Tier List Companion – April 19, 2023

DarthJacen breaks down 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:

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

Metagame Breakdown

Moved Up

Azorius Control

Moved Down

Rakdos Sacrifice

New to the List

Mono-Black Waste Not


We saw a huge number of Indomitable Creativity decks finishing well this past week. The deck put up twelve qualifying finishes including four challenge finishes, but that’s spread among various styles of Creativity decks. Much like with Spirits, we’re consolidating the Worldspine Wurm combo version, the Atraxa version, and everything in between. While these various archetypes have started showing up with regularity since Reid Duke won the last Pro Tour, we continue to see the archetype evolve and find new ways to win. After the Pro Tour, the deck spiked and then struggled – as we often see of a top Pro Tour deck, but now, it’s back with a vengeance heading into March of the Machines.

Azorius Control continues sitting at the top of the table and breaks through to A-Tier this week with eleven qualifying finishes including three finishes from challenges. The deck has proven itself a top contender and we’re seeing control as a whole doing quite well with Dimir Control winning one of the challenges this weekend. While Rakdos remains a tough matchup, traditionally difficult matchups in Green Devotion and Abzan Greasefang continue getting closer to neutral/near favorable as Azorius Control solidifies its various flex slots. We’ve seen plenty of success for this deck heading into MoM, so now the question is: will the introduction of a new type of card hurt or help control?

Rakdos Sacrifice continues to struggle. After a few weeks bouncing back as the format moved towards creature decks, we’re now seeing slower decks taking control once again. Rakdos Sacrifice continues putting up no or next to no finishes and the deck remains a good metagame option when creatures run rampant, but for now, it’s not a good option.

Mono-Black Waste Not has been popping up with a few qualifying finishes over the past few weeks. The deck thrives against control and combo decks that require a high card count. While this deck remains an interesting metagame answer to the slower decks of the format, it’s also a fan favorite and I’m happy to see it finding small levels of success. It’s hard for a deck to be truly bad with Invoke Despair, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, Fatal Push, and Thoughtseize.

As we head into March of Machines and get a whole new card type in battles, there’s plenty of room for new decks to rise and old favorites to gain a little strength. Here’s hoping we see the format continue to shift and evolve with the latest set and maybe we can see decks like Greasefang or Rakdos start to fall back down the tier list as new decks shake up the metagame a bit!

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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