DECK IDEAS FOR PIONEER: THREE ARCHETYPES

So the pioneer meta has had a couple weeks to establish itself and we’ve had our first set of bans. With that in mind, I’d like to outline, aggro, midrange and control lists that I like, that I think are viable, or are just plain cool

My aggro deck of choice has always skewed mono red. Burn spells offer a lot of versatility in closing out games or nuking opposing creatures and red has versatile sideboard hate against many strategies. If I had to sleeve up mono red tomorrow I’d be playing something like this :

  • 4 Monastery Swiftspear
  • 4 Soul-Scar Mage
  • 4 Ghitu Lavarunner
  • 4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
  • 3 Goblin Rabblemaster
  • 4 Smuggler’s Copter
  • 4 Stoke the Flames
  • 2 Wild Slash
  • 4 Lightning Strike
  • 4 Wizard’s Lightning
  • 4 Light up the Stage
  • 4 Ramunap Ruins
  • 2 Castle Embereth
  • 13 Mountain

Unlike some number of players, I’m not at all sold on Bomat Courier, nor the full four shock effects. Instead I’m on a playset of stoke the flames, a comparably mana efficient but far more high impact spell. As well, I’m inclined to try goblin rabble master. As a must answer threat that makes tokens to crew our smugglers copter, it checks a lot of boxes.


Next, I present a slightly janky, fun, out of left field control deck. We’re looking to use cheap spells and counter magic to simultaneously feed our Eldrazi Processors and our Things in the Ice.

  • 4 Thing in the Ice
  • 4 Syncopate
  • 3 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
  • 4 Wasteland Strangler
  • 4 Dissipate
  • 4 Thoughtseize
  • 4 Dig Through Time
  • 3 Cremate
  • 4 Opt
  • 1 Ulamog’s Nulifier
  • 2 Murderous Rider
  • 1 Castle Vantress
  • 2 Castle Lockthwain
  • 4 Watery Grave
  • 4 Drowned Catacomb
  • 2 Fetid Pools
  • 2 Choked Estuary
  • 4 Swamp
  • 4 Island

Not sure about the viability of this one, but if it turns out to be consistent, wasteland stranger is a powerhouse of a card. It and murderous rider love getting picked up by a flipping thing in the ice and all of them present quite the stall on the ground. The rest of our game plan is to stick a threat and counter any cards that matter, sneaking in instant speed card selection whenever the opportunity presents itself.


And last but not least, for midrange, we have what’s looking to be a format defining deck. Hardened scales is a grindy synergy deck capable of explosive starts and recovers quite nicely in the face of spot removal.

  • 4 Hardened Scales
  • 4 Winding Constrictor
  • 4 Walking Ballista
  • 4 Hangarback Walker
  • 4 Stonecoil Serpent
  • 4 Steel Overseer
  • 4 Once Upon a Time
  • 3 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
  • 2 Animation Module
  • 2 Abrupt Decay
  • 3 Assassin’s Trophy
  • 4 Blooming Marsh
  • 4 Overgrown Tomb
  • 2 Karn’s Bastion
  • 3 Ruins of Oran Rief
  • 4 Llanowar Wastes
  • 1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
  • 2 Forest
  • 2 Swamp

Unlike some folks, I’m not sold on Nissa as a way to distribute extra counters to our team. Instead, I’d like to try going up on Rishkar and Animation Module, both of which offer more impact and resilience respectively. I could be wrong though. Find a list you like!

Hope these decks may have presented you with something you want to play, or deck building ideas of your own. As always, good luck and good skill.

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