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Penny Dreadful MTGO Primer

The Ultimate MTG Budget Format

Want to check out the CHEAPEST MTGO format possible? Penny Dreadful is cheap as chips and has some of the best and most broken cards. Danananar, Silasary and Cheshire give you the low down.

Check out more at the Penny Dreadful site and check the video out below if you don’t feel like reading my wordy post!

A BRIEF HISTORY OF PENNY DREADFUL

What is Penny Dreadful? PD, as it’s known, is the ultimate budget format, cheaper than even Pauper (that used to be THE budget format, but thanks to The Professor at Tolarian Community College and Channel Fireball it rocketed up in popularity and is now a mid range cost format) is far more expensive.

The average Pauper deck costs about $80, so it’s still fairly budget, but what if I told you that there was a FAN MADE FAN RUN truly budget format where a deck won’t usually cost more than a single American dollar.  Then read on and let me slide you in to the world of Penny Dreadful.

Reddit user binarySwordsman developed a new format in early 2016 after the Pauper format was no longer a true budget format, and while cheap, prices of cards started spiking and making the budget format far less budget. They then set about making a new MTGO format where every card must cost only 0.01 tix, or a single penny. The way to make this work is that with every new standard legal set, the rotation list is updated with the legal cards at that time that cost 0.01 tix on Magic the Gathering Online.

BinarySwordsman noted that a name would be needed for this new budget format, sighting they wouldn’t be able to name it because they are terrible at naming things, so Reddit user ediblePoly helped name the format “Penny Dreadful”, after the fact that cards only cost a penny and there is a lot of dreadful cards in the penny list. Since that time, Penny Dreadful has surged in popularity, boasting over 200 active users per month entering fan-driven online tournaments and leagues.

COMMUNITY IS KEY

The moment I stepped in to the Discord for PD and asked the question about finding out more about the history of the format, I was greeted with multiple assists, not a single one was rude or snobbish. This, as I have seen, IS the community for PD and they even self police it to ensure that any bad eggs and cheaters are expunged (but note that a full investigation is made before decisions are made).

The discord is a buzz with information and players discussing different decks, combos, new potential decks and most importantly, socialising with each other. Conversations flow easily between rivals alike as they discuss everything and anything. I was also pointed to the dedicated sub-reddit as it is also a wealth of information right at your fingertips.

DECKS AND LEGALITY CHECKS

Deck construction guidelines are like most other constructed formats. A deck must have a minimum of 60 cards with no more than four copies of a card other than basic land and a maximum of 15 cards in your sideboard. All cards must be on the legal list HERE. The list of cards is rotated with every new Standard legal set that is introduced, also mechanics that may have failed to perform in Modern or other formats have an opportunity to be king in this format. (Site created and maintained by Zachery Delafosse, binarySwordsman, and Katelyn Gigante who is known from Commander the Gathering as Silasary)

When building your deck, put the deck together under a freeform deck and save it. Then you can go to the “Just for Fun” lobby and host or join a game, once you create a game, click on “comments” on the left and type in “PD Test” or “Penny Dreadful Test”, as this shows that you’re testing a deck. Once you are confident enough with the format, go ahead and join a league

A format like PD requires a lot of information behind the scenes to ensure everything remains current and up to date. This is done by a series of bots and scripts that captures all sorts of data from cards at the 0.01 tix threshold, to what cards are seeing the most play, even down to recording a whole lot of stats that coders can see on the back end.

But two of the most impressive feats are the rotation list that keeps all the legal cards up to date and the deck legality checker that will tell you if your list is legal and what is in your deck that might be illegal for use in the format. Did I mention the staggering 9,755 cards that are legal currently as at the time of writing this?

SOME OVERLY POWERFUL CARDS GET BANNED, PD GETS GREAT ADDITIONS

 

Oh hey, remember when Treasure Cruise got banned from pretty much every competitive format? That’s fine for us PDers, we get to play it. Not that it’s seen in many decks, though. PD has it’s own meta-game, as you may expect, but is filled with a plethora of fun and exciting decks such as Tendrils Storm, Artifact Storm, Burn and many other crazy decks. Cards like Astral Slide, Wildfire, and animate dead give you that old nostalgic feeling for older players and remind you of some of the broken fun you had all those years ago.

I hope you liked this overview of what is perhaps one of the most interesting formats I have ever played.

-Chesh

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Al Caynes

Cheshire is an avid TCG, CCG and boardgame player, having played games like MTG for over 20 years. Loves to stream and create content for all of you, the people.

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