The Pioneer format was in a bit of a slump for awhile. It didn’t have events firing on Magic Online. As of late, the format has seen a bit of a resurgence. With news of Pioneer coming to MTG: Arena later this year, it’s time for the format to come back in a big way. The most recent trends in decklists can be seen in the Pioneer Preliminary and Pioneer League events on Magic Online. With the pandemic raging outside, it’s high time for Pioneer to show it’s worth. These are some of the coolest decks in this most recent deck dump. You can see all the different format decklists on Magic Online here.
First 5-0 Hot Decklist: Golgari Aggro
If you know me as a player, you know that I’m very fond of the Golgari Aggro deck in Pioneer. It’s what got me to the Player’s Tour and what won me the Collector Legion Store Championship 5K earlier this year. The deck operates on an axis that’s pretty easy to understand. Play a Llanowar Elf or Elvish Mystic on turn one, then play a huge three drop creature every turn of the game after that. This deck makes some pretty necessary additions in Garruk’s Harbinger and adding in Collected Company. The older versions of the deck lacked a bit of card advantage, so these two cards allow you get ahead on board and recoup some of that card advantage.
It remains to be seen whether this one is going to be good enough for Pioneer play, but it’s got pretty good stats across the board. The hexproof from black is really relevant against the format’s top deck: Dimir Inverter. I’ll definitely have to give this one a spin and see if playing three drops ahead of the curve is still great to do in Pioneer.
Second 5-0 Hot Decklist: Rakdos Waste Not
Waste Not is not usually a card you see too often in Magic. It’s a very wordy card that leads to decks that don’t really do anything. Durdle is a very good descriptor for Waste Not. In the case of this deck. It’s sort of a port of the Modern version of 8 Rack. Because you don’t have access to cards like The Rack or Raven’s Crime, you have to add a second color in red. What you get in red are some pretty significant upgrades.
Unpacking what Waste Not does is pretty easy. It basically adds effects on to the discard spells you play. Cards like Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage look a lot better when “Add BB to your mana pool”, “draw a card”, or “make a 2/2 Zombie token” are stapled to it. A deck like this probably shreds up combo decks and could have game against other decks. So if this is something that’s your style, give it a shot!
Third 5-0 Hot Decklist: Bant Enchantment Yorion Control
That title is a mouthful, but it describes the deck pretty accurately. With the unban of Oath of Nissa last week, a deck like this gets a tool to find all the various pieces that it wants to control the game with, and just helps smooth out draws. On the surface it might look like a dumb Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath deck, but you’ve got a lot more going on here. Thirst for Meaning is another card that is just looking for a home. It’s a powerful card draw tool that this deck takes advantage of hugely.
Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse should be popping up more and more across the various formats of Magic. The card goes in a variety of decks, and in this one it’s no different. Much like Waste Not, when you staple a 2/2 to your card draw spell, it’s big game. In a control deck like this, you should also always have a lot of cards in hand, so the second ability is a real game-ender. I’m not the type of Magic player to enjoy a deck like this, but if you’re into controlling the board and drawing cards, it could be for you.
Fourth 5-0 Hot Decklist: 4 Color Kethis Combo
Kethis, the Hidden Hand might have been the biggest loser when it came to the original Oath of Nissa ban in Pioneer. It’s a card that checks off multiple boxes for the combo in this deck. You want legendary permanents for Mox Amber. It needs to be able to find combo pieces. And it’s cheap. All of these things add up to Kethis surging back into playable territory in Pioneer. With a deck that does this much at the same time, it also has a pretty good backup plan of attacking or winning with Planeswalkers.
This version of the deck eschews some of the combo for more midrange cards. The basic combo is: get a Dilligent Excavator in play, cast a Mox Amber, and if you have enough legendary cards in your graveyard you can keep casting the Mox Amber, and milling yourself. From there you win with Jace, Wielder of Mysteries or you can mill your opponent if you have multiple Excavators. It’s a pretty interesting deck, that I haven’t played before, but it definitely piques my interest. I’m a big fan of decks like this in modern that combo with creatures but have a decent backup plan. This might be the biggest beneficiary of Oath of Nissa being unbanned.
Wrap-Up On These Decks
While Pioneer might have a clear top tier of: Dimir Inverter, Mono-White Devotion, and Lotus Breach, you can still play some cool decks and win with them. The format has a very diverse lower level of decks just under these top decks. With any format like this, you can target the top decks, and do reasonably well. If anything ever gets banned out of the top tier, these decks might be ready to vault up into that top tier.
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