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Pioneer: 5 Competitive Decks to Start Out in the Format

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Pioneer is a very fun and diverse format, and also stars in the competitive circuit that leads to Pro Tours and Worlds. In this article I'll bring 5 ideal competitive lists for those starting out!

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Pioneer has been growing in popularity and visibility since the announcement of the new Organized Play season in Magic:The Gathering. Starting out in this format can be very fun, but not all players can currently invest heavily in the game. For this reason, I decided to write about five accessible and highly competitive decks for those who want to start playing Pioneer and may not want to invest or can't invest in a more diverse pool straight away.

All five lists I'll introduce next are largely played in the current metagame and will give you great odds of getting great results, once you have a good idea of the meta and learn how to dominate with the decks.


The lists were chosen based on their price both in Magic Online (Event Tickets or Tix) and IRL (Real Life). Besides that, I also tried to bring at least one list of each existing Magic archetypes (Aggro, Midrange, Tempo, Control and Combo), therefore bringing a diverse list of decks that are equally strong inside this format.

5 Decks to play Pioneer

Dimir Typhoon - Control

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The most classic Control Deck representative is obviously Azorius Control, with powerful cards such as Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and The Wandering Emperor, but its cousin Dimir, besides being cheaper, is also a great option.

The idea of this deck is the same as Azorius': stabilizing the board with annulments as you search for more answers with plenty of card advantage until the game is completely controlled and you can finish it up with Shark Typhoon's shark tokens, placing a Torrential Gearhulk on board or even a Hullbreaker Horror.

This list also counts with an excellent black color removal package, and even global removals such as Extinction Event and Shadows' Verdict which will gain you some time removing enemy threats until you can cast one of the bombs in this deck.

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Mono Blue Spirits - Tempo

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There are other versions of this deck, such as Azorius or even Bant Spirits, which make use of powerful cards such as Collected Company and Spell Queller, but the Mono Blue version is much more accessible and, with a few future additions, can be adapted and serve as a basis for Bant Spirits, which is the most played version.

It's a tribal deck, as the name suggests, using the best creatures of this tribe, which together have extremely synergistic interactions. As all Tempo decks, Mono Blue Spirits seeks to leave your opponent behind speeding up the match with card advantage and low cost annulments as it puts on a fast and effective clock with creatures such as Mausoleum Wanderer and Ascendant Spirit, which can finish the game in just a few rounds.

It is an extremely fast deck that can interact really well with your opponents and has gotten many results in Pioneer.

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Izzet Phoenix - Midrange

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Now I'll talk about one of the strongest and most known decks in the format: the powerful Izzet Phoenix. This deck is a Midrange that, just like the previously cited Mono Blue above, it also takes advantage of low cost spells, creating card advantage as it digs for resources to answer opponent's actions, but all Izzet strategy focuses around Arclight Phoenix.

The deck's strategy is to play all Phoenixes in your graveyard using spells such as Consider, Pieces of the Puzzle, or even to create value with Ledger Shredder, and then bring them onto the battlefield all at once in the same round. The deck also counts with low cost removals and powerful card advantage in the form of Treasure Cruise. The list also brings alternative finisher options as efficient as the Phoenixes.


Ledger many times finishes the game alone, creating value, feeding the graveyard as it grows more and more and we can't forget Thing in the Ice, which can be quite a problem for your opponent in case it remains on board long enough to transform.

This deck is the most expensive of all the ones that I talk about in this article, but it is a great investment due to being an extremely powerful and synergistic deck, even if it isn't the strongest deck in the format, it still has a guaranteed Top 3 spot. It is possible to check out more about its Challenger Deck and how to upgrade it by clicking herelink outside website.

Mono White Humans - Aggro

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The list's aggro. This deck has shown up more and more among the victorious lists and has shown to be a great option in a meta full of Mono Greens and Rakdos. This tribal gathers more than thirty creatures and its objective is simple, lay down a fast and effective clock, placing creatures on board that can interact among themselves. This list counts with powerful cards in matches against Control and Midrange, such as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Soldier of the Pantheon and Brave the Elements.

Pioneer has many good Aggro options, but Mono White Humans, besides having a very accessible price for anyone just starting out, seems to be a bit more well-positioned in the meta.

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Lotus Field - Combo

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Lastly, we couldn't go without mentioning one of the most complex combos in the format: Lotus Field Combo. This deck's strategies focus around creating massive amounts of mana to finish the game in just one round casting a lot of spells. For that, this list uses many forms of ramp and mana speeding, the main one being the land that names the deck, Lotus Field, besides tutors and a lot of card advantage.

Once the necessary mana was reached, by using the card Omniscience, which allows its player to cast spells for free, you can search for any card that has "from outside the game" and then use something like Approach of the Second Sun and win the game.

Lotus is another deck with a very accessible price in this format and, though it is complex, with practice it can be dominated and it is a great choice for players that are interested in strategies with a more Storm vibe.

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Final Thoughts

Another article's end reached. We talked about great options regarding each of Magic's archetypes for Pioneer. All lists presented above are well positioned in the metagame, and, obviously, can be adapted to the player's taste.

Another important detail about these decks is that some of them have a version in Challenger Decks Pioneer 2022 and can be acquired at an even lower price and can be enhanced bit by bit (which I, particularly, think it is a great way to invest in this format). Here at this website there is a series of articles focused on enhancing the Challenger Decks Pioneer and that can also help out players new to this format. You can find them herelink outside website!


I hope you've liked the read. Soon I will write more about Pioneer. In case you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comment section and I will try to answer all of them.

See you next time!