Tier List Companion – July 7th, 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

Izzet Drakes

Moved Down

Izzet Creativity


This week didn’t show much change as the metagame continues to solidify. With the South American Regional Championships concluding, we see the same few decks rising to the top in Green Devotion and Rakdos Sacrifice. These two decks have been major standouts from this cycle of Regional Championships and while Green was a front-runner heading into these events, it was Rakdos Midrange not Rakdos Sacrifice that looked like the stronger deck. Rakdos Sacrifice gained in popularity as a response to the continued rise of aggressive decks like Boros Convoke, Boros Pia, Mono White Humans, and Azorius Spirit, which looked to punish uninteractive linear combo decks like Lotus Field and Abzan Greasefang.

The metagame continues evolving as we saw a decks like Rakdos Midrange get taken over by midrange killer decks like Enigmatic Incarnation and Azorius Lotus Field. These over-the-top decks managed to take Rakdos Midrange out of the perceived top spot of Pioneer for the first time in months. While Green was always hanging around as a top deck, it has been an interesting development to see the continued  metagame evolution of the format.

Diving into some specifics from this past week, Green put up the most qualifying finishes with nineteen, including three from challenges and five from the Regional Championships. Rakdos Sacrifice was just behind with eighteen finishes, but had nine from the Regional Championships, where it was dominant in South America. The only other deck to manage greater than fifteen finishes was a surprise in Abzan Greasefang, which was struggling the past few weeks, but as more aggressive decks came back into the metagame, it looks like the Rat Pilot has plenty of opportunities to find a footing once again.

Mono White Humans led the next group of decks with thirteen finishes with three coming from the challenges, but only one coming from the Regional Championships. The biggest difference being the prevalence of Rakdos Sacrifice in South America, which leaves aggressive creature decks like Mono White in shambles. Even with the printing of Coppercoat Vanguard to help ward off interaction, the deck still has difficulties against such a good anti-creature strategy.

Next up we have Lotus Field combo and Azorius Control, both with twelve qualifying finishes. Lotus Field predominantly performed in the preliminary events with only two qualifying finishes coming from the challenges and the Regional Championships combined. This likely has to do with the rise of aggressive strategies, which can hamper Lotus Field, especially since many of them also play hand disruption or tax effects like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Azorius Control on the other hand managed four finishes from the challenges and another three from the Regional Championships. With Rakdos Midrange starting to fall a bit and control players being able to target more linear strategies, it appears that Azorius Control has once again started to climb as the best control deck of the format.

The next two decks I want to discuss both had seven qualifying finishes, but that number represents very different things. For Rakdos Midrange, it was a very rough weekend. With only four qualifying finishes in the Regional Championships and none in the Challenges, it was one of the worst performances we’ve seen from this pillar of the format in ages. Conversely, Boros Pia has exploded as a powerful shell that leverages exile effects like Showdown of the Skalds and Wrenn’s Resolve to power up Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival. The deck continues to impress and while Boros Convoke looked like the next best red aggro deck, for me, Boros Pia has been the much more interesting take on non-traditional aggression.

With that being said, it is a good time to start exploring more decks in Pioneer as there is a notable lull in major events for the format now that the Regional Championships are wrapping up. With the Pro Tour being Modern, now is the time to find things like Boros Convoke or Boros Pia that had been sitting just under the surface. Especially with Rakdos Midrange starting to trend down, it may finally be time for some brewing among the top tables of Pioneer.

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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