Pioneer is a format full of linear decks trying to curve out and overwhelm the opponent with their deck’s game plan before the opponent can catch up. There are of course some control and midrange decks that try to use interaction to combat these strategies, but linear decks are currently defining the format. Winota, Mono Green Devotion, Mono Red Aggro, Lotus Field, Sacrifice and Greasefang are all examples of these strategies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. My favorite of these strategies is a deck that gets to play an absurd amount of card selection and advantage, flexible and efficient cheap interaction and some of the most powerful cards in the format. That deck is, of course, Izzet Phoenix.
When hearing the name Izzet Phoenix I think that a lot of players still have the image of the old Modern Phoenix deck, which used the now banned Faithless looting to recur your resilient Phoenixes over and over again to beat down and overwhelm opposing removal spells. As nostalgic as I am for that deck, the Pioneer version plays pretty differently. Instead of focusing on maximizing the power of Arclight Phoenix and accruing small advantages over time by recurring them, the Pioneer version instead tries to draw massive amounts of cards, take multiple extra turns and passively win the game with Phoenixes while you absolutely bury your opponents in an avalanche of card advantage.
The deck has been a formidable force in Pioneer since the format’s inception, but has recently received a big buff with the recent printing of the cross-format superstar Ledger Shredder. I’ve been a broken record singing the praises of this bird for the last week or so, and without repeating myself too much I’d like to reiterating that the Shredder is a resilient and powerful threat that grows out of control quickly, provides an absurd amount of card selection, is a great discard outlet for Arclight Phoenix and fuels your delve spells.
Here’s where I’m at with the 75, I’ve been hugely impressed by the deck and recommend it for any upcoming tournaments. I’ve found the deck to be great versus Winota, Mono-Green, Mono-Red, Sacrifice and Blue/Red Control, has a somewhat close matchup versus Greasefang and struggles versus Azorius Control.