What is Pioneer?
Magic was born in 1993.
Modern, one of the game’s most beloved formats, takes cards that were legal from 2003 on… So chops off Magic’s first ten years.
Now Pioneer does the same, but starting in 2013. It eliminates Magic’s first twenty years.
It’s the Wild, Wild West.
Pioneer is great, or at least exciting for now because it’s such a wide open universe. There have been lots and lots of bans in Standard over the last six years… But none of those bans have hit Pioneer (yet). It’s like Sam Black said… If you’re not trying to get a card banned, you’re not trying hard enough.
Is Goblin Chainwhirler Good Enough for Pioneer Red Decks?
There have been a number of viable Red Decks over the last six years. Multiple won Pro Tours, even! (Back when we had such a thing.)
Tiny creature decks with Atarka’s Command were great.
We know the Pioneer Red Deck will be less uniform and efficient than the Modern Red Deck. It has to be, right? There will be no Lighting Bolt, for one thing. Will the ever-impressive (in Standard) threat Goblin Chainwhirler make the cut?
Spoiler: Might that creature be great if people are playing 8-12 one drop mana accelerators a la Llanowar Elves?
What Will be the Role of Dig Through Time in Pioneer?
If all you do is resolve a Wilderness Reclamation, you can start casting Dig Through Time the next turn, even if you haven’t put a lot of cards in your graveyard.
But of course you can set up to put cards in your graveyard! Growth Spiral is going to be in a class by itself. But Opt will be great… and so will cycling cards like Hieroglyphic Illumination an Censor.
Censor, in particular, is interesting: There are so many busted things to do in Pioneer… But none of them are permission spells! Censor does double duty here. It’s not much worse than Quench (even if it feels worse, when it happens to you). Its Plan B is so good to help find Wilderness Reclamation and resolve Dig Though Time.
It’s Probably Going to be a Treasure Cruise Deck…
At least until they ban Treasure Cruise.
Format is wild
New ideas are flowing.
All our takes on the first couple of Pioneer tournament results here: