Intro to Pioneer

Card Kingdom Pioneer

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. That includes:

Return to Ravnica
Dragon’s Maze
Magic 2014 Core Set
Born of the Gods
Journey into Nyx
Magic 2015 Core Set
Khans of Tarkir
Fate Reforged
Dragons of Tarkir
Magic Origins
Battle for Zendikar
Oath of the Gatewatch
Shadows Over Innistrad
Eldritch Moon
Aether Revolt
Hour of Devastation
Rivals of Ixalan
Core Set 2019
Guilds of Ravnica
Ravnica Allegiance
War of the Spark
Core Set 2020
Throne of Eldraine

Theros Beyond Death
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
Core Set 2021

Plus, 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 seven years have seen the release of powerful cards, and Pioneer should have 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.

We’ll be updating this post with new decklists and strategies for this format as they emerge.

Banned List

Pioneer also has its own banned list, which currently includes the following cards:

Bloodstained Mire
Felidar Guardian
Field of the Dead
Flooded Strand
Inverter of Truth
Kethis, the Hidden Hand
Leyline of Abundance
Nexus of Fate
Oko, Thief of Crowns
Once Upon a Time
Polluted Delta
Smuggler’s Copter
Underworld Breach
Veil of Summer
Walking Ballista
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills

Last updated: August 3, 2020

Be a Pioneer!

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