Charting a Course – The Meta Finds A Way

Arinceo breaks down the data pre-Winota ban and post-Winota ban.

Welcome to the latest edition of Charting a Course! 

We’re now just over one month post-ban and the spotlight is firmly on Pioneer with the RCQ season just kicking off in paper. Not all RCQs being conducted are Pioneer, but many stores are choosing it, given it will be the Pro Tour format and perhaps also due to it being more accessible to players than Modern from a cost perspective.

When it comes to data on paper events, for the time being we’ll avoid using any RCQs in our meta calculations or tier list judgements — it’s hard to compare the various size of events (or data available) and the comparative strength of the fields.

However, Hareuya will be running their latest well-known God of Pioneer tournament this weekend and PlayingPioneer contributor Ryan will be playing in the event, providing live updates via Twitter and will release an article next week with a wrap-up of the event.

In this week’s article we’re taking a look at the recent weeks of post-ban MTGO Challenges and how the meta has evolved.

Pre-Ban Data

I included this in our last dive into the meta, but for reference here’s the top performing decks from the release of Streets of New Capenna up until the ban:

Pre-Ban SNC Season Challenge Results*

DeckTop 32sTop 16sTop 8s
Naya Winota522512
Izzet Prowess38167
Rakdos Midrange35187
Izzet Phoenix34197
Azorius Control271312
Mono Red Burn2697
Mono Green Devotion22136
Lotus Field Combo21116
Izzet Control19127
Izzet Base914721

*Next highest number of Top 32 finishes was Boros Heroic and Bant Spirits with 10 each.

Post-Ban Data

Post-Ban SNC Challenge Results*

DeckTop 32sTop 16sTop 8s
Izzet Phoenix482011
Mono Green Devotion44218
Rakdos Midrange432410
Azorius Control32156
Boros Heroic25168
Mono Blue Spirits22137

*Next highest number of Top 32 finishes was Rakdos Sacrifice (16) and Lotus Field Combo (15).

Looking at the top finishers since the ban, it appears to have done the job — there’s no clear top deck, with Phoenix, Mono Green and Rakdos Midrange all putting up a similar number of results. Further to this, Izzet Prowess and Izzet Control have dropped off the meta and allowed decks from other colour pairings to step up.

‘Most Dominant’ Decks of the Week

WeekMost Top 32sMost Top 16sMost Top 8s
June 11-12Mono Green (13)Mono Green (8)Mono Green (5)
June 18-19Mono Green (15)Mono Green (7)Mono Blue Spirits, Mono Green (3)
June 25-26Rakdos Sacrifice, Izzet Phoenix, Azorius Control (7)Rakdos Sacrifice (5)Rakdos Sacrifice (4)
July 2-3* (3 events)Rakdos Midrange, Izzet Phoenix (15)Rakdos Midrange (9)Rakdos Midrange (5)
July 9-10Izzet Phoenix (12)Rakdos Midrange, Izzet Phoenix (6)Izzet Phoenix (3)

We’ve seen the MTGO metagame shifting on a weekly basis since the ban as well — Mono Green had its time at the top to start, but now the player base has adjusted and it is struggling to make an impact on event standings. Expect graveyard hate to tick up now to combat Phoenix and bring it back down a peg!

Weekend Challenges


Write off Lotus Field at your own peril! The deck took down both challenges this weekend under different pilots, reminding the community that this is a deck that always needs consideration when preparing your list before an event.

Among the usual competitive decks in these Top 8s (Phoenix, Rakdos Midrange, Azorius Control etc.) we had three different variants of Humans present — Mono White, Bant and a sweet Pyre of Heroes build featuring silver bullets to fetch out in specific matches. Like Spirits, there isn’t a consensus on which version is the strongest and it may depend on the event meta as to which one will finish highest on a given day.

Deck to Watch

This Grixis Tokens deck finished in 17th place in the Saturday Challenge after a league 5-0 was shared on Twitter earlier in the week. The deck combines some of the best elements from the Rakdos Sacrifice decks with the Izzet Pyromancer shell, plus some spicy tech in Plumb the Forbidden.

Until Next Time

We’ll be back in a fortnight after the Showcase Challenge on the 24th, hopefully to examine further changes to the meta! As mentioned earlier, keep an eye out for Ryan’s God of Pioneer wrap-up next week, as well as our format Tier List updates each Tuesday.

If there’s anything you’d like to see me examine further in these articles, you can reach me on Twitter and Reddit, or on our PlayingPioneer Discord if you are signed up to our Patreon.

  • Arinceo

    Author/Data Coordinator

    Arinceo has been in an on/off relationship with Magic since cracking his first packs in 2004. After watching his beloved Hardened Scales deck suffer the loss of Walking Ballista he jumped back into Pioneer following the release of the 2021 challenger decks and is active in the community on the PioneerMTG subreddit and Twitter. Arinceo compiles most of the competitive data used on our meta data page and elsewhere.

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