Pioneer Tier List Update July 19, 2022

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

Click here for the tier list

S Tier

Readers will notice that we’ve again decided to forgo the inclusion of an S-tier on this week’s tier list; though, Rakdos Midrange was close.

A Tier

Rakdos Midrange (Stable) – As noted above, Rakdos Midrange nearly jumped into S Tier this week, as it was far and away the top-played deck in this weekend’s challenges and the 208-person God of Pioneer paper tournament that we considered when determining this week’s tier list. Our competitive team, though, decided to keep the deck in A Tier this week.

Izzet Phoenix (Stable) – Phoenix remains a top choice in the meta, having decent matchups against many of the other A and B Tier decks. 

Azorius Control (Up from B Tier) – UW Control jumps up a tier this week, as it put together a good number of finishes in the weekend challenges and the God of Pioneer paper event. As always, Control can prey on whatever meta it prepares for. If you are heading to an RCQ and have a good idea what decks will be there, sleeving up a well-tuned UW Control deck can get you the invite.

B Tier

Humans (Stable) – Pyre of Heroes seems to be edging out the Bant Company builds, thanks to the deck’s ability to become a semi-toolbox strategy with cards for any situation on top of leveraging Extraction Specialist to its fullest. For players looking to play a deck in Bant colors that features Collected Company, though, Bant Spirits is probably the better option at the moment based on this week’s results.

Rakdos Sacrifice (Stable) –  Rakdos Sac remains in B Tier this week. The deck is a great choice to fight back against RB midrange, with a very favourable matchup. If you are seeing a lot of RB at your meta, this deck is probably the right call. Overall, Rakdos sacrifice is a strong deck with a good, grindy gameplan.

Boros Heroic (Stable) – Boros Heroic remains stable, but don’t let that fool you. The deck is changing weekly as the lists continue to become more refined. This deck has become the premier aggro deck of the format and has game against almost any deck out there.

Mono-Blue Spirits (Stable) – Mono-Blue Spirits is always a good choice. The deck is fast, resilient and can close games. There is no start better than a turn-one Spectral Sailor into a turn-two Curious Obsession with protection. Until this isn’t an opening hand the deck is capable of, it will likely remain in the top decks. 

Mono Green Karn (Stable) – Mono Green Karn remains stable again. It is a powerful deck and must be respected by everyone. If you are unprepared for it, it will beat you easily.

Lotus Field (Stable) – Lotus Field is sitting in the same tier as last week. It did not win a challenge this week, but still stayed around the top finishes. The deck is very powerful and everyone must respect it. With no hate for the deck, it can win easily. A good choice of deck, but not easy to play. 

C Tier

Jund Food (Up from D Tier) –  Jund food is seeing some success as Mono-Green Karn becomes less prevalent. The deck has good matchups and is arguably a more powerful form of Rakdos sac. As stated though, Karn really hurts this deck. Players have been moving back towards Bolas’ Citadel to mitigate the effect of Karn. 

D Tier

Abzan Greasefang (Stable Placement, Clarifying Archetype Variant) – The Abzan Greasefang variant has finally knocked Esper out again. It’s been about a month since the Abzan version was on the tier list, but it put up decent recents in this weekend’s challenges and our resident Greasefang expert, KarnageKardsENT, made the final decision to make the swap.

Mono White Humans (Debut List) – Mono White Humans is making its debut! The deck is in its second week and looking to be a real contender. It is a linear aggro deck that plays all the good white aggressive cards, backed up by one of the most powerful protection spells ever in Brave the Elements

  • 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.

  • rose-emoji

    Network Administrator/Publisher

    rose-emoji started playing Magic: The Gathering during Battle for Zendikar, then took a break from the game until Throne of Eldraine. Pioneer got him back into Magic full-force, and the launch of Arena on mobile hooked him in forever. Now that his favorite format is working its way onto Arena, he can be found grinding the format to death. Only ever Grixis colors, but sometimes he can have a little Jund as a treat.

  • 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.

Liked it? Take a second to support PlayingMTG on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *