Pioneer Breakdown – SNC Early Impressions

Welcome to the Pioneer Breakdown! I’m your host, arinceo, and this week we’re looking at the first events on MTGO since the release of Streets of New Capenna!

The launch of the new season was also accompanied by the news that, in light of consistently high participation numbers in recent weeks, the weekly challenges will now pay out prizes to the Top 64 instead of the Top 32. This is a great vote of confidence in the format and the better EV of the challenges should also entice further participation.

For the budget-conscious players the drop-rates of specific pioneer staples were increased, with WOTC highlighting Den of the Bugbear as a prime example. While these cards still cost far too many tix for my liking, it’s at least good to see some positive steps to increasing card supply in the MTGO market.

With new cards becoming more readily available this week we’ve started to see some new innovations emerge throughout the MTGO results – let’s take a look at the two challenges from the weekend:

Saturday MTGO Challenge (109 players)

Event Meta Breakdown – Source | Reddit

DeckTop 32Top 16Top 8
Naya Winota431
Mono Red Burn322
Rakdos Midrange310
Rakdos Sacrifice220
Angels211
Izzet Phoenix211
Izzet Prowess211
Jund Sacrifice200
Other1252

Four of the top eight decks featured SNC cards – Niv to Light (triomes only), Esper Greasefang (Ledger Shredder among others), Angels (Giada, Font of Hope and Izzet Prowess (Ledger Shredder again!).

Sunday MTGO Showcase Challenge (198 players)

Event Meta Breakdown – Source | Reddit

DeckTop 32Top 16Top 8
Naya Winota621
Izzet Phoenix531
Azorius Control332
Mono Red Burn300
Rakdos Midrange220
Mono Green Devotion211
Izzet Control211
Other942

All hail Mono Blue Spirits! The budget competitive deck of Pioneer surpassed format heavyweights Winota, Mono Green, Azorius Control and Izzet to take down this major MTGO event. A key component of the deck was a full playset of SNC common Witness Protection, which works as a fantastic cheap removal spell as well as reducing the cost of one of the deck’s key counterspells, Geistlight Snare.

If you want to dive into this season data further, click here to check out the full spreadsheet.

Let’s Get Shredded

The early breakout star of SNC is definitely Ledger Shredder, slotting into multiple archetypes thanks to its ability to fill multiple roles within a deck – providing card selection, graveyard fuel and an evasive threat. For those of you who will encounter the card for the first time over the coming weeks, remember that it gets triggered by any player casting their second spell, not just its controller.

In addition to being featured in already present meta decks such as Esper Greasefang and Izzet Phoenix, the Shredder has allowed for the emergence of a new Izzet Prowess deck, utilizing all the cheap efficient spells in those colours plus prowess one-drops and Sprite Dragon.

It feels similar to the breakout card of Kamigawa, Fable of the Mirror Breaker, which is now utilised in multiple decks due to its overall strength and versatility. If you opened some of these during the pre-release weekend, congratulations! Otherwise, snap up your copies quickly if you like playing blue decks.

Ob Nixilis, the Underwhelming?

It was the main card highlighted in spoiler season as ‘completely busted’, promising an imposing board state with two planeswalkers as early as turn two or three. Thus far though, despite being thrown into any deck where it could conceivably be played, Ob Nixilis, the Adversary is not warping the format as first initially feared. There’s no doubt a deck out there that will start putting up consistent results – most likely involving Tenacious Underdog.

Deck to Watch

After suffering greatly in strength due to the Luurus ban, Boros Heroic looks to be a deck back on the scene thanks to the printing of Illuminator Virtuoso from the new set. Not only is the creature a strong threat thanks to double strike, the connive ability allows the deck the chance to filter through unlucky draws into more pump spells.

Until Next Time

Thanks for reading this latest edition of the Pioneer Breakdown. We’ll be back soon to look at further developments in the format as more players try the cards from Streets of New Capenna and the metagame continues to shift.

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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