Welcome to the latest edition of Charting a Course!
The past few weeks has seen a growing focus on the competitive balance in the Pioneer format as the Regional Championships approach next month.
At PlayingPioneer.com, our competitive team has been looking at events each week and the past month has seen two decks sit above the rest – Rakdos Midrange and Green Devotion. Read more about this in Ruckman’s September Monthly Meta Snapshot!
I’m not one to advocate for bans from WotC, but in this week’s article I thought it would be interesting to compare the data before our last bannings to the current state of the meta.
Pre-Ban Winota/EI SNC Season Challenge Results* (12 events)
|Deck||Top 32s||Top 16s||Top 8s|
|Mono Red Burn||26||9||7|
|Mono Green Devotion||22||13||6|
|Lotus Field Combo||21||11||6|
*Next highest number of Top 32 finishes was Boros Heroic and Bant Spirits with 10 each.
Current DMU Season Challenge Results* (11 events)
|Deck||Top 32s||Top 16s||Top 8s|
|Mono White Humans||22||8||4|
*Recent Pioneer Qualifier only had Top 16 published by WotC.
Now, there’s a lot to discuss about the reasoning behind the bannings of Expressive Iteration and Winota, but looking at the data available there is certainly some similarity with the prevalence of Mono-Green Devotion / Rakdos Midrange currently to that of Winota / Expressive Iteration decks directly before the banning.
As with Winota, Mono-Green Devotion has been a constant presence in the meta for a while now, but recent innovations like the addition of Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset has put the deck over the top in terms of its ability to combo kill an opponent. Perhaps unlike Winota decks though, a potential banning of Karn, the Great Creator wouldn’t destroy the archetype. In last weekend’s MTGO Challenges, we saw this list from Never_DidntHaveIt.
This start to the DMU season has been eerily similar to the rise of Izzet Decks at the beginning of SNC season. Bolstered by cards from the new set (Ledger Shredder from SNC, Liliana of the Veil and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse from DMU) these decks have reached a large percentage of tournament winning results, despite being a largely fair strategy. I can see how Fable of the Mirror-Breaker has become a target in ban discussions, much like Expressive Iteration it is being slotted into any deck with its colors and greatly assists decks in smoothing out rough draws thanks to its second chapter.
The ‘Most Dominant’ Decks of the Week
|Week||Most Top 32s||Most Top 16s||Most Top 8s|
|Sept 3-4||Rakdos Midrange (9)||Rakdos Midrange (6)||Rakdos Midrange (3)|
|Sept 10-11||Rakdos Midrange (11)||Rakdos Midrange (7)||Rakdos Midrange (5)|
|Sept 17-18||Rakdos Midrange, Green Devotion (13)||Rakdos Midrange, Green Devotion (7)||Green Devotion (5)|
|Sept 24-25||Rakdos Midrange (22)||Rakdos Midrange (10)||Rakdos Midrange (7)|
|Oct 1-2*||Rakdos Midrange (15)||Rakdos Midrange (11)||Green Devotion (6)|
The last month has been dominated by these two decks, but with only a month until The Brothers’ War releases, we may see the community given the chance to shift the metagame in response to Rakdos Midrange and Mono-Green Devotion rather than see another banning. Indeed in Sunday’s Pioneer Super Qualifier we saw a completely unique Top 8 with zero copies of Rakdos Midrange, though when looking at the Top 32 Green Devotion was by far the dominant deck.
Deck to Watch
This past week, we’ve seen the appearance of a White Devotion deck, aiming to outgrind opponents with value thanks to cards like Charming Prince, Serra Paragon, Yorion, Sky Nomad and even Fable of the Mirror-Breaker!
Until Next Time
This weekend you can watch some high-stakes Pioneer in the 2022 Magic Online Champions Showcase Season 2, featuring eight of the best MTGO grinders. The Showcase starts with a Modern Cube Draft followed by a three-round Pioneer Constructed event. Click here for more information!