Monday's surprise announcement that Inverter of Truth, Underworld Breach, Walking Ballista and Kethis, the Hidden Hand are banned in Pioneer made it clear that broken combos are no longer welcome in the format they once defined. From another perspective, the bans have helped undo the damage done by Theros Beyond Death, which ultimately enabled these combo decks. Only Underworld Breach was from the set outright, but it was Thassa's Oracle that turned Inverter of Truth from bulk mythic to the scariest card in the format, while Walking Ballista's ban is collateral damage from its infinite combo with Heliod, Sun-Crowned

These mistakes from Theros Beyond Death may now be behind us, but the set's single most impactful card remains—multi-format all-star Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. In a world where combo is removed, midrange decks will rise, and there's no better tool for the strategy. While midrange decks and cards like Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath have been mostly overshadowed and outshined by combo in Pioneer up until this point, we're entering a time when Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath may become the single most defining card in the format. It's now poised to rise to the forefront of the metagame like it has in Standard, Historic, Modern, and even Legacy. 
 
The bans took effect on Magic Online the same day of the announcement, and by that evening reports were already coming in that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath was dominating Pioneer Preliminary events and leagues. The most successful Uro deck before the bans was Five-Color Bring to Light Niv-Mizzet Reborn, and it's now in perfect position to take over as the format's top deck.

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Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Niv to Light (Yorion) by JAPANESEFISHERMAN

'Niv to Light (Yorion)' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: JAPANESEFISHERMAN

Event:

Rank:

Pioneer

Market Price: $570.47

Cards

Rootbound Crag

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $3.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/142038_200w.jpg

Rootbound Crag enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Mountain or a Forest.
{T}: Add {R} or {G}.

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Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/242996_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Hallowed Fountain

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $7.91

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182831_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W} or {U}.)
As Hallowed Fountain enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Mana Confluence

Market Price: $20.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/82224_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life: Add one mana of any color.

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196478_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Cut // Ribbons

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $0.60

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/129813_200w.jpg

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Sylvan Caryatid

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $4.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/71045_200w.jpg

Defender, hexproof
{T}: Add one mana of any color.

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Grafdigger's Cage

Market Price: $1.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192909_200w.jpg

Creature cards in graveyards and libraries can't enter the battlefield.
Players can't cast spells from graveyards or libraries.

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Stomping Ground

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $9.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182841_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R} or {G}.)
As Stomping Ground enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Hour of Devastation

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136610_200w.jpg

All creatures lose indestructible until end of turn. Hour of Devastation deals 5 damage to each creature and each non-Bolas planeswalker.

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Fatal Push

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218830_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature if it has mana value 2 or less.
Revolt — Destroy that creature if it has mana value 4 or less instead if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn.

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Questing Beast

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $7.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198763_200w.jpg

Vigilance, deathtouch, haste
Questing Beast can't be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less.
Combat damage that would be dealt by creatures you control can't be prevented.
Whenever Questing Beast deals combat damage to an opponent, it deals that much damage to target planeswalker that player controls.

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Zagoth Triome

Color Identity:B,G,U

Market Price: $11.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212691_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}, {G}, or {U}.)
Zagoth Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Knight of Autumn

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243826_200w.jpg

When Knight of Autumn enters the battlefield, choose one —
• Put two +1/+1 counters on Knight of Autumn.
• Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
• You gain 4 life.

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Steam Vents

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $14.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175202_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {R}.)
As Steam Vents enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Extinction Event

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212261_200w.jpg

Choose odd or even. Exile each creature with mana value of the chosen quality. (Zero is even.)

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Savai Triome

Color Identity:B,R,W

Market Price: $9.87

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212693_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}, {W}, or {B}.)
Savai Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Ketria Triome

Color Identity:G,R,U

Market Price: $12.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212697_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}, {U}, or {R}.)
Ketria Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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The Scarab God

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $39.49

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219023_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, each opponent loses X life and you scry X, where X is the number of Zombies you control.
{2}{U}{B}: Exile target creature card from a graveyard. Create a token that's a copy of it, except it's a 4/4 black Zombie.
When The Scarab God dies, return it to its owner's hand at the beginning of the next end step.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196580_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $11.96

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206836_200w.jpg

When Uro enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless it escaped.
Whenever Uro enters the battlefield or attacks, you gain 3 life and draw a card, then you may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.
Escape—{G}{G}{U}{U}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Abrupt Decay

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $4.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128562_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Destroy target nonland permanent with mana value 3 or less.

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Thought Erasure

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175178_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card.
Surveil 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put it into your graveyard.)

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Slaughter Games

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/66455_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Choose a nonland card name. Search target opponent's graveyard, hand, and library for any number of cards with that name and exile them. Then that player shuffles.

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $4.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Oath of Kaya

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188651_200w.jpg

When Oath of Kaya enters the battlefield, it deals 3 damage to any target and you gain 3 life.
Whenever an opponent attacks a planeswalker you control with one or more creatures, Oath of Kaya deals 2 damage to that player and you gain 2 life.

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Bring to Light

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $1.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/104734_200w.jpg

Converge — Search your library for a creature, instant, or sorcery card with mana value less than or equal to the number of colors of mana spent to cast this spell, exile that card, then shuffle. You may cast that card without paying its mana cost.

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Deafening Clarion

Color Identity:R,W

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176417_200w.jpg

Choose one or both —
• Deafening Clarion deals 3 damage to each creature.
• Creatures you control gain lifelink until end of turn.

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Oath of Nissa

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $2.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/110818_200w.jpg

When Oath of Nissa enters the battlefield, look at the top three cards of your library. You may reveal a creature, land, or planeswalker card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
You may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast planeswalker spells.

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Teferi, Time Raveler

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $20.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187194_200w.jpg

Each opponent can cast spells only any time they could cast a sorcery.
+1: Until your next turn, you may cast sorcery spells as though they had flash.
−3: Return up to one target artifact, creature, or enchantment to its owner's hand. Draw a card.

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Sunpetal Grove

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $4.36

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/142039_200w.jpg

Sunpetal Grove enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Forest or a Plains.
{T}: Add {G} or {W}.

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Overgrown Tomb

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $13.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175196_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {G}.)
As Overgrown Tomb enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235543_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Raugrin Triome

Color Identity:R,U,W

Market Price: $11.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212695_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}, {R}, or {W}.)
Raugrin Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Yorion, Sky Nomad

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $2.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212715_200w.jpg

Companion — Your starting deck contains at least twenty cards more than the minimum deck size. (If this card is your chosen companion, you may put it into your hand from outside the game for {3} any time you could cast a sorcery.)
Flying
When Yorion enters the battlefield, exile any number of other nonland permanents you own and control. Return those cards to the battlefield at the beginning of the next end step.

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Nahiri, the Harbinger

Color Identity:R,W

Market Price: $1.60

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212166_200w.jpg

+2: You may discard a card. If you do, draw a card.
−2: Exile target enchantment, tapped artifact, or tapped creature.
−8: Search your library for an artifact or creature card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle. It gains haste. Return it to your hand at the beginning of the next end step.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215720_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Rakdos's Return

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $1.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/66404_200w.jpg

Rakdos's Return deals X damage to target opponent or planeswalker. That player or that planeswalker's controller discards X cards.

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Casualties of War

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.85

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231199_200w.jpg

Choose one or more —
• Destroy target artifact.
• Destroy target creature.
• Destroy target enchantment.
• Destroy target land.
• Destroy target planeswalker.

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Voice of Resurgence

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $3.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218334_200w.jpg

Whenever an opponent casts a spell during your turn or when Voice of Resurgence dies, create a green and white Elemental creature token with "This creature's power and toughness are each equal to the number of creatures you control."

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Dreadbore

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $2.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132263_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature or planeswalker.

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Utter End

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243980_200w.jpg

Exile target nonland permanent.

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Indatha Triome

Color Identity:B,G,W

Market Price: $8.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212689_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}, {B}, or {G}.)
Indatha Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Niv-Mizzet Reborn

Color Identity:B,G,R,U,W

Market Price: $1.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188514_200w.jpg

Flying
When Niv-Mizzet Reborn enters the battlefield, reveal the top ten cards of your library. For each color pair, choose a card that's exactly those colors from among them. Put the chosen cards into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

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Drowned Catacomb

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $7.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/142036_200w.jpg

Drowned Catacomb enters the battlefield tapped unless you control an Island or a Swamp.
{T}: Add {U} or {B}.

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Breeding Pool

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $20.91

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182842_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G} or {U}.)
As Breeding Pool enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Next Level Niv to Light

Niv to Light has been an option in Pioneer all the way back to the beginning, but it has come a long way since I explored the deck just a week before Theros Beyond Death completely upended the metagame.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath was an instant adoption. It ramps on-curve toward the critical five mana the deck needs for its namesake cards, adds a Simic card for Niv-Mizzet Reborn to find, and with escape functions as a valuable card advantage engine and threat for the late game.

Then Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths made the deck's manabase much more robust with the printing of the Triome dual land cycle, and the deck includes every single one. Casting spells that come in nearly every color combination puts immense stress on a manabase, and shock lands can't always get the job done. In old tournament reports and deck guides from competitors at the Players Tour events this winter, tuning the manabase was discussed as the most difficult and nuanced part of building the deck. Adding three-color lands makes it much easier and brings things to a new level of consistency. The added bonus of cycling is gravy on top, and helps the deck afford to play a higher percentage of lands while mitigating the risk of mana flood.

Ikoria also brought the companion Yorion, Sky Nomad, which has recently become a true staple of the strategy with the unbanning of Oath of Nissa, the final piece of the puzzle. The manabase needs all the help it can get, and the enchantment helps fix mana in the early game while adding utility. Like the Triomes, it allows the deck to effectively play a higher density of mana sources without the risk of flood. 

Oath of Nissa can set up Sylvan Caryatid, Teferi, Time Raveler or Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath in the early turns, or dig for Niv-Mizzet Reborn later on. It goes further by helping cast planeswalkers, adds a great value target for Teferi, Time Raveler's bounce, and even the potential for a second copy legend-ruling itself and powering up Fatal Push is relevant.

Oath of Nissa's added bonus of being a permanent to be blinked by Yorion, Sky Nomad really pushes it over the top, and provides the incentive the deck needs to play 80 cards and include the companion. Yorion, Sky Nomad also does great work with Oath of Kaya, Knight of Autumn, Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves, Teferi, Time Raveler and even Niv-Mizzet Reborn itself. Yorion, Sky Nomad makes it just that much harder to out-grind a deck that already has more potential for card advantage than any other in the field.

The deck is designed to never run out of action, and that means the most realistic plan to beat it is to be faster and win before the card advantage can come online. Previously that was done by combo decks, which helped keep Niv to Light down, but with those removed, that leaves aggressive decks hoping to get under it with creatures. As such, the remainder of the deck is full of cards that help make sure that doesn't happen. It includes a wealth of removal spells like Fatal Push and Dreadbore, sweepers like Extinction Event, and the life gain of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, Oath of Kaya, Knight of Autumn and Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves.

Add it all together, and you have a deck that plays somewhere between attrition-focused Jund full spot removal and discard, and Azorius control with sweepers and card draw, both which, like Niv to Light, use planeswalkers to round out their plans. With Sylvan Caryatid and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, it even has some similarities to ramp decks that accelerate into big threats, in this case a flying 6/6 that can close the game in short order.

Tailoring the Sideboard Toolbox

The sideboard plays a big role here, especially with Bring to Light providing toolbox access to one-of silver bullets, and it helps tailor the deck against whatever specific opponents it comes up against.

The sideboard is headlined by a full playset of Voice of Resurgence, a powerful and flexible tool useful in numerous matchups—so much so that it sometimes sees maindeck play. It also adds a Selesnya card to find with Niv-Mizzet Reborn, which the deck otherwise lacks.

One role it fills is as a speed bump against aggressive decks like Mono-Black or Mono-Red Aggro that are full of small, blockable creatures. It acts as a two-for-one that can trade with multiple opposing creatures or removal/burn spells. Even if it's on pure chump-blocking duty, the time it buys can be critical for getting more powerful cards like sweepers or Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath online to take over the game.

Voice of Resurgence also does work against control decks like Azorius, where its passive ability acts as a strong hoser against counterspells. Generating a free creature is not a cost opponents will likely be willing or able to pay. That helps protect the deck's key haymakers, which are otherwise very vulnerable to counterspells like Mystical Dispute. Its function as a threat, no matter how small, helps apply aggression against these decks, whether it's against their planeswalkers or life total. It also adds insurance against sweepers, and overall adds to the deck's holistic plan that pressures the opponent from multiple angles.

This aggressive plan is pushed further with a pair of Questing Beast, which also pressures troublesome planeswalkers. Bringing in this package of creatures to replace maindeck removal flips the script on the opponent and may catch those unprepared without removal to stop it.

The Scarab God adds another powerful threat for midrange and control matchups. It can take over the game by itself if left unchecked, which is hard to do as it's immune to typical removal spells. It also has the side effect of being a graveyard hoser, which joins a singleton Grafdigger's Cage.

Rakdos's Return adds a lights-out haymaker against control decks and the mirror, where it can strip the opponent's hand while taking out a planeswalker, leaving them with no resources to fight back.

Against aggressive decks, Deafening Clarion adds a great sweeper that comes down earlier than a four-mana option like Supreme Verdict. Beyond being easier to cast, it also plays better with the deck's larger creatures, allowing them to survive while adding lifelink that locks up the game.

For the role of heavy-hitting sweeper, Hour of Devastation deals with most creatures, while also being a key answer to planeswalkers. It's one of the most powerful options available to Bring to Light and allows the deck to come back from otherwise hopeless situations. It's a huge asset against Mono-Green Devotion, which plays a mix of creatures and planeswalkers and can be difficult to contain. 

Matchup and Sideboarding Guide

At this point the post-ban Pioneer metagame is very much up in the air, and it's not clear where exactly it'll land. That said, this decklist and sideboard is designed by the deck's foremost proponent over the past months, "JapaneseFisherman", and is at the cutting edge of the metagame as it's developing. It should be well suited for fighting anything it comes up against.

Vs. Niv to Light (Mirror Match)

One important matchup is the mirror, which boils down to fighting over the big haymakers and grinding out card advantage. Niv-Mizzet Reborn is the key card, as is Bring to Light to find it. It can also be important to fight over Teferi, Time Raveler, which stops Bring to Light from working. Sideboarding is essentially the same as fighting against a control deck.

Vs. Azorius Control

Azorius Control is now back in the picture, especially with the recent pickup of Frantic Inventory from Core Set 2021. Game one can be difficult with a deck full of creature removal, but after sideboard the Niv to Light is a deadly mix of threats, disruption and card advantage they'll struggle to contain.

Vs. Green Devotion

One of the big winners from the bans is Green Devotion. Fighting it is a two-pronged battle of dealing with their creatures while containing their planeswalkers. They have little disruption of their own, so the late game belongs to Niv to Light, if it can survive. Their deck is mostly a mix of acceleration creatures and haymakers, so Thought Erasure is valuable for pre-emptively dealing with trouble cards like planeswalkers that can generate value even if they are later destroyed.

Vs. Simic Ramp

One consequence of the bans has been an increased interest in Simic Ramp. For a brief time last year Green Ramp decks were an important part of the metagame, but were perhaps the biggest victim of combo decks they struggled to race or disrupt. Now they are back with new tool Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, and their ability to go big with cards like Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger can ignore much of the card advantage that Niv to Light uses to beat most opponents. Use discard, including Rakdos's Return and the deck-stripping Slaughter Games to hobble them, and then kill ASAP before they take over.

Vs. Mono-Red and Mono-Black Aggro

Playing against aggressive decks is very straightforward—stop their pressure and keep your life total high, and then take over with massive card advantage they have no real ability to overcome.

Vs. Naya Winota

One of the most powerful and combo-like decks remaining in Pioneer is Naya Winota, Joiner of Forces, which puts Angrath's Marauders into play for a quick kill. Grafdigger's Cage pulls its weight here, stopping both Eldritch Evolution and Winota, Joiner of Forces's ability. Otherwise they are an aggressive deck fully capable of beating down, so plan accordingly.