Pioneer Tier List: May 2023

Pioneer Tier List: May 2023

Mason ClarkPioneer

The next round of Regional Championships are just around the corner. As players search for a deck they like in the Pioneer format, we are here to help with a tier list of archetypes.

But before we dive into the list, I want to lay out my grading criteria to help contextualize my recommendations:

S-Tier: Decks that are above the rest. This is normally the default “best deck in the format” and the deck(s) you should have in mind when building or picking your deck.

A-Tier: Decks that are great. These decks are knocking on the door of S Tier, but they may have a small weakness that keeps them out of the upper echelon.

B-Tier: Good, solid decks. You wouldn’t be surprised if a B Tier deck takes down an event, but they have bigger weaknesses or liabilities than the decks in A Tier.

C-Tier: Decks that are totally fine, but not notable. These decks aren’t exactly tearing up the tournament or ladder scene, but you should expect to face them every now and then.

D-Tier: Decks with strong elements, but that generally aren’t great choices compared to the rest of the format.

S Tier

Mono Green Devotion, Rakdos Midrange, Greasefang

With the release of Polukranos Reborn in March of the Machine, Mono Green Devotion has also been reborn as one of the most popular decks in the Pioneer format. 

Players quickly found this card to fix lots of problems the list had before. Spirits, which boasted a great Mono Green match up, now struggles in the face of an early Polukranos. 

While the mono green deck does have natural predators, folding to a few hate cards, it has increased its consistency immensely.

Rakdos midrange has remained a dominant deck since this time last year. Despite players consistently trying to find decks to attack and exploit the archetype, Rakdos players have adapted in kind to all of them. 

It is hard to say something about Rakdos that hasn’t already been said, so I will say this: If your reason for not playing Rakdos is “I am not wanting to battle the hate,” that’s not a good reason. 

This deck has been a consistent force in the metagame since the release of Neon Dynasty. This deck is brutally efficient and extremely explosive. 

While cards like Rest in Peace can be effective in stopping the main plan, the backup of putting creatures into play and using Esika’s Chariot to overpower the board can still get the job done. 

A Tier

Boros Convoke, Creativity

This deck is the new hotness in the Magic world. A deck with blistering fast starts that can overwhelm anyone when on the play. If you’re an Aggro player, this is the deck for you. 

This deck is looking to exploit a hole in the meta game. Since players are lacking on sweepers, it’s incredibly challenging to answer this convoke deck.

Time will tell if the meta can adapt to the deck. However, I think this list will survive, even with players targeting it. It simply won’t be as strong as it is now. 

The creativity deck has been a solid player in the metagame since Pro Tour Phyrexia: All Will Be One, where Reid Duke won piloting it. However, players have adapted the deck in multiple ways. 

Today I am presenting you with the traditional worm combo version of the deck. While other builds also have merit, this is the build that strikes me as the best, currently. 

Cards like Atraxa are just not the best at soloing players and can be overcome in a way that wurm combo doesn’t have to deal with. Wurm also works toward ending the game, which is often underrated. Players rarely put the proper premium on straight up winning the game. 

The Gearhulk control builds are interesting, but I think I personally prefer decks like blue/white and blue/black control to these decks. They are more dedicated in their controlling plan and better execute their game plan. 

B Tier

Mono White Humans, Spirits, Phoenix, Rakdos Sacrifice, Control, Lotus Field, Gruul Vehicles

A common misconception players often have is that a deck in B tier isn’t very good. That is far from the truth. They often just aren’t the 100% best choice, but can still be decks that can totally take down a tournament. If anyone came up to me at the RC and said they qualified with one of these decks, I wouldn’t be shocked

If you are preparing for a Regional Championship and see your deck in the B tier, don’t panic. It is not a sign that you are throwing the tournament.

C Tier

Rogues, Dimir Control, Rona Combo

Worth a mention and not much else — for now!

End step

Pioneer as a format is very wide and can have snowbally games. In a lot of ways, there are two types of decks in the format.

You can either overpower the opponent or try to break up what they are doing. With the first being the predominant type of strategy, if you’re heading into Dallas or a local Regional Championship Qualifier, keeping that in mind should help you in both deck selection and sideboard construction.