Welcome to the Pioneer Breakdown! I’m your host, arinceo, and this week we’re looking at the first events on MTGO since the release of Streets of New Capenna!
The launch of the new season was also accompanied by the news that, in light of consistently high participation numbers in recent weeks, the weekly challenges will now pay out prizes to the Top 64 instead of the Top 32. This is a great vote of confidence in the format and the better EV of the challenges should also entice further participation.
For the budget-conscious players the drop-rates of specific pioneer staples were increased, with WOTC highlighting Den of the Bugbear as a prime example. While these cards still cost far too many tix for my liking, it’s at least good to see some positive steps to increasing card supply in the MTGO market.
With new cards becoming more readily available this week we’ve started to see some new innovations emerge throughout the MTGO results – let’s take a look at the two challenges from the weekend:
Saturday MTGO Challenge (109 players)
|Deck||Top 32||Top 16||Top 8|
|Mono Red Burn||3||2||2|
Four of the top eight decks featured SNC cards – Niv to Light (triomes only), Esper Greasefang (Ledger Shredder among others), Angels (Giada, Font of Hope and Izzet Prowess (Ledger Shredder again!).
Sunday MTGO Showcase Challenge (198 players)
|Deck||Top 32||Top 16||Top 8|
|Mono Red Burn||3||0||0|
|Mono Green Devotion||2||1||1|
All hail Mono Blue Spirits! The budget competitive deck of Pioneer surpassed format heavyweights Winota, Mono Green, Azorius Control and Izzet to take down this major MTGO event. A key component of the deck was a full playset of SNC common Witness Protection, which works as a fantastic cheap removal spell as well as reducing the cost of one of the deck’s key counterspells, Geistlight Snare.
If you want to dive into this season data further, click here to check out the full spreadsheet.
Let’s Get Shredded
The early breakout star of SNC is definitely Ledger Shredder, slotting into multiple archetypes thanks to its ability to fill multiple roles within a deck – providing card selection, graveyard fuel and an evasive threat. For those of you who will encounter the card for the first time over the coming weeks, remember that it gets triggered by any player casting their second spell, not just its controller.
In addition to being featured in already present meta decks such as Esper Greasefang and Izzet Phoenix, the Shredder has allowed for the emergence of a new Izzet Prowess deck, utilizing all the cheap efficient spells in those colours plus prowess one-drops and Sprite Dragon.
It feels similar to the breakout card of Kamigawa, Fable of the Mirror Breaker, which is now utilised in multiple decks due to its overall strength and versatility. If you opened some of these during the pre-release weekend, congratulations! Otherwise, snap up your copies quickly if you like playing blue decks.
Ob Nixilis, the Underwhelming?
It was the main card highlighted in spoiler season as ‘completely busted’, promising an imposing board state with two planeswalkers as early as turn two or three. Thus far though, despite being thrown into any deck where it could conceivably be played, Ob Nixilis, the Adversary is not warping the format as first initially feared. There’s no doubt a deck out there that will start putting up consistent results – most likely involving Tenacious Underdog.
Deck to Watch
After suffering greatly in strength due to the Luurus ban, Boros Heroic looks to be a deck back on the scene thanks to the printing of Illuminator Virtuoso from the new set. Not only is the creature a strong threat thanks to double strike, the connive ability allows the deck the chance to filter through unlucky draws into more pump spells.
Until Next Time
Thanks for reading this latest edition of the Pioneer Breakdown. We’ll be back soon to look at further developments in the format as more players try the cards from Streets of New Capenna and the metagame continues to shift.