Magic players were bracing for the latest Banned and Restricted list announcement today (more on that later this week), but they weren’t prepared for Wizards of the Coast to reveal a brand-new Magic format. Pioneer is coming to Magic Online and tabletop tournaments near you this fall, so here’s the low-down.
What is Pioneer?
Pioneer is a non-rotating Magic format that includes sets from Return to Ravnica forward. All future Standard-legal sets will be legal in Pioneer.
Like Modern before it, Pioneer is meant to bridge a gap between two of Magic’s existing competitive formats – in this case, Modern and Standard. In fact, Wizards has stated that they chose Return to Ravnica as the first set of the Pioneer period because the Modern format debuted shortly before the release of Return to Ravnica. The new format will not include many of Modern’s hallmark cards – such as Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, Tarmogoyf, and Snapcaster Mage – as well as any cards introduced into the Modern format through sets like Modern Horizons.
All that aside, the past several years have seen the release of powerful cards, and Pioneer has all the tools it needs to carve out an identity all its own. The format contains many of Modern’s best mana-fixing lands, as well as a host of efficient creatures and spells. From Deathrite Shaman and Siege Rhino to Treasure Cruise and Collected Company, Pioneer has no shortage of strong cards to build around.
Pioneer also has its own banned list, which currently includes the following cards:
Field of the Dead
Inverter of Truth
Kethis, the Hidden Hand
Leyline of Abundance
Nexus of Fate
Oko, Thief of Crowns
Once Upon a Time
Teferi, Time Raveler
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Veil of Summer
Last updated: February 15, 2021