Howdy, folks! I was out of town and unable to Pioneer for a while, and boy does it feel good to be back. Today we've got a little brew inspired by @MoughonEvart and @idsivak on Twitter. Turns out this Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx card is pretty busted so we're trying it with red now. This deck takes the most powerful red cards in the format and pairs them with fast and free mana to explode onto the board and gain an overwhelming advantage.
Powerful Red Cards: Think of all the red cards you don't want your opponent to have while jamming games of Pioneer, and we've probably got them all here. Soul-Scar Mage starts us off with Bonecrusher Giant and Goblin Chainwhirler to back it up. Then we get Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Rekindling Phoenix and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell at our four-drop slot followed by everyone's favorite hasty dragon, Glorybringer, to take us home! Sick curve!
Fast and Free Mana: To get free mana in Pioneer and power out big, scary things fast, there's no better way than Burning-Tree Emissary into Burning-Tree Emissary into Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to make a bunch of mana and crush your opponent into dust. Throw a free Leyline of Combustion or two on top of that and we get a pretty nasty nut draw. Obviously we won't always have that kind of a start, but the possibility of free wins is certainly exciting.
Let's give it a look.
SPOILERS after this line.
We beat Five-Color Niv even though I punted forgetting that Niv-Mizzet Reborn was a Dragon and couldn't be targeted by Glorybringer. Oops. Then we squeaked out a win over Mono-Green Stompy with Ghalta, Primal Hunger which is very tough for us to beat once it hits play. Soulflayer was our next matchup and I felt like we could've won had I played a bit tighter. I was pretty sloppy all match. Next we lost to Mono-Black Aggro which was partially because of some tough mulligans, but I also feel like we're not favored there. Then we beat Golgari Stompy pretty easily. I'm not sure what the black splash was for, but I'll take it.
Overall we went 3-2 for a pretty medium league. With tighter plays we could've gotten a 4-1, and it feels like this deck could be a contender.
Vs. creature decks: Take out the Leylines and the Fanatic of Mogis and bring in Boros Reckoner and Mizzium Mortars. Slight changes are good depending on how much removal they play, but this is basically what you want to do. If they're playing Spirits, then board in the Mizzium Mortars and Chandra, Awakened Inferno to max out on board wipes. Overloaded Mortars can beat most creature decks on the spot, so ramp it up and get 'em dead.
Vs. Big Red: This is one of our best matchups, actually, because we're doing similar things but we go a bit bigger and a bit faster with our free mana. Also Leyline of Combustion is great here. Take out the Fanatic of Mogis and Soul-Scar Mage and bring in Boros Reckoner and Mizzium Mortars.
Vs. Azorius Control: Get one or both of the Chandras in play and make them squirm with Rekindling Phoenix. Take out Magma Jet and a Leyline for the two Chandra, Awakened Inferno.
Vs. Twiddle Storm (Lotus Field): Bring in the Damping Spheres and Boros Reckoners for the Leylines and Magma Jet. Just go fast and hope Damping Sphere gets there on the draw.
Vs. Mono-Green Ramp: This matchup is probably bad, but bring in the Reckoners for the Leylines and try to get them dead before Ugin, the Spirit Dragon comes down.
I'll end by admitting this deck is overall worse than its counterpart: Big Red. That deck plays Mutavault instead of Nykthos and better cards instead of Leylines and Burning-Tree Emissary. Interestingly this devotion deck is actually good against that deck. It just struggles with consistency and drawing Leyline of Combustion after turn zero is really bad. If you want to try something with more power at a higher risk, this deck is for you. Nykthos is a hell of a drug, though, so be careful. You might end up throwing it into all your brews.
Anyway, thanks for hanging out. It's great to be back and I'll see you next week for more sweet, sweet Pioneer action!
Kevin Poncelet is a Twitch streamer with a deep, abiding love for Death And Taxes.
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