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Risen Reef Making Waves in Pioneer


When you think of Risen Reef, you think of Standard.

Risen Reef

While elemental tribal was a subtheme in Core Set 2020, Risen Reef has proven to be mighty powerful with only a few key friends like Leafkin Druid and Omnath, Locus of the Roil, further pushing the "busted Simic cards" narrative. However, can a 3 mana 1/1 with elemental synergies really do any damage in older formats? It can if it has good friends.

Young Pyromancer
Chandra, Acolyte of Flame

Now Young Pyromancer and Chandra, Acolyte of Flame don't strike anyone as "tribal payoff cards," but they both do a wonderful job of flooding the board with elementals for the low cost of putting cheap spells in your deck. Young Pyromancer in particular has seen play in virtually every format, and there's never been a doubt that filling your deck with cheap cantrips, removal, and interaction is a winning strategy in most formats.

Put it all together and you end up with boardstates that look like this:

Not too shabby!

Time Stamps:

Match 1 - 00:07:36

Match 2 - 00:28:10

Match 3 - 01:01:29

Match 4 - 01:36:12

Match 5 - 01:49:18

When it works, it really works, but getting there can be a little tough at times.

Fiery Impulse
Spell Pierce
Dive Down

There's no doubt the endgame is awesome, but with both Risen Reef and Chandra, Acolyte of Flame posing initial 3 mana investments, it's easy to see how important the rest of our spells being cheap is. Fiery Impulse is underplayed in general in Pioneer, while Spell Pierce and Dive Down allow for big blowouts that can lead to that crucial untap with your engine in play. Your pacing and timing on these spells are very important, so don't be afraid to wait a turn to play one of your threats with some sort of protection. You always want to get at least some value out of your cards whenever you can.

Is Young Reefy the best deck in Pioneer? Probably not. But is it a fun, competitive, and challenging deck that is an absolute riot to play? You bet! And best of all the non-mana base pieces are relatively cheap, making it a fun budget option as well.

Have fun out-ramping the ramp decks!

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