Top 10 best 2021 decks for Pioneer

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Top 10 best 2021 decks for Pioneer

03/01/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

A flashback of Pioneer's metagame in 2021 and its ten most-played decks throughout the year!

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Introduction

My name is Thiago Fogaça and some of you may already know me from ancient times here at Cards Realm, where I was talking about Commander and its derivations. Since then, a lot has happened, so today I have a channel on YouTube where I talk about Pioneer, and that will be our topic for today. As a recap, Pioneer appeared in 2019 as an alternative to a non-rotating format where the cards that left the Standard could find a place, since Modern could no longer do this function thanks to its pool and increasing price tag. Since then, a lot has happened and the format has had its ups and downs, in a way that 2021 was an important year for the consolidation and popularization of the so-called “people's format”. With that, our article today aims to recap through a top 10 some important facts in the history of this brief format and the main decks that saw play this year.

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10. Mono-Green Walkers

We start our decks with Pioneer's famous Tron, the Mono-Green Walkers. The idea of the deck is to impose pressure quickly with one or more Planeswalkers that are brought to the board as quickly as possible through ramps and other techs.
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With the pressure imposed on the board, lists are able to divert attention from aggro, generate more value than midranges, and be fast enough to make control have some difficulty. However, they are easily hated out, whether they are with Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, or Karn, the Great Creator, so the deck never made it into the top 3, but has been well-placed at the beginning of the year.

9. Vampires

Next, we're on to a new feature in the format, Vampires. Recently, the release of Crimson Vow gave us the Orzhov version with Sorin the Mirthless, and Edgar, Charmed Groom, which tops the current meta.
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The Mono-Black list that only had the 3 mana Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord as the main tech was present in the meta throughout the year, getting more consistency with Innistrad's additions, becoming a full Midrange, no longer depending on the linearity provided by the curve-breaking planeswalker.
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8. Mono-Black Aggro

Following the black vibe, we go to a deck that has been present since the first phase of the format in 2019. The MBA is currently in a bad spot, but its presence in 2021 was significant, especially after the ban in February, where aggressive decks had more space in the format, especially if they had answers to other possible aggro decks.
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Its tendency, unfortunately, is to remain low, as it cannot compete on speed or value with other decks at the top right now.

7. Naya Winota

And speaking of value, let's go to one of the masters of this feature in the format. Winota has had several builds, including human-type creatures that create non-human tokens to trigger her ability
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This shell followed until the release of Innistrad Midnight Hunt, where werewolves emerged and made the deck this current monster, but its position ends up declining for lack of predominance before such fact, even though the current trend is for it to occupy a high position in the 2022 Metagame.

6. Dimir Control

If we have value decks showing up, control should also pop up to hold back the super greedy builds. With that, Dimir Control stands out as the main Draw-Go of the format, a fact made possible by Teferi, Time Raveler's ban.
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Its dominance also relied on its good matchup against Niv to Light, a deck that was predominant for a long time, to be replaced precisely by Dimir, which, in turn, gave way to the current diversified Metagame.

5. Spirits

If, on the one hand, we have value decks, on the other, we have tempo decks with a good presence in Pioneer, and, without a doubt, the main one is Spirits, a tribal deck that has Bant, Azorius, and Mono-Blue versions.
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Its characteristics include lords and tricks based on flash creatures that can populate the board and impose pressure, while these establish answers to the opponent's play, gaining time to finish the game. It has never been at the top, but it's the kind of deck that will always be close to it or at least remain among the top contenders.

4. Rakdos Pyromancer

The keyword so far has been value, as you can see, and thinking about it, comes this beautiful deck, the Rakdos Pyromancer, which bets not on generating value for its own game, but on decreasing the opponent's resources, through discards, removals, and other 2-for-1 effects that answers to the opponent's game plan.
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Speaking like that, it looks like the deck is flawless, however, its reliance on the graveyard makes it easily bypassed, so it's always between the heads but never on top of the podium and acts as a fun police against greedy decks.
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3. Burn

The other format's fun police is Boros Burn
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Even though it is not a traditional Burn, as it has more creatures, the red deck with a splash for white turns out to be one of the fastest in the format, if not the most, and has an absurd consistency. This phenomenon makes it excellent for post-ban Metagames or for mowing unprepared value decks, guaranteeing its presence in 3rd place on our list.
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2. Niv to Light

As you can already see, 2021 was the year of value decks, and for most of it, Niv to Light was the main exponent for the format's midranges.
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Its dominance lasted until Dimir Control pulled it off the top, but it didn't disappear and still manages to make good results, thus making this toolbox based on Bring to Light wins second on this list.

1. Izzet Phoenix

Finally, we reached the first place, which could not be another deck: Izzet Phoenix. After the Expressive Iteration, it became the main exponent of the format's value.
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Consider 's printing and the shell update to run various low-cost spells that cycle themselves as cantrips and allow for great consistency in the act of returning the phoenixes to the battlefield end up ensuring that every self-respecting deck needs answers for this strategy and that Izzet Phoenix finishes 2021 as Pioneer's deck to beat.

Conclusion

And we come to the end of our article. Overall, Pioneer's Metagame is skewed towards midranges and/or decks that manage to generate value at the board thanks to the disproportionality between threats and answers. This reality is starting to change with the printing of cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, which I hope will change the perspective of the format to 2022 and make Pioneer stay healthy just as it deserves.
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Thiago Fogaça

Jogador de Magic desde Tarkir, sou apaixonado por interações e sinergias que quebram a curva do jogo. Para mim, o cEDH é o teste máximo para o jogador de Magic, tanto para deck build, quanto para gameplay. Para me acompanhar no YouTube, acessem meu canal.

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