Charting a Course – August 25

Arinceo breaks down the week of Pioneer data to provide a glimpse into the future of the format.

Welcome to the Latest Edition of Charting a Course! 

With the spoilers of Dominaria United now coming out there’s plenty of brewing happening in peoples’ minds, but there’s still plenty of innovation to be had with the cards already in the format!

Teferi, Who Shifts the Meta

The breakout tech this week was the inclusion of Teferi, Who Sets the Sunwithin the Green Devotion decks. We’ve seen Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God and other planeswalkers tried of late, but this new tech further speeds the deck’s ability to combo off, even without a Nykthos! 

As a result, Green Devotion performed strongly this week and is expected to be an ongoing force as more people adopt the newest build of the deck. Our competitive team has moved the deck into S Tier on our format Tier List to reflect the change!

“Most Dominant” Decks of the Week

WeekMost Top 32sMost Top 16sMost Top 8s
July 9-10Izzet Phoenix (12)Rakdos Midrange, Izzet Phoenix (6)Izzet Phoenix (3)
July 16-17Rakdos Midrange (15)Rakdos Midrange (8)Azorius Control (4)
July 23-24Azorius Control (10)Azorius Control (6)Azorius Control (4)
July 30-31Rakdos Midrange (17)Rakdos Midrange (10)Rakdos Midrange (6)
August 6-7Green Devotion (10)Azorius Control (4)Azorius Control (4)
August 13-14Rakdos Midrange (9)Rakdos Midrange (9)Green Devotion, Rakdos Midrange, Rakdos Sacrifice (3)
August 20-21Green Devotion (10)Abzan Greasefang (5)Green Devotion (3)

Weekend Challenges

Strong performances from Green Devotion this week but both challenges this week were taken down by Bant Spirits! While the Mono Blue version has a very strong Green Devotion matchup, Bant has a better record against the likes of Rakdos Midrange and a smoother curve that features great interaction pieces in the form of Spell Queller and Skyclave Apparition.

Deck to Watch

Abzan Greasefang has continued to impress in recent weeks, in spite of Green Devotion really hosing the ability to crew Vehicles thanks to Karn, the Great Creator. Of all the Greasefang decks in the format Abzan has the best tools to consistently find an early Parhelion II thanks to cards like Grisly Salvage and Satyr Wayfinder. The deck can also blank graveyard hate by simply building a dominating board with Esika's Chariot; a very strong card in its own right. You’ll need to ensure you have at least a couple sideboard slots dedicated to this matchup!

Spice Corner

In recognition of all the brewing that’s been coming from spoiler season… here’s a couple fun decks from the recent 5-0 lists that caught my eye:

Described by well known MTGO player hamuda as Ensoul without the Ensoul, the deck aims to churn out a powerful board presence early thanks to cheap artifact creatures and Springleaf Drum before boosting them into a game-ending threat with All That Glitters or Michiko's Reign of Truth. Bomat Courier and Roadside Reliquary also allow this deck to play a longer game along with Showdown of the Skalds from the sideboard.

There’s a few things going on in this list, including relegating Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet to the sideboard so you have access to Jegantha, the Wellspring as a companion. Corpse Appraiser comes in to help grind out advantage in creature deck matchups, while Drown in the Loch acts a versatile answer to hedge against planeswalkers and big spells like Invoke Despair. Nicol Bolas, the Ravager and Kaito Shizuki then provide the incremental planeswalker advantage to close out matches.

Until Next Time

We’ll be back in early September to wrap-up the SNC season and look at the results of the Manatraders monthly event – check out the Swiss and Top 8 this weekend on their twitch channel!

If there’s anything you’d like to see me examine further in these articles, you can reach me on Twitter and Reddit, or on our PlayingPioneer Discord if you are signed up to our Patreon.

  • Author/Data Coordinator

    Arinceo has been in an on/off relationship with Magic since cracking his first packs in 2004. After watching his beloved Hardened Scales deck suffer the loss of Walking Ballista he jumped back into Pioneer following the release of the 2021 challenger decks and is active in the community on the PioneerMTG subreddit and Twitter. Arinceo compiles most of the competitive data used on our meta data page and elsewhere.

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