Pioneer Tier List Update (June 21, 2022)

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

Click here for the tier list

S Tier

Mono-Green Karn (Stable) – Mono G Karn continues to have the most finishes this week, especially the Sunday Challenge where it represented over 25% of the over top32 field. In spite of this, the deck’s overall number of finishes did drop compared to last week. It remains to be seen if this was a result of fewer preliminaries to pull results from, or if enough players are starting to challenge the deck’s post-ban dominance. Eagle-eyed readers should an eye out for continued evolution in the deck’s Karn board as there is always innovation such as the newly included The Chain Veil which now drops the required devotion count needed to combo off with Pestilent Cauldron

A Tier

Mono-Blue Spirits (Up from B Tier) – Mono-Blue Spirits is rising in popularity as more players flock to it, thanks in part to its favorable matchups against most other top decks in the field. Most importantly, it is a natural predator of Mono-Green Karn. So much so that the Karn decks have adopted Skylasher to fight back. This deck is a great choice moving forward, especially for those looking to get into the format on a lower budget.

Rakdos Midrange (Stable) – Rakdos continues to preform well. A solid deck with good answers and great threats. What else is there to say?

B Tier

Mono-Red (Up from C Tier) – Welcome to the house the Kumano built. Kumano Faces Kakkazan continues to impress week-in, week-out. Card is so good it’s making Bomat Courier look playable again, when was the last time you could say that? A fast clock, a tried and true game plan, and plenty of gas in the tank lead to its consistent performance.

Izzet Phoenix (Stable) – Surprisingly, even with the loss of Expressive Iteration, Izzet Phoenix has leveraged the power of fliers and continues to sail over top of decks fighting on the ground. Thanks to a plethora of removal, Izzet also manages to handle decks like Mono Blue Spirits, giving it a handful of strong matchups even without being as powerful or consistent as it was pre-ban. 

UW Control (Down from A Tier) – UW Control has a horrendous matchup into Mono Green Karn and a tough time into Mono Blue Spirits. There isn’t much more to say about this deck than it has a tough time into two of the top matchups in Pioneer. While the deck’s ability to beat up most other decks help keep it in a reasonable position, you can’t expect to win an event without being able to fight Mono Green and Mono Blue. 

C Tier

Dimir Control (Up from Off-Meta) – The French control players continue to deliver strong UB control decklists that work to attack creature-centric decks that UW control might struggle against. The UB and Esper style of control decks have a lot more agency into Mono Green Karn and Mono Blue Spirits and while it is worse into the rest of the metagame at large, having reasonable matchups into top decks can steal any given weekend. 

Jund Food (Up from Off-Meta) – The hungry hungry dragon, Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, is back and greedier than ever. Food has always been a solid option in Pioneer when the format starts to slow down and it can better leverage Trail of Crumbs. Meaning that without Winota, it was only a matter of time before Korvold started to eatinate the countryside. Despite having a rough time against Mono-Green, it can make for a nice change of pace for players who already have a lot of pieces from playing Rakdos Midrange.

D Tier

Boros Feather (Down from C Tier) – Boros Feather has the top speed to attack decks like Mono Green Karn and control, but with only one incredibly threatening two-drop, you’re a little slower than is ideal in most games versus the top decks. Boros Feather is a reasonable meta deck, but it is just a step too slow right now in a metagame where Mono Green can just brick wall you with high toughness quickly. 

Lotus Field (Down from C Tier) – Lotus field is falling weekly as it has terrible matchups against the top decks. Mono-Green Karn, Mono-Blue Spirits, and Rakdos Midrange are all bad matchups. Until something changes Lotus field will continue to fall. 

Wx Humans (Stable) – We don’t usually highlight stable placement decks below B Tier, but this week saw a noticeable uptick in various human based strategies looking to tax out opponents and win the game with strong tribal synergies. Keep an eye out in the weeks to come and see if a final deck variant is decided on from all the flavors we’ve been seeing.

  • 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.

  • 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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