Tier List Companion – June 28th, 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

Atarka Red

Moved Down

Izzet Creativity


Green Devotion had another standout weekend in terms of quantity of finishes. With thirty qualifying finishes, the deck cleared second place Rakdos Sacrifice by over ten finishes. The deck was as close to S-Tier as possible without quite ticking over the threshold, so keep an eye out next week to see if we’ll finally see the return of an S-Tier deck. Green remains a dominant force in the Pioneer metagame with even bad matchups having a hard time answering their best starts, meaning you can beat nearly any deck in the format with your best starts, something most other decks lack. With the last of the Regional Championships over, we may also see Devotion start to see a little less play as it tends to peak during the competitive seasons, but don’t mistake that right now, it’s the best deck in the format.

Second and third place in terms of finishes this week were Rakdos Sacrifice and Rakdos Midrange with nineteen and eighteen qualifying finishes respectively. These Rakdos decks continue battling neck and neck with each other for spots at the very top of the metagame. While Rakdos Midrange held that title for much of the past year, Sacrifice has quickly caught up with this cycle of Regional Championships. Online, Sacrifice has even started leapfrogging Midrange as perennial MTGO All-Star Jaberwocki continues putting up monstrous MTGO performances, including multiple challenge wins, finals, and top 8 appearances.

The last of the top archetypes putting up monstrous numbers this week was a surprise in Mono White Humans, which managed seventeen qualifying finishes. Though eight came from preliminary events, having the other nine come from the challenge, showcase challenge, and the Regional Championships puts it as the best of the rest. With the printing of Coppercoat Vanguard, the deck has gotten much stronger and while Spirits, RW Convoke, and RW Pia have gotten more attention of late, Humans remains quietly putting up strong enough results that it may start climbing back up the tier list soon.

Azorius Control is in an odd place in the overall metagame. When looking at the overall results the deck has put up, it isn’t as impressive as other decks on the tier list, but when looking at the win-rates at the various Regional Championships, the deck looks impressive. It picked up nine qualifying finishes this week including only two from preliminary events, meaning the other seven were in higher quality events. The deck is in a position where it has solid matchups against many of the top archetypes and put up multiple second-place finishes this past weekend, but I’m not sure if the strategy will manage to hold onto its place in B-Tier as the metagame continues to evolve and adapt.

Atarka Red rejoins the tier list as we’re seeing more aggressive strategies managing to put up results this past weekend. With RW Convoke, RW Pia burn, Mono White Humans, Spirits, and more all starting to climb, it’s not unreasonable for Atarka Red to find success in a similar slot. While it only had three qualifying finishes this week, the deck remains an explosive option for aggressive players looking to expand their range of decks. Overall, don’t sleep on the aggressive decks of the format that are looking better each week as we start trending away from the midrange and control arms race that we saw developing with the prominence of Azorius Lotus Field a few weeks ago.

One of the things helping this aggressive deck renaissance at the lower tiers is the lack of Izzet Creativity the past few weeks. While we’ve seen the deck split into three different styles with Worldspine Wurm, Atraxa, and Torrential Gearhulk as finishers, the increased number of styles hasn’t translated to more finishes. With only six finishes this past weekend split between three Gearhulk, one Wurm, and two Atraxa, the deck doesn’t have a true identity and until one of the versions becomes stock, it becomes difficult to correctly pick which version of the deck best suits the current metagame. Along with Phoenix and Drakes, Izzet strategies struggled this past weekend and may continue sliding down the tier list as more streamlined aggressive decks pressure early and often.

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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