Pioneer Tier List Update June 28, 2022

An explanation of this week's Pioneer tier list changes, which include Mono-Green Karn losing its S Tier placement and big shakeups from Rakdos Sacrifice and Boros Heroic.

Click here for the tier list

S Tier

There are no decks in S Tier this week.

A Tier

Mono-Blue Spirits (Stable) – Mono-Blue Spirits continues to be a consistent performer with strong matchups against multiple top decks in the format, including the most important matchup: Mono-Green Karn. We expect this near budget all-star to stay a top dog in the format.

Rakdos Midrange (Stable) – RB midrange continues to remain stable as it is a strong deck in the meta game and is performing well. 

Mono-Green Karn (Down from S Tier) – Mono-Green Karn sees a bit of a drop as the meta starts to better fight back against it. It remains a top deck and force in the meta regardless.

B Tier

Rakdos Sacrifice (Up from D Tier) – Rakdos Sacrifice had a very strong weekend, putting multiple decks into Tops 8s. The deck is starting to look well-tuned and very powerful.

Boros Heroic (Up from D Tier) – Boros is great against Green Ramp and Blue Spirits, and has tools to have passable Phoenix and Control matchups, bringing it up from the bottom tier to B Tier. 

Izzet Phoenix (Stable) – Phoenix had a strong weekend, finishing first and second in the Sunday challenge. The archetype is recovering well from losing Expressive Iteration. We think this deck will climb as the lists become perfected. Watch out for Phoenix going forward.

Azorius Control (Stable) – Continues to be a good deck choice but is a bit too slow to keep up with Spirits, Heroic and Burn.

Mono-Red Burn (Stable) – With the ability to prey on Spirits, Mono-Red is well-positioned in the shifting meta this week, but remains in B Tier for a few reasons – not the least of which being the lack of Lotus Field and Azorius Control pairings to feed off of.

C Tier

Bant Spirits (Up from Off-Meta) – Not keen to just sit back and let it’s mono-colored sibling take all the spotlight, Bant Spirits has quietly been putting up some decent results as of late. However, a single Challenge Top 32 and some Preliminary 3-1’s aren’t much to write home about in recent weeks. Of course, this weekend changed that with long-time Spirit’s pilot Remf taking the deck to a first and third place finish in the Saturday and Sunday Challenges, respectively. While we still believe Mono-Blue inhabits a stronger place in the current meta, there’s no denying that strength of deck familiarity in Pioneer.  

Humans (Up from D Tier) – Humans variants have been staging quite the comeback recently off the backs of Extraction Specialist and Charming Prince. Specialist allows pilots to buy back nearly every threat in the deck, meaning something like an early Thoughtseize removing a Thalia’s Lieutenant isn’t a back breaking as it once was. Meanwhile the Prince’s blink ability let’s Specialist reset, meaning a new threat gets to return while the initial Specialist target can start attacking again. Prince also allows the deck to get multiple triggers out of the former menace of standard Reflector Mage. While the deck isn’t 100% settled on, Humans pilots are starting to converge on Bant, sometimes splashing black, as being the go-to color pairing.

Lotus Field (Up from D Tier) – Lotus field sees a little climb this week thanks to its small success in this weekend’s events. Mono-Green might have dropped out of S Tier, but that doesn’t mean the matchup here got any better and the meta is overall still highly hostile to Lotus Field. But if the meta remains as fluid as it seemed this week, it might be enough for proficient Lotus Field pilots to capitalize on the confusion.

D Tier

Niv-to-Light (Down from C Tier)- Niv-to-Light appeared to be staging a return to staging a return to Pioneer’s top tables in recent weeks, however this week’s massive meta shifts seems to have thrown the dragon off course. For hyper tuned decklists like Niv, large shifts in meta will make or break even best laid plans. If the meta starts to stabilize again expect Niv to refocus and start making a push our mid tiers again.

Dimir Control (Down from C Tier) – Dimir Control continues to be absent from the top tables this week. Between a lack of strong impactful value engines like the Azorius planeswalker package and an over reliance of singular removal vs the efficiency of Supreme Verdict, it’s hard to keep up with the format’s more preeminent control shell. If the format shifts into a more battlecruiser/midrange focus there’s a chance we see Dimir stage a comeback, until then don’t expect the deck to gain a lot of forward momentum.

Jund Food (Down from C Tier) – Jund food was looking to make a climb as it jumped last week on the tier list, but what the meta can giveth it can also taketh away. For players wanting to take a slower, more methodical approach to the format, perhaps take a look at the more recent builts of Rakdos Sacrifice, which features a more low-to-the-ground card suite allowing for a more efficient game plan.

  • 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.

  • 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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