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By: CheshirePlaysGames, Albert Caynes
Oct 30 2019 11:15pm
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Hey folks, so Wizards announced a new format and, let’s be perfectly clear, assigned HIGH LEVEL competitive play qualifiers at Magic Fests, MTGO queues and sites like MTG Goldfish have released data sets stating that PIONEER has taken off faster than any previous offshoot format, official and non official. So, you want in on Pioneer, huh?
Start with the most broken decks that saw Standard play from the sets listed. Why? Because if it AIN’T BROKE, don’t play it. Pioneer is a format TO BE BROKEN before it can be fixed for the most part except maybe fetch lands. They banned those straight up, so you won’t have access to those, sorry.


Let’s be fair, for every new format there are two real types of decks that usually go around. Decks that try and break the format and decks that try and leverage the format without having to worry about without having to worry about what your opponent plays except the good old “can I get past it to your face?”.
Burn and Mono Red aggressive decks are a 100% known component for each format change. Modern especially has a shift almost every time a new set lands, that the number of Burn decks that show up in competitive queues and at Magic Fests inflates as players unsure of the format want to just push hard and fast to try and take advantage of the unknown metagame. So what should we look at first? Well, that depends on you as a player. Pros will likely gravitate towards broken combo decks such as “Cat Lady” Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai or Temur Marvel Aetherworks Marvel and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.
Let’s first look towards Oath of the Gatewatch and the Eldrazi Winter. Aetherworks had just been banned and Standard turned to new busted decks to try and win as fast as possible, one of these decks was Mono Red Eldrazi.
Matter Reshaper
Matter Reshaper is just pure value no matter how you look at it because if they kill it, you either get a new permanent of 3 or less CMC to replace it or you draw into something bigger. MR is not something your opponent will want to kill or trade with because it’s always a 2 for one, no matter how you look at it.
Next up is Thought-Knot Seer, having a way to exile a card from your opponent’s hand for four mana sounds terrible, except when you also add in a 4/4 body and you will be hard pressed to say no. Being able to reef a combo card that your opponent will never see again or steal some removal means a massive disruption to your opponent’s plans.
Remember when Chandra, Torch of Defiance was billed as the be all that ends all in Standard, only to be largely forgotten for a large portion of Standard? I do, it was pretty sad. But then she emerged alongside the Eldrazi, sort of ironic if you ask me. Chandra coming down and torching (GET THE JOKE!) a creature for four is never a bad idea, but then she sticks around to either provide extra reach or drawing you extra playables. And definite all-star in the four slot and expect her to reach stupid amounts of dollars in the next few months.
With a top end of Glorybringer and Reality Smasher, this deck had huge game and you rarely got the ball long enough to try and play on their court. Instead, it was more like you, a six year old against them, Karl Malone. You know, the Mail Man? Okay fine, it’s an outdated reference, just imagine a really good basketball player.
Glorybringer was and is more akin to Flametongue Kavu and I remember people thinking that good old Morningbringer was a lost cause, trash, nothing but hot air. Then all of a sudden, everyone had THAT moment. Reality Smasher was very different, the power was apparent from the moment the spoiler dropped and having a clause that when it gets targeted by your opponent they discard a card made it excitedly good. Never mind the haste and trample. Another thing to take into account here is that at the time, removal to deal with both of these wasn’t a varied as it will be in Pioneer.
Okay look, this style of deck is really only good until the format shakes it out and you're left with an aggressive deck that people will come ready for. Also I made zero changes from the MTGO 5-0 league list from that standard because it doesn't actually interest me to play something so straight forward and boring. So how about something a little more unconventional?


It's no secret that I'm a HUGE fan of Approach of the Second Sun and I jam it into every and any EDH deck that can support it. I played Jeskai Approach in standard, I played UW Approach Cycling in standard and I have played Approach in modern, so it seems pretty fitting we mix it with new ways in order to try and make it BUSTED AS HECK.
First up, let's talk about the elephant in the room. Thoughtseize is a problem for combo decks, it exists in this format and we have to be mindful... oh wait, we have Fae of Wishes, never mind. This tricksy fairy is rather good at keeping a copy of our win condition in the sideboard so that we can “wish” for it when we want it. This allows for us to keep a copy “floating” in the sideboard, just in case we come up against a discard deck. Plus, who wants to run four copies in their deck anyway, right?

DID YOU KNOW THAT IN PIONEER WE GET DELVE SPELLS BACK? Because they are TOOOOOTALLY Fair and not a problem. At all.

First up, Fires of Invention has turned out to be busted and gross already in standard, and pro players like LSV are now even trying it out in Modern, so it hit me like a wrecking ball. Fires, plus turns, plus you win equals you ACTUALLY win. Of course, it's so simple! You get to play two free spells (one on the turn it Comes down) and that makes it perfect for turn shenanigans.
Taking turns usually relies on eight extra turn cards it can CAST. Lucky for us, Fires means we can cast them for free as long as we have the land count equal to CMC in play, so we cast Fires of Invention into either last Standard's most hated Nexus of Fate or the banned in a heap of formats Temporal Trespass meaning we get another chance to either try and win, ot get another free turn. Remember that Nexus shuffles back into your deck, meaning we have 4x shots at drawing it or using Castle Vantress to scry to it or Search for Azcanta.
Speaking of DIGGING through the deck, Dig Through Time is perfect for an Approach deck, as it digs down seven cards, the lucky number that Approach uses to enter the deck. Narset, Parter of Veils also helps us to dig four deep, but also shuts off additional card draw for our opponent. Dictate of Kruphix is our Howling Mine and allows additional card draw, something this deck absolutely adores to dig on down to the graves of our enemies.
In saying all this, the deck does have some weaknesses to counterspells and enchantment removal that really need to be ironed out. What do you do if Fires of Invention gets countered or destroyed? What if your opponent casts Unmoored Ego naming Approach of the Second Sun? This is largely what a wishboard is used for in the deck. We have one copy of Approach in there as a just in case and we can also edit it a little to include things that maybe deal with counterspells or removal that we think are going to be problematic. We can also include other things like Chandra, Awakened Inferno to also help us seal a game down, remembering that we are STILL a taking turns deck and we can survive from looping our Nexus of Fate. It might not be ideal, but it can still win us the game.

The wishboard


Well that's it from me today, Fires should fair pretty well. The fires deck needs some wishboard lovin, but who isn't excited for actual FREE TURNS! PIONEER looks BONKERS.