Pioneer Tier List Companion – March 8, 2023

DarthJacen breaks down the movements and reasoning behind yesterday's Pioneer tier list.


Each week, we here at PlayingPioneer take a deep dive into the Magic Online results for Pioneer. We take what data we do have and break down which decks sit where in the overall metagame of Pioneer. These tier lists include a rolling average to ensure decks’ movement isn’t too volatile on the tier list after one good week. Here’s the Tier List from this week that we’ll be working with.

The Data

Each week, we look at top Magic Online Tournaments including the weekly challenges, any Regional Championship Qualifiers, or Magic Online Championship Series events, along with the Pioneer Prelim events. For the Challenges, we are looking at all decks that earned the same number of points as the player in 16th in each event and for the Preliminary events we are looking at all 4-0 and 3-1 decks.

If there are any high-profile paper events, we will also include those. Some examples of events we would count are SCG Con events, NRG Events, Regional Championships, Pro Tours, etc.

Here were this week’s events:

 MTGO Pioneer Challenge

MTGO Pioneer Challenge

MTGO Pioneer Preliminary

 MTGO Pioneer Preliminary

 MTGO Pioneer Preliminary

MTGO Pioneer Preliminary

 MTGO Pioneer Preliminary

MTGO Pioneer Preliminary

Now that we’ve looked at the data, let’s take a look at what changes occurred in this week’s tier list!

Metagame Breakdown

Moved Up

Izzet Creativity

Moved Down

Mono White Humans

Selesnya Angels

5-Color Enigmatic Fires

Azorius Control

Gruul Vehicles

Stayed the Same

Rakdos Midrange

Green Devotion

Lotus Field Combo

Abzan Greasefang

Izzet Phoenix

Omnath to Light


Dimir Control

Rakdos Sacrifice

Mono-Red Aggro

Fell Off the List

·         None

New to the List

Mono-Black Midrange

Competitive Team Movements

The following deck(s) changed position on the tier list based on a decision by the competitive team at PlayingPioneer rather than strictly based on data.

Mono White Humans from B-Tier to C-Tier


This week, we saw Izzet Creativity continue its success from the Pro Tour, moving up to the A-Tier thanks to eleven qualifying finishes – the most this week.

Spirits (which we have including all three major variants) had a very strong weekend – especially Azorius Spirits. With six total qualifying finishes, the trio of decks seems poised to rise. However, it currently looks like Mono-Blue and Bant Spirits aren’t living up to Azorius right now. If Azorius continues to put in work, or the other archetypal builds pick up steam alongside it, expect the deck to rise next week.

The glut of B-Tier decks separated themselves into decks that showed up once again and a pile of decks that were lacking in their quantity and quality of finishes. While the many B-Tier decks that fell to C-Tier did move down, they remain players in the metagame and can’t be underestimated or overlooked.

A few new decks showed up in the results this week, including a Golgari Tyvar Sacrifice deck that put up two challenge Top 16s. I’m interested to see if this can be the successor to the Bolas’ Citadel sacrifice decks of old thanks to Tyvar.

We also saw Atarka Red have a strong weekend, with two challenge Top 8s. If the deck shows up again this week, it could easily start climbing back up by punishing the non-interactive and slower decks near the top of the metagame.

Rakdos Midrange, Green Devotion, and Greasefang – primarily Abzan – continue putting up strong numbers this week, maintaining their spots.

Lotus Field also held on after a rough outing last week, with five qualifying finishes – though only in the preliminary events. It’s worth seeing if this continues next week, as it may be time for Lotus Field to hide back down in C-Tier for the time being.

The PlayingPioneer Competitive Team agreed that Humans was coasting on past performances, with this weekend and last weekend showing the deck is in a rough spot. While it was likely to fall down from B-Tier to C-Tier next week, we felt it was a better representation of the metagame to move it down one week early.

  • DarthJacen

    Pioneer Competitive Guide

    Darthjacen has been playing Magic since Dark Ascension and plays Standard, Modern, Pioneer, and Limited. With a Grand Prix win in 2015 and an SCG Team Top 4 in 2019, he continues to pursue competitive Magic at every turn.

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