Note: This week’s Pioneer tier list is based more on the subjective views of our competitive team post-Winota and Expressive Iteration ban than it is based on the data we normally use to guide our tier list updates. Next week’s tier list will return to being more data-driven, as we will have weekend challenge data to analyze.
RB Midrange (Stable): In our eyes, Rakdos remains a top pick, even with UW Control and Green Karn theoretically rising to the top of the meta. It’s very possible we could see this drop out of S Tier over the next two weekends, however.
UW Control (Up): UW Control will always benefit from a smaller metagame. Without Winota lurking in the meta, UW control can drop a lot of sideboard slots. This, coupled with losing a few of the more powerful decks, means UW Control can tune its mainboard and sideboard for fewer matchups. UR decks will now struggle with card advantage against UW Control, with the banning of Expressive Iteration. Control will always be powerful when it has less to worry about.
Lotus Field (Up): Lotus field benefits from the bans in a weird way. Winota was a horrible matchup, with it gone that is one less thing to worry about. But Lotus Field really benefits because it is good against some of the other winners. Lotus needs time, and two very powerful aggressive decks have fallen (Winota and UR Prowess). Players will flock to Lotus as it is the most broken thing left to do in the format. Therefore, it will see an uptick in play and results.
Mono-Green Karn (Up): Mono Green Karn is a deck that has been floating around in the tiers since its creation. At one point, it reigned supreme. The decks that pushed it out of the metagame were largely Izzet Phoenix and Winota. With those decks nerfed (or completely gone), Mono Green Karn can once again rise to the top. Mono-Green Karn is strong setting up and going over the top. It has difficult creatures to kill and powerful planeswalkers. Its low interaction was what made it vulnerable.
Mono-Red (Up): With Winota and Prowess being bumped down, Mono-Red prevails as the fastest fair deck in the format, and is always a great choice for metas that have not yet settled. Plus, with the projected rise of UW Control, Burn should have some strongly favored matchups in its future.
Phoenix (Down): Being hit pretty hard with the Expressive Iteration ban, we’re not comfortable dumping the deck anywhere below B Tier for this initial tier list. It is to be seen how the deck adapts, but we do not believe it was hit as hard by the ban as the Prowess deck was.
Heroic (Up): As aggressive players move away from Winota and search for decks that scratch the same itch, the potential explosiveness and resilience of Boros Heroic is sure to be a draw. With the decks ability to pivot into a controlling role in the aggro mirror, it offers flexibility while providing a different approach that players who don’t enjoy mono red may be searching for. It has also opened up in terms of sideboard slots as it no longer needs to combat the great winota menace, and has been given the opportunity to show off how adaptive the archetype can be. Losing two of it’s worst matchup means that it’s one of those poised for a breakthrough, though it could potentially struggle if Rakdos steps up to dominate the meta game.
Rakdos Sacrifice (Up): For a deck that looked to grind opponents out in the long game, the loss of Expressive Iteration comes as a major boon. Winota was also a historically bad matchup for the deck, so once again a major boon for Sacl. However, the loss of Winota means that Anvil’s natural predator, Karn, has also moved up the food chain. The recent pivot away from Oni-Cult Anvil should help prevent the deck from being completely shut off by Karn.
MU Spirits (Up): Looking at the other decks set to take the top spots on the tier list, Mono-Blue Spirits looks well-positioned as a counter-meta tempo deck, going underneath UW Control, countering combo pieces in Mono-Green and Lotus Field, and having an about even matchup with Rakdos Midrange. Winota wasn’t an impossible matchup for spirits, but it certainly wasn’t favored. Prowess, on the other hand, was significantly more difficult. Depending on the prevalence of Mono-Red, we could see Blue Spirits rise even higher over the next couple of weeks.
Prowess (Down): The Expressive Iteration ban hurt Prowess quite a bit, but before we decide that the deck is “dead”, we’re comfortable placing it in C Tier and seeing how it adapts and where it goes from here.
Greasefang (Up): Greasefang decks had a strong weekend, putting multiple people in the Top 16. The appeal to Greasefang was its excellent Winota matchup and the fall of Mono-Green Karn. Going forward with the bans, I would be hesitant to play Greasefang.
Niv (Up): With this format looking to get a bit more fair, there’s nothing better to bring to a midrange fight than Niv. This deck dominates RB Midrange, and any other decks that aren’t trying to kill you quickly. Due to lack of diverse data with this deck, we aren’t able to put it on any higher pedestal.
Angels (Up): Angels could never beat Winota. Ever. Even though your creatures could sometimes be a bit bigger than theirs, they were able to overwhelm you eventually. Now that Angels doesn’t need to worry about that matchup, the deck is able to dedicate a lot more of its sideboard slots to beating removal-heavy decks, with cards like Shapers’ Sanctuary. This deck may not be able to interact well with the Ramp or Combo decks, however, which is why it’s not able to move up any further.
Bant Spirits (Stable): Unlike its mono-colored sibling, Bant Spirits is going to run up against several hostile matchups that can leverage their way around Spell Queller. The expected uptick in Mono-Green Karn presents a lot of spells that Spell Queller can’t interact with like Storm the Festival and Cavalier of Thorns. Meanwhile, the lack of extra counterspells like Lofty Denial and Geistlight Snare means that decks like Rakdos Midrange can set up a cascading wave of removal spells if they can pick off a Queller holding onto something like a Dreadbore.
Atarka Ramp (New): A new take on a tried and true strategy, Eldrazi Green is a deck that constantly makes a splash and disappears just as quickly as it appeared. For a fun splashy deck it packs quite the punch being able to quickly play out a World Breaker or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. This time around, it’s also added red to play big momma Dragonlord Atarka to clean up all the little creatures sitting on the opponent’s side of the board.