Pioneer Tier List – May 10, 2022

The PlayingPioneer team discusses tier list movements for the week of May 10, 2022.

Happy Tier List Tuesday PlayingPioneer readers! Here’s our first weekly breakdown of all the movers and shakers from the last week of events.


Winota (Stable) It should come as no surprise to Pioneer players that Winota still reigns above the format. Our advice: Come prepared for this matchup, you’re gonna see a lot of it.


Gx Karn (Down From S) This week continued to see a downtick in the overall number of Gx Karn decks holding the top tables at events. The deck is still plenty strong, but its low deck count lead to its dethroning from S-Tier leaving Winota as “Queen of the Hill”.

Mono-Red Aggro (Stable) A quick clock for Karn  and meaningful ways to interact with Winota is a recipe for success in Pioneer. So it’s no surprise that a deck with both finds itself in the upper echelons of the format. However, a lower deck population and some tricky matchups elsewhere on the tierlist are keeping it from clinching S-tier.

Izzet Phoenix (Up From B) The format mainstay continues it’s rise back to the top. Based on popularity alone Phoenix will always be a force in pioneer, but thanks to the deck’s consistency and raw power it’s able to put up the results to support this placement. Be sure to keep an eye out on its ranking in the coming weeks as it looks to start including the potential multi-format all star Ledger Shredder.

Rakdos Midrange (Stable) Even though the amount of Rakdos Midrange decks is decreasing, the matchups for this deck seem to be getting better and better. More Mono Red, Spirits, and Izzet Prowess allow this Fatal Push-based midrange pile to take control super easily. 


UW Control (Stable) UW Control continues to be Pioneer classic control deck of choice thanks to Neon Dynasty providing it with The Wandering Emperor and March of Otherworldly Light. Managing to place three copies in the Top16 of Sunday’s showcase was quite a feat and shows off the deck’s staying power. We don’t expect Teferi to be leaving the spotlight any time soon.

Mono-U Spirits (Down From A) The Little Deck That Could just continues to impress us with top performances, and this week it managed to take down the 198 player showcase. There’s no doubt that from a power level stand point, this deck has what it takes to be a top contender. However, it doesn’t have enough data points for us to push it into A or S tier.

Izzet Control (Up From C) The jury still seems to be split on Collective Defiance vs Day’s Undoing, but we can all agree on the power of Thing in the Ice. Despite this deck’s game plan no longer being a surprise to the meta at large, several strong finishes this week helped build back some of its old momentum and rise back up to B-Tier.

C Tier

Izzet Prowess (Debut List) Talk about an impressive debutant weekend for this Explorer crossover! The power of Ledger Shredder continues to shine here, so I hope the readers at home ordered their playset before the sprite spike. Don’t be surprised to see this deck moving up the chart with a few more strong finishes under its belt in the coming weeks. 

Niv (Up From D) One word, Claudioh. The Dragon Master from Brazil continues to put on a clinic every time he picks up Pioneer’s premier 5-color Dragon. Unfortunately, one player’s dominant performance isn’t enough to raise the deck any higher.

Rakdos Anvil (Down From B) Anvil continues to trend downward despite its favorable matchups against plenty of the field at large. Of course, this can’t be helped when the deck struggles against what we consider to be the top-two decks in the format. Perhaps the drop-off of Karn, the Great Creator can lead to renewed performance in the near future.


Mono-Black Devotion (Up from Off-Meta) This AspiringSpike inspired list has captured some hearts this week, being featured in several videos and streams for its unexpected construction and performance. The ramp and disruption packages attack the format from a different angle than we’re used to, and we’re excited to see how this archetype fares in the coming weeks

Mardu Greasefang (Down From B) Mardu Greasefang is our biggest drop off this week, and it’s seemingly dropped from the top tables of the meta as well. Eyes currently seem to be shifting away from Mardu and back to Esper thanks once again to Ledger Shredder and now Tainted Indulgence. We’ll be sure to keep you all up to date as players settle in on their preferred build in this ongoing rat gang warfare.

Bant Spirits (Down From C) Spirits stalwart Remf continues to make strides with the multicolored variant of Spirits. As we’ve said before, one player’s strong results aren’t enough to move a deck up our ladder. And unlike Mono-U Spirits and Niv, the deck just couldn’t quite break into the top 8’s this week.

Lotus Field (Down From C) There’s no denying the power of Lotus Field if it goes unopposed. There’s also no denying that players are coming prepared for this matchup and its popularity and performance have once again taken a large dip.

  • Ruckman


    Having started playing Magic shortly before the release of Return to Ravnica, Ruckman’s Magic lifespan covers the breadth of the Pioneer format. Despite not being a stranger to the Top 8 tables of the old IQ and PTQ systems, most of his competitive experience comes from the other side of the event space, where he served more than five years as a level-two judge, only hanging up the black shirt for good at the beginning of 2022. Currently, you can find him making Pioneer content for Crew3 on your favorite podcasting platform or on Twitch/YouTube.

  • Darren "ServoToken"


    ServoToken has been playing competitive magic since 2011, spending a majority of that time living in the shoes of a player on a strict budget. After investing a lot of time learning how to make the best of a bad situation, his goals today are to spread those lessons to the often-ignored population of Magic players who can’t afford to drop a car payment on a new deck every couple of months. His mantra is that “You don’t need to play mono-red to do well on a budget”. These days, you can typically find him deep in the archives of Scryfall searching for new cards to brew around or making tweaks to the Pioneer Budget deck spreadsheet on his unending mission to bring his favorite format to the people on the cheap.

  • IslandGoSAMe

    Pioneer Competitive Guide

    Sam is an OG Pioneer player, brewing decks with his team since day one of this format, fleshing out the early metagame with the rest of the MTGO grinders. He knows the ins and outs of the format and spends way too much time playing it. He is known for creating Jeskai Lukka Fires, World Tree Combo, and Omnath Turns, and continues to create new and awesome decks while providing video content for all to consume.

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