Hey everyone! Welcome to the first installment of my new video series: Pioneer with Poncelet. I'm your host, Kevin Poncelet. Today we have a spicy tribal brew from yours truly that tries to punch through this brave new format with speed and consistency.

Speed: Earlier iterations of my Humans decks were playing Militia Bugler to keep a steady flow of Humans coming, but this format has turn-three combo decks and Bugler doesn't quite cut it against those. At first, the deck was also just Bant colors to keep the mana base from getting out of control. That deck was good, but I wanted more speed. Especially in a brand new format it's nice to be able to win consistently on turn four.

Enter Mantis Rider. This is how you close a game out. People have been crushing with this card in Modern for a long time now, and in Pioneer there's no Lightning Bolts! That means we're four-color, but that doesn't mean we can't squeeze in another lord to play with Thalia's Lieutenant. Let's just make all the lands tap for white and play four Benalish Marshals as well! Perfect. Now we go fast.

Consistency: Most aggro decks suffer from inconsistency. They can't manipulate their library, they can't draw extra cards. They have no card selection in general. But not this deck! We have four Charming Prince to scry us into what we need and smooth out that curve. We even have four Thraben Inspector and four Smuggler's Copter to find that lethal lord effect or that timely Reflector Mage.

Spoilers beyond this point

We beat Izzet Phoenix and a Dredge-style deck, but we lost close games to Hardened Scales and Izzet Phoenix. We also got a bit crushed by Mono-Blue Devotion, but I don't think any of those losses were terrible matchups.

Vs. Izzet Phoenix: We completely whiffed on a Collected Company in this match and it showed. A lot of games in this matchup come down to how good our Collected Company are and how many times they have a double-removal-spell turn. Lightning Axe plus Fiery Temper is a pretty hard combo to beat. Eight damage across two bodies for two mana!?

Bring in your Rest in Peace and Dromoka's Command and trim on Thraben Inspector here.

Vs. Mono Blue Devotion: I think this matchup is highly contingent on getting an early board presence and keeping their Master of Waves and Tempest Djinn off the battlefield. If we can do that, it's easy sailing. If we can't, we're dead. It's not that cut and dry, but definitely prioritize the creatures you're bouncing with Reflector Mage and killing with Dromoka's Command.

Also, remember that Dromoka's Command can make them sacrifice Thassa, God of the Sea!

Bring in your removal and trim on some lords.

Vs. Hardened Scales: This matchup is very play/draw dependent as we can run them over on the play, but they can do the same to us. Stonecoil Serpent plays more like a Beast in this matchup because ALL of our interaction is multicolored, unfortunately. As you may have seen in the video, that granite snake took us down almost single-handedly in game three!

Bring in your removal and Knight of Autumn. Trim lords and Thraben Inspector, but keep that curve looking decent!

Vs. Graveyard Decks: We have three Rest in Peace in our sideboard for a reason, and this is that reason. Bring them in, trim some Thraben Inspector and beat them down quick.

Vs. Ramp: Put those fliers to work killing their planeswalkers and bring in removal and Pithing Needle so they can't get going before you do.

Thanks for checking out my first ever article for TCGplayer! Hope you enjoyed this look into a brand new format with a really fun deck, and I'll see you next time!


Kevin Poncelet

Kevin Poncelet is a Twitch streamer with a deep, abiding love for Death And Taxes.

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