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Five Pioneer Budget Multicolored Decklists: Enemy Colors

Magic: the Gathering

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Five Pioneer Budget Multicolored Decklists: Enemy Colors

In today's article, I present another five budget decklists for Pioneer on the enemy-colors combinations: Boros, Orzhov, Golgari, Simic and Izzet!

By Humberto, 10/30/21, translated by Humberto, with help from our readers

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How about we start again with a recap? In the first article, I analyzed the Pioneer Challenger Decks, and I demonstrated how it is possible to gradually improve them to their most competitive version. In my second article, I presented the format's current metagame, explaining how each of the main archetypes work and their key cards.

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On my most recent articles, I've made five budget monocolored decklists that you can use to present the format to your friends, or for you to set up and play in your local community, and I also did it to allied-multicolored decks. Today, I will close the budget deck cycle, presenting five lists for enemy colors!

My Budget Rules

Below are the rules and standards used to build the decklists: — The final price of the deck must be cheaper than a Challenger Deck, with a difference in value that is relevant enough not to be too close to the final product. — Decks cannot be

mechanically equal to one of the Challenger Decks

as I would just be building a worse version of an existing and ready to play right out-of-the-box deck. — All lists were either built by me or adapted from content creator

Saffron Olive

, from MTGGoldfish, and all of them have been tested to be functional and have good consistency. — The lists were built based on the Brazilian price tags, which means some prices might differ a bit from other countries or regions throughout the world, depending on which marketplace you use to build these decks. — The manabase is constructed to be as functional as possible at the proposed value, which will occasionally result in too many lands entering the battlefield tapped, especially in enemy colors, where the combination of Tango Lands + Reveal Lands are not available. — Aether Hub is added to several lists to give some temporary colorfixing with a land that enters untapped, but multiple copies of it, on a starting hand, tends to be pretty bad. — Players can and should change the manabase of the decks as they like, but keep in mind that the fewer untapped and efficient lands, the worse the list's efficiency becomes. That said, let's get to today's archetypes!

Boros Cycling

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You surely remember this deck from the previous Standard season, or if you play Penny Dreadful, and although we unfortunately don't have Lightning Rift on Pioneer, Cycling has a very efficient base and great cards in the format, where you don't need to use cards “only” for the cycling effect, but also for their individual abilities.
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Cast Out works as a removal for any problematic permanents, while Djeru's Renunciation can delay an opponent's attack or remove blockers, and Footfall Craters and Go for Blood are well-known for their utility as evasion and removal, respectively.
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In the creature base, you have all the pieces: Flourishing Fox grows exponentially if it stays in play, Valiant Rescuer works as a Cycling Young Pyromancer, Drannith Stinger is an efficient clock and Drannith Healer can delay aggressive decks and, in addition to these cards, we also have the explosion offered by Hollow One, which can cost up to 0 mana to cast if you discard three cards during a turn, and there are possibilities where you'll play multiple copies of it in the same turn just by doing what the deck does naturally. A notable exclusion is Flameblade Adept and, honestly, with the lack of good Cycling lands in the format, I prefer as few chances as possible of my hand not having Cycling cards to use during turns

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Therefore, the only non-Cycling spell I run on the list is its “free-win button”, Zenith Flare, which adds a clock and inevitability to the archetype, and is commonly the most feared spell for our opponents.
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Finally, I don't know how much the archetype really needs Needleverge Pathway, but I added it to increase the consistency with which you can cast your spells, even though the archetype's mana requirements aren't huge, and you can replace it with more Plains if you want to cut some investment. I would keep the Battlefield Forge, though. Having at least four duals that enters untapped in this deck will make a difference more often than you think, as you still need colored mana to cast your main spells, and the consistency of Flourishing Fox on turn 1 and Drannith Stinger on turn 2 can be critical.
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On the sideboard, I tried to keep the Cycling theme so that I don't have moments where I don't have the means to keep its engine flowing, but I included cards like Declaration in Stone and Tormod's Crypt, necessary to deal with certain decks or strategies.

Orzhov Rally

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For the Orzhov list, we have a “combo” deck that seeks to abuse ETB/Death Triggers effects to gain value and win the game, 1 damage at a time.
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To accomplish this, we use spells that can return multiple creatures to the battlefield at once: Rally the Ancestors and Return to the Ranks. Rally the Ancestors can return any number of creatures costing X or less to the battlefield until the end of turn, then exiling them, but that's irrelevant since we'll use our creatures the same turn as they come into play. Return to the Ranks returns X creatures of cost 2 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield, and can be cast through Convoke, which means using your creatures on the battlefield to pay the X cost, or even the colored cost with white creatures in addition to your available mana.
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Our goal is to have a significant number of creatures that makes the opponent lose life when a creature comes into play, or dies, along with a Sac Outlet to sacrifice several creatures in the same turn, thus allowing a multitude of triggers that wins the game in the same turn where the combo operates. Cruel Celebrant and Zulaport Cutthroat makes the opponent lose 1 life for each creature you sacrifice, while Corpse Knight makes the opponent lose 1 life for each creature that enters the battlefield, which combos with Rally the Ancestors or Return to the Ranks. Grim Haruspex allows you to draw a card every time a creature dies, and should be used carefully, as it's not uncommon for this deck to have multiple Self-Mill triggers, and you end up losing the game because you don't have cards to draw. In sac outlets, we have Cartel Aristocrat as the only creature in the format that serves as an engine and can be reanimated by Return to the Ranks, and Woe Strider as a creature that sacrifices others at no cost, while adding one more body to the board when it comes into play.
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To speed up the number of creatures in the graveyard, we have two of the best Self-Mill elements in the format: Stitcher's Supplier allows you to mill three cards when it comes into play, and three more cards when it dies, being the main engine to accelerate your plan.

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Whereas Mire Triton mills only two cards, but it gives you 2 life and a body with Deathtouch to block opponent's creatures.
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The manabase is good and functional, as Caves of Koilos is pretty cheap due to its release on Challenger Decks and Isolated Chapel has had several reprints over the years, and we've supplemented with Snowfield Sinkhole, which interacts well with Check Lands.
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Unfortunately, this version is extremely "All-In", which makes it very vulnerable to specific sideboards such as Grafdigger's Cage, Go Blank, Rest in Peace, Leyline of the Void or Soul-Guide Lantern, and there's not much you can do about it if you don't try to respond to what the opponent plays before going for the combo. I did consider adopting a game plan that would make it sort of "Orzhov Aggro" post-sideboard, but the creatures we play are not good at being aggressive, and it would take many interactions to make this option viable, which is significantly difficult to execute in a budget deck. So, we have Duress to deal with cards in the opponent's hand, especially Anger of the Gods, Cathar Commando, and Fragmentize to deal with cards that stays on the battlefield, like Rest in Peace, and Bloodchief's Thirst to deal with creatures that counters ETBs/Death Triggers, or troublesome Planeswalkers. Sideboarding with this deck is not easy, and you often need to remove singletons so that other cards can join, as its plan is very strict and well-lined. For upgrades, it would be possible to turn this list into Rally Zombies, which has been making occasional results in Leagues and Challenges since Champion of the Perished was released, in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt.

Golgari Soulflayer

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One deck that became known at the beginning of the format, but did not succeed in remaining in the Metagame was Soulflayer, which runs a self-mill package to place specific creatures in the graveyard, to cast Soulflayer, which will have the ability of each of these creatures.
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For this list, the focus is on casting Soulflayer with at least Zetalpa, Primal Dawn in the graveyard, as this will give the creature a combination of abilities: Indestructible, Flying, Double Strike, Vigilance, and Trample, essentially making it a very difficult to interact three-turn clock.
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We also have creatures that can give specific abilities to Soulflayer, while they are castable cards at certain stages of the game. Murderous Rider is a very efficient removal, and is also an option to give Lifelink to Soulflayer Nullhide Ferox is a 6/6 Hexproof creature for four mana, being a threat in its own right, and granting Hexproof to the main card in the deck. Froghemoth is a viable budget option for Questing Beast, and offers Trample and Haste for Soulflayer. With these cards, even without Zetalpa in the graveyard, you can make Soulflayer an explosive and well-protected threat.
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And to put these cards in the graveyard, we run useful options to ensure the deck works as planned. Satyr Wayfinder grants a blocker, a means of securing your land drops and three cards in your graveyard.

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Gather the Pack grants four cards in your graveyard, while putting one or two creatures into your hand. And Grisly Salvage works like a mix of both cards, putting four cards into your graveyard while granting a land OR creature to your hand.
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We can't guarantee that the creatures we want to have in the graveyard won't be drawn during the game, and to ensure they're in the graveyard at the right time, we have two essential cards. Lotleth Troll is a threat in its own right, with a gradually growing body that is difficult to remove by conventional means, commonly also serving to speed up Soulflayer Sinister Concoction, on the other hand, was wonderful during my tests, as it's a removal that, with just one effect, removes a useless card from your hand, increases the number of cards in your graveyard, and diversifies the number of types of cards you have, which is essential for the piece that gives consistency to the list.
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Traverse the Ulvenwald is one of Pioneer's best tutors, which unfortunately is underused due to the huge amount of graveyard targets in the Metagame today. For one mana, you guarantee your land drop on early-game (essential for a deck that wants to put cards into the graveyard quickly), while in the late-game you guarantee you have the Soulflayer you sorely need to win the game. Traverse the Ulvenwald offers one of the most powerful tutor effects available in Pioneer, and it's definitely worth playing.
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In the lands, we run a set of Llanowar Wastes, which enters the battlefield untapped at any time, as well as a set of Temple of Malady as a land that can help remove unwanted cards from the top. I believe this list doesn't have too many problems with mana requirements, especially using Traverse the Ulvenwald and Satyr Wayfinder, but I think it's important to have consistent color access, and eight dual lands seems to be enough.
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The sideboard is pretty generic, but efficient. Duress ensures that your creature and/or graveyard will be protected throughout the game, commonly serving to remove that Rest in Peace on turn 1. Savage Summoning protects your Soulflayer from counterspells, the most efficient way to deal with the creature apart from discard effects like Thoughtseize. Reclamation Sage is on the list to deal with Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void, or any other troublesome artifact or enchantment. Finally, Nullhide Ferox and Froghemoth are present on the sideboard to give consistency to Soulflayer's cast, where Nullhide Ferox is necessary when the opponent has exile effects such as Fateful Absence, while Froghemoth is better against aggressive decks, where you need your Soulflayer to immediately impact the board to build pressure. There is plenty of room for the most diverse additions to this list, and it would be difficult to consider them all, but Nighthawk Scavenger, Samut, Voice of Dissent, Questing Beast and a number of possible variations to add consistency to the list exist and can be tried by the player.

Simic Flash

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For the Simic list, we have a Tempo deck that was known during two past Standard moments: Once during the Innistrad-Ravnica Standard, where a Simic Flash won a big tournament and was known for some time, and then at the Guilds of Raniva Standard, when Simic Flash was really recognized as an archetype in the format thanks to occasional additions.

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The objective in this archetype is to operate

completely

on the opponent's turn, which means that either your cards have Flash, or they are Instants, no exceptions. And the cards that really make this strategy viable are Brineborn Cutthroat, which grows every time you cast a spell on your opponent's turn, and Nightpack Ambusher, which creates a 2/2 token on each of your turns if you don't cast a spell, and both together manage to dominate the game if you use your resources well.
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To complement the list, we have several other creatures with Flash. Spectral Sailor is an evasive, low-cost body with a good late-game ability Sea-Dasher Octopus can be used on any creature you control to draw a card every turn, while it's also a Flash creature on its own. Like the card above, Boon Satyr can be enchanted on a creature you control to give it +4/+2, but it also functions as a 4/2 creature for three mana. Frilled Mystic is a 3/2 with a Counterspell for four mana, making it the perfect card for what this deck purports to do.
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Our goal in piloting Simic Flash is to delay the opponent's game so that our resources accumulate and our clock is too aggressive for them to recover, and Quench is the closest we have to Mana Leak in the format, which can delay the opponent for two turns. We also have Simic Charm, which works like a pump when needed, gives Hexproof to your permanents to protect them from removals, and can return a creature to your opponent's hand. Unsubstantiate is another efficient way to delay an opponent's plays, and can mean a Time Walk when they tapout to cast a spell, and it interacts in a very interesting way with Escape cards like Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, forcing the opponent to restart the loop from the beginning, as well as being useful for dealing with creatures that have already entered the battlefield. Finally, we have three copies of Saw it Coming as a late-game hard counter.
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Thanks to Lotus Combo's Challenger Deck, Temple of Mystery and Yavimaya Coast are pretty cheap these days, which contributes a lot to building this list's manabase, which it also has, due to the low cost of the other lands, a full set of Hinterland Harbor to complement the duals that enters untapped.
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Another sideboard full of 4-ofs that seem to interact well with a significant number of matchups. Aether Gust handles the format's red and green decks very well, being usable as a counter or bounce. Mystical Dispute works great against blue decks, but it's also a useful counter against Midrange decks trying to cast expensive spells. Reality Shift is a removal that exiles an opponent's creature, important for dealing with Arclight Phoenix or Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger Finally, Negate is an essential sideboard piece for dealing with Control or Midrange focused on removals and Planeswalkers. The best upgrades I can think of for this list, in addition to better lands, include Brazen Borrower as a card that directly interacts with everything the archetype wants to do, and perhaps copies of Dig Through Time could be useful, but I believe that the aggressive creature base does not hold the cards needed to use Delve optimally.

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Izzet Creativity

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I confess that one of my favorite archetypes is Combo-Control and, as challenging as it may seem, I really wanted to build a list of this archetype that would fit into the “budget” category.
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Indomitable Creativity was a card that gained a lot of attention over the last year because of interactions with Velomachus Lorehold and extra turns in Historic and Modern. In Pioneer, (un)fortunately, we don't have good enough extra turns to abuse Velomachus, and we also don't have high-impact threats like those currently played in Historic, like Serra's Emissary, but we do have a 2-card combo that can be tutored with it:
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The combo works like this: When Sage of the Falls or another nonhuman creature comes into play, you can draw a card and discard a card. When you draw a card, you'll trigger The Locust God's ability, creating a 1/1 Insect token, which will again trigger Sage of the Falls's ability, allowing you to draw another card, and thus you repeat the loop until you have enough tokens to attack the opponent and win the game. However, to perform this combo, we need two artifacts or creatures to be sacrificed with Indomitable Creativity, and how can we efficiently produce them without relying on Magma Opus or Shark Typhoon?
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Both Unexpected Windfall and Secrets of the Key produce exactly the number of artifacts we need with a single card. Also, both cards are very useful in, for instant-speed, helping to find the necessary pieces as they draw more cards, and they also interact very well together, as Secrets of the Key can be discarded by Unexpected Windfall to then be cast from the graveyard.
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We also have Narset, Parter of the Veils and Supreme Will to help dig deeper for Indomitable Creativity, with both also functioning as disruptive pieces, with Narset being very useful against decks that try to draw too many cards, and Supreme Will serving as a three-mana Mana Leak that never loses its usefulness in late-game. We also rely on Solve the Equation to find the exact piece we need at the moment: Be it Indomitable Creativity to close the combo, or Unexpected Windfall to produce the tokens, or even Fire Prophecy to reshuffle a piece or Commit // Memory to reshuffle the deck.
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The interaction package has efficient cards to deal with aggressive decks, and some maindeck Negates to protect the combo. Fire Prophecy has double utility as, if you draw one of the pieces to be fetched by Indomitable Creativity, you can instead cast it and then perform the combo (The Locust God is great at unlocking the rest of the combo if it stays in play), or put it at the bottom of the deck and draw a card

while still dealing 3 damage to a creature

. Sweltering Suns is my sweeper pick as it is more accessible than Anger of the Gods and can be reused as Cycling in non-aggro matchups Finally, Mizzium Mortars can handle larger creatures, while functioning as another sweeper on late-game.
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Since we have four copies of Solve the Equation, I thought it pertinent to have Commit // Memory in the list, especially because of Memory's ability to reshuffle the graveyard and draw seven cards, thus being able to recover the combo if one of the pieces was destroyed or discarded, as our Budget limitations do not allow us to create efficient alternative game plans.

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With a list that wants consistency to have two blue mana or two red mana on turn 3, and three red mana on turn 5, the inclusion of Dual Lands is much more important than any other deck I've produced for this article. Unfortunately, the Izzet duals are some of the most expensive in the format right now, so we need to bet on sub-optimized lands: Temple of Epiphany allows you to filter the top, removing a useless card or one of the creatures. Shivan Reef enters untapped, but its price is a little high together with the other cards, so we opted for just two copies. In the same logic as Temple of Epiphany, I chose to include two copies of Prismari Campus, which has the ability to filter the top of the deck on Late-Game. Finally, we have a playset of Aether Hub, which needs to be used carefully so that you don't run out of red mana to perform the combo, or blue mana to cast certain cards. I don't really like the manabase I built, but given the financial limitations and the Izzet duals really are the most expensive in the format, that's what can be done within my established rules
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The Sideboard on this list is also pretty generic, with Lava Coil and Magma Spray as interactions against recurring creatures. Dispel is being used as a play set because most interactions against the combo will be at Instant-Speed, Negate is for dealing with Planeswalkers and other problematic spells. Aether Gust is present to play against the red or green decks, delaying them enough turns to close the combo, and Mystical Dispute as an additional counter against blue decks and occasional midranges. As for improvements, there are so many places this list can go that it's hard to mention just one: you can choose to add other colors, or improve the consistency of the list, or even try an 80-card version with Yorion , Sky Nomad, among endless other options, with the ones that did result being the Jeskai versions that runs the combo alongside a control package with Shark Typhoon and efficient answers.

Bonus Deck

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Since we made a deck for each Guild, how about we present a list that contains them all? You probably remember the famous Gates deck that emerged during the Guilds of Ravnica Standard and was present as a casual deck the entire time Ravnica's last block was legal. Well, my memory reminds me of a Maze's End deck seeing play on the Pro Tour Dragon's Maze, in 2013. Not that it did a great result, but it was very interesting to watch and popularized it in local tournaments for a while.
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The objective of this archetype is simple and objective: Play ten gates with different names, activate Maze’s End and win the game. The list used in the Pro Tour essentially worked as a Control that had Maze's End as the main wincondition, but I won't try to reproduce this idea, as it will just be a much worse Control deck than the rest of the format.
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Instead, we play the great additions that the last few years have brought to the plan to play the Gates as fast as possible, while accumulating resources that can serve to slow down your opponent's game or speed up yours. Growth Spiral and Eureka Moment are great options, as they allow you to play additional land while drawing cards, and will often be the means you'll have to get more resources and fix manabase.

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Circuitous Route is a great Ramp/Tutor that can find two different Gates and put them straight into play, and using it in Late-game with an untapped Maze's End can significantly accelerate your victory. Arboreal Grazer is a great blocker in Early-Game, while also helping to speed up mana, preferably playing a Guildgate with its ability.
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And to add consistency, we have cards that can fetch any land, including Maze's End. Sylvan Scrying can search for Maze's End, but for most early game occasions, you'll use it as a manafixer for the colors you need. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim also has a relevant activated ability that can commonly dominate the match, but needs to be used carefully as the possibility of it exiling two different gates exists, which can become a problem at certain stages of the game, even with the list using all 11 Gates available in the format.
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This is not a deck where we want to use 1-for-1 trades with the opponent, so we opted for more efficient interactions. Gates Ablaze can, for a low cost, deal with multiple creatures at once, usually dealing 4 damage the first time it's cast and stacking more damage as the game stretches. Saruli Gatekeepers gives you 7 life and a 2/4 body to block opponent's creatures, potentially serving as a Time Walk against aggressive decks, and all this list requires is a few more turns to activate Maze's End and win the game.
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I've also added three copies of Fae of Wishes to the list, as a good early game blocker and offers a powerful toolbox on Late-Game.
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Crackling Perimeter serves as an alternate wincondition, allowing you to tap your Gates to deal damage to your opponent, and can be used repeatedly to win the game against matches where your land has been destroyed by Field of Ruin . Detention Sphere is for dealing with every kind of problematic permanent the opponent might have, and it's the only targeted removal on the list, and it can handle creatures, planeswalkers, enchantments, and whatever else is needed. Shatter the Sky is a sweeper that deals with creatures that Gates Ablaze may have difficulty resolving on time. Mystical Dispute and Dovin's Veto deal with spells that blue decks and/or disruptive decks might try to use to interrupt the combo. Natural State deals with cards like Pithing Needle or Sorcerous Spyglass. Pulse of Murasa serves either to return Maze's End or some Guildgate from the graveyard to your hand if it is destroyed with Field of Ruin or any card that destroys lands, and can also be used to return Saruli Gatekeepers or another creature in your graveyard and gain 6 life. The additional copy of Maze's End is a way of dodging Necromentia and other effects that can permanently exile your wincondition.
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As this is a Simic deck with splashes for white and red, we have a playset of Simic Guildgate, and an additional copy of Selesnya Guildgate and Izzet Guildgate, so Plaza of Harmony commonly have access to all the mana colors you need. In particular, there are many variants of where one could go with this deck, but I prefer to emphasize that this list is more geared towards casual games and that it will hardly stand out well in a competitive scenario, and I don't believe there is currently a route to make it more competitive, although there are always ways to make it more fun!

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Conclusion

These were the budget decklists that I put together so that a player can get into Pioneer. In all, I've presented thirteen different lists from the most diverse categories and for every kind of player, and I hope these ideas will motivate communities to come together and attract more players to the format, as there is plenty of room not only for competition in Pioneer, but also for fun and interesting ideas. Thanks for reading!
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Humberto

Writer and translator for Cards Realm. Plays virtually Magic: The Gathering competitive formats. Pauper Masters' Organizer.

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