Pioneer Deck of the Week: Ledger Phoenix

Every Wednesday Insight is taking a quick look at one of the top-performing, most peculiar, or simply sweetest Pioneer decks among recent results. Everyone knows that Pioneer is Arclight Phoenix's playfield, but no one suspected that it would get such a nice toy. Let's watch some Birds!

ledger phoenix

We've talked about Ledger Shredder in the context of blue-red in Pioneer before. This time it's more than a threat with filtration as a bonus—it actually enables a big part of the deck's game plan. The deck's creature base consists of just two threats: the Shredder and Arclight Phoenix. Phoenixes like being in the graveyard and we have to somehow put them there for later recursion. In the past, players used Chart a Course as the main way to discard. However, at the end of the day, Chart does not affect the battlefield and costs two mana. The Bird costs the same, but is a repeatable source of discarding Phoenixes and a threat with evasion. This is indeed a solid upgrade. Thanks to its connive ability, it also filters your draws turn after turn, especially as it can trigger thanks to the opponent multispelling.

All the aforementioned filtering has additional utility. When we connive cards away, they naturally end up in the graveyard and so they can be used as fuel for our delve spells. Temporal Trespass and Treasure Cruise pull a lot of weight and are one of the strongest aspects of the deck. In conjunction with Galvanic Iteration we can draw six cards or take two extra turns in a row. What's worth mentioning is that we can also connive away the Iteration and cast it later for its flashback cost.

How do we bring back the Phoenixes though? We run a whole swath of cantrips in four Opt and four Consider, which can incidentally ditch even more Phoenixes into the graveyard. On top of that, we play one-mana interaction in Strangle, Fiery Impulse, Flame-Blessed Bolt, and Lightning Axe, totaling at nine. At this point, we've got seventeen one-mana spells to comfortably triplespell and trigger Arclight Phoenix. The best card advantage spell in Magic, Expressive Iteration, also really helps dig for the missing pieces—be it interaction, delve spells, Phoenixes to discard, or cantrips to bring them back.

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