Wilds of Eldraine Pioneer Highlights

Wilds of Eldraine Pioneer Highlights

Mason ClarkPioneer

The last time we visited Eldraine, the set shook magic to its core. And while this time around Wilds of Eldraine seems much more tame, there are still plenty of cards worth looking at for the Pioneer format. Here are five to keep in mind as preview season wraps up.

Sleep-Cursed Fae and Spell Stutter

Pioneer players have been trying to make the Rogues deck into a fixture of the format by trying to play a Tempo game with a bit of discard. Spirits have dominated this role instead for most of its life thanks to its brutal speed and efficiency. 

That said, Wilds of Eldraine is adding a new creature type into the mix, and it’s the OG tempo deck: Fairies. 

This creature type was once one of the most dominant decks in Standard history, and it’s coming back in a huge way. And these two cards in particular are the current front-runners for the archetype.

Sleep-Cursed Faerie is a very impactful play on turn one, as she will enable synergies while also requiring the least from you in terms of getting it online. While traditionally these decks have been Curious Obsession leaning, it’s possible to stray from that if the payoff is strong enough. 

We are only halfway through the previews for WOE at the time of writing, so more enablers might be forthcoming, but a one mana 3/3 with the ability to attack and then untap to block in the late game is the real deal. 

The other fairy card I wanted to highlight is Spell Stutter: an homage to Spellstutter Sprite, which was one of the key cards in the original fairies deck. This card is a mana leak variant that can scale above that baseline. 

One of the marquee parts of the spirit deck is its glut of two mana counterspells, which can consistently offer a cheap, efficient answer for whatever the opponent is doing. We will need to have another strong, one mana creature, but there are a few hopeful contenders so far. This deck is in an exciting space and I can’t wait to see what players do with it. 

Elusive Otter 

Prowess had a quick shot to the top of the metagame last summer due to the strength of the core plan and Expressive Iteration. But when that powerful card caught a ban, it fell off the competitive landscape. Now, perhaps Elusive Otter can bring it back.

That said, splashing a third color for the adventure is going to be fairly challenging as we don’t have Fetch Lands in Pioneer. I think my current approach is to play some pathways that are red green and sometimes high roll the adventure half. 

Besides, I don’t really want that side of the card. The one drop prowess nature of this Otter is the biggest draw. After all, this deck had incredibly strong starts with just Soul-Scar Mage and Monastery Swiftspear. But that was sort of it, and the deck was forced into playing more two drops. 

I want to try playing 2-4 otters and seeing if lowering the curve and creating more explosive turns solves the problems in this deck. In theory, consistency is one its biggest issues, and this should fix both ends. 

Sleight of Hand 

This is a reprint into Standard, but something that still deserves your attention. This might be the kick in the pants that decks like Phoenix needed to really become staples of the format instead of decks that go in and out. 

Basically, Opt is fine — and flipping Thing in the Ice at instant speed is nice — but you don’t have to play four copies of it. You could switch to a three-three split of Opt and Sleight, given that Sleight helps you start from lower resources and ends up triggering the Phoenix return in a single turn. 

Other miscellaneous combo decks may also pick up this card in order to give them a smoother and consistent deck. It’s not flashy, but it will get the job done. 

Agatha’s Soul Cauldron 

This card is incredibly exciting. It has insane combo potential in Modern, where it can do things like turn every creature into Grist, the Hunger Tide or Arcbound Ravager

But what can we do in Pioneer with it? I haven’t checked every possible combination, but we do already have an infinite mana combo. Ironically, it also uses Sleep-Cursed Faerie, which we talked about earlier. 

So here is how the combo works. You have an Agatha’s Soul Cauldron in play. Then you either have Kami of Whispered Hopes either in play or the graveyard and have a Sleep-Cursed Faerie in the other zone. 

It’s important to note that you can have both in the yard and, over two turns, turn some other creature into the whole combo themselves. But that is much harder. 

Anyway, once you have assembled the combo, you tap for mana using the Kami ability and untap using the Sleep-Cursed Faerie’s ability. With this, you will be up mana on every activation, giving you infinite mana. 

What we actually do with that mana is still being figured out, but you can play a wish card to find some easy win con. Alternatively, you can play looters like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy as another card to exile to the Cauldron that can just loot through your whole deck. 

Either way, I’m incredibly excited to work on this deck and can’t wait to talk about it next week once I have had time to sink my teeth in, so keep an eye out for that article! And as always, it takes a village to really build around these kinds of cards and optimize the decks. It’s just such a unique and different game objective than what we are used to.

End step

Anyway, that’s it for this week! Next week I’ll be back with multiple new decks for the format, so make sure to check back in. And in the meantime, be sure to let me know what Wilds of Eldraine cards you’re looking forward to using in Pioneer.