Pauper Commander

With the popularity of Commander on the rise, it is no surprise that players are looking to expand off Magic’s greatest new format.  The newest the newest varient of this 100-card singleton format is pauper EDH.

Pauper EDH is an amazing variant because it combines the excitement of  traditional commader while eliminating the inherent problem of traditional “Menery EDH.” One of the greatest drawbacks to traditional Commander is the expensive and insanely large card pool available to players.  Purchasing cards like Mana Drain, Moat, and Nether Void has never been something I am willing to do.  Knowing that many EDH decks are built around these cards, it can be difficult to stay competitive with players who can afford them.

Pauper EDH/Commander offers a solution to this specific problem. A competitive pauper deck can be built for very little money.  I have pieced together complete decks from sites like and for less than $50! Limited players, dig through your closets and get your draft bulk sleeved up! Let’s play some Pauper Commander.

Pauper EDH is a fast-paced, combat-oriented format that uses attrition and incremental advantage to defeat opponents. Because pauper cards are less powerful than in other formats, your play skill and deck-building abilities will be challenged in a variety of new ways.

Unlike pauper on MTGO, Pauper Commander allows for all common and uncommons to be played in the main deck – with the exception of a few banned spells.

Here are the rules

General –  a non-mythic, rare creature.  Click here for Banned Generals.

Deck Construction –

  1. Beside the rare general, all other cards must be either common or uncommon. This includes the land base.
  2.  Cards that have been printed as both uncommon and rare are considered uncommon in Pauper EDH.  ex. See Loxodon Warhammer, Jayemdae Tome.
  3. As with regular Commander, there may be any number of basic lands.

Format Rules –

  1. Pauper Commander rules are the nearly the same as traditional Commander with a few exceptions.
  2. Starting life total is 30. This is done to accelerate the game. Because the power level is scaled down in Pauper Commander, games tend to run just as long at 30 life as a regular Commander game at 40 life.
  3. A player can lose if dealt 16 points of cumulative combat damage from a single commander. (This is proportionately scaled down from 21 points of cumulative combat damage from a commander in the regular format. The formula for this is one half of your starting life total + 1).

If you’re interested in building truly competitive decks, check out this list of recommended pauper EDH generals (we’ll have some tech on these later):

  • Guilt-leaf Archdruid
  • Kor Spiritdancer
  • Lotus Cobra
  • Disciple of Bolas
  • Puresteel Paladin
  • Grand Architect
  • Siege-Gang Commander
  • Dungrove Elder
  • Madrush Cyclops
  • Aven Mimeomancer

Thanks for checking out this introductory look at Pauper EDH/Commander. Check out our site for other EDH variants coming soon!

(Updated 10/03/12 by Brandon)

4 thoughts on “Pauper Commander

  1. Just out of curiosity, can your general be non-creature? Because I do not see this specified.
    Thanks, Austin Myles.

  2. These rules are wrong. There is no altered life totals or general kill damage and the general has to be uncommon with the rest of the deck being commons only. Also, there is no defined banned list.

  3. I have NEVER heard of uncommons being permitted in Pauper EDH unless there is a common printing of it. Considering Sol Ring, Mana Drain, Mana Crypt, and Cabal Coffers have ZERO common printings, they have just as much business being banned as Jace the Mind Sculptor. I have also NEVER heard of Rare creatures being permitted as generals. I have always heard from every card shop I go to that the restriction is that you have to use an uncommon creature, thus rendering your “banned generals” list worthless (especially when there are way more broken cards like Goblin Piledriver, Stoneforge Mystic, and Braids Cabal Minion than the ones you listed).

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