Pioneer Tier List Update May 31, 2022

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

Below is the weekly breakdown of our tier list placement decisions. This breakdown is not meant to be an extensive list of every deck in the tier list, and instead only features those decks placed S through B-tier and any decks that changed tiers compared to the previous week. Monthly metagame breakdown coming soon!

Click here for the tier list

S Tier

Rakdos Midrange (Up From C Tier) – RB Midrange had a great week. It won a challenge and could be found all over the top finishes. The deck has all the tools to win any matchup and officially ends its tumble down the tier list this week.

Izzet Prowess (Stable) – Izzet Prowess is holding strong. The deck is very consistent and powerful. Playing some of the best cards in the format (Treasure Cruise, Ledger Shredder and Expressive Iteration), it has a fast clock and tight gameplan.

Winota (Stable) – Winota continues to do Winota things, but, as we said last week, decks are starting to come more and more prepared for the matchup and the format feels like the dominance of Winota is truly leveling out.

A Tier

Izzet Control (Up from C Tier) – Izzet control had some strong finishes, including a challenge win. Control seems to be creeping up more and more as the meta game settles, making it perfect timing for this deck.

UW Control (Up from B Tier) – Strong control weekend overall. UW can capitalize on a stable meta game. The trio of planeswalkers makes this deck very powerful.

Izzet Phoenix (Stable) – In the ongoing battle of the Ledger Shredder shells, prowess is still managing to edge this long standing Pioneer All-Star. Whichever one you prefer, it’s evident that Shredder and Treasure Cruise are a match made in heaven that will remain key players in this format.

B Tier

Lotus Field (Up from C Tier) – Has been seeing an uptick due to the sideboards in other decks cutting out the hate. The deck has always been powerful, but struggles to overcome the large amount of hate. 

Mono-Red Burn (Down from A Tier) – Burn continues its steady decline on the tier list this week as it continues to put up fewer top results and getting beat up on by the increased presence of midrange decks and the prevalence of Redcap Melee.

C Tier

MonoGreen Karn (Down from B Tier) – This formerly dominant strategy has fallen on hard times in the continued face of multiple hyper-aggro decks staking their claim on the format. Don’t get us wrong, Karn is still plenty powerful, but we need to start seeing some more Top 16s or better in the coming weeks before things start to improve.

D Tier

Dimir Control (Up from Needs Refining) – With a Top 8 finish over the weekend, there’s no denying there’s still some life left in this often-forgotten Pioneer control deck. It definitely has the tools to be a competitor, and maybe its finish this weekend will bring in extra tuning to continue this comeback.

Bant Spirits (Up from Off Meta) – Spirits heard we moved it to Off Meta and took it personally. This long-standing pillar of the Pioneer format bounced back with two Top 16s over the weekend, but time will tell if a more stable meta can keep it in the overall mix.

Needs Refining

Turbo Titan (Debut List) – While Turbo Titan didn’t meet any of our main metrics to become a fully-tiered list, it did manage to place multiple Top 32s this weekend. And with several of our competitive guides being strong believers, we couldn’t leave it fully off our list. This deck is trying to turbo out Titan of Industry as fast as turn three. The deck is all in on this plan and has proven it can be tough to beat a quick Titan. Being a new archetype, there are many variants (mainly Jund and Green-Red), but once someone finds the right build it’ll be off to the races. 

Boros Midrange (Debut List) – Any deck able to cast The Wandering Emperor and Chandra Torch of Defiance is going to be pretty powerful, and the ability to fill in the list with maindeck Archon of Emeriaand other lower-curve creatures that let you Convoke out a Conclave Tribunal means the other side of the board is going to remain pretty empty throughout the game. A Top 16 challenge finish puts this deck in the “Needs Refining” tier, and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Grixis Midrange (Debut List) – Nicol Bolas fans rejoice, your savior is here! This deck combines the established power of Fable of the Mirror Breaker with the likes of Nicol Bolas, the Ravager and Corpse Appraiser to just really grind out the match against any opponent. Oh, and why not throw some Ledger Shredder in for good measure. All these cards add up to quite a powerhouse, but just like the other two newcomers this week we’re starting it out in “Needs Refining” and seeing what way the wind blows in the coming weeks.

  • 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.

  • 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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