Charting a Course – A Brave New World

Welcome to week one of our post-ban format! With Winota and Expressive iteration gone Arinceo goes over what did well in last week's events as well as what they expect to do well in the upcoming weekend challenges challenges

Welcome to week one of our post-ban format!

With the shock announcement banning of Winota, Joiner of Forces and Expressive Iteration last week (thanks for the notice WotC…), many were quick to:

  1. a) question the validity of the decision
  2. b) ask which deck they should now be playing

This week’s article examines both of those points. All data referenced below can be found in my SNC MTGO Events Spreadsheet.

Pre-Ban Data

Since the release of Streets of New Capenna there was a solid tier of top decks in terms of MTGO Challenge Data:

Pre-Ban SNC Season Challenge Results*

DeckTop 32sTop 16sTop 8s
Naya Winota522512
Izzet Prowess38167
Rakdos Midrange35187
Izzet Phoenix34197
Azorius Control271312
Mono Red Burn2697
Mono Green Devotion22136
Lotus Field Combo21116
Izzet Control19127
Izzet Base914721

*Next highest number of Top 32 finishes was Boros Heroic and Bant Spirits with 10 each.

From a single deck perspective, Winota possessed the highest number of Top 32/16/8 finishes of all decks – tied with Azorius Control for Top 8 finishes but it’s arguable that the deck’s strength in Top 8 finishes was leveraged by a strong Winota matchup. Considering this data in spite of large portions of sideboards and mains dedicated or adjusted for the Winota matchup, one can see how the deck suffered a banning.

Looking at this top tier of decks, three of them sat on an Izzet base centred around Expressive Iteration while all the others had distinctly different color identities. With a genuine concern that the best control, aggro (Prowess) and tempo/combo (Phoenix) decks of the format could all become Izzet, it was perhaps understandable that WotC looked to take this colour pairing down a notch.

Post-Ban Data

Individual Event Results

Saturday Pioneer Challenge (116 players) – June 11, 2022

Sunday Pioneer Showcase Challenge (380 players) – June 12, 2022

Post-Ban SNC Challenge Results*

DeckTop 32sTop 16sTop 8s
Mono Green Devotion1385
Rakdos Midrange1161
Izzet Phoenix831
Azorius Control4111
Mono Blue Spirits411
Mono Red Burn320
Niv to Light321

*Decks with 3 or more Top 32s. 15 more decks achieved 1 or 2 Top 32 finishes.

Note: there was a large paper Pioneer 5k event on this weekend as well run by Nerd Rage Gaming, but given the freshness of the ban I would assess these results with caution as participants may not have been able to obtain new cards to switch decks at such short notice.

So, is Mono Green left to feast on what’s left of the metagame for the foreseeable future? Perhaps not. I do think the deck was a good choice for the first week post-ban, being relatively linear in gameplan and not requiring tuning to specific matchups unlike most control/midrange decks. The format has show an ability to adapt to a ‘tier zero’ deck each week as well:

‘Most Dominant’ Decks of the Week

WeekMost Top 32sMost Top 16sMost Top 8s
May 14-15Winota (7)Prowess (5)Winota, Heroic (3)
May 21-22Prowess (14)Phoenix (6)Prowess, Lotus (3)
May 28-29Rakdos Mid (12)Rakdos Mid (6)Rakdos Mid, Izzet Control (3)
June 4-5Winota, Phoenix, Azorius Control (8)Azorius Control (5)Azorius Control (5)
June 11-12Mono Green (13)Mono Green (8)Mono Green (5)

Deck to Watch

There’s plenty of brewing going on in the format right now and with Winota now gone as the premier creature deck of the format, I think there’s a Collected Company shell out there that will rise into the higher tiers. Humans tribal is an option, but this Selesnya Company build that plays the likes of Archon of Emeria and Voice of Resurgence in the main alongside other interactive creatures seems like it could be the best if tuned correctly to the new meta.

Until Next Time

We’ll be back in two weeks to see how the format continues to evolve following the bans. Our format Tier List will continue its Tuesday updates and our Meta Data page will be updated each week as new event data becomes available.

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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