Tier List Companion – April 12, 2023

DarthJacen breaks down the lack of movements and changes in yesterday's Pioneer tier list.


Each week, we here at Playing Pioneer take a deep dive into the Magic Online results for Pioneer. We take what data we do have and break down which decks sit where in the overall metagame of Pioneer. These tier lists include a rolling average to ensure decks’ movement isn’t too volatile on the tier list after one good week. Here’s the Tier List from this week that we’ll be working with.

The Data

Each week, we look at top Magic Online Tournaments including the weekly challenges, any Regional Championship Qualifiers, or Magic Online Championship Series events, along with the Pioneer Prelim events. For the Challenges, we are looking at all decks that earned the same number of points as the player in 16th in each event and for the Preliminary events we are looking at all 4-0 and 3-1 decks.

If there are any high-profile paper events, we will also include those. Some examples of events we would count are SCG Con events, NRG Events, Regional Championships, Pro Tours, etc.

Here were this week’s events:

·         MTGO Pioneer Challenge

·         MTGO Pioneer Challenge

·         MTGO Pioneer Preliminary Event

·         MTGO Pioneer Preliminary Event

·         MTGO Pioneer Preliminary Event

·         MTGO Pioneer Preliminary Event

Now that we’ve looked at the data, let’s take a look what changes occurred in this week’s tier list!

Metagame Breakdown

Stayed the Same

All decks! (And Enigmatic returned after a one-week break)


It’s very unusual for there to be no movement on the tier list for a week. So, what happened? Well, the exciting decks that showed up last week including Esper Legends that won a challenge last weekend all but disappeared this week. The decks near the top continued showing similar levels of relative success and while some decks spiked strong finishes like Atarka Red winning a challenge, it only managed two total finishes.

It was also a small week in terms of data with only a handful of MTGO Preliminary events along with the challenges as there weren’t any major paper events, MOCS events, or online RCQs this weekend. Top decks continued to deliver, and the newer decks might need a little more time to incubate or may even need cards from March of the Machines to move the needle.

With that said, keep an eye out on Azorius Control which had a strong weekend once again with eight qualifying finishes including six from the challenges. The deck continues to do well and may make the jump towards A-Tier in the near future.

In the other direction, keep an eye on Rakdos Sacrifice, which had a major resurgence lately, but seems to be struggling once again this weekend with zero qualifying finishes. Another absent week and the deck will surely start a freefall down the tier list once again.

Atarka Red and Atraxa Neoform won the two challenges this weekend, continuing their success of quality finishes over a quantity of finishes. I’d love to see more players picking up these decks as they have both had major success lately and they seem poised to remain metagame factors.

Enigmatic returned to the list this week after a challenge top 8 and a preliminary finish. While the deck has fallen from favor, it still has the tools to put up strong finishes and from the perspective of deck quality, it is certainly at least D-Tier. Hopefully we see the deck continue to see enough play to make the list despite Omnath to Light and Niv to Light seemingly picking up the five-color enjoyers lately.

Heading into March of the Machines, it feels like we have a pretty stable Pioneer Metagame with old favorites like Rakdos Midrange, Abzan Greasefang, Green Devotion, Lotus Field Combo, and Azorius Control leading the pack. That doesn’t mean those are the only decks winning though, as we saw this weekend, the spice continues to flow at the top tables and off meta or lower represented decks have been winning challenges.

Wrapping Up

There you have it, our weekly breakdown of all the top contenders and frequent fliers of Pioneer. While these tiers can change somewhat frequently, be sure to also check out our monthly overview of how decks performed on a month-to-month basis found here.

Best of luck at your upcoming events and be sure to stay safe out there!


  • 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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