Pauper Deck Tech: Caw Gates

Winston Atkinson
December 18, 2023


Most Magic formats invent the ‘good-stuff’ decklist. In EDH, we had 5-Color Golos before that was banned. Legacy has the Beanstalk Control shell, leveraging Yhorion in the commander slots. For Pauper, we’re much more limited due to there being few Common Lands that can fix multiple colors. If we’re going to play taplands, we might as well play Gates. Pauper Gates, otherwise known as Caw-Gates, leverages powerful control instants and seeks to finish the game with the powerhouse Basilisk Gate.

Guardian of the Guildpact (Dissension #10) Squadron Hawk (Magic 2011 #33) Sacred Cat (Amonkhet #27)

Caw Gates uses the tapped Gate dual color lands to establish control of a game. They run the standard white creature package that is common inside white weenie Standard lists. We utilize evasive creatures to secure damage, and sticky lifeleech monsters to keep health up over several turns. All of our creatures are low cost so that they can pressure the enemy similar to pauper’s Boggles. Guardian of the Guildpact isn’t only flavorful, but is a end-game powerhouse that few decks have the ability to interact with. In Pauper, “Protection from Monocolored” is nearly as powerful as “Protection from Everything”.

Suffocating Fumes (Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths #100) Journey to Nowhere (Zendikar #14) Lórien Revealed (The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth #60)

For our non-creatures, we’re utilizing the premium blue draw spells in the format: Brainstorm, Preordain, and the recently released Lorien Revealed from the Lord of the Rings set. The Modern Age helps fix our hand by rummaging and also becoming a creature to further our board gameplan. Black gives us access to Suffocating Fumes, which can work as a sideboard or a main deck option depending on local metas.Counterspell and Journey to Nowhere work as our key removal options, being flexible and powerful to address most threats.

Basilisk Gate (Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate #346) Heap Gate (Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate #354) Sea Gate (Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate #359)

Our lands are, unsurprisingly, primarily gates to power our Basilisk Gate. Sea Gate is flexible and can fix into any colors needed, and  Heap Gate can give us colorless without being tapped. Our primary tapland is Azorious Guildgate, as the core of the deck is a Blue/White split. However, Citadel Gate and Sea Gate serve as an upgrade: while it’s always rooted in white or blue, it can provide any additional color. This allows us to run top tier sideboard options like Pyroblast, Arms of Hadar, and Red Elemental Blast.