Tier List Companion – June 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


Bring to Light (Omnath to Light + Niv to Light)

Rakdos Sacrifice

Mono White Humans

Moved Down

Rakdos Midrange


This week, we had nearly 270 qualifying results, some of the most we’ve ever had in any one weekend. For the purposes of the tier list data, we included down to Top 32 at each Regional Championship and down to the Top 16 both the 10k, 5k, and challenges, allowing the Regional Championships to carry more substantive weight. Along with a great infographic from MTG Meta.io that you can find below, we got a metric ton of information to look at in preparation for the next wave of Regional Championships or Regional Championship Qualifiers yet to come.

Since this weekend had massive amounts of data, let’s dive right into the top performers of the weekend along with some disappointing decks that couldn’t sustain their success!

Rakdos Midrange

The big shocker this weekend, especially for those focusing on the streamed Regional Championships, was the amount of Rakdos Midrange present and the lack of dominance from arguably the best deck in the format. We’ve seen this happen a few times, such as in Atlanta – where Green Devotion was a massive part of the field, only to have a disastrous result, including no copies in the Top 8. Often, when there’s a top deck in the format, the metagame for these single-shot, high-stakes events shifts to attack that deck specifically.

Even so, once we expand our scope outside of the streamed Regional Championships, Rakdos Midrange looks a lot more promising. Despite a 48.2%-win rate across the Regional Championships, the deck maintained its spot at the top of both representation and finished with 37 qualifying finishes. With fifteen finishes coming from the various Regional Championships, the deck certainly was a strong contender even when targeted.

The deck remains a staple, but this week’s high-level events showed a blueprint to go over the top of Rakdos without being entirely helpless against the various aggro decks of the format. Don’t expect Rakdos to go anywhere, even with a rough weekend. I suspect Rakdos will remain a top finisher, much like in Toronto where it put up two copies into Top 8.

Green Devotion

Green Devotion was a close second place in terms of qualifying finishes with 37. With twelve coming from the Regional Championships, it had a great weekend and put up the third best winrate of the weekend. Of the top decks heading into the weekend, it’s clear that Green managed to live up to the hype and delivered great results all weekend.

After these two decks, we have a sharp dropoff in terms of results with the next few decks having either fifteen or twenty qualified finishes. Much of this comes from the large presence of Green Devotion and Rakdos Midrange across the weekend, even with Rakdos’ weak winrate. Together, these two top decks almost beat out the next five decks combined.

Rakdos Sacrifice

Those next few decks include the top finisher of the weekend in terms of win-rate in Rakdos Sacrifice. After some uneventful weeks, the deck has slowly started to show up more as a means to beat up the various creature aggro decks and Rakdos Midrange. With combo and engine decks being the hardest matchups for Sacrifice, it’s not surprising to see the deck do well as pure combo decks – and over-the-top engine decks were present, but not in the same numbers as midrange this past weekend.

While the deck put up an incredible 58% win-rate across the Regional Championships, if decks like 5c Enigmatic, which went 12-0-2 in Dallas, Lotus Field, or Greasefang start to pick up, the deck will start to drop back down. Even with a fantastic winrate, the raw number of players running this deck didn’t quite match up to other top decks as it only had seven finishes at the Regional Championships combined. I’d fully expect this to be one of the higher represented decks at the next Regional Championships along with the other overperformers from this weekend.

Azorius Spirits

Next up among the overperformers was Azorius Spirits. This archetype has been leading Spirits for a while now, but this weekend was a real breakout performance for the deck with a 57% win-rate and eleven qualifying finishes. Despite having a difficult matchup into the two Rakdos decks and some of the other aggressive decks, Spirits crushes the less-interactive midrange decks, along with control and combo. This gives the deck a great shot of winning against non-Rakdos decks trying to win the game anytime post-turn five.

This deck remains a great option if the field slows down to go over the top of Rakdos, but keep an eye on the aggressive decks of the format – like Mono White Humans or Boros Convoke – as they can apply enough early pressure to stress test Spirits’ ability to take over in the air. If the trend for the next weekend is to keep slowing down and go over the top of Rakdos, Spirits is a top choice for sure!

Omnath to Light

While not having the best Regional Championships, Omnath to Light did manage to have a strong online showing yet again with fifteen qualifying finishes, moving it up from D-tier to C-tier along with fellow Bring to Lightdeck Niv to Light. Obviously, the weak Regional Championships showing is a cause for concern, but it is a deck that still follows the same idea as 5c-Enigmatic in being a mid to late game menace that can dominate Rakdos Midrange. Even so, much like we saw in Dallas, 5c-Enigmatic may be the stronger Rakdos killer – even though neither want to see pure combo decks like Lotus Field.

Mono-White Humans

Lastly, we have Mono White Humans moving up to C-Tier with a strong showing at the various regional championships with a 52% win-rate and fifteen qualifying finishes. While only four of those finishes came at the various Regional Championships, it’s clear that the printing of Coppercoat Vanguard has helped to speed this deck up. I think that Boros Convoke took over the news cycle for a week, but if I were looking for an aggressive deck for the next few weeks, I’d start with Mono White Humans alongside Spirits as my top options.

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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