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Getting Creative in Pioneer


Pioneer still remains one of my favorite formats right now, due to its openness and the ability to still throw decks together and find some success with them, much in the same way you can often do in Modern. The deck I want to talk about today is just such a deck, and it really piqued my interest when I first saw it 5-0 in a Magic Online League.

Another one of my favorite things is the card Polymorph. I've piloted and brewed up decks with both Polymorph and Mass Polymorph in the past, having written numerous articles about both, and today's card is basically just a Red Polymorph that's both a little more difficult to cast and a little more versatile. You may be familiar with it from when it was released in Aether Revolt, but I'm pretty sure very few people actually played with the card in any competitive capacity.

Take a look at Indomitable Creativity.

Mass Polymorph
Indomitable Creativity

The main goal of all of the aforementioned cards - Polymorph, Mass Polymorph, and now Indomitable Creativity - is to pack your deck with powerful creatures, then destroy your own token creatures to find the more powerful ones. This typically means that you can't actually have any creatures in your deck unless they're the powerful ones you want to be searching for, and you also need several ways to generate token creatures to target.

Indomitable Creativity expands on the strategy a bit to also include artifacts, both in terms of what you can sacrifice and what you can "search up" in your own deck. This now means that you also don't want things like mana rocks in your deck, because the last thing you want to do is cast an Indomitable Creativity, only to hit a Signet or something (or some other Pioneer-legal mana rock, I literally couldn't think of a good one).

Interestingly enough, the card itself costs the same as Polymorph if you simply want to trade one creature/artifact for another: 4 mana. The benefit of Creativity, however, is that you have the option of scaling up to however many creatures/artifacts you may want to find. The downside is that it costs a sometimes-prohibitive three Red mana.

I've come to find out the deck in question was actually put together by YouTube user Magic Aids (which is, thankfully, a name based off of the term Study Aids, and not the disease). Take a look at what we're going to discuss today.

In this version of the deck we have four particular threats we're looking to, okay, I'm just going to say it, "polymorph" into. I'm sorry, that's just the best term for what's happening here. They are as follows:

All of these on their own are likely very strong, which is why we often don't mind casting Creativity for one. But if you're able to cast it for two or more, things tend to get really exciting. The deck is full of cards that help enable the obscure Aether Revolt mythic, some of which are new additions from Theros Beyond Death. (It's also worth noting that three of the four can be cast easily in our deck if necessary, and the fourth can be cast off of a Treasure token, if need be.)

The Birth of Meletis
The Birth of Meletis: This card is great, as it smooths out our land drops, gains us some relevant life in the aggressive Pioneer meta, and also gives us a defensive Wall token which we can destroy! For 2 mana, this is basically a steal, and does a great upgraded Wall of Omens impression without having to actually include Wall creatures in your deck.

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Elspeth, Sun's Champion: Both of these are great in their own right, but the fact that they also produce tokens is really where they shine. Elspeth being able to take care of some larger creatures that may present themselves is also a nice secondary mode. It's a nice bonus that Elspeth can produce three tokens by herself with only one activation, giving us a ton of Creativity fodder from a single card.

Pirate's Pillage: This is a four-mana draw spell that I would never have guessed would make it into a Pioneer deck, but here we are. The best parts of this card are that it produces two tokens for us to use - and since they're treasures, you can use one of them for Red mana if need be - and that us discarding a card can actually be relevant if we have one of our expensive, top-end creatures in our hand. Let's talk about why that could be beneficial...

Elspeth Conquers Death: This is, by far, one of my favorite cards in Theros Beyond Death. It reminds me a lot of The Eldest Reborn, which was also a favorite of mine. The modes are even somewhat similar, with the third mode being almost identical. That being said, this is the main reason we don't mind adding creatures to our graveyard on occasion.

Chained to the Rocks
We also have access to six sweepers in the maindeck, because, as we said, Pioneer can be pretty aggressive. That, and the four copies of Chained to the Rocks should be good enough at keeping opposing threats at bay. We also have eight total planeswalkers in the deck, all of which let us play a more controlling role if our Creativity plan doesn't go according to...well, plan. This deck has a little of everything I like going on: tons of removal; decent card advantage in the form of things like Nahiri, the Harbinger, Pirate's Pillage, and Chandra, Torch of Defiance; a sweet, obscure combo card; and a bunch of fat idiots at the top end. We even have a Mutavault and a Castle Ardenvale to make some tokens for us in the mana base.

I'm not going to touch too much on the sideboard, because as with most decks, it's pretty much dependent on your local metagame, so feel free to adjust or tweak as needed. I do think Devout Degree, Leyline of Sanctity, and Wear // Tear are all great options, and the four copies of Silence are obviously meant to allow our combo to resolve when we want it to.

All in all, I'm a big fan, and I can't wait to test this out on stream in the near future.

Well, as usual, that's it for this week. I hope you guys are able to give this deck a spin and let me know how it fares if you do. Creativity is pretty cheap right now, so it shouldn't break the bank to put this bad boy together!

I hope you all are staying safe and indoors and keeping healthy. I love you guys, thank you so much for reading, leave me a comment below, be sure to use promo code FRANK5, and I'll see you all next week!

Frank Lepore

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