A Massive Weekend for Pioneer on the F2F Tour

What a weekend for Pioneer.

Magic’s newest format has been absolutely flooded with new decklists, metagame shifts and information lately as the first wave of Player’s Tour events have blessed the format with some major competitive results.

Those events in Nagoya, Brussels and Phoenix helped to inform the massive Pioneer weekend we just hosted on the F2F Tour, with events in both Hamilton, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta. In total more than 250 players competed this weekend on the F2F Tour in Pioneer, and we got an incredible snapshot of what exactly is going on in this format right now.

Starting in Hamilton, we had some of Ontario’s best players turn out to battle and Brian Farrenkopf was able to take down the whole event with his Bant Spirits deck.

Your F2F Hamilton champ, Brian Farrenkopf.

Brian was able to take down one of Toronto’s local heros and Face to Face Games writer Daniel Fournier in the finals. Fournier played Dimir Inverter all the way to the finals, figures that after all this time complaining on Twitter about [Card]Splinter Twin[/Card] being banned in Modern he’d jump on this new archetype.

As we saw this past weekend at the Players Tour in Phoenix Pioneer has become a format that centers around combos. Gone are the days of mono-coloured [Card]Mutavault[/Card] decks smashing into green stompy decks. Now, we have a metagame that revolves around the Dimir Inverter and Lotus Breach combos decks and their opposition’s ability to beat those combos. Now, that doesn’t mean combo is always going to be the most popular style of deck in the room, but you need to show up to Pioneer events with a plan to beat it right now.

Interestingly enough, that was prominently on display in our finals matchup. Spirits is a tribal creature deck that has a quick clock and access to [Card]Spell Queller[/Card] and [Card]Mausoleum Wanderer[/Card] as a way to interact with spell-heavy combo decks. This has been a recipe for beating combo players for years, and that proved to be true again in our finals.

Your F2F Tour Hamilton Top 8.

Joining them in the Top 8 was Chris Ha on Mono-Black Aggro, Omar Beldon playing Five-Colour Niz-Mizzet, Ryan Ascott and Noah Clark on Izzet Ensoul and finally Cody South playing a pretty sweet Bant Company list.

If you take a look at the metagame breakdown we prepared for the entire event, you’ll see that it was actually Azorius Control that was the most popular deck in the room on Saturday in Hamilton. But with that said, it didn’t manage to convert any copies into the Top 8, whereas Izzet Ensoul converted two copies from under nine percent.

As you can see Hamilton was primed with the Dimir Inverter deck this weekend  but hadn’t quite caught up to the popularity of Lotus Breach from the Pro Tour in Phoenix. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not that number will increase at our upcoming Pioneer F2F Tour stops.

In general, the next time Pioneer reaches the F2F Tour in Ontario, you better be prepared for some aggro decks.

Now, like I said off the top, Hamilton wasn’t the only place the F2F Tour stopped this weekend. We also hosted a Pioneer event in Edmonton. But before I get to those results, take a look at the Top 8 decklists from Hamilton:

 F2F Tour Hamilton Top 8 Pioneer Decklists

[Deck Title= First Place, Bant Spirits – Brian Farrenkopf]
[Creatures]
4 Mausoleum Wanderer
4 Rattlechains
4 Supreme Phantom
3 Selfless Spirit
2 Spectral Sailor
2 Brazen Borrower
4 Empyrean Eagle
4 Nebelgast Herald
4 Spell Queller
1 Remorseful Cleric
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Collected Company
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Breeding Pool
4 Temple Garden
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Botanical Sanctum
2 Island
2 Plains
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Rest in Peace
4 Mystical Dispute
2 Disdainful Stroke
2 Settle the Wreckage
3 Deputy of Detention
1 Damping Sphere
1 Remorseful Cleric
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Second Place, Dimir Inverter – Daniel Fournier]
[Creatures]
3 Thassa’s Oracle
4 Inverter of Truth
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Dig Through Time
2 Supreme Will
2 Hero’s Downfall
4 Jace, Wielder of Mysteries
2 Censor
2 Thought Erasure
4 Opt
4 Thoughtseize
4 Fatal Push
[/Spells]
[Lands]
3 Swamp
6 Island
4 Watery Grave
4 Drowned Catacomb
3 Fabled Passage
3 Fetid Pools
2 Choked Estuary
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
4 Pack Rat
4 Mystical Dispute
1 Tyrant’s Scorn
2 Cry of the Carnarium
2 Legion’s End
2 Damping Sphere
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Third Place, Izzet Ensoul – Ryan Ascott]
[Creatures]
4 Bomat Courier
4 Gingerbrute
2 Hope of Ghirapur
4 Skilled Animator
4 stonecoil Serpent
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 shrapnel Blast
2 metallic Rebuke
3 wild Slash
4 ensoul Artifact
4 ghostfire Blade
2 shadowspear
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Shivan Reef
4 Steam Vents
4 Spirebluff Canal
3 Spire of Industry
1 Island
3 Mountain
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Bonecrusher Giant
2 Brazen Borrower
2 Disdainful Stroke
2 Hangarback Walker
2 Stubborn Denial
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Hazoret the Fervent
2 Abrade
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Fourth Place, Mono-Black Aggro – Chris Ha]
[Creatures]
4 bloodsoaked Champion
4 dread wanderer
1 kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
4 knight of the Ebon Legion
4 murderous Rider
4 rankle, Master of Pranks
4 scrapheap Scrounger
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 fatal Push
2 grasp of Darkness
1 liliana’s Triumph
4 thoughtseize
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 castle Lochtwain
1 ifnir Deadlands
4 mutavault
14 swamp
1 urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 aethersphere Harvester
3 agonizing Remorse
1 infinite Obliteration
1 kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
3 leyline of the Void
3 self-Inflicted Wound
1 legion’s End
1 liliana, the Last Hope
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Fifth Place, Orzhov Heliod Combo – Mike Dojcsak]
[Creatures]
4 Walking Ballista
3 Heliod, the Sun Crowned
4 Murderous Rider
1 Thalia, Heretic of Cathar
1 Archangel Avacyn
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Thoughtseize
4 Fatal Push
4 Kaya’s Wrath
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
3 Gideon, of the Trials
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
2 Anguished Unmaking
1 Cast Down
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Godless Shrine
4 Caves of Koilos
2 Castle Locthwain
4 Shambling Vent
3 Plains
3 Swamp
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Thought Distortion
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
2 Damping Sphere
3 Rest in Peace
4 Duress
2 Collective Brutality
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Sixth Place, Five-Colour Niv-Mizzet – Omar Beldon]
[Creatures]
4 Niv-Mizzet Reborn
4 Sylvan Caryatid
3 Gilded Goose
2 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Bring to Light
2 Nahiri, the Harbinger
2 Thoughtseize
1 Utter End
1 Slaughter Games
1 Dreadbore
3 Abrupt Decay
1 Hour of Devastation
[/Spells]
[Lands]
1 Temple of Silence
1 Temple of Abandon
1 Temple of Deceit
1 Temple of Epiphany
2 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Woodland Cemetery
1 Stomping Ground
1 Godless Shrine
3 Breeding Pool
2 Temple Garden
2 Overgrown Tomb
2 Mana Confluence
4 Fabled Passage
1 Mountain
1 Forest
1 Plains
1 Swamp
1 Island
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Thoughtseize
2 Collective Brutality
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Selesnya Charm
1 The Scarab God
1 Infernal Reckoning
1 Questing Beast
1 Rakdos’s Return
1 Thought Erasure
1 Enter the God Eternals
1 Deafening Clarion
1 Solar Blaze
1 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Seventh Place, Bant Company – Cody South]
[Creatures]
3 Tireless Tracker
3 Spell Queller
4 Deputy of Detention
3 Selfless Spirit
1 Gilded Goose
4 Lovestruck Beast
1 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
3 Reflector Mage
2 Scavenging Ooze
3 Elvish Mystic
3 Llanorwar Elves
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Collected Company
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Breeding Pool
3 Hallowed Fountain
4 Temple Garden
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Botanical Sanctum
2 Glacial Fortress
1 Forest
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Gideon, of the Trials
1 Ashiok’s Erasure
2 Dovin’s Veto
2 Settle the Wreckage
2 Mystical Dispute
2 Devout Decree
2 Aether Gust
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Knight of Autumn
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Eighth Place, Izzet Ensoul – Noah Clark]
[Creatures]
4 Bomat Courier
4 Gingerbrute
4 Stonecoil Serpent
2 Hope of Ghirapur
2 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
4 Skilled Animator
1 Brazen Borrower
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Ghostfire Blade
2 Wild Slash
2 Metallic Rebuke
1 Shadowspear
4 Shrapnel Blast
4 Ensoul Artifact
[/Spells]
[Lands]
3 Steam Vents
4 Darksteel Citadel
1 Island
1 Mountain
4 Spirebluff Canal
2 Spire of Industry
3 Mutavault
4 Shivan Reef
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Lavacoil
1 Disdainful Stroke
3 Mystical Dispute
2 Aether Gust
2 Aethersphere Harvester
2 Hangarback Walker
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Thopter Spy Network
1 Essence Scatter
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

While Brian was lifting the trophy at F2F Hamilton, players were battling it out in Alberta trying to become our F2F Edmonton Pioneer champion. In Hamilton we saw Bant Spirits put on a display with it’s ability to apply a ton of pressure and back that up with just enough disruption to beat combo decks like Dimir Inverter.

But, in Edmonton the script was flipped. Zak Turchansky was able to overcome multiple copies of Bant Spirits in the Top 8 on the way to his victory with Inverter.

Your F2F Tour Edmonton champ, Zak Turchansky.

As I’m sure you know if you ever played with the card [Card]Splinter Twin[/Card] in Modern, sometimes even in the face of a fast clock and some key disruption, a quick combo can just be too much to overcome. Inverter really has that kind of un-tap and kill you capability that we’ve seen from many of the top decks across all the eternal formats these past few years, and Zak harnessed that on Saturday.

The finals of our Edmonton event featured the exact same two decks as Hamilton, but of course Inverter was able to prevail over Spirits this time. Zak beat Andrew Padlesky to lift the trophy!

Your F2F Tour Edmonton Top 8.

Joining those two players in the Top 8 was Doug Potter who also played Bant Spirits, Jan Ong and Jeremie Asselin-Maule who both played Five-Colour Niv-Mizzet, Kyle Gellert playing Sultai Delirium in his second consecutive F2F Tour Top 8, Teran Hancock on Mono-White Devotion and Remy Rozmahel piloting a sweet Rakdos Midrange deck!

Taking a look at the metagame, you’ll see many of the same trends we saw in our Hamilton breakdown. Azorius Control was definitely over-represented but was kept out of the Top 8, both Inverter and Spirits showed up in middling numbers but had a ton of success and after those major archetypes comes a slew of aggressive decks that did just fine on the weekend.

Notably, there was a ton of Mono-Red Aggro in Edmonton, but not even that many [Card]Wild Slash[/Card]s was enough to keep Spirits down.

I’d be remiss to move on without spotlighting what has been a dominating start to the F2F Tour season for one of the country’s most prolific performers. Kyle Gellert put up yet another Top 8 on Saturday with his Sultai Delirium deck. This comes directly on the heals of his Top 8 performance with Simic Urza in Modern last weekend in Saskatoon.

Kyle Gellert.

Apparently, Kyle likes himself a few copies of [Card]Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath[/Card] and who can blame him with these results. To my knowledge this finish brings Kyle to EIGHT total Top 8s going all the way back to the Open Series, which is an absolutely absurd statistic. It truly feels like whenever we travel west for an event, this guy does not miss.

To me it’s actually astonishing how similar our Edmonton and Hamilton events were when it comes to their respective metagames. We had more that 250 players playing this brand new format on Saturday between our two events and somehow it seems like many of them landed in similar places in the metagame.

For my money, Dimir Inverter is the deck to beat in Pioneer right now. We saw in Edmonton how even though Bant Spirits can be a tough matchup for the deck Zak Turchansky was able to power through and rely on his deck’s power level to get him across the finish line. To me that’s a sign of a truly great deck.

With that said, this is still a format where you can play whatever you want and have success. Hell even Five-Colour Niv-Mizzet, a deck that players had written off after it’s performance at PT Brussels had three copies between our two Top 8s. If you’re looking to brew and battle in a wide open format, Pioneer is where it’s at right now.

Now, without further ado, here are the Top 8 decklists from F2F Tour Edmonton:

 F2F Tour Edmonton Top 8 Pioneer Decklists

[Deck Title= First Place, Dimir Inverter – Zak Turchansky]
[Creatures]
4 Inverter of Truth
4 Thassa’s Oracle
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Opt
2 Thought Erasure
2 Censor
1 Tyrant’s Scorn
2 Hero’s Downfall
3 Jace, Wielder of Mysteries
4 Dig Through Time
1 Narset, Parter of Veils
4 Fatal Push
4 Thoughtseize
[/Spells]
[Lands]
2 Swamp
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
6 Island
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Watery Grave
2 Choked Estuary
2 Fetid Pools
4 Fabled Passage
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Coax From the Blind Eternities
2 Pack Rat
2 Languish
2 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
3 Mystical Dispute
1 Noxious Grasp
3 Leyline of the Void
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Second Place, Bant Spirits – Andrew Padlesky]
[Creatures]
3 Brazen Borrower
4 Empyrean Eagle
4 Mausoleum Wanderer
3 Nebelgast Herald
4 Rattlechains
4 Selfless Spirit
4 Spell Queller
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Collected Company
[/Spells]
[Lands]
2 Botanical Sanctum
4 Breeding Pool
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
2 Island
1 Mutavault
2 Plains
1 Port Town
3 Temple Garden
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Deputy of Detention
1 Disdainful Stroke
2 Dromoka’s Command
2 Gideon of the Trials
2 Knight of Autumn
2 Mystical Dispute
1 Rest in Peace
1 Settle the Wreckage
2 Spell Pierce
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Third Place, Bant Spirits – Doug Potter]
[Creatures]
4 Empyrean Eagle
4 Rattlechains
4 Nebelgast Herald
4 Spell Queller
2 Brazen Borrower
3 Spectral Sailor
4 Selfless Spirit
4 Mausoleum Wanderer
3 Supreme Phantom
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Collected Company
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Breeding Pool
4 Botanical Sanctum
4 Temple Garden
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Glacial Fortress
2 Plains
2 Island
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Permeating mass
4 Deputy of Detention
2 Rest in Peace
1 Settle the Wreckage
1 Archangel Avacyn
3 Mystical Dispute
2 Disdainful Stroke
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Fourth Place, Five-Colour Niv-Mizzet – Jan Ong]
[Creatures]
2 Paradise Druid
4 Sylvan Caryatid
2 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
1 Hostage Taker
2 Siege Rhino
3 Niv-Mizzet Reborn
1 Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Nahiri, the Harbinger
1 Thoughtseize
3 Abrupt Decay
1 Dreadbore
1 Slaughter Games
1 Solar Blaze
1 Utter End
4 Bring to Light
1 Hour of Devastation
1 Repudiate // Replicate
[/Spells]
[Lands]
2 Blooming Marsh
2 Breeding Pool
1 Godless Shrine
1 Hinterland Harbor
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
1 Sunpetal Grove
2 Temple Garden
1 Watery Grave
1 Woodland Cemetery
1 Frontier Bivouac
1 Sandsteppe Citadel
2 Mana Confluence
1 Plains
1 Island
1 Mountain
1 Swamp
1 Forest
4 Fabled Passage
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Infernal Reckoning
3 Thoughtseize
2 Voice of Resurgence
1 Rakdos’s Return
1 Rest in Peace
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Thought Erasure
2 Mystical Dispute
1 Deafening Clarion
1 Enter the God-Eternals
1 Questing Beast
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Fifth Place, Five-Colour Niv-Mizzet – Jeremie Asselin-Maule]
[Creatures]
1 Kunoros, Hound of Athreos
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Niv-Mizzet Reborn
2 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
3 Gilded Goose
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
2 Thought Erasure
4 Bring to Light
2 Abrupt Decay
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Dreadbore
1 Nahiri, the Harbinger
1 Cut//Ribbons
1 Utter End
1 Hour of Devastation
1 Slaughter Games
[/Spells]
[Lands]
1 Stomping Ground
1 Botanical Sanctum
1 Temple of Deceit
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Godless Shrine
1 Overgrown Tomb
4 Fabled Passage
1 Temple of Enlightenment
2 Mana Confluence
2 Temple Garden
1 Mountain
1 Island
1 Swamp
1 Plains
1 Forest
1 Woodland Cemetery
1 Watery Grave
1 Temple of Abandon
1 Hinterland Harbor
1 Temple of Silence
1 Temple of Epiphany
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
2 Rakdos’s Return
1 Heaven // Earth
1 Slaughter Games
1 Dovin’s Veto
1 Supreme Verdict
1 The Scarab God
3 Thoughtseize
1 Questing Beast
1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
1 Deafening Clarion
2 Rest in Peace
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Sixth Place, Sultai Delirium – Kyle Gellert]
[Creatures]
1 Walking Ballista
1 Tireless Tracker
4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
1 Emrakul, the Promised End
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
2 Murderous Rider
2 Courser of Kruphix
4 Satyr Wayfinder
2 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Scavenging Ooze
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
1 To the Slaughter
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Grisly Salvage
3 Traverse the Ulvenwald
4 Thoughtseize
4 Fatal Push
2 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
1 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
[/Spells]
[Lands]
2 Watery Grave
1 Botanical Sanctum
4 Breeding Pool
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Blooming Marsh
3 Fabled Passage
1 Ipnu Rivulet
1 Island
1 Swamp
2 Forest
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
3 Leyline of the Void
1 Massacre Girl
1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
1 Ultimate Price
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Noxious Grasp
1 Tireless Tracker
2 Mystical Dispute
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Unmoored Ego
1 Brain Maggot
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Seventh Place, Mono-White Devotion – Teran Hancock]
[Creatures]
4 Walking Ballista
4 Thraben Inspector
2 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit
2 Daxos, Blessed by the Sun
3 Knight of the White Orchid
1 Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
4 Arcanist’s Owl
4 Heliod, Sun-Crowned
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
4 Stasis Snare
2 Elspeth Conquers Death
2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
[/Spells]
[Lands]
2 Castle Ardenvale
3 Idyllic Grange
3 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
18 Plains
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Gideon of the Trials
2 Archangel Avacyn
3 Baffling End
2 Gideon Blakblade
2 Deafening Silence
2 Gideon’s Intervention
2 Rest in Peace
1 Deicide
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

[Deck Title= Eighth Place, Rakdos Midrange – Remy Rozmahel]
[Creatures]
4 Bomat Courier
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Spike Jester
4 Bonecrusher Giant
2 Rekindling Phoenix
2 Glorybringer
[/Creatures]
[Spells]
3 Wild Slash
4 Thoughtseize
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Angrath’s Rampage
2 Unlicensed Disintegration
3 Heart of Kiran
[/Spells]
[Lands]
4 Blood Crypt
4 Dragonskull Summit
2 Castle Locthwain
8 Mountain
6 Swamp
[/Lands]
[Sideboard]
1 Agonizing Remorse
1 Dreadbore
2 Anger of the Gods
2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
3 Rakdos Charm
2 Angrath’s Rampage
1 Duress
1 Collective Brutality
2 Damping Sphere
[/Sideboard]
[/Deck]

Congratulations once again to Brian Farrenkopf and Zak Turchansky from everyone at Face to Face Games on their outstanding performances this past weekend! Before I leave you for the week, I’d like to also extend a special thank you to both our judge staff and our sponsor Ultimate Guard for helping us put on a great event.

The next stop on the F2F Tour is coming up on Feb.22 when we’ll be traveling to Lethbridge, Alberta to battle it out in Modern. Maybe Kyle Gellert can make it three straight Top 8s! Make sure to pre-register and we’ll see you on the battlefield!