Pioneer Tier List

The Gathering creates tier lists for the RCQ and RC formats differently than our other tier lists. While data analysis serves as the basis, competitive Magic: The Gathering player IslandGoSAMe uses that data to create more of a predictive, forward-looking tier list for the RC/Q formats rather than a metagame share analysis, backwards-looking tier list.


S Tier

A Tier

Izzet Phoenix

A Consistent Tempo Aggro Spells Deck: Draw cards, discard cards, and kill creatures with low cost spells while filling the graveyard. Izzet Phoenix is packed full of cantrips and cheap interaction, delve spells to keep cards flowing, and recursive threats that count the number of spells played per turn. Phoenix can always dig up what it needs while applying pressure.



Rakdos Vampires

A Flexible Kindred Midrange Deck: Interact with strong removal and flexible creatures, utilizing Sorin, Imperius Bloodlord to generate value from vampires or cheat Vein Ripper into play. Rakdos Vampires puts out strong creatures to apply pressure while answering key threats. Flexibility is the strength of midrange, and every card in Vampires generates value or switches.

Amalia Combo

A Recursive Toolbox Creature Combo Deck: Amalia sets up a three card combo of Amalia, Wildgrowth Walker, and any lifegain trigger gain 60+ life, create a 21/21 attacker, kill all other creatures, and explore 19+ times to find a spell that ends the game or repeats the process. The entire deck of one and two-mana creatures is fetchable with CoCo, Chord, or Return to the Ranks.

Mono-Green Devotion 

An  Explosive Ramp Deck: Mono-Green Devotion uses Llanowar Elves, Cavalier of Thorns and Nykthos to generate near infinite mana to create a near insumounterable about of board presence and card advatage. This is if they deck doesn’t just kill you with a flipped Ulvenwald Oddity.

B Tier

Waste Not

A Disruptive Synergistic Control Deck- Waste Not is a mono-black control deck built around attacking the opponent’s hand, generating value with every discard through its namesake. Waste Not is a control deck featuring the best black discard spells, most efficient removal, and main deck interaction to deal with pesky protective and graveyard meta threats


A Controlling Kindred Tempo Deck: Flash Spirits plays the game on the opposing turn, granting all of its creatures flash and utilizing timely cheap counterspells. Spirits is all about timing, winning with virtual card advantage and ignoring as many cards as possible. Every creature flies and spells generate value over time, with limited removal once a permanent is in play.

Gruul Prowess 

A Consistent Aggressive Spells Deck: Get the most out of your spells to end the game fast. Protection spells like Blossoming Defense pull double duty of pushing damage and protecting your threats. Combine that with the card selection of Questing Druid a creates a very powerful engine thats not dead in the water vs interaction.


A 5-Color Pure Midrange Guild Toolbox Deck- Niv-To-Light may look like a mess, but Bring to Light and an 80 card library means an answer for every deck and situation on this Pioneer Tier list. Niv Mizzet Reborn means as many of those cards as possible are exactly two colors, Omnath ends up being a free source of value in a 5-color deck, and Yorion adds consistency to an 80 card deck

Lotus Field 

A Consistent Pure Combo Deck: Search up, copy, and untap the namesake Lotus Field to generate absurd amounts of mana. As a true dedicated combo deck, Lotus Field requires a lot of moving pieces to tap Lotus Field many times in one turn and cast a massive threat or Emergent Ultimatum to win the game all at once, as early as turn three.

C Tier

Izzet Ensoul

An Artifact-Based Aggro Deck: Ensoul hopes to land a big threat using artifacts and the card Ensoul artifact to make an efficent beater. Combine that with the powerful burn of Shrapnel Blast to give Ensoul a fast closing power.

Azorius Control

A Traditional Hard Control Deck: Answer threats, generate value, lock down the game, and win at your leisure. Azorius Control runs the best removal and sweepers available in Pioneer, with counterspells tuned to the meta as needed and strict instant-speed card advantage. A few planeswalkers, tokens, and lands are the only threats. This is the deck for simply telling your opponent “No”.decks.

Quint Combo ▲

A Flexible Controlling Combo Deck: Win the game with a single planeswalker ability! Quintorius Kand’s second loyalty ability Discovers 4, which will always either copy or reset Quint to Discover 4 again until the opponent dies to Quint’s passive. The rest of the deck is interaction that can be cast for three or less mana, despite costing at least five mana to avoid discovery.

Mono-Red Burn 

A Consistent Aggressive Burn Deck: Your opponent starts with 20 life; That’s too many life; Make it 0 life, quickly! Attack with creatures and burn out the opponent, with a few ways to refresh the hand with just Light Up the stage. Being mono-colored allows for more creature-lands compared to other aggro decks to provide late game reach.


A Mono-White Kindred Aggro deck: The human creature type is by far one of the most common types and they use that advatage to build an agrro deck centered around a multitude of 2/1s and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar to push damage fast. Toss in Brutal Cathar to provide some on theme interaction and you have a winning combination. 

D Tier

Boros Heroic 

An Aggressive Explosive Spell Creature Deck: Boros Heroic is the apparently simple combination of 16 creatures that care about being targeted by spells and 20-24 spells that target them. Every creature can quickly end the game as soon as turn three with the right combination of targeted cantrips, removal, protection, flashback, and sudden damage.

Boros Convoke 

An Aggressive Explosive Rectangles Deck: Boros Convoke seeks to put as many creatures and artifacts into play as soon as possible. These rectangles can then be used to power out convoke creatures like Venerated Loxodon, grow Warden of the Inner Sky to attack in the air, or simply grow as a team to attack wider than can be blocked.

Dimir Control 

A Draw/Go Hard Control Deck: Deck Description coming soon

Jeskai High Noon *New*

Rakdos Tree Combo *New*

Latest Articles

Pioneer RCQ Deck Selection Guide

Pioneer RCQ Deck Selection Guide

IslandGoSAMe shares his week’s worth of data collection and analysis to break down the Pioneer RCQ metagame and shares his top choices to sleeve up.