The following 5 decks caught my eye when playing Pioneer lately.
Pioneer Humans Deck List
This Humans list comes from Felix Sloo who played this deck at PT Nagoya, which was on the same weekend as PT Brussels. We talked a bunch before the event and I actually really liked this deck too, which should come as no surprise as someone who likes aggressive decks and who did well with Humans in Modern. My version is a little different and this is how I would play the deck now, after PT Phoenix.
With Niv to Light slowly disappearing from the Pioneer metagame, I replaced Soldier of the Pantheon with Dauntless Bodyguard, which can help you protect your Mantis Rider or Tocatli Honor Guard out of the sideboard against Dimir Inverter.
This deck plays out exactly like the Humans version in Modern and is capable of some very explosive draws, with the addition of the Adventure package, which gives you a little bit of card advantage as well. The downside is that you lose Aether Vial and Noble Hierarch, making your mana worse. It’s a super fun deck though and it’s very fast, so if you are a fan of Humans or maybe have this deck already built for Modern, give it a try. Shepherd of the Flock can do some nasty things with Thalia’s Lieutenant and Reflector Mage and can be quite a big blowout if your opponent doesn’t see it coming.
Some additional Humans that could fit in the deck are Kytheon, Hero of Akros, Voltaic Brawler, Hamlet Captain, Militia Bugler, Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Tomik Distinguished Advokist, which prevents your opponent from copying their Lotus Field with Thespian Stage.
Grixis Ensoul Deck List
I’m a big fan of Unlicensed Disintegration, so when I got this list from Joshua Bausch, I was pretty excited. I already wrote about U/R Ensoul in another article, so I’m not gonna spend too much time describing how this deck works. Unlicensed Desintegration is an excellent removal spell that kills anything, unlike some of the fillers than Enousl normally plays like Wild Slash.
Black gives you access to Scrapheap Scrounger, which is an excellent way to fight decks with a lot of removal like Fatal Push. Additionally, Thoughtseize should help against combo decks and Infernal Reckoning is another interesting sideboard card that can exile Mutavault or Inverter of Truth for just one mana.
If you really wanted to go all in on making 5/5s out of your creatures, you can also add Tezzeret’s Touch
This is my own version of Monoblack. I’m quite surprised nobody has been playing Pack Rats in Monoblack in Pioneer. Discard into Pack Rat has historically been one of the strongest openings in Standard and even though I keep comparing Pioneer to Modern, I think it’s still quite good here. Keep in mind that you also have Mutavault as an additional Rat, which is quite relevant. It also helps you actually do something when you’re flooding out. Sure, normally you can usually activate Castle Lochtwain, but you are only drawing into more lands and random 2/1s that get outclassed really quickly.
Rotting Regisaur is a concession to the combo decks in the format, I just want to close games out as soon as possible. It’s also great against red which just can’t deal with a 7/6. It looks like a nombo with Rat but it actually plays out fine. I’m not really interested in expensive 4-drops like Rankle or cards like Spawn of Mayhem, they just don’t feel good enough.
Mono Red Decklist
This was my monored list before PT Phoenix. After just a few games with the “Chonky Red” decks, I immediately hated all the expensive cards like Glorybringer and Torbran. There’s also absolutely no way I’m playing 24 or even 26 lands in Monored. I think the idea of a Monored deck in pioneer should be to have a low curve and beat people down before they can play all their cards.
I really like Eidolon of the Great Revel in a combo oriented format. Ash Zealot is another card that can completely shut down a graveyard deck like Breach and the 2/2 first strike body is even very relevant against other aggro decks, unlike Eidolon, which can also hurt you and is horrible against other creature decks. I always thought Scab-Clan was too expensive and unreliable, especially when some of the combo decks play cards like Arboreal Grazer. I found Bonecrusher Giant to just be too slow, although it sure is great in the small-creature-mirrors.
Lately I’ve been seeing Collective Defiance as an anti-Inverter tech, the first mode says *target* player discards their hand and draws that many cards, which is often “lethal” right after they played Inverter and have just one or two cards in their library.
I also liked the following version that Pete Ward played to an 11-5 finish, also keeping the curve low and utilizing cards like Light up the Stage.
The last deck that I found interesting was Boggles.
Bogles Deck List
In a format full of Fatal Pushes, it seemed reasonable to try a Hexproof strategy. There are a lot of nice Enchantment synergies in this deck and Sram helps you dig deeper into your deck for more ways to make your creatues bigger.
Ultimately, I thought the deck was one more Bogle short of being competitive, but I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people happy to see this. Bassara Tower Archer is another hexproof creature you can play, but it costs two mana and double green would be pretty hard on the mana base. You could also try something similar to this, but I feel like you should at least add 4 Adanto Vanguards to have more creatures.
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