"Dive Bombs" - A Chat w/ mtg@home's Pauper Invitational Champion


Last Sunday January 24th, the top eight players on the Pauper Leaderboard were invited to clash for the title of Season 1 Champion in Mtg@Home's first Pauper Invitational which was streamed live on their Twitch channel and presented by fellow top format finishers Diego Brando and Hellsau.

This week I had a chance to speak with Mehbut, the winner of this event who successfully took Naya Slivers all the way to the top.

First and foremost, congratulations on your victory last Sunday, it was very refreshing to see Slivers come out on top in this event.
Can you tell us about the list you chose to pilot on Sunday and why you decided on Naya Slivers as a strategy for the invitational?

Honestly, I really just went with what I'm comfortable with. My fiancé actually got me the deck for Christmas and I've been comfortable with using it in the current meta with the exception of a few control (flicker deck) matchups. I just like the overall feel of being able to run so many lords in Pauper.

Decklist: Naya Slivers

Were there any specific lines of play that were extra memorable for you? Was there anything that you were surprised to see that may have been unexpected on the battlefield?

The last game was kind of strange going against mono black control. I mulled to four and came back even after a discard spell on turn one. It was a really lucky line of cards to be able to just outrun my opponent's control deck, especially with that bad of a mulligan for me.

Absolutely, it really shows the amount of explosive power Slivers have in the format when you can recover from that amount of disadvantage.
How would you say your experience was while competing and what was your overall impression of the event? Are you looking forward to next season for a title repeat?

Oh I absolutely loved it. I never actually attended an event like that other than pre-releases and FNM's, but I will most likely be attending pauper events on Sundays with Mtg@Home and I will try to go for gold again with hopes that we keep up a diverse meta like it has been.

Mtg Origins

I'm always interested to ask fellow mages about their experience with the most complex game in the world. Take us back to the beginning. How long have you been turning cards sideways? When did you start and what first attracted you to it?

I actually started playing right after Gatecrash came out and it actually all started with a weekend job working at a LGS. I was pretty adept with Yu-Gi-Oh at the time, but some of the local players taught me and with time I fell in love. Now I only play mtg.

That's a good chunk of experience. Were there any notable mtg sets that were out when you started playing? Did those sets feature any mechanics that left an impression on you or potentially affect how you play the game today?

I wouldn't say so. Whenever I started playing I went from Standard running a green red werewolf deck and then went to Modern running infect. I really stuck with Modern for the longest.

When did you begin exploring Pauper as a format? What would you say most attracted you to it in contrast to other formats you played like Standard or Modern?

I actually got out of the game for awhile, but picked it back up in June of 2020 with teaching my fiancé how to play and what better way to learn other than Pauper? As for what attracted me to the format, it's the pricing for sure. I also get to run cards from all across mtg history and can make all sorts of brews that can actually compete with some of the best decks in the format.

Agreed. This past year especially, I've noticed an overall increase in paper play via webcams rather than just the typical digital means. Are you strictly a paper pilot or do you play much online w/ MTGO or the various other clients that shall not be named?

I dabble with MTGO but not to specifically play pauper, but other formats. I prefer paper magic especially during these times since all our LGS's are closed or doing limited events. I think we need this in order to gather as a player base and play the game.

Well said. I think everyone can agree that times are not only unusual, but tough. This is especially the case for our local gaming stores out there doing what they can to bring us the best events possible under the current guidelines and restrictions.

So What's Good?

Is there anything that you would like to mention and get out to readers specifically? Perhaps a project, charity or event you might be looking forward to?

I do have a YouTube channel that is my name and I'd really appreciate anyone checking it out. Unfortunately, I'm not streaming magic, but I do play Call of Duty and other games. I am super excited to see the growth for the pauper events on the Mtg@Home discord and I hope we can max out these weekly events and have all sorts of different archetypes and decks going around.

Final Thoughts

For fun I asked you to choose from a list of topics for the final segment so now I have to ask... If you could design your own card for this format, what would you like to use in play and why? Which list would most benefit from this addition?

I'd love if they made a Sliver that was a 4 drop or lower in green. I know it'll never happen, but we can dream the dream that gives us Sliver players infect instead of poisonous 1.

Of course even more Sliver tech! Here's the absolutely devious monstrosity we were able come up with.

Thank you again Mehbut for spending some time and sharing your insight with me. It was a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to checking out your future lists as well as seeing you on the battlefield!