It took a bit for everyone to figure out that Ledger Shredder was the most influential card hot off the Streets of New Capenna. Then, it took a bit longer still to figure out where it would be best. Just within the domain of blue-red Pioneer decks, people first looked at Ledger Delver and later at Ledger Phoenix. However, the actual king of Izzet turned out to be yet another build, an old favorite named after the archetype's key keyword: Prowess.
Prowess has two, arguably three relevant advantages over the alternatives. First, it hits the hardest and the fastest. Monastery Swiftspear and Soul-Scar Mage simply reach the finish line earlier than Delver of Secrets or Arclight Phoenix. But it's not just favored in uninteractive racing games. It also has the best setup to use the best removal spell in Pioneer. No, not Fatal Push. In a world where you regularly have to kill Winota, Joiner of Forces, and sometimes Greasefang, Okiba Boss, and really need to do this at instant speed, the best removal option is in fact Reckless Rage. All the deck's one-drops, plus half of the two-drops all of the time and all of the two-drops most of the time, can shrug off a hit from your own Reckless Rage. The same cannot be said for Delver or Phoenix, and Phoenix's game plan often requires tapping out too.
Finally, there's the matter of Pioneer's most powerful card draw option. This deck can exile its graveyard with impunity to pay for Treasure Cruise, whereas builds with Phoenix or Dreadhorde Arcanist need their graveyard to serve several masters. So the deck combines the most efficient threats, the most efficient removal, and the most efficient card draw. Put like that, it really is no wonder how it's been racking up results left and right, strong finish after strong finish. The online results are full of Prowess at the moment.
|Blue-Red Prowess by SoulStrong, 4th at Pioneer Challenge, May 22|
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