The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Updated Decks for Pioneer

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan: Updated Decks for Pioneer

Mason ClarkPioneer

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan prerelease begins Friday, and Pioneer Regional Championship season is just around the corner! So, today we’re going to break down three decks to try testing ahead of the next big event in Atlanta.


Ramp is a deck we haven’t really had in Pioneer since the beginning of the format, with cards like Field of the Dead as payoffs. 

While still lacking a signature payoff, we did get a new, powerful enabler in the form of Glimpse the Core. Last week I wrote about how I thought this card could open up a new style of dedicated Ramp deck, so now it’s time to try it out. 

This deck is looking to play a more controlling game than the other big-mana deck of the format, Mono-Green Devotion Your deck leans on white for both removal and the “easy win condition.” I say easy because Ugin and a Wandering Emperor could win a game. It just might take a while. 

Regardless, our plan is to quickly get a lot of mana and use cards like Settle the Wreckage or Shatter the Sky to put our opponents on the back foot. Then we close out the game with powerful spells like Ugin (which will clear the board of any new problems that have cropped up since your last board wipe) and Approach of the Second Sun (which will gain life and win the game)! 

Approach is a bit of a clunky card, but given how much ramp we now have plus the ability to play four copies, you can easily win by casting back to back approach of the second suns in a single turn. 


This deck has been tearing up the Regional Championship scene since the release of Wilds of Eldraine. It received multiple new toys from that set, but also a great, new one drop from this set. 

Warden of the Inner Sky plays very nicely in this deck. We touched on it in last week’s article, but to quickly recap, this is a great body to play early and help smooth your draw out late. 

Since its ability doesn’t involve the tapping symbol, you can play it and immediately start growing the Warden/Scrying. Due to that fact, this creature does turn into a real threat really quickly — and that’s one thing I didn’t touch on enough previously. 

Warden starts putting pressure on your opponent the moment it starts to grow, and evasion is something this deck lacks. So, having a way to break a board stall is incredibly potent. 

This deck also has some of the fastest draws in pioneer, with the ability to easily attack for 20 damage on turn three! That kind of capability is incredibly rare in this format. 

A lot of people wrote this deck off after middling results followed an explosion onto the scene last summer, but this list was being hard targeted by tons of players around that time. That’s going to dramatically affect any deck’s win rate. 

Also, since then, we received four new cards to help energize the archetype. I think it’s good to put your preconceived notions away and come at this with fresh eyes. 


This deck is very much one that is doing a lot and would not be surprised if we ended up trimming it down more, however as always with these articles I like to start big and work my way in! 

First is this deck does have a combo in it. Kiroa’s Follower times two plus Deeproot Pilgrimage is infinite merfolk tokens. With Deeproot Elite you can also make your creatures infinitely big that turn. 

Obviously that’s a lot of steps, but it’s a combo that includes a lot of cards we want to play already. The one Agatha’s Soul Cauldron is the exception, however we do have lots of abilities to copy with the cauldron outside of the combo — plus it just grows our creatures and works as medium graveyard hate.

However let’s move past the combo elements of this deck. While they are real and I think something that is a strength to this deck. I believe it to be not enough to stand on its own. 

The core idea behind the deck beyond the combo is that we have a fair beatdown plan that puts our opponents on the back foot. Merfolk are definitely not the strongest kindred type, but they are some of the most annoying. The multiple lords add a layer of redundancy that is appreciated and Collected Company makes it so we have explosive starts. 

Creature decks have an incredibly low fail rate so playing a pile that has all synergies is very appealing. 

End Step

Lost cavern of ixalan is an exciting set and you should definitely keep an eye on how it will affect the format