Naya Winota in Pioneer

Kelvin Chew

Kelvin Chew

Introduction

Presently, Pioneer showcases a diverse metagame with the top decks being Dimir Inverter, Lotus Breach and Mono-White Heliod.

Eliminate

I am surprised that none of the card from Inverter got ban from the banned and restricted announcement as I believe Inverter to be the best deck in Pioneer as it is basically a control deck with a combo finish which is similar to 《Splinter Twin》 combo in the past. With the printing of 《Eliminate》, it pushes the deck even further, as it can answer problematic planeswalkers like 《Gideon of the Trials》 for just 2 mana.

Pioneer is a quick format as it is mostly dominated by combo decks, with most decks being able to win by turn 5. Today, I will be talking about Naya Winota which fits the criteria for Pioneer.

Winota, Joiner of Forces

The Problem of the Stock List

The following is the stock list for Naya Winota which is better at gold-fishing but fall apart quickly after your opponent boards in answers for 《Winota, Joiner of Forces》.

Angrath's Marauders

People have been saying 《Winota》 is an inconsistent deck, but I believe that was due to people playing the stock list. The stock list also has way too few humans to find with 《Winota》 as you just have 《Angrath’s Marauders》 as your best hit.

Tuning and Comparing the Stock List

I recently achieved 5-0 in the Pioneer League with the list below and am happy to see that people have been trying my list and managed to put up multiple 5-0 and a Pioneer showcase top 4 with it.

I have been tuning 《Winota》 for quite some time, I found it best to be able to sideboard into a midrange deck when opponent is boarding in answers for my 《Winota》 as I do not need to rely on my 《Winota》 to win as it just act as a value engine. I usually board out my 《Angrath’s Marauders》 against heavy removal decks as I do not need the combo finish against slower deck.

Oath of Nissa

With the unbanning of 《Oath of Nissa》, I will be trying whether it fits the deck as it helps with the mana base while also dig for our combo.

Maindeck

《Tithe Taker》

Tithe Taker

I always wanted more human targets for 《Winota》 as I always find myself missing on 《Winota》 triggers far too often.

When I was playing standard 《Winota》, I am always impressed with 《Tithe Taker》. For Pioneer, it not only act as a fodder for 《Eldritch Evolution》 and combining with 《Voice of Resurgence》, it makes interacting on our turn hard for opponent. Opponent will always have a hard decision thinking whether to attack or kill it as the spirit it produces also act as an additional ways to trigger our 《Winota》.

《Pia and Kiran Nalaar》

Pia and Kiran Nalaar

I am surprised to see less people playing this card. I have tried 《Kenrith, the Returned King》 and 《Haktos the Unscarred》 and have been unimpressed by them although I can see Kenrith being good when burn occupies a large portion of the meta. Haktos is better as it allows you to win games on it own as it usually has protection from everything.

《Pia and Kiran Nalaar》 is a better 《Eldritch Evolution》 target especially with 《Voice of Resurgence》 making the token a 4/4 immediately and produces 2 thopter for 《Winota》 triggers. It is also a better hit off 《Winota》 trigger if you are unable to find your 《Angrath’s Marauders》 as it produces additional 2 triggers the next turn.

《Garruk’s Harbinger》

Garruk's Harbinger

Although 《Garruk’s Harbinger》 does not give you the broken start compared to 《Goblin Rabblemaster》 on turn 2, it just fits the deck so well by allowing you to find your key creatures while being incredible against Dimir Inverter as well as Vampire and Mono-black aggro which the deck is weak against. Its trigger ability allows us to generate value and dig closer to 《Winota》 which fits your sideboard plan of killing their creatures while gaining advantage.

The reason I exclude 《Goblin Rabblemaster》 is because I found it very weak against creature’s base deck especially on the draw and I felt that the mentor ability on 《Legion Warboss》 is much better.

The Manabase

As we all know, Pioneer has been unkind for people trying to build allied colors mana base. The lack of 《Copperline Gorge》, 《Razorverge Thicket》 and Painland really hurt the deck.

Sacred FoundryTemple GardenStomping GroundMana Confluence

We need a minimum of 14 green sources for turn 1 elf, 13 different color sources to cast your 2 drops and 18 sources for your double color spells. As for now, the manabase does hurt us a lot against aggressive deck but we are better off casting our spell on turn as we can usually deal enough damage when we are able to trigger off 《Winota》. I have spent quite some time perfecting the manabase and I believe it is the best currently until more lands are printed.

The Sideboard Plan Package

Normally against deck like Dimir Inverter, midrange and decks with heavy removal, I would board out my combo package (《Angrath’s Marauders》 & 《Eldritch Evolution》) as we don’t need to combo off to race them and the matchup is about grinding and not drawing your dead card against them.

《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》

Chandra, Torch of Defiance

I have tried various planeswalker like Gideon, Nissa and I find 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》 to be the best among them as it basically acts as card advantage and removal against opponent while occasionally provides mana to cast 《Angrath’s Marauders》 if needed.

《Klothys, God of Destiny》

Klothys, God of Destiny

《Klothys, God of Destiny》 is very powerful against aggressive decks as they have to spend resources to answer your creatures which fuel cards for Klothys to exile which is basically 2 damages every turn. There also not much clean answer to remove it which makes it a very good inclusion.

《Collective Defiance》

Collective Defiance

As everyone should know, this is basically the best card against Dimir Inverter. They are unable to combo off just by casting 《Inverter of Truth》 on turn 4 as they risk losing to the discard and draw effect. I like 《Collective Defiance》‘s flexibility as it also acts as removal against creature base deck.

《Fire Prophecy》

Fire Prophecy

One of the better removals which allows us to send back extra elves, lands or 《Angrath’s Marauders》 which is stuck in your hand. I have tried removals like 《Baffling End》 and 《Lava Coil》 but I felt that sorcery speed removal are just too punishing for the deck and 《Fire Prophecy》 also allows us to sculpt our hand better.

Sideboard Guide

Dimir Inverter

Our deck is geared for the matchup as it is currently the top deck in Pioneer, the matchup is favorable for us. Game 1, we just have to force opponent to interact with us by killing our creatures so that we do not lose to a turn 4 《Inverter of Truth》.

《Garruk’s Harbinger》 is just your best card against them especially if you are able to cast it on turn 2 as it just puts so much damage while also finding more threats which they need to answer.

Againt Dimir Inverter

Out

Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Elvish Mystic
Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders
Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution

In

Chandra, Torch of Defiance Chandra, Torch of Defiance Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Bonecrusher Giant Bonecrusher Giant Klothys, God of Destiny Klothys, God of Destiny
Collective Defiance Collective Defiance Collective Defiance Collective Defiance

After sideboard, we have access to 《Collective Defiance》 which stops their combo while also acts as an answer to 《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》 if they have it. We sideboard out our combo as it is bad against any 《Thoughtseize》 and removal heavy deck.

Lotus Breach

This matchup is just about how fast we are able to combo off. I will mulligan any hand without a turn 4 《Winota》 trigger.

I tried various sideboard against them but felt unnecessary as card like 《Alpine Moon》, 《Rest in Peace》 is just good against certain matchup. Our deck is 1 turn faster compared to Lotus Breach unless they start with 《Arboreal Grazer》. So, we don’t bring in any sideboard against Lotus Breach.

Mono-Black Aggro

This matchup is where 《Garruk’s Harbinger》 shines, it is a very good blocker and attacker. We have creatures like 《Tithe Taker》 and 《Voice of Resurgence》 which generate value when die which is useful when racing against them.

Againt Mono-Black Aggro

Out

Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders
Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution

In

Bonecrusher Giant Bonecrusher Giant Klothys, God of Destiny Klothys, God of Destiny
Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy

We basically board into a control deck after sideboard, just be careful not to let your 《Garruk’s Harbinger》 be vulnerable to 《Rankle, Master of Pranks》‘s sacrifice ability as this is the only way for them to remove it.

Boros Burn

I have played against this matchup a couple of time. This is the matchup where our mana base punishes us. If we draw too many shocklands or 《Mana Confluence》s, we are usually on the losing side. They have to have at least 2 creatures in order to race our deck as most of their burn spells have to be spend on blocker like 《Voice of Resurgence》 and 《Tithe Taker》.

Againt Boros Burn

Out

Legion Warboss Legion Warboss Legion Warboss Legion Warboss
Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution

In

Bonecrusher Giant Bonecrusher Giant Klothys, God of Destiny Klothys, God of Destiny
Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy

After sideboard, we have access to removal to slow down their deck while setting up our combo.

Mono-White Devotion

At the beginning, I was losing to this matchup a lot post sideboard as I thought they would have a hard time removing all our creatures hence I did not sideboard anything and just want to combo as fast as possible. After more matches, I felt that we have to kill their creatures in order to stop their devotion count as they can produce a large amount of mana with 《Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx》 which is one of the way to keep pace with us.

Againt Mono-White Devotion

Out

Tithe Taker Tithe Taker Tithe Taker Tithe Taker
Voice of Resurgence
Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution

In

Bonecrusher Giant Bonecrusher Giant
Chandra, Torch of Defiance Chandra, Torch of Defiance Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy

《Eldritch Evolution》 is not good in this matchup postboard as they have a lot of removal and our two drop creatures are not really impactful against them and 《Knight of the White Orchid》 and 《Daxos, Blessed by the Sun》 just blank our two drops easily. Remember that 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》 can also help us in casting 《Angrath’s Marauders》.

UWX Spirits

This matchup is just about who are able to set up their board faster. We have 《Tithe Taker》 and 《Voice of Resurgence》 which make 《Spell Queller》 less impactful against us and they usually have to just cast their spell on their own turn. Once we are able to resolve 《Winota》, it is usually game over for them.

Againt UWX Spirits

Out

Garruk's Harbinger Garruk's Harbinger Garruk's Harbinger Garruk's Harbinger
Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution

In

Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy
Bonecrusher Giant Bonecrusher Giant

After sideboard, we board in some amount of removals to slow them down and most importantly to kill 《Spell Queller》 which is one of the way they gain tempo against us.

Ensoul Artifact

Our deck is faster compared to them unless they have 《Ensoul Artifact》 on an unblockable creatures, if not 《Winota》 on turn 3 or 4 just threaten to end the game on its own. Be careful not to cast your 《Winota》 into 《Shrapnel Blast》 mana if they are not threaten lethal unless you have another copy in hand.

Againt Ensoul Artifact

Out

Garruk's Harbinger Garruk's Harbinger Garruk's Harbinger Garruk's Harbinger
Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution

In

Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy
Bonecrusher Giant Bonecrusher Giant

Mono-Black Vampires

Game 1 can be very difficult for us if they resolve a turn 3 《Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord》 as it allows them to directly put 《Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet》 or 《Champion of Dusk》 into play which brick our board. Sorin also acts as a repeatable removal against us especially with 《Silversmote Ghoul》 which allows them to sacrifice it every turn.

《Garruk’s Harbinger》 is the card that allows us to keep pace with their deck as they have no way to remove it. The mode on 《Collective Defiance》 is just fantastic against their deck as it allows us to kill Kalitas or Champion while also helping us to remove Sorin in the process.

Againt Mono-Black Vampires

Out

Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Elvish Mystic Elvish Mystic
Winota, Joiner of Forces Winota, Joiner of Forces Tithe Taker
Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders
Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution

In

Bonecrusher Giant Bonecrusher Giant Klothys, God of Destiny Klothys, God of Destiny
Chandra, Torch of Defiance Chandra, Torch of Defiance Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy Fire Prophecy
Collective Defiance Collective Defiance Collective Defiance Collective Defiance

Any Midrange/Control Deck

Basically, the plan against them post sideboard is just to board out our combo pieces and board in the midrange package against them. Almost all of our creatures are must answer threats which make it hard for them to remove everything. 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》, 《Collective Defiance》 and 《Klothys, God of Destiny》 also do a good job at closing the last few damages against them.

Againt Any Midrange/Control DecK

Out

Llanowar Elves Llanowar Elves Elvish Mystic
Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders Angrath's Marauders
Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution Eldritch Evolution

In

Chandra, Torch of Defiance Chandra, Torch of Defiance Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Bonecrusher Giant Bonecrusher Giant Klothys, God of Destiny Klothys, God of Destiny
Collective Defiance Collective Defiance Collective Defiance Collective Defiance

Conclusion

That marks the end of my article! I hope this helps you understand 《Winota》 Combo in Pioneer. I have always enjoyed aggro combo deck, this deck reminds me of the deck I always enjoy which is Bant Company with 《Retreat to Coralhelm》. When playing this deck, You just have to be disciplined with your mulligan and send back any slow hand for game 1.

If you have any questions regarding the deck, I will be happy to answer them via Twitter. Thanks!

Kelvin Chew (Twitter)

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Kelvin Chew

Kelvin Chew Kelvin Chew is one of the great player from Singapore. He has 2 GP top8s with his favorite format Modern, but he is like an all-arounder and top 8ed three more times with different formats. He took his first trophy with super impressive "Cartouche Strategy" at GP Beijing 2017 (Limited). He then reached 4th place at World Championship 2017 and became one of the world best for everybody. Read more articles by Kelvin Chew

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