Magic: the Gathering


Pioneer: The Winning & Losing Decks from Pro Tour MKM

, Comment regular icon1 comments

In today's article, we evaluate the main winning and losing decks of Pro Tour Murders at Karlov Manor, their win rate and representation, and how the event could affect the format!

Writer image

traducido por Romeu

Writer image

revisado por Tabata Marques

Edit Article

The Pro Tour Murders at Karlov Manorlink outside website came to an end with the victory of Seth Manfield over Simon Nielsenlink outside website in a final with two unexpected archetypes: Rakdos Vampires and Boros Heroic.

If the tournament taught us a lesson, it's that nothing is guaranteed in Pioneer. Two of the most played decks of the event, Azorius Control and Rakdos Midrange, had very low performance, while less popular strategies had high winrates and excellent Top 8 conversions.


Pro Tour Murders at Karlov Manor Winrates, by Frank Karsten
Pro Tour Murders at Karlov Manor Winrates, by Frank Karsten

With the metrics above, presented by mathematician Frank Karsten, we can get a sense of how the Pioneer Metagame should move in the coming weeks and which decks gain and lose representation with the Pro Tour results.

In this article, I analyze the main archetypes that stood out at the event and which ones left something to be desired, and how they should move in the competitive scene in the coming weeks!

The Winning Decks from Pro Tour MKM

Rakdos Vampires

Loading icon

Loading icon

With a winrate above 60% and 100% conversion for Day 2, in addition to placing two of its 11 copies in the Top 8 and also being the deck used by the Pro Tour winner, Rakdos Vampires was the breakout deck of the event and should establish itself as one of the most played archetypes in the format in a few weeks.

Loading icon

Building on Rakdos Midrange's already well-established core with Thoughtseize, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Bloodtithe Harvester, this new strategy runs the recently released Vein Ripper alongside from Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord to cheat on mana costs and put the opponent against an extremely troublesome board.

Loading icon

Vein Ripper may not be more impressive than Ghalta and Mavren in impact on the board, but a 6/5 with Flying becomes especially lethal alongside Sorin's first ability, granting seven life every turn which the creature attacks.

Additionally, its ability interacts with Planeswalker's second ability, transforming it into a Lava Axe and also with Bloodtithe Harvester and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker to accumulate damage with its triggers.

Vein Ripper's Ward was a great Meta Call for a format where decks like Azorius Control were on the rise, as it turns into a pseudo-Hexproof if the opponent has no creatures to sacrifice, and even in games against other Midranges and/or Tempo, the removals make it difficult for the opponent to deal with the new vampire.

This is certainly the archetype with the greatest potential for growth in the format, and we can expect adaptations and the rise of new decks to play around it - some Izzet Phoenix lists, for example, already run Tears of Valakut in their Sideboard to destroy Vein Ripper.

Izzet Phoenix

Loading icon

Loading icon

Izzet Phoenix remains a well-established and adaptable deck to deal with any Metagame in which it is inserted. Among the three major archetypes played in the format, it was the only one to present a positive win rate and without any major surprises to what was already expected from it: a solid game against the most contenders and a horrendous matchup against Lotus Combo.

This is also a strategy capable of playing on par against the new Rakdos Vampires and adopting good maindeck or sideboard options to deal with the recent rise of the new archetype. It won't be a surprise to see more copies of Young Pyromancer and the like in the coming weeks!


Abzan Amalia

Loading icon

Abzan Amalia remains a solid option for the Metagame due to its sudden combo-kill potential and a Sideboard that is highly adaptable to what is trending in Pioneer.

But there is a problem: as witnessed in the game between Simon Nielsen and Christoffer Larsen, Abzan Amalia brings a dozen logistical problems to in-person tournaments, forcing draws and consuming a lot of time in plays that can favor both its controller and the opponent, depending on which archetype it is against.

There are reports of many cases where players use this strategy to cause intentional draws in Magic Arena, and this situation occurring live and taking the semifinal match to Game 7 certainly leaves an impression on the problems created by the combo between Amalia Benavides Aguirre and Wildgrowth Walker.

Therefore, Wizards might decide to ban one of the combo pieces and bury the archetype to make the Pioneer environment less prone to situations like those witnessed on the Pro Tour.

Boros Heroic

Loading icon

Boros Heroic, as discredited on social media as Rakdos Vampires when Metagame was revealedlink outside website, had a notably positive result in the Pro Tour, despite a low conversion rate, with 58.3%

Among the main matchups, it is heavily disadvantaged against Rakdos Midrange and Abzan Amalia. While the possibility of them replacing Midrange with Rakdos Vampires is not very favorable for Heroic, a possible ban on Amalia Benavides Aguirre could help it grow a little more in the Metagame, seeing as how it was a good Meta Call against Lotus Combo and had a decent matchup against Azorius Control.

On the other hand, even with the permanence of these archetypes, Boros Heroic presents itself as a solid option to prey on unprepared opponents and become the main “All-In” strategy at the current Pioneer.

Quintorius Combo

Loading icon

Quintorius Combo was the deck with more than one copy of the event with the highest winrate of the tournament. Although its representation number is still very low, it showed a positive winrate against all the main decks, except Lotus Combo (with 0-0) and Boros Heroic (0-1)

Does this make it a more viable option in the Metagame? Perhaps. Or maybe the players weren't prepared enough to deal with it, but these numbers leave a signal for the format and a trail players might follow next week. Therefore, it wouldn't be a surprise if this combo becomes more popular for a while.

The Losing Decks from Pro Tour MKM

Rakdos Midrange

Loading icon

Rakdos Midrange had the lowest win rate among the format's main decks in the Pro Tour, with 41.7%.

Perhaps these numbers reflect a Metagame that overprepared for this matchup to the point of suppressing its winning potential in most games. On the other hand, Rakdos Midrange also prepared against the rest of the Meta and still had poor results against them.


It is possible that the current state of Pioneer has made it too fair to compete, and the rise of the new Vampires variant could cause it to lose its place as one of the format's pillars.

Azorius Control

Loading icon

Azorius Control, whose rise is tied to the release of No More Lies, Deduce and Meticulous Archive in Murders at Karlov Manor, may have been another major victim of excess Meta Call.

Even the rise of Rakdos Vampires seems to be linked to the addition of this deck in the Metagame and its difficulty in dealing with Vein Ripper, and Boros Heroic is another strategy that manages to take advantage of Azorius's slow start to the game to beat it in a few turns - In the end, Azorius Control was a victim of its own success.

Lotus Combo

Loading icon

Lotus Combo turned out to be relatively poorly positioned in the event, despite its very positive winrate against the event's main deck, Izzet Phoenix.

It is difficult to assume how much this drop in win rates will be reflected in online events or even in-person tournaments because Lotus players are extremely faithful to their deck, as it is a strategy with a high reward rate for knowing all the moves and possibilities for each turn, in addition to being one of the archetypes benefiting from the new expansion with Archdruid's Charm.

Izzet Ensoul

Loading icon

Izzet Ensoul showed good results against Lotus Combo, so it deserves some merit as a good Meta Call for this matchup, but its results against the rest were pretty poor.

The recent rise of Boros Heroic brings another problem, as it is possible that it will become the main “play under” archetype, taking a place which currently belongs to Ensoul and Boros Convoke (whose position should remain the same).

Both Boros Heroic and Ensoul require relatively similar responses, such as cheap sweepers and/or removals that bypass protection and/or Indestructible. Therefore, it wouldn't be a surprise if it had a drop in popularity as a side effect of Heroic's rise.

Jeskai Creativity

Loading icon

Another new feature of the event, Jeskai Creativity was an unreliable and perhaps too greedy option for the current Pioneer. It had decent matchups against Amalia and Rakdos Midrange, but its overall win rate was too low to be considered as the evolution of Izzet's variant.

The Jeskai shell, however, is not disposable: Jeskai Control had a decent result in the event despite its few copies, and both strategies might have something to learn from each other about how to adapt to the Metagame and create a more solid and consistent archetype.

Today, however, I would still bet my chips on the Izzet version of Indomitable Creativity, with Xenagos, God of Revels and Worldspine Wurm.


That's all for today.

In the coming weeks, Rakdos Vampire is likely to take Rakdos Midrange's place in the Metagame for a while until other decks find ways to deal with the format's big news. It is worth mentioning that a large representation in the first weeks does not imply the need for an immediate ban: the format can adapt, and new approaches might emerge.


Amalia Benavides Aguirre, on the other hand, runs a great risk of being banned despite not showing absurd win rates. Her combo is intrinsically linked to anti-game states, whether due to a draw or gaining 100 life in a single turn, and Wizards has a long history of avoiding these situations in its formats - Especially when they show up on camera in major competitive events.

Thanks for reading!