Selesnya Yorion in Pioneer

Pioneer was the format of the first RCQ and now it is also the format of the first Pro Tour of 2023! It’s an exciting time to be alive for sure, but let’s make sure you all are ready for this deep and robust format. 

Sometimes it helps to look at it in Tiers. At the top we have Mono Green Devotion, Izzet Phoenix, White Weenie, Rakdos Mid, and Lotus Field. If we go a tier down we start hitting decks like Spirits, Angels, Mono Red, and control variants. What’s interesting about Pioneer however, is that the lower tier lists are sometimes very solid against the top tier lists (although this can be matchup dependent).

As the title suggests, I am going to talk to you today about this fun little Selesnya deck that did quite well in an online tournament. As per usual here’s the list to start:

One of my favorite cards of all time has to be Voice of Resurgence. When I won the Star City Games Invitational I even picked an Elemental Token to represent my image on. Those were some good times, but awkward doing a photo shoot in front of the whole convention lol. 

This deck does a great job of diversifying threats and combatting from several angles. It has cards that can find the right card for the right moment and ways to garnish card advantage and speed. People that play Pioneer know that Llanowar Elves are the best acceleration in the format. This deck capitalizes on that while doing something different than the Devotion dependant counterparts. 

If you haven’t played a Collected Company deck before there are a few things you should know. First – don’t play foil ones… In all seriousness though, when sideboarding you want to maintain a high level of creatures below a converted mana cost of 4. In addition, you specifically want a high power level of card density in the converted mana cost of 3’s. This is to maximize the profitability of your Collected Companies.

This is a non-traditional Yorion companion list. What this means is in a non-open decklist environment your opponent is likely to make mulligan decisions based off of the companion they can see. In Yorion’s case people will assume you are on a control deck. As a result they will mulligan removal spell heavy hands. Ironically, they are mulliganing the very hand they want to have to combat your swarms of creatures. So in that environment you will pick up a few extra points as it were. 

In an open decklist environment it is a little different. Typically people have only a short few minutes to evaluate a decklist. With a bunch of spicy cards that aren’t common to the format you’ll gain the advantage of confounding your opponents with cards they’re unfamiliar with.

That being said, let me explain a little more about what this deck does so you are not as confused as your opponent. Obviously turn one it’s best to start out with ramp in Llanowar Elves. If your elf gets killed then turn two is best spent playing a Voice of Resurgence or Fauna Shaman. From here it starts to get interesting. If we have a third land and three drop like Anointed Peacekeeper then you should keep advancing your board state. If you can’t tap out for a good play on turn three it might be a good idea to use the Fauna Shaman to start setting up your board. 

One of my favorite lines is dumping Charming Prince and another two-drop creature into the yard. Then, you can search out Extraction Specialist. Playing the Specialist allows you to bring back Charming Prince, which in turn blinks Extraction Specialist to reanimate your other two-drop. In addition, the Charming Prince is free to attack and block as well.

What this deck really wants to start doing, besides sneaking out value repeatedly is to advance its board and mana. Eldrazi Displacer is key in flickering all of your value cards. Yorion can even come into play at some point as this deck will feel like it has a never ending supply of things to do. In these longer, grindier games, you want to basically stall out to a point where you can tutor up and put a Decimator of the Provinces into play and swing for lethal!

Cards like Ambitious Farmhand and Nissa, Vastwood Seer are there to make sure you do not stumble on land drops. Augur of Autumn and Fierce Empath are to ensure you have plenty of things to do as you develop your board state. Archon of Emeria and Reidane, God of the Worthy are for specific matchups such as Lotus Field and Mono-Green Devotion as disruption.

I would almost guarantee there’s room in the mana base for a Boseiju over a forest. Also four copies of Skylasher in the sideboard might be a little heavy handed for a fringe deck. What can I say, I’m biased towards Spirits! I’m fairly certain this deck can outgrind most fair matchups. So I would be looking to utilize my sideboard for the tougher matchups – namely decks like Mono-Green and Lotus that go over the top. Another example deck that goes over the top of us that’s gained popularity is Keruga Fires (see my last article!). This is why I have so many copies of Knight of Autumn in the 95.

Selesnya Yorion is the kind of deck where you want to get a lot of reps in. Look, most decks are like that, but there are a few key reasons why you want to learn the ins and outs of this strategy. A whole game can be decided based on how you navigate the first few turns. Knowing how you want to maneuver around your opponent’s deck of choice is something to work on. By knowing the popular matchups of the metagame you can make better informed decisions early on.

This is where I leave you to think and ponder your choices. Before you is probably a deck you haven’t tried. It’s filled with lots of cards that are crowd favorites. You might ask, “Eli – is this deck competitive or purely for fun?” My answer would be somewhere in the middle. Who knows, maybe you can build upon this list and put forward the next tier one strategy!

See you at the tables!


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