because it introduces actual rarity and allows player demand to set prices.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top 5 EVE scams

Sup doods!

EVE is $5 on steam, so I figured I'd blog about my top 5 favorite EVE scams. These aren't the biggest EVE scams ever, but they are funny and for new players to the game, they are something to look out for or to run yourself.

Number 5: The reverse "double your money" scam

Experience needed: Low
Payout: Low
How it works:
One of the most common scams in EVE involves a person saying "I'm leaving EVE, if you send me money, I will send you double back!" Sometimes to draw you in, they will double your first few payments to build confidence then keep your credits when you send a larger amount. For the reverse version of this scam, send a small initial amount, then only send as much as he sends you. You will only ever lose your initial amount this way and will figure out at which point he decides to take your money. With this knowledge you can use your character and alts to reverse scam the guy repeatedly over the course of days and weeks. The payout for this is low, but when you multiply it by the number of people running this scam it can be decent.

Number 4: The Goon Scam

Experience needed: Medium
Payout: Medium
How it works:
If you are familiar with the SomethingAwful goons, you know they love griefing, so EVE is their perfect habitat. This scam made the list because it is by far the most fallen for. In this scam, a member of goonswarm recruits a player and then requests they pay a security deposit which will be refunded in 2 weeks. Obviously, this refund never happens. In addition they may offer to carry your items to their headquarters, which is pretty much the EVE equivalent of "wallet inspector." The reason this scam makes the list is because of the number of people who still fall for this despite the fact that their corporation note and website all say that if you are paying to get in, you are getting scammed.

Number 3 : Wreck Bait

Experience needed: Medium
Payout: Medium
How it works:
In EVE, if a player steals your loot, you have the option of attacking their ship. You can take advantage of this by filling a cheap transport ship with large containers named "30 Day Pilot's Licence Extension" or "BPOs" and then self destructing your ship in a well traveled area. You can even rename your ship to make it more convincing. Then switch to a combat ship and return to the area. When someone tries to scoop loot from your wreck, you can shoot them. Make sure they are flying something you can easily take out and be careful if they return for vengeance.

Number 2: Reverse Courier Scam

Experience needed: High
Payout: Medium
How it works:
Another common scam is to create a courier contract with either an impossible or dangerous destination. If someone accepts the contract and is unable to complete it, you get to keep the collateral and they get to keep the worthless metal scraps you shipped. One player found a clever way to reverse this scam. First he built a space station and renamed it to sound like an easily accessible NPC location when in reality, it would deny all docking requests making deliveries impossible. Next he convinced people on the forums to use his station for their own courier scams and to make sure to include a nice juicy reward. Now all he had to do was deliver them himself (which only he could do) and collect the rewards.

Number 1: Scamming Yourself

Experience needed: High
Payout: High
How it works:
If you want to run a really obvious ponzi scheme, you are gonna need some credibility. One way to do this is to scam yourself. By running a loan business in parallel with your investment scheme, you can pretend to help out other players running a fake investment business. If you make a loan to your alt, then don't pay it back, it can improve your credibility and even if you make a bunch of small loans to other players it won't cost you much. Other types of legitimate business would probably also work to distract people from the obvious ponzi scheme. This type of scam definitely takes patience, but the payout can be huge.

There are tons of other scams in EVE and even more waiting to be discovered.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

TF2 Engineer Update Achievement Predictions

Hey, update time for Team Fortress 2 and another chance to go head to head with the Carsonist and his Bardcast partner in crime to determine the fate of the universe as well as who can accurately predict the most achievements based only on the given names and descriptions.

Battle Rustler

Accumulate 100 teleports


Get a kill with a crit using the Frontier Justice

Search Engine

Manually kill a spy using the Wrangler

Pownd on the Range

Kill someone when you are far away from your sentry

Building Block

Use your wrangler to block an enemy from capturing


Get 8 kills in a single life with the Frontier Justice

Quick Draw

Kill 2 spies within 10 seconds of eachother

The Wrench Connection

Kill a disguised spy with your wrench

Silent Pardner

Pick up 50 toolkits from dead engineers

Fistful of Sappers

Complete a round without having any of your buildings sapped

Doc, Stock and Barrel

Get a sentry kill while being assisted by a Medic

Best Little Slaughterhouse in Texas

Kill a soldier w/ a level 1 sentry

Frontier Justice

Kill an enemy from long range with the Frontier Justice

Six-String Stinger

Give an enemy a killcam picture of you with the guitar

Uncivil Engineer

Give an enemy a killcam picture of your level 1 sentry

Texas Two-Step

Get a shotgun kill while being assisted by your sentry

The Extinguished Gentleman

Extinguish a player using your dispenser

Doc Holiday

Get top heals for the round

No Man's Land

Kill 25 people on your control points

Trade Secrets

Kill an intel carrier using the Frontier Justice

Death Metal

Collect 10000 metal from broken engineer buildings

Land Grab

Assist another engineer in upgrading a building

Git Along!

Remove a sapper from another engineers building

How the Pests was Gunned

Destroy a sticky that was threatening one of your buildings

Honky Tonk Man

Guitar Taunt Kill

Breaking Morant

Kill 10 snipers

Rio Grind

Get 50 kills using the Wrangler

Patent Protection

Protect your sentry from lethal damage using the Wrangler

If You Build It, They Will Die

Get top kills in a round with your sentry

Texas Ranger

Chuck Norris YEEEAAAHHHH!!!!


Taunt at the same time as another engineer

Drugstore Cowboy

Build a level 3 dispenser before any other buildings

Circle the Wagons

Kill someone with your wrench who is attacking your buildings

Built to Last

Have your dispenser last the entire round

(Not So) Lonely are the Brave

Have a heavy get a kill while being supplied by your dispenser

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Zendikar Commons Review

Well, Zendikar has been out for a while now, but it was just released on MTGO and the first pauper tournaments in which Zendicards will be legal in begin next week. There have been a bunch of set reviews so far, but this one will be a bit different because of it's focus on Standard Pauper constructed. For those who don't know, Pauper is a Magic format where only commons are allowed. For more information, check out This might be a little late to do a set review, but I've had a chance to play with or against all of the commons in the set so I should be in a little better position to make predictions than in my M10 predictions. Speaking of which, lets look back and see how my evaluation of M10 commons turned out.

Analyzing the top 8 decklists from the last month of standard pauper tournaments has shown that my predictions were pretty good, but M10 as a whole has made a very small impact on standard pauper in general. I correctly predicted Soul Warden, Essence Scatter, Doom Blade, Sign in Blood and Lightning Bolt would be played, and gave an honorable mention to Jackal Familiar and Borderland Ranger. All of those cards turned out to be played, but outside of Lightning Bolt, haven't really shaken things up. The cards I thought would be played but weren't were Veteran Armorsmith, Illusionary Servant, Ponder and Vampire Aristocrat. Ponder and Illusionary Servant were the biggest surprise to me, but pretty much the only blue cards that get played are UW gold cards or Mulldrifter. Finally, there were a couple cards I didn't predict at all, Pacifism, Duress and Solemn Offering. I should have given more credit to old school powerhouses like Pacifism and Duress. Solemn Offering was played in a couple sideboards as an answer to creature enchantment based decks (Clout of the Dominus, etc).

Other than the cards mentioned so far, there really wasn't anything at all out of M10 that got played. This is probably because of the low amount of synergy between cards in M10. While cards from M10 are reasonable powerful by themselves, they really don't gain much power when paired with other cards. It is pretty hard to compete with the color matters decks of Lorwyn Block or domain or artifacts matter decks of Shards of Alara Block. For example, I've seen people talk about how with Zendikar, you can use lotus cobra + a fetchland to power out a turn 3 Baneslayer Angel. Well, in pauper we've been doing that for the last 6 months in the form of Esper Stormblade (or any number of UW 2 drops) + Steel of the Godhead. This type of synergy has been format defining and gives pauper decks some real powerful options. However, because of this high level of synergy, cards that are just powerful by themselves don't see much play.

+ =

So, with an eye out for powerful constructed synergy and with actual experience playing the cards, lets have a look at my top 10 Zendikar Commons for Standard Pauper.

Starting it off is Adventuring Gear. Equipment has traditionally either been uncommon (or rare) or terrible. In addition, the only good common equipment cards, bonesplitter and cranial plating, have been banned in some formats. Adventuring Gear will be good because there is a ton of removal in pauper. Therefore, you shouldn't expect your creatures to stick around very long. This makes creatures with "enters the battlefield" abilities, as well as cheap effective equipment very powerful. Finally, Adventuring Gear has one of the important keywords on it, Landfall. Landfall is one of a couple powerful synergies in Zendikar. I expect many players will take advantage of this keyword to make explosive decks when they hit their lands.

Bladetusk Boar shows the new keyword "Intimidate." Intimidate is basically fear, except it can go on non-black creatures. Red creatures with evasion have proven to be great in the past with clout of the dominus and the UR noggles, and I would expect this guy to be topping the curves of aggressive red decks for the next few seasons. Normally red has to depend on burn or fling effects to get in the last few points of damage, Bladetusk Boar looks to be a much more reliable option.

Burst Lightning is pretty crazy, even when compared to the old school powerhouse that is Lightning Bolt. The ability to choose 4 damage if you need it, even if it does cost an additional 4 mana for the 1 extra point of damage over lightning bolt, will be very useful. In addition, there aren't many low drop creatures who would die to a Lightning Bolt, but not a Shock, so the lower damage when played without kicker doesn't seem like much of an issue.

Explorer's Scope is a pretty nifty card. For decks that want to ramp, it is a funky Rampant Growth, if you connect once with the ability, it pays for itself and anything extra is awesome. For decks with a bunch of low drops that aren't interested in more lands, the scope is great as well because it filters your draws so that you draw less lands. Finally (and probably most importantly), Explorer's Scope fits well with other Landfall cards. The more Landfall cards you have in your deck, the better they become as every land drop can become equivalent to a 4-6 point life swing. I'm sure people will be saying "comon topdeck land for the win" plenty of times in the coming months.

Harrow has proven to be a great constructed as well as limited card, and I predict it will be great in Pauper as well. Harrow plays nice with the Landfall cards of the set, enabling at 3 or more landfall triggers in a single turn. In addition, Harrow works well with the Domain mechanic from Shards of Alara Block. Powerful cards like Matca Rioters and Wild Nacatl get a lot easier to use with Harrow. Being an instant seems unnecessarily awesome for an already good card.

Oblivion Ring has been heavily played in pauper, however, it is almost always used to remove creatures. Journey to Nowhere appears to be almost a strict upgrade over Oblivion Ring. Removing a borderpost with an Oblivion Ring is a pretty nifty trick, but usually doesn't get you as much as you would like. Removing creatures is a great ability, and there will probably be less enchantment removal in all decks now that the color matters creature enchantments (clout of the dominus, etc) are rotating out so Journey to Nowhere and Oblivion Ring should both be better in the upcoming Standard environment.

Kor Skyfisher is a very powerful card on it's own, and is reminiscent of Aven Riftwatcher, except it is 1 colorless mana cheaper and you get to keep it after 3 turns. The downside may actually be an upside with the amount of creatures with "enters the battlefield" abilities that get played as well as with picking up lands to replay for Landfall triggers. I expect this guy to be picking up Aven Riftwatchers a ton in extended.

After Landfall, Allies are the other major synergy at common rarity in Zendikar. Oran-Rief Survivalist is probably the best of the bunch since he is in green and low costed, but you will need a bunch to make them really effective. Even a couple Allies can give a limited deck explosive draws, so a constructed deck packed with 3-4 colors of Allies should be impressive. There may just be enough playable Allies to make this deck work, but it will be tricky since none of the common allies actually do much by themselves the turn they come into play. Another downside of Allies are you need to play your spells pre combat which is sort of bad if you have, or are trying to bluff, some trick.

A land that doubles as a spell seems powerful for aggressive decks worried about being flooded. Unfortunately, the downside of coming into play tapped also hurts these same decks. Still, with some evasive creatures like Bladetusk Boar, having your lands shock your opponent instead of yourself (see Ravnica Duals) seems like a nice play. This land is also especially good for landfall creatures since you may only be attacking once every other turn when you hit your land drop, so you want to be able to swing for as much as possible.

Finally, a creature with a comes into play ability. For 5 mana, this guy isn't quite Shriekmaw, but then again, not much is. 2 damage is sufficient to take out most creatures in pauper (the same reason why burst lightning is comparable to Lightning Bolt) so I expect this guy to sling a bunch of torches in the next few months. In addition, he will be good as a combat trick to finish off opposing creatures after attacking your small dudes into their big guy. Blocking will become even more difficult against a red deck with 5 mana open.

Now for the honorable mentions. These cards didn't quite make the top 10. While I could see them seeing play in a deck or two, I don't expect they will have as large an effect as the cards listed above.

Surrakar Marauder - Cheap and evasive, would go great with Blightning.
Plated Geopede, Steppe Lynx - Two solid Landfall creatures. Without the reliability of fetch lands, these guys may be a bit weak when compared to the blade cycle, but panormas and Terramorphic Expanses may be enough to make these cards deadly.
Heartstabber Mosquito - "Enters the Battlefield" effect and a 2 for 1 when kicked. This guy seems pretty solid, but I don't see many decks wanting to get to 7 mana in the upcoming Standard environment.
Windrider Eeel - This guy is big and evasive. Swinging for 6 flying off a Terramorphic Expanse seems almost too good to be true. Even when you miss your Landfall Trigger, this guy is still a 2/2 flier for 4, not too bad. I could definitely see a UW flier deck taking shape.
Vines of Vastwood - Most pauper creatures aren't really worth saving, if they have removal, just play another creature. However, Vines of Vastwood can turn an attempted removal spell into a big lifeloss when kicked and will probably force opponents to use removal on their own turns if they know you are playing Vines of Vastwood.
Scythe Tiger - This guy is on the list, not because he is good, but because he is bad. While Scythe Tiger will probably see a fair amount of play in Naya Hushblade shroud decks, losing a land is a really brutal drawback. In addition, you can't even do anything cute like casting it turn 2 off a borderpost. Scythe Tiger will be great versus control decks, but considering the sorry state of card draw, I doubt many people will be running control.

Make sure to hit your land drops when adventuring in Zendikar.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Inglourious Basterds Movie Review

You can find a lot of reviews of Inglourious Basterds online, but this one will be better. Twice as good actually, because today, I'm reviewing 2 movies both called Inglorious Bastards. The first is Inglourious Basterds, "the new film by Quentin Tarantino" and the second is The Inglorious Bastards a 1981 film from Italy. Bastards was an inspiration for Basterds even though both movies are very different.

So, I recently went to see Inglourious Basterds. I wound up at a 10am showing after not sleeping and was pleasantly surprised to find out it was only $5 to see. The movie was great and is definitely more similar to classic Tarantino movies like Resivoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction than his recent films like Kill Bill. This means that the movie is suspenseful and exciting without a lot of action. Fans of Tarantino's high body count films may be disappointed while at the same time, those who don't like Tarantino films may not like this film no matter what. However, this is a good enough film that both groups of movie goers should enjoy it.

The acting is great and I'm not surprised to see talk of Christoph Waltz potentially winning an Oscar, though I would be surprised to see anyone win for their roll as Jew Hunter. Brad Pitt is good as always. The only problem I had with the acting was B J Novak. Most of the actors are relatively un-known or well disguised in their rolls (I spent the entire movie looking for Austin Powers), however Novak's roll as a Jewish Soldier was overshadowed by his roll as an office temp. Also, he is a better writer/director than he is a serious actor.

The plot of the movie was fine though may annoy anyone expecting a historically accurate movie. Basterds covers three separate plots and connects them in a way that is similar to Pulp Fiction without the out of sequence writing. A group of soldiers looking for revenge behind German lines, a theater owner looking to host the hottest event in France and a German officer looking to live up to his nickname. These 3 cross paths during the film before the explosive conclusion. The interactions in the movie are incredibly suspenseful and even a casual conversation will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Overall, Inglourious Basterds was a great movie and I would recommend that even people who don't consider themselves Quentin Tarantino fans should see it. Fans of Tarantino's films are going to see it anyway and enjoy it and there is even enough Foot Fetish stuff to appeal to Tarantino himself. For those who felt that they didn't see enough dead Nahtzees, check out the next movie, the original The Inglorious Bastards.

The Inglorious Bastards was released in Italy in 1978 and then in the US in 1981 as G.I. BRO. If that isn't enough to convince people to see it, then nothing may be. It was recently re-released uncut on DVD to coincide with Basterds release in theaters. You can find the movie at a local redbox for only a dollar.

Bastard's plot is basically the same as the A-Team. It is interesting to note that this film came out in the US 2 years before the A-Team aired. In 1944, a group of soldiers was sent to prison by a military court for a variety of crimes they did commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security transport to the French underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The Inglorious Bastards. The cast of the film is also pretty much the same as the A-Team. You have the charismatic leader, the crazy guy, the black dude and the pretty boy. The core of the plot (a group of soldiers making trouble for the Nazis in France) is the basis for Inglourious Basterds, however the rest of the plot differs significantly. This is the type of movie where you don't really watch it for the plot and don't really care why a group of rocket scientists would conduct their work on a moving train through a war zone using a live rocket, you just know it is awesome.

Instead of the suspenseful interactions and interweaving of 3 plots, these Bastards pretty much just shoot everything (except for one scene where according to the commentary, prop automatic weapons were banned so they used crossbows and battle axes) to solve their problems and make new ones. Don't watch this movie if you are expecting a serious war movie, but if you are looking for a campy 80's action film check it out. At the very least, if you like Basterds, check out Bastards to see Tarantino's inspiration.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

StarCraft 2 Beta Twitter Giveaway

I'm super pumped about the next StarCraft, even though it will be delayed until 2010. There hasn't been any information regarding a Beta, but since Blizzcon starts tomorrow more info on it may come very soon.

There are several opportunities to get in on the eventual Beta. The primary way is to create a account at After you create an account, you have to visit, submit your system specs by downloading and running their utility and choose which Betas you wish to be eligible for (choose them all obviously). When they pick people for the Beta, you should get an email if you are one of the chosen. There are also several contests fun by fan sites and sponsors for Beta keys, however these don't seem worth entering since the odds of winning are poor and you will probably get spam. There is one contest that seems legit and is the reason why I made this post. It is a contest run by Blizzard using Twitter. Now normally, I wouldn't care about contests like this, but they have said:

FYI, if our 500 beta key contest ended now, everyone who submitted with a RT @StarCraft and #sc2fan would get a key.

so the odds of winning should be pretty good.

To enter the contest follow these steps:
1. Sign up for a twitter account at
2. Go to the official Starcraft twitter page at and follow starcraft.
3. Go back to your twitter homepage (once you are signed up) and tweet the following by pasting it into the "What are you doing?" field and clicking update.

RT @StarCraft 500 SC2 beta keys going to our biggest #SC2fan [TYPE WHY YOU LIKE STARCRAFT IN THE BRACKETS!!!] Rules:

4. Verify that you post works by clicking and looking for your tweet.

Now, this means that I am now on twitter. I don't promise many updates, but if you want to follow me, you can at I'll probably post a few tweets in the next few days to give it a try.

If you are interested in Starcraft, make sure to check out the following links. - Watch professional StarCraft games with professional English commentary (great for learning the game). The Warcraft 3 coverage is also great. - Tons of StarCraft games with amateur commentary. - The largest English StarCraft community site. - Download StarCraft (for free) and play single player or through the iCCup network.

Good luck with the contest and hopefully I'll see you all on the Beta.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Top Common Cards in M10 for Pauper Magic

I play a bit of Standard Pauper Magic using Magic Online. Pauper is a format where only cards printed at common rarity are allowed. It is a fun format that is well balanced, competitive, fun and very inexpensive (a winning Standard Pauper deck costs $1-$2). MTGO costs $10 to start up (you get $10 worth of credit to buy cards with though when you start) and is free to play after that. The Pauper community is also very active on MTGO with tournaments almost every day in different formats. In fact, recently pauper has become an officially recognized format on MTGO. There are 2 weekly Standard Format tournaments with about 30-40 players in each.

With a new core set coming out soon, I thought I would do a review of some cards from the position of a Standard Pauper player and talk about my top 10 cards from M10. So, in order of collectors number, here are my top 10 picks for M10.

Soul Warden

Creature - Human Cleric Common
Whenever another creature enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life.

Essence Warden was played with token decks. Getting 1 life with every creature (including your opponents) is a great ability. With Soul Warden moving from uncommon to common, this card may see play in a UW control deck.

Veteran Armorsmith

Creature - Human Soldier Common
Other Soldier creatures you control get +0/+1.
"Courage is a proud and gleaming shield. It does not bend or hide from sight. To fight with courage, we must forge in steel."
Illus. Michael Komarck 2/3

2/3 for 2 is very good good and it has a great ability to boot. Veteran Armorsmith works great with aggressive cards like Aven Squire. M10 is definitely pushing the soldier archetype for limited by printing tons of efficient soldier creatures which translate well into pauper.

Essence Scatter

Instant Common
Counter target creature spell.
Some wizards compete not to summon the most interesting creatures, but to create the most interesting aftereffects when a summons goes awry.
Illus. John Foster #51/249

Pauper is filled with creature based decks so this card will almost always be usable. Remove soul is highly useful and I am sure it will continue to be with this functional reprint.

Illusionary Servant

Creature - Illusion Common
When Illusionary Servant becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice it.
"Illusion is a handy but fragile medium. Use it only in a pinch, or against the dim-witted." - Jace Beleren
Illus. Dave Kendall3/4

3 mana gets you a 2/2 flier which will die to almost any effect that would target Illusionary Servant. The worst situation is probably dying from the -3/0 half of Agony Warp, but Agony Warp 2 for 1’s during combat anyway.


Sorcery Common
Look at the top three cards of your library, then put them back in any order. You may shuffle your library.
Draw a card.

Not too many cards get restricted in vintage and ponder is one of them. While pauper and vintage are 2 very different formats, any card on the same list as Sol Ring, Black Lotus or Ancestral Recall is definitely good enough for pauper. Ponder is a great card and will continue to be in Pauper.

Doom Blade

Instant Common
Destroy target nonblack creature.

Artifacts are well represented in pauper and regeneration is almost nonexistent (though may be reintroduced soon) so Doom Blade appears to be an improvement over Terror in Pauper. The only reason I don’t like this card is because I will no longer be able to play with my text-less Terrors.

Sign in Blood

Sorcery Common
Target player draws two cards and loses 2 life.
“You know I accept only one currency here, and yet you have sought me out. Why now do you hesitate?” - Xathrid demon
Illus. Howard Lyon

Night’s Whisper would probably have been better than this card for pauper since double black can be hard to cast in a format with 90% basic lands. However a card with this power level at common should see play and may allow a mono black control deck to arise with Tendrils of Corruption.

Vampire Aristocrat

Creature - Vampire Rogue Common
Sacrifice a creature: Vampire Aristocrat gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

Almost a functional reprint of Nantuko Husk (a card which while standard legal isn’t pauper legal because it is an uncommon), this card should open up some new archetypes for pauper though will be weaker with the M10 rules changes regarding stacked damage.

Lightning Bolt

Instant Common
Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to target creature or player.
Illus. Christopher Moeller

Shock is heavily played and Lightning Bolt will be too. I don’t expect this card will be too format warping since 3 toughness creatures are already susceptible to agony warp or nameless inversion but it has the potential to create huge change.

Terramorphic Expanse

Land Common
{T}, Sacrifice Terramorphic Expanse: Search your library for a basic land card and put it onto the battlefield tapped. Then shuffle your library.

One of the best lands in the format. Terramorphic Expanse is played in almost every Pauper deck. This card will continue to be useful in future decks.

Honorable Mentions:

Veteran Swordsmith

Creature - Human Soldier Common
Other Soldier creatures you control get +1/+0.
"Truth is a straight, keen edge. There are no soft angles or rounded edges. To fight for truth, we must forge in steel."
Illus. Michael Komarck 3/2

Zephyr Sprite

Creature - Faerie Common
"I've never understood why so many beings lumber around on the ground. There are three dimensions, yet they use only two."
Illus. Kev Walker1/1


Sorcery Common
Target opponent reveals his or her hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland card from it. That player discards that card.


Creature - Zombie Common
When Gravedigger enters the battlefield, you may return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.


Jackal Familiar

Creature - Hound Common
Jackal Familiar can’t attack or block alone.
"Let the gray-hairs keep their ravens and drakes. My familiar will be a reflection of me: bloodthirsty, with a predator’s instinct." - Taivang, barbarian warlord
Illus. Alex Horley-Orlandelli2/2

Borderland Ranger

Creature - Human Scout Common
When Borderland Ranger enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.
"Only fools and bandits use roads."
Illus. Jesper Ejsing2/2