Pioneer has a surprising number of really strong blue and red cards. Expressive Iteration naturally leads the pack as arguably one of, if not the, best spell printed in a Standard-legal set last year. However, there is fierce competition for the best spell in the deck as in Pioneer you can play with Treasure Cruise. It clearly establishes that the deck can easily go long and has proper card advantage. It's typically surrounded by interaction in the form of countermagic and removal. New Capenna has assisted the deck in expanding this repertoire: Strangle is a poor person's Lightning Bolt and Make Disappear makes a good enough impression of Mana Leak.
Once we've got all the interaction and card draw in place, we need something to actually close out games. The low end of the curve is represented by the one and only Delver of Secrets / Insectile Aberration. Almost half the deck is noncreature spells so we can hopefully flip it often enough. The two-drop slot is quite clogged actually, but it just means that we will always have a strong play on turn two; and all of them have the "run away with the game if unanswered" dynamic. Young Pyromancer, for example, generates a large number of minions, which can chump all day or pay the casualty cost of our counterspell—until the army amassed is so big that it can break through the opposing defenses.
Dreadhorde Arcanist is our Pioneer Snapcaster Mage. Against creature decks, we can go Strangle, Arcanist, Strangle. Against slower decks we can reuse our Consider and Opt to draw more cards—a truly versatile threat. To top it off we've got a Capenna birdy, Ledger Shredder, which is getting more and more popular in all the formats. It provides filtering, it has evasion, it grows, and it does all of it at the same time. Remember that on turn three you can play the Bird, immediately follow it up with a spell and get to connive. Furthermore, it triggers on the opponent's multi-spelling turn as well. In practice, it may mean that you get to connive every other or even every turn. Ditch removal against control, ditch counterspells against low-to-the-ground aggro, ditch Cruise against graveyard hate, and feed Cruise if there is none.
The deck is a real treat for all the tempo mages out there and a real threat for everyone else.
|Blue-Red Ledger Delver, Pioneer|
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, not of Cardmarket.