Pioneer Tier List Update August 30, 2022

An explanation of this week's Pioneer tier list movements and placements.

Click here for the tier list!

S Tier

Green Devotion (Stable) – Green Devotion remains at the top this week. The deck saw a slight downtick in finishes with only 3 MTGO Top 8s, but that happens when a deck is hunted. Most people are playing decks to beat Green Devotion (Mono-White and Bant Spirits) or are heavily prepared to sideboard for the matchup. Devotion is still the best deck in the format and one that should help players make that final RCQ push. Check out our premium deck breakdown here!

A Tier

Abzan Greasefang (Up from B Tier) – Abzan Greasefang moves up to line up with the top decks in the format after a second week in a row with great finishes in the challenges and Super RCQ. While the deck still struggles against Green Devotion, the Abzan version is tuned and ready to attack everything else and always has the backdoor means to ‘Win’ on turns two or three. Check out our premium deck and sideboard guide here!

Mono-White Humans (Up from B Tier) – Mono-White humans had a massive weekend. The deck placed 3 pilots into the top 8 of MTGO events this past weekend. It is the perfect deck to combat Green Devotion; it is fast, efficient, and plays one of the most powerful protection spells in Brave the Elements allowing it to sneak in those final points of damage. We expect this deck to remain in A Tier for a while. Check out our premium deck and sideboard guide here!

Azorius Control (Stable) – Azorius Control continues to show up with the highest number of top 16 finishes this weekend. The deck has great game against most of the format and since moving to the sixty-card version has solidified itself as a top contender and the best reactive deck in the format alongside Rakdos Midrange. We expect its numbers to go down at the beginning of the new set, but believe UW Control will remain the premier control going forward. 

Rakdos Midrange (Stable) – Rakdos Midrange maintains its seat as the most popular deck in the format, and is it any wonder why? Getting to play a deck that features the most efficient removal spells, a suite of Pioneer’s pre-eminent midrange threats, and of course one of the best value engines in recent memory with Fable of the Mirror Breaker, there’s no wonder players are flocking to it. The deck also features a lot of flexibility in the sideboard allowing it to adapt to whatever metagame it finds itself in.

B Tier

Izzet Phoenix (Down from A Tier) – The move down to B tier was a tough one. Izzet Phoenix is a powerful deck and maybe one of the best decks. Its play rate and finishes are what has seen it slip to B. It would not be surprising to see this deck bounce right back up next week or soon. Watch out for Izzet Phoenix.

Bant Spirits (Stable) – Bant Spirits was everywhere this weekend. It managed 2 Top 8 finishes, but seems to be a perfectly positioned deck with Green Devotion being S Tier. It has a good matchup against a large portion of the field and a very quick kill. It can play at instant speed which gives it a major advantage. Look out for this deck to rise to A Tier shortly.

Boros Heroic (Stable) – The Aggro decks of the format that don’t have many other angles of attack continue to sit around on the tier list this week. It is becoming tougher for these decks to grind through the multifaceted styles of Greasefang and the various Rakdos decks. While Heroic does a good job of punishing Mono Green Devotion, they don’t find enough consistent success against the rest of the format to move up much higher right now.

Rakdos Sacrifice (Stable) – It’s a conundrum as old as time in magic; do you play Cawblade, the deck that beats Cawblade, OR the deck that beats the deck that beats Cawblade? In regards to the players who took Rakdos Sacrifice to multiple Top 8 or higher finishes this week, they chose option 3. Turns out, the decks that put on a blazing fast clock to stop Devotion before its value engine really gets going have a tough time getting around a little black cat and some freshly baked pies. Sprinkle in a little mayhem and a dash of treason, and voila a recipe for success!

C Tier

Jund Food (Stable) – Jund Sacrifice has been picking up traction since dumping some of the mid game engines that helped the old version fight for the long game. Now the deck leverages the Rakdos Sacrifice shell with Korvold as a top-end finisher that can go over the top of some matchups that Rakdos struggles with. By adding in so many threaten effects, the deck manages to do very well into other creature decks, including Green Devotion.

Mono Red Aggro (Stable) – We’re lumping both of the Mono Red variants together, as it doesn’t seem like either version has the game to compete into a field filled with Abzan Greasefang. Their value Chariot game plan is so good against you, and always being forced to hold up expensive interaction creates a Splinter Twin situation, usually resulting in them out-tempoing you. Look out for this deck, as Mono-Red Aggro tends to be a great choice in a new set weekend.

Mono Blue Spirits (Stable) – Mono-Blue Spirits is stable this week. It continues to be a strong deck, but seems to be the worst Spirits deck currently. It has a fantastic Green Devotion matchup and that will keep it around in the meta. 

D Tier

Bant Humans (Stable) – With the format needing to speed up in the face of the various Devotion decks; Bant Humans finds itself lacking not only in the speed of its Mono-White tribal counterpart, but also lacking the amount of relevant interaction it’s Collected Company counterpart Bant Spirits can bring to arms. With Dominaria United on the horizon bringing new tools like Anointed Peacekeeper it’s possible we might see a resurgence in Company based human decks looking to disrupt the opponent vs kill them quickly.

Niv to Light (Stable) – Although it continues to be proven that Niv to Light does have a good Green Devotion matchup, that’s really all this deck has going for it at the moment, the format’s multitude of counterspell decks and protection-based aggro decks lead clunky value decks like Niv to flounder in a field that is able to under it.

Lotus Field (Stable) – Lotus Field had one Top 8 finish this week, but overall suffers from the Green Devotion Effect (I.e. it has such a bad matchup against it). Also, it has a bad Mono W Humans and Bant Spirits matchup which are decks on the rise. I would stay very far away from Lotus field as the meta is too hostile towards it.

Moved to Off-Meta

Izzet Control – This deck has all but disappeared from the meta. Moving it down and off the list was an easy decision this week.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • KarnageKards

    Competitive Team Lead

    KarnageKardsENT has been playing Magic since Scars of Mirrodin. During the Pandemic, he moved to playing MTGO. Today, you can find him playing Pioneer, Modern and sometimes Standard. A mainstay in the Pioneer Challenges, Karnage can be found at Most Eastern F2F stops in Canada.

  • 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.

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