Howdy gang! Today I wanted to touch on the subject of the newest format of Magic the Gathering that’s gaining steam; Pioneer. For those of you who are scratching your virtual heads (looking at you Sergei), Pioneer is basically Modern but with the restriction of only being able to use cards from the Return to Ravnica block forward. Being more of a Modern player this format resonates with me. I got back into the game during the RTR block and while it holds a special place in my heart, I kick myself for not getting back into the game years before when the staples of Modern were first released. Yes, unfortunately, I’ve always gone to modern feeling underpowered as I stared across the table at Tarmogoyfs, Lilys, Emrakruls, Karns, Fetches, ..you get the point, while I played mostly budget decks as I’m a responsible (ish) adult who refuses to spend a grand or two on a Tier1 Modern deck. With this format, it feels like equal footing. It’s Modern for the new guys. While giddy on the inside, I’m cautious on the exterior. Why? Well I’m glad that you asked, voice in my head, I’ll tell you why I think this format could already be in trouble and why, on my soft caramel and nougat inside (Mmm Milky Ways), I think this might stick.
WOTC has already made it clear that there will be weekly bannings as the competitive scene meta comes to light. I think a big reason why this format has caught on fire in the last few weeks is the fact that all the overpowered cards from Standard-Ghosts past are now playable again. Emrakrul, The Promised End, Deathrite Shaman, Aetherworks Marvel, Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, Saheeli Rai and that damn Felidar Cat..the list goes on and on. It’s actually been interesting to track the card value spikes online while giggling to myself knowing that there would be a crash on a lot of the cards due to the Ban Hammer being swung around every week. Right off the bat, WOTC banned Fetches (thank you!), and just last week dropped the hammer on the Felidar Beast, therefore killing the Saheeli infinite combo, Oath of Nissa and Leyline of Abundance (to kill mana fixing right out of the gate). While, personally, I rather play fair games that last more 4 turns, I think there a lot of players that get a rush from pulling off infinite combos, playing overpowered cards, and just generally breaking the system and sticking it to the man. Once the bans keep coming, I can see a lot of players dropping the format and crying into their playset of Treasure Cruises. (C’mon we all know that is going away!).
Here to Stay!
Simply put; everyone is ****ing tired of getting their collective ***es kicked by the same Modern decks over and over again. Jund, Tron, Lantern Control, Burn, Bant. We’ve all at one time played against them either in person or online. If you haven’t, then consider yourself lucky. Next person who plays Lantern Control against me will get dropkicked in the ****ing throat. Try me m*******r. Ahem..er..anyways..How many times have you watched SCG Modern streams just to see the same decks over and over and over? How many times have you perused the Top 8 decklists just to see the same decks over and over and over? This is a fresh start! The meta is constantly in a state of flux as WOTC bans what they deem as unfair, so the top decks haven’t been decided yet and probably won’t be for awhile until the bans have subsided. This format feels different as Wizards is pushing it hard in the competitive scene. I fully expect a Pioneer Masters set next year. Write it down. I’ve never felt this sense of excitement from players when it came to any other format. Brawl? Meh. Wizards is still pushing it but not as hard. Tiny Leaders? Who gives a tiny crap? Pioneer? Hell yes! People instantly reacted to the announcement and singles prices went haywire. My gut tells me Pioneer will be a winner due to Modern Fatigue and the uncreative deck brewing of that format, as well as people having tons of old Standard cards just sitting in binders that are not Standard-legal but also not powerful enough to compete in Modern. The possibilities are endless right now and I think people are picking up on that. It’s not often that you can get in on the ground floor of a format.
Bonus Section! Coming to a Banned List Near You!
- Aetherworks Marvel
- Dig through Time
- Treasure Cruise
- Fabled Passage