One of the greatest differentials and “taboos” of Magic IRL (In Real Life) are the altered cards. In general, when it comes to alternative art, we have three types of modifications, which are: Alternative art created by Wizards, altered art through digital printing and Hand-altered art. *Alternative art created by Wizards* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/cartas/en/eld-throne-of-eldraine-murderous-rider--swift-end-97.jpg) [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/cartas/en/celd-eld-collector-boosters-murderous-rider--swift-end-287.jpg?2288) Here we have two versions of the card [card](Ginete Homicida // Fim Célere), official product. Just to emphasize, there are countless other types of altered arts in all the segments and styles mentioned above. Talking briefly about the official alternative arts produced by Wizards, they are basically versions of the same card with a different design and frame. This has existed since the beginning of the game with promotional cards, such as those of judges, DCI promos and Prerelease cards. Okay, but what's the big difference? Can I use this alternate card in my deck? Basically the difference is just aesthetics and, of course, the value too. They are usually rarer and consequently more expensive, as they are aimed at the collection. If this card with alternative art respects the game standards (name of the card and mana cost, power/toughness, etc.), it can be used in the deck and is legal in the same formats as the "normal" card. In recent years Wizards has started to invest more in this segment of cards with alternative art, either in exclusive products such as Secret Lair or in the collections themselves in collector's boosters and even in normal boosters, if you are lucky enough to get a different card. *The "proxy", altered art through digital printing* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/cartas/en/dom-dominaria-tatyova-benthic-druid-206.jpg) [card](Tatyova, Benthic Druid) original [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1582305851.jpeg) [card](Tatyova, Benthic Druid) proxy, altered by non-original printing, The "proxy" card generates a lot of controversy and discussion, as they are usually cards printed with other and unofficial material, thus being a way to even bring fakes to the game. I'll be writing here only about the proxy as an art alternative, not questioning the authenticity of the cards within the game, okay? So let's go. As said before and shown in the example above, the proxy usually changes the card as a whole, respecting or not the rules of the game. There are those who use them to practice, there are those who make this change only for collection and there are those who use them to play, but a proxy can only be used in the game for fun between friends, nothing official, because this type of card is totally invalid in all official formats. *Hand-altered art, hand painted* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1582305894.jpeg) Well, here we are in the hand-altered, hand-painted card segment (the one I work with, lol). The "Alter" or "Altered" and even "Full Art" made by hand aim to bring a different or improved perspective of the original card. The big difference between this style and the proxy, for example, is that the art is always done on top of an original card. Expanding the original art of the card, bringing a new design for it or even both together (just like Wizards does with some cards and products). Okay, even though it's a painting on top of an original card, can I use it in my deck? Will it be worth more? The answers to both questions are ambiguous. In order to use an altered card in an official and/or larger tournament it must be in the standards and rules, which are: - It must have the "top bar" clean, showing the card's name and its mana cost. - Text with the effects of the card must be visible. - Power/Toughness must be visible. Now, let's go to the caveats; If Alter is a land, it needs to have its “top bar” with the description in evidence, normally these cards have a certain raised relief due to the layers of paint applied. As almost imperceptible as they are while inside the sleeve, they still need to be double-sleeved. So, the entire deck needs to be double-sleeved, otherwise, no chance. It is not recommended to use such a card in a large tournament, leave it to use in a local tournament or in a game between friends. Hey, what did you think of the article on altered cards? Do you already have one? Would you like a different full art land? Follow me on social media and get in touch, I will be very happy to answer any questions!
I want to start this article by explaining the definition of cantrip: This term originated in Dungeons & Dragons and in the game the cantrips are magic that can be cast at no cost. In Magic: The Gathering the simplistic definition that we will find in online encyclopedias is: "a spell that draws a card in addition to its other effects". We can find cantrips of any color or cost in Magic and this is at least curious, since many players associate the term only with blue spells, which manipulate the top of the deck and draw cards. [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/cartas/en/lrw-lorwyn-needle-drop-186.jpg) But it is not by chance that this association happens, cards like [card](Ponder), [card](Brainstorm) e [card](Preordain) have a great differential: they make a very efficient card selection. We all know that Magic is a strategy game, but it also includes a bit of luck, and what makes card selection so important is the ability it has to reduce the impact of that factor. That's exactly why Wizards has been more careful with the power level of this type of feature in the game. One of the characteristics of our format is that card advantage based strategies end up standing out. It is no accident that Tron is the most relevant control of the format today. As a Big Mana, Tron can afford to bet on heavier cards like [card](Mystical Teachings) to make an accurate card selection, but I like to give the example of Snow Jeskai to explain the importance of cantrips, since Jeskai was a Boros with a blue splash, and whoever played this match will remember the importance of [card](Preordain). Certainly Pauper's powerful cantrips would do a lot of damage in other formats, but they work well in a format that doesn't have major threats capable of winning games on its own. Perhaps in a future where the power level of spells and creatures grows significantly, these cantrips can become a problem, but for now I prefer to consider it a privilege for Pauper players to have these cards at their disposal. [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/cartas/en/c18-commander-2018-brainstorm-82.jpg) It is natural for players to feel lost in some decision making involving cantrips, especially when they have little experience with the deck they are playing. As much as there are some conventions, the truth is that this is a very subjective topic, for example, I have already read the following statement in forums: If you have a [card](Ponder) and a [card](Preordain) in hand, play Ponder first, draw what you think is useful, and then cast the [card](Preordain) to put what is useless at the bottom of the library. This statement may even be true for a large number of situations, but be careful when taking this as a rule, as there will certainly be times when this will not be the most correct move. Anyway, I think it is worth mentioning some heuristics already published on the internet. According to Wikipedia, heuristics are cognitive processes used in non-rational decisions, being defined as strategies that ignore part of the information in order to make the choice easier and faster. *[card](Brainstorm)* The ideal is to have a way to shuffle or put on the bottom of your library (or to the grave) the useless cards that you returned with Brainstorm. Cards that can do this: Fetch Lands, [card](Preordain), [card](Thought Scour), [card](Augur of Bolas). Do not hold hands with a land if your only cantrip is a [card](Brainstorm). You will run the risk of being cornered from the [card](Brainstorm) and stay several turns without drawing a land. Keep in mind that the [card](Brainstorm) can be useful to transform a [card](Delver of Secrets) or enhance a [card](Augur of Bolas). It is also worth remembering that it allows you to hide cards from your hand in response to a [card](Duress) for example. So take this into account when casting a [card](Brainstorm) just because you have mana available. *[card](Ponder)* Generally, you will want to play a [card](Ponder) before a [card](Preordain), but in critical situations, when you need an immediate card, casting a [card](Preordain) before the [card](Ponder) allows you to potentially dig up to seven cards from your deck. And why not cast the [card](Ponder) first, since we would also dig the same amount of cards? It seems obvious, but in the heat of the moment we may not take into account that when we play Ponder and shuffle the deck, it is possible that the same cards remain on the top of the deck. But as I said, there is no cake recipe, everything is very situational. Suppose you put your single [card](Swirling Sandstorm) to the bottom of your library at the beginning of the game because you needed to find your second land. Knowing that the card you need is at the bottom, the option will first be to shuffle the deck with [card](Ponder), counting on [card](Preordain) and a little bit of luck. *Sideboard* It is not common to side-out cantrips, even if you have many options to include, it is recommended that you leave out something that you consider "just okay" against your oponente deck to maintain a cantrip that can help you find an answer that is better than "just okay". An interesting approach to understand Pauper's cantrips is to know more about the function they have in each archetype. *Cantrip x Archetype* *Tempo:* A Tempo deck's game plan is to play one or two threats on the field and be able to protect those threats while disrupting the opponent's game plan. In this archetype the role of the cantrips is to find these threats, the means to protect them and the means to disrupt the opponent's game. Mono U and UB Delver have these characteristics and make excessive use of cantrips, but while Mono U uses [card](Ponder) and [card](Preordain), UB opts for [card](Brainstorm) because of [card](Evolving Wilds) and [card](Ash Barrens). I confess that I'm not a fan of [card](Brainstorm) on Mono U. There are those who consider it a mistake to play with the card on the deck, and there are those who prefer to have one more option to guarantee the transform of the [card](Delver of Secrets). If one day I were to use this tech, it would certainly be on a list with four [card](Augur of Bolas) to enhance the card in the deck. [deck](31201) *Mid Range / Control:* Usually these are decks that take the game to the late game, the function of cantrips in this archetype is to offer more quality in the draws, we usually don't want to flood, but we also need to keep our land drop working. [card](Preordain) ends up being unanimous on the lists. *Combo:* It is usually in these decks that most of the cantrips are concentrated. In Tribe, for example, in addition to the set ([card](Ponder), [card](Preordain) and [card](Brainstorm)) we also have cards like [card](Shadow Rift), [card](Inside Out) and even the [card](Augur of Bolas) itself. The main function of cantrips in this archetype is to find the parts of the combo and the ways to execute it safely. I think it's worth mentioning that Tribe's more combocentric lists end up giving up playing with four copies of [card](Preordain), precisely because this cantrip digs fewer cards in the deck. Currently the combos are low in format and although the Tribe is gaining more and more characteristics of a Mid Range deck, the cantrips end up performing additional functions such as buffing the [card](Seeker of the Way). [deck](31212) To end the article, we will count on the participation of Jonathan Jansen who played with the Tribe deck for a long time and cordially agreed to write a short text to share his vision of Pauper's cantrips - Thank you! "A cantrip is a facilitator for your game plan. It is a tool for you to manage your resources by assessing how your game is doing, and where you want to take it. Playing a cantrip involves much more ways than just looking for a card or manipulating the top of the deck. And now you may be thinking "What the hell does he mean by that?" Evaluate your hand and see how your game develops with the resources you have. Imagine your next draw: and question what you're looking for. This is essential so that when playing a cantrip, you get the most value out of it. For a long time I played combo with Pauper, it made me think a lot about the possibilities of drawing, the chances of keeping the card on top or trying to shuffle. This experience made me more clear about how and when to use my resources, we often need to be calm and wait for a more opportune moment. Cantrip is a privilege! And understanding this is the first step in designing the best strategies within your game. The big message is that in the end, cantrip is a science, and each player can raise their thesis and prove their own theory. At Magic, we are all scientists." I hope you enjoyed reading and that the article was useful in some way. Remember that the best way to understand Pauper's cantrips is to play a lot! So, let's practice ; D Feel free to use the comments section for any questions, criticisms or suggestions. See you next time. *References* [link](https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/latest-developments/magic%E2%80%99s-zero-level-spells-2006-08-04)(Magic’s zero-level spells) [link](https://www.reddit.com/r/Pauper/comments/9f85rp/brainstorm_deck_heuristics/)(Brainstorm Deck Heuristics)