Pioneer is the most exciting format in Magic right now—not only because it is a new format, but also because it's constantly changing. The format is currently adjusting to the latest banning, of Veil of Summer. Green was initially a little overpowered so removing some of the important tools and sideboard cards makes sense.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the Veil of Summer banning is Mono-Black Aggro. As a one-mana way to stop a removal spell or discard spell, Veil was incredibly frustrating to play against. Before the banning Mono-Black Aggro was doing quite well, and I expect the trend to continue. Here is the list, from a recent PTQ:

As Adam Yurchick pointed out, this deck is a lot like the Mono-Black Aggro deck that saw some play a couple years ago in Standard. It is funny because Night Market Lookout has never been viewed as a great card, yet it is good enough to be played in this Pioneer deck because of how nice it is to crew Smuggler's Copter with it. The deck tries to have a super low curve and keep its life total reasonably high. That way you can take over the late game with Castle Locthwain and bury your opponent in card advantage.

The deck takes advantage of all the best resources that black has to offer. The combination of pressure, discard, spot removal and some sort of late-game card advantage is a recipe for success. The only match that felt tough was the one we lost to Azorius Control. This matchup is going to be difficult game one, and the mull to five the next game didn't help our chances. The discard spells out of the sideboard are geared toward this type of matchup, but it is difficult to beat a deck that can draw as many cards as the control decks can.

Perhaps the sideboard card I was most happy with was Noxious Grasp. I have found it comes in for a lot of matchups, and you can actually become more of a control deck once you sideboard in a lot of removal. We saw how against the Azorius Tempo deck we were able to grind out games post-sideboard. I expect to see a lot of Noxious Grasp moving forward. The other sideboard card that I want to highlight is Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Look for this to be one of the most played cards in Pioneer, based on power level alone.

For a detailed sideboard guide, check out Adam's article. This is one of the top five decks in Pioneer right now, and if you aren't playing it yourself, you should be aware of what it's capable of.


Seth Manfield

Seth Manfield is a professional Magic player and member of both the Magic Hall of Fame and the 2019 Magic Pro League.

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