Tier List Companion – June 14th, 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

Rakdos Sacrifice

Izzet Drakes

5c Enigmatic

Azorius Lotus Control

Izzet Phoenix

Moved Down

Izzet Creativity


Rakdos Sacrifice has been steadily climbing the past few weeks and finally made its way to A-Tier this week. With a great showing at the Regional Championship in Dallas, we had our eyes on the deck, but it carried through that performance with another strong week. With twenty-three qualifying finishes, the most of any decks this week, there’s clearly been a shift in power within the Rakdos archetypes. The deck’s strong matchup into creature decks along with Rakdos Midrange helps to bolster its position in the metagame along with the declining metagame share of pure combo decks like Lotus Field Combo, which is one of this deck’s hardest matchups. We’ve seen Rakdos Sacrifice as a top deck before and barring a resurgence of combo or an over-indexing towards Green Devotion, the deck seems poised to dethrone Rakdos Midrange at the top of the standings heading into the later season Regional Championships.

Izzet Drakes exploded onto the scene once again this past week with some strong performances in the Super Qualifier, including finishing second and with another top 8. While the deck and Izzet Phoenix often share similar roles in the metagame, we’ve seen both decks starting to bounce back after some weak showings. Drakes put up eight qualifying finishes and between the Super and the challenges, the deck put up six qualifying finishes with four top 8s. While it’s unclear if Drakes is a blip in the radar or will take over the place of the various Izzet Tempo decks that have flourished in Pioneer including Phoenix and Creativity, for now it’s one of the hottest decks and worth keeping a keen eye on for the next few weeks.

Five-color Enigmatic continues to see success a week after putting up a dominating Swiss performance in Dallas. With seven qualifying finishes, the deck has slowly started picking up more attention and importantly, players. One of the things holding this deck back is often that even when well positioned, players aren’t inclined to bring this deck. We’ve seen this with many archetypes in the past, such as Green Devotion, Lotus Field, and other decks that don’t have much overlap with other popular archetypes in the format. The deck is well positioned as a midrange killer and with Rakdos Sacrifice gaining in popularity, it’s a great deck to consider picking up. Though, you will need to watch out for Spirits and Lotus Field as those are some tough matchups and they do still have significant metagame shares.

Azorius Lotus Field (aka Strict Lotus) had an incredible past few weekends, including putting up spectacular results in Canada and at non-North American Regional Championships. The deck takes a very different approach than most Azorius-based decks and leverages an absurd mana spend in the mid to late game to go way over top of nearly any midrange or control deck. While the deck struggles against aggro decks, your seven wrath effects can help stall and stabilize before Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Memory Deluge, and Discontinuity can take over. Add in Strict Proctor as one of the standout cards of the deck, especially at stalling out Spirits – your worst matchup, and this deck can attack from many angles while remaining impossible to go over top of without a pure combo. The deck put up the qualifying finishes this weekend, but I suspect it will become a Regional Championship staple at the final three Regional Championships upcoming.

As mentioned with Izzet Drakes, Izzet Phoenix has also seen some resurgence with a strong weekend in Athens along with seven total qualifying finishes. While the deck only made up around four percent of the field, it won 52% of matches and had the number one seed after the Swiss. The deck continues to handle most non-Rakdos decks well and can help to contain Spirits and Green Devotion, two decks that continue to sit among the top decks of the format. While I’m not sure which of the three top Izzet Decks is the best for this upcoming weekend, I wouldn’t be shocked if, like with Rakdos, we saw multiple Izzet shells sitting higher in the tier list in the coming weeks.

Izzet Creativity did slide a little this past week, due to a string of weaker finishes, especially when looking at the Regional Championships. With only six qualifying finishes this past week – one in Athens, one in a challenge, and none in the Super Qualifier, it seems like Creativity is starting to struggle once again. It’s hard to stay on top of the metagame and while Rakdos Midrange and Green Devotion are the primary targets of this deck, plenty of other decks are able to get underneath your gameplan or interact with your payoffs, making this a weaker option than the other two Izzet decks for this upcoming weekend. The deck remains very powerful in a vacuum, but in the current metagame, much like before it won the Pro Tour, I suspect it may need some time away from the spotlight before it’s primed to sit at the top tiers again.

Finally, let’s talk about Gruul Vehicles. The deck put up one qualifying finish this past weekend. It was in a prelim. Not in a challenge, not in the Super, and the highest placing finish at Athens was in 48th place at 10-5. That was its only finish in the top 64. The deck won two separate Regional Championships as a strong metagame pick to attack Rakdos Midrange, but much like Auras at Pro Tour Phyrexia, decks can do well at one event without being in a good position overall. The deck has strong starts, but it doesn’t appear to be gaining much traction in terms of wins or finishes. Hopefully you can all prove me wrong, but in the end, a deck needs to win to move up the tier-list.

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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