Pioneer Deck of the Week: Time to Talk Teferi

TobiH

Every Wednesday Insight is taking a quick look at one of the top-performing, most peculiar, or simply sweetest Pioneer decks among recent results. Some people call the format uninteractive. But how can that be true when White-Blue Control enjoys a regular presence at the top tables?


teferi

It's a natural tendency for this column to highlight the decks with the most interesting game plans, specifically those that look good in isolation, which typically means proactive game plans. But a collection of interesting ideas doesn't necessarily make for an interesting whole. Detractors have looked at Pioneer from the outside and come away with the impression of a format full of action but lacking interaction.

Are there decks and matchups where each side mainly takes care of its own thing to see who finishes first? Navel-gazing with a bit of an extended gaze? Sure, Pioneer has that, whether it's beating down, assembling some combo, or ramping into an unassailable board state. But Pioneer also has White-Blue Control. It's far from the only example of a principally interactive strategy; others include Black-Red Midrange and various tempo shells. It's just the prime example with the absolute most interaction.

White-Blue Control main decks often contain up to 26 removal effects, some of them board wipes, as well as ten counterspells. If you're wondering how players fit all of this, along with ten planeswalkers and upward of twenty draw/library manipulation effects, into 60 cards, the short answer is easy. They don't. Decks typically run 80 cards, accompanied by Yorion, Sky Nomad. There are always more answers here, because there is always more deck here.

There also is another, longer answer to the question of deck space. After all, once you count in the requisite number of lands, it all adds up to far more even than 80. The math works out in part because some lands moonlight as removal, as counterspells, or as library manipulation. The planeswalker suite too offers extra cards, removal, or both.

Considering there are 80 cards main to work with, the deck's composition has remained surprisingly stable over an extended period. Its performance too. White-Blue Control has supplied a total of seven Top 8 entries across the past six Pioneer Challenges. This shows both that the strategy isn't problematically powerful but also that it's a cornerstone of the format. The next time you encounter a critic who claims Pioneer is full of monologues rather than dialogues, send them here!



Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, not of Cardmarket.



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