Our Team

Leadership

As it has grown, the PlayingPioneer team has formed three teams: Editorial, Distribution and the Competitive Team – each with a team lead.

  • Author / Graphics

    rose-emoji started playing Magic: The Gathering during Battle for Zendikar, then took a break from the game until Throne of Eldraine. Pioneer got him back into Magic full-force, and the launch of Arena on mobile hooked him in forever. Now that his favorite format is working its way onto Arena, he can be found grinding the format to death. Only ever Grixis colors, but sometimes he can have a little Jund as a treat.

  • Publisher

    ServoToken has been playing competitive magic since 2011, spending a majority of that time living in the shoes of a player on a strict budget. After investing a lot of time learning how to make the best of a bad situation, his goals today are to spread those lessons to the often-ignored population of Magic players who can’t afford to drop a car payment on a new deck every couple of months. His mantra is that “You don’t need to play mono-red to do well on a budget”. These days, you can typically find him deep in the archives of Scryfall searching for new cards to brew around or making tweaks to the Pioneer Budget deck spreadsheet on his unending mission to bring his favorite format to the people on the cheap.

  • Competitive Team Lead

    KarnageKardsENT has been playing Magic since Scars of Mirrodin. During the Pandemic, he moved to playing MTGO. Today, you can find him playing Pioneer, Modern and sometimes Standard. A mainstay in the Pioneer Challenges, Karnage can be found at Most Eastern F2F stops in Canada.

  • Editor-In-Chief

    Having started playing Magic shortly before the release of Return to Ravnica, Ruckman’s Magic lifespan covers the breadth of the Pioneer format. Despite not being a stranger to the Top 8 tables of the old IQ and PTQ systems, most of his competitive experience comes from the other side of the event space, where he served more than five years as a level-two judge, only hanging up the black shirt for good at the beginning of 2022. Currently, you can find him making Pioneer content for Crew3 on your favorite podcasting platform or on Twitch/YouTube.

  • Distribution Manager

    Tyrant has been playing Magic in events since his first prerelease in Ixalan. Most of the time, he can be found in the various Pioneer Discord channels talking about anything Pioneer, from various meta decks to whatever new combo deck he has brewed up. When not playing Magic, he is getting cards in his collection signed by their artists or producing the occasional video for his YouTube channel.

Competitive Guides

Our Pioneer Competitive Guides are required to meet certain metrics in order to apply, then must maintain certain metrics to remain in the position. Our Competitive Guides are writing Premium competitive content and guiding players through matchups and deckbuilding in our Discord channel.

  • Competitive Guide

    Sam is an OG Pioneer player, brewing decks with his team since day one of this format, fleshing out the early metagame with the rest of the MTGO grinders. He knows the ins and outs of the format and spends way too much time playing it. He is known for creating Jeskai Lukka Fires, World Tree Combo, and Omnath Turns, and continues to create new and awesome decks while providing video content for all to consume.

  • Competitive Guide

    Bailey has been playing competitive magic since Shadows over Innistrad was released. Hooked by Bant Company he has been playing green based control and midrange decks ever since.

  • 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.

  • Competitive Guide

    Ricky has been thriving on a healthy diet of 17th, 8th, and 2nd place finishes at various GPs, SCGs, and RPTQs since the days of OG Zendikar. He's played every format under the sun, but ever since Modern banned his beloved Splinter Twin, he's really taken a shine to Pioneer. You can find him making what he calls comedy content under Door Monster on YouTube and airing his bad opinions with his buddies on the Crew3 podcast.

Staff Writers

Our team of writers and content creators are responsible for the PlayingPioneer content you have come to expect from us and are constantly brewing, playing and breaking down the Pioneer format.

  • Author

    Michael "Pioneer Brewer" Schwander Playing jank decks since 1999. From the first pack of Prophecy he opened from a Wizard Magazine, he has been digging into off-the-wall strategies some would call "cute" - that is, until those people get hit with 20 damage on turn two from an Ornitopter equipped two Colossus Hammers.

  • Author/Copy Editor

    Tyler Hilton aka BiRDxC0Re, a proud magic player for over 22 years, his love for the game started during the Onslaught era of Magic. At a kitchen table with friends, some basic Mountains, and a pair of Raging Goblins going face – his adventure began, and he’s never looked back. Much has changed since then though, for both Tyler and Magic, and these days you can find him playing high-level Burn at many Canadian Modern events or grinding Mythic Rank on MTG Arena season after season. A canny Pioneer/Explorer brewer, young father, and KarnageKardsENT’s biggest fan – he joins our team to help the crew with whatever he can in the hopes of sharing his love for this game with the next generation!

  • Author/Video Editor

    With a love for Ancient Egypt as a child, Brad’s card game of choice was always Yu-Gi-Oh! until the release of Amonkhet sparked interest in Magic. Ever since then he hasn’t looked back. Pioneer naturally became his favorite format of choice seeing that his starting point with Magic was Amonkhet. Rakdos is his favorite color combination but Kethis Combo will always have that special place in his heart as his favorite deck.

  • Author

    Alex has been playing the Pioneer format since its inception and his love for the format has only grown since. After pulling two copies of Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh at his second prerelease in 2017, Grixis Control has been his deck of choice in every format. It’s rare for Alex not to include at least one Bolas in his decks, though he also doesn’t shy away from a good tribal deck. Alex has been part of the Pioneer Perspective since the first episode back in August 2020.

  • Author

    Anthony dove into Magic with the release of Guilds of Ravnica, getting heavy exposure to the game as a co-owner of an LGS. An avid fan of Draft, Modern, Pioneer, and Explorer, he loves brewing midrange and control decks, but always seems to find his way back to UW Spirits.

  • Author

    Kevin has been playing Magic all of his life, learning from his parents and older brother before he could even read the cards. He never got serious until about Khans of Tarkir and has been involved with the competitive Magic community since. Kevin has been playing and making content about Pioneer since day one, having previously played the Frontier format along with his co-host of The First Pioneers Podcast. He considers himself an avid brewer, and tests out every deck in the format to have broad knowledge. You can also find Kevin moderating the Pioneer discord and Reddit.

  • Author

    Casual Jake is a music teacher and MTG content creator who caters to the FNM crew. Known for his love of off-meta brews and budget decks he focuses on making the game of Magic accessible for all players. While he primarily plays Pioneer, Casual Jake is an avid Commander player who also explores Pauper and Modern from time to time. In his own words, “I never said I was good, but at least I’m entertaining.”

  • Author

    Briger has been losing games of Magic since Gatecrash. On a good day, he can be found huddled up in his cave playing Elden Ring, and the rest of the time he can be found listening to and making Pioneer podcasts!

  • 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.