Pioneer Deck of the Week: New Hope/Impulses for Lotus Field


Every Tuesday Insight is taking a quick look at one of the top-performing, most peculiar, or simply sweetest Pioneer decks among recent results. Lotus Field Combo has experienced a kind of comeback in recent months—thanks to one innovation and one very old card newly added to the format last year!

lotus field - impulse - hope tender

First printed in 1997, Impulse is now, next to basic lands, the oldest card in the deck's current lineup. It only joined the Pioneer card pool last September with its reprint in Dominaria United but immediately found a home in a several combo designs. Nowhere else did it become as much of a universal four-of, though, so one wonders if Lotus Combo should have run Shimmer of Possibility all along. Then again, it can be valuable to delay a decision until the opponent's end step, when you may know if you need to go for it next turn.

Going for it still means tapping and untapping Lotus Field and the Thespian's Stage copying it, generating enough mana to cast Emergent Ultimatum and to keep going, drawing and filtering a bunch of cards, maybe landing Omniscience and eventually winning with Approach of the Second Sun from the sideboard. The very first part of this litany nowadays finds itself aided increasingly often by Hope Tender. Tender and Impulse are the main ways in which the deck has changed in ages.

But it didn't take much to bring the strategy back to the forefront of the format. When I looked at the cards that separated Explorer from Pioneer back in July, Lotus Field wasn't as big of a deal. However, this December it claimed an average of one Top 8 slot across all Challenges and Showcase Qualifiers, plus an average of half a slot in these event's Top 16s. It now remains as Pioneer's main metagame factor missing from MTG Arena.

A proper engine combo deck makes for a great addition to any format, adding another lane to the streets of aggression and defense. Maybe it is time for Stage, Scrying, Hidden Strings, and Pore Over the Pages to join the Arena.

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