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Pioneer Naya Winota – Deck Guide

Getting into any format can be a daunting task. There are dozens of decks with complicated game plans that together all weave a convoluted web that makes a metagame. Trying to understand these metagame dynamics without any experience playing the format is nearly impossible, which makes selecting a deck difficult. To try and alleviate this issue I recently wrote a guide on the first steps to get into the format.

While this guide recommends spending a lot of time researching the different decks in the format and doing some exploring to find a deck you like, I also recognize that some players just want to pick up a deck and start jamming games. For players with this attitude, there’s no deck that I can recommend more than Winota. Not only is Winota one of the top decks in the format with crazy nut draws, a great backup game plan and premium sideboard cards, but the deck is also one of the simplest in the format to pilot. This makes it a great choice to pick up as a first deck for Pioneer.

For those who aren’t familiar with the archetype, the deck’s plan A is resolving a copy of Winota, Joiner of Forces while you have as many non-Humans as possible ready to attack. Then trigger Winota hoping to amass an overwhelming board state, putting into play as many Tovolar’s Huntmasters and Brutal Cathars as you can. You’ll also want to remember that you can put another copy of Winota into play and keep the new one over the old one as an indestructible attacker.

Let’s take a look at Winota, Joiner of Forces

Winota, Joiner of Forces

Winota is a truly ridiculous Magic card. The combination of being able to trigger multiple times on the same turn, seeing a whopping six cards with each trigger, making the attacking creature indestructible all make Winota noticeably more powerful than literally any other four mana spell in the format. Being a four-mana 4/4 also makes it no slouch in combat and dodges almost all of the main deckable red removal spells in the format. While this plan is immensely powerful, the deck also has a great beatdown plan B using Thalia, Voice of Resurgence, Esika’s Chariot, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Brutal Cathar and Tovolar’s Huntmaster to flood the board with bodies.

Here’s the list that I’ve been playing, I consider it to be somewhat “stock” and this early into the exploration of the Pioneer format, you’ll want to keep in mind that there’s always room for innovation. In my experience, Winota is great versus most opposing creature decks like Mono-Red and Mono-Green Devotion, it has a favorable matchup against Lotus Field, Sacrifice and midrange matchups and struggles some versus control variants and Phoenix.

 

 

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Pioneer Naya Winota by Evart Moughon

 

Header - Mulligan Decisions

Like I mentioned earlier, the deck is fairly straightforward when piloting it. Your decision lines are usually just casting your highest value card on each turn. That being said, if there’s one thing I’d like you to take away from this article before picking up the deck is understanding the range of keepable hands.

Your best hands contain either a one-mana Elf on turn one or a Winota that it seems like you can reasonably cast. Your very best hands have both of course, but in my experience during game one you should strongly consider mulliganing if your seven-card opening hand has neither a one-mana Elf nor a Winota. There is a small range of keepable hands that have neither, but have a good mana curve, like one that has three appropriate lands, Voice of Resurgence, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Esika’s Chariot.

Once you’ve mulliganed to six during game one, you can be a little less picky, ideally still finding a turn one Ef or Winota, but keeping hands that have neither that can still cast their spells.

For your five-card hands game one, you need to keep most hands that have lands and spells.

During sideboard games, your range of keepable hands increases significantly as your premium seven-card hands either contain a key sideboard card, a mana Elf or a Winota.

Let’s take a look at some sample hands:

Game one, in the blind on the play. Keep or Mulligan?

Example Hand 1: Keep - Stomping Ground, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Needleverge Pathway, Voice of Resurgence, Esika's Chariot, Cragcrown Pathway, Temple Garden

This is the quintessential example of a hand without a mana dork or Winota that’s a keep. You have a good curve and Fable to smooth out your draws.

Game one, in the blind on the Draw. Keep or Mulligan?

Example Hand 2 - Keep: Winota, Joiner of Forces, Elvish Mystic, Boseiju, Who Endures, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Brutal Cathar, Temple Garden, Voice of Resurgence

Despite not having access to red mana, having both Winota and the ability to flood the board early makes this an easy keep. Even if you miss on red mana for a few turns, you’ll just be one top-deck away from running away with the game.

Game one, in the blind on the play. Keep or Mulligan?

Example Hand 3: Mull - Prosperous Innkeeper, Cragcrown Pathway, Cragcrown Pathway, Temple Garden, Esika's Chariot, Voice of Resurgence, Sacred Foundry

Compared to the last hand, without Fable, this hand is worse than the average six-card hand in my opinion and I would opt to mulligan. That being said, if this were a six-card hand, I would opt to keep and put back the second Pathway. Your five-card hands get kind of dicey and this hand can at least put a reasonable amount of early creatures into play and hope to top-deck a Winota.

Game Two, on the draw versus Lotus Field combo. Keep or Mulligan?

Example Hand 4: Mull - Voice of Resurgence, Voice of Resurgence, Temple Garden, Elvish Mystic, Stomping Ground, Tovolar's Huntmaster, Stomping Ground

While this is a hand I’d be happy to keep versus an unknown opponent, versus Lotus Field you have neither a Winota to race nor an Archon of Emeria to lock your opponent out. You have a huge range of four, five and six-card hands that have one of those two things, and you should try to mulligan for one of them.

 

Header - Sideboard Guide

As always, thanks for reading. Here’s how I’ve been sideboarding with this 75:

Azorius Control

Azorius Control

In: +3 Elite Spellbinder

Out: -3 Brutal Cathar

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Naya Winota (Mirror)

Lotus Field

Lotus Field

Izzet Phoenix (No Thing in the Ice)

Izzet Phoenix

In: +3 Rest in Peace

Out: -1 Prosperous Innkeeper, -2 Brutal Cathar

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Izzet Control

Izzet Control

In: +2 Rest in Peace

Out: -2 Prosperous Innkeeper

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Mono-Red Aggro

Mono-Red Aggro

Rakdos Midrange

Rakdos Midrange

No changes

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Rakdos Anvil

Niv to Light

Niv to Light

In: +3 Elite Spellbinder

Out: -3 Brutal Cathar

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Greasefang

Greasefang

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