R Koster's picture
By: R Koster, Rob Koster
Aug 04 2020 12:00pm

Yesterday, Wizards released a banlist update for all to see. It filled me with glee.

I'm guessing everyone has seen the announcement by the time this goes live. But let's pretend not everyone has seen it yet.


For the complete article on it, you can click here.


The TLDR of it is this:



Wilderness Reclamation is banned.

Growth Spiral is banned.

Teferi, Time Raveler is banned.

Cauldron Familiar is banned.



Inverter of Truth is banned.

Kethis, the Hidden Hand is banned.

Walking Ballista is banned.

Underworld Breach is banned.



Wilderness Reclamation is suspended.

Teferi, Time Raveler is suspended.



Teferi, Time Raveler is banned.


Not going to lie, I think they knocked it out of the park with this one!


I'll go through it all in the order of how relevant the formats are to me. So let's start with Brawl.

I have never played a game of Brawl, but Teferi being gone is probably a good one for the enjoyment of the format.



I hardly play it these days, but when I saw the numbers on how much play these cards saw, I realized why I barely play it these days. Depending on what happens with the rotation, I could see myself getting back in the swing of things, and I feel like I want to build some decks now. Which seems like a significant upgrade to the "just play Reclamation" that I heard for the last months.



I left the format with the Winota, Joiner of Forces ban. I love that card so much that I even sleeved it up in Vintage a few times to try if I could get some sweet triggers there. Spoiler, I couldn't. The format just didn't interest me; these bans could pull me back in again.



This is the format that I have played a ton of. I could not be happier with the stupid combo decks finally leaving the format. I don't even care that I'm losing some value in my collection for it. Good riddance! And about time, it took them forever to pull the trigger. However, let's not complain, and let's look at what's going to happen.


Pioneer becomes a whole new format again; the entire tier 1 has been wiped out except for Mono-Black Aggro. I expect that deck to stick around still. For reference, here is a list.

This deck lost nothing in the bans. It will be an excellent place to start finding your way back into the format again. It's aggressive, forgiving, and also a lot of fun. I highly recommend playing this right now! 

While Mono-Black Aggro has lost nothing, it gained some new predators. Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath can't wait to escape back onto the battlefield after having been locked away by Combo decks. Uro will leave the worrisome combo time behind it and rejoice its escape by doing everything anyone has ever wanted in a threat. I'm guessing it will show up first in the Sultai Midrange style deck that won the Pro Tour what feels like a million years ago at this point, but it was just a few months ago.


I'm guessing there will be some updates necessary with a whole new metagame to play against, but this was his list back in the dark middle ages called February.


The first thing that needs to happen is that you need to replace the Walking Ballista. Because it's banned now, and that's a good thing. I think Heliod, Sun-Crowned is a much more interesting card to have in the format than Walking Ballista. I would start here and work from there, depending on what I come across during the matches. But Pro Tour winning lists are always a perfect place to start attacking a format with. They give you the advantage of knowing that your deck is reliable, which you lack when you are playing your brew.


Talking about brewing. I already mentioned that I wanted to brew in the other formats. But dear lord, do I want to brew in Pioneer. We have Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse, which could not be more up my alley if they tried. We have a complete Sultai Flash deck that I want to try with Slitherwisp. I heard rumblings of people sleeving up Hardened Scales again, which made me think of wishboarding for Knowledge Pool with Karn, the Great Creator and slamming it together with a Teferi, Time Raveler to lock people out of the game. I want to try Teferi, Master of Time in Pioneer. There might be a Conspicuous Snoop deck. Who knows?


As I said before, I would start with the decks I mentioned earlier. But if you're in the mood for a brew, definitely go right ahead with it. The format is as open as it's ever going to be. The first thing I would do while brewing is looking at cards that you know are powerful. Think stuff like Oath of Nissa and Growth Spiral. I'm definitely looking at what other broken things I can do with Thassa's Oracle.


Oh well, with all that being said, I know exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to play my one true love. I don't expect it to be very good or anything, but I've missed this deck so much, and I can't wait to jam it again.


This deck used to be Grixis, but the mana base was always a significant headache for the deck. Now with Sprite Dragon and Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge in the mix, we can just play Izzet and be done with it. The sideboard is a mess, I don't know what I need to prepare for, so I just went with some general stuff. I fully expect to have to change about 15 cards of that board. But man does this look sweet, and I can't wait. I will miss flipping Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, though. I might just need a Grixis version as well for FNM fun time. 

Those ideas should help everyone get started on their journey through a whole new Pioneer format. I hope this one lasts for a long time!


Also, never forget that Mono-Red is always a thing, make sure your brews are prepared.