It has been a while since I wrote my last article, but that has been because I recently started a new job! I’ve been there for nearly two months now, and so far it’s been going very well. Funnily enough, my manager is one of my oldest Magic friends, having known him since I was thirteen years old, and we used to travel to events together, and he actually got me my first proper job when I was a teenager.
Since then, we’ve become even closer as we’ve worked together at various startups together, and he’s actually the reason why I am now in New Zealand as I came back for his wedding in March 2020 (I was living in Edinburgh at the time), but then COVID happened, and the strict border closures meant I couldn’t leave New Zealand, and hence have been here ever since. Nonetheless, we hadn’t worked together for a few years, so it’s been great getting to work with him again!
In addition to work, I have also been busy testing for the inaugural Regional Championships, which will be Pioneer. The Australia/New Zealand event will be held on Saturday 26th November in Sydney – a week after the European one in Sofia. I have been preparing for the event with a group of the top players from our region, and due to us being geographically spread out between the two nations, our testing has all been done on Magic Online with regular discussions on Discord.
I have really enjoyed the experience so far, and it feels great to be properly preparing for a major tournament again. Everyone in the team has been working hard – in fact, over the past month, our team has played about 1400 matches on Magic Online! I definitely plan to write about our preparation after the Regional Championships, so if you’re interested in that type of content, definitely keep an eye out for that!
I recently wrote in-depth about Mono Red Aggro and Mono Blue Spirits in Pioneer, as I had good success with both decks in the previous Regional Championships Qualifier season. In general, I’ve preferred the aggro strategies in Pioneer, as the format is both varied in archetypes and fairly tempo-orientated, so I like these mono-colored aggro decks that can curve out well and doesn’t stumble on its manabase too often.
However, since the release of Dominaria United, Rakdos Midrange has become the clear top deck of the format with the addition of Liliana of the Veil and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. This has been a problem for Mono Red Aggro and Mono Blue Spirits, as both decks struggle in this matchup.
Instead, I have moved onto yet another mono-colored aggro deck, in the form of Mono White Humans! Alongside Atarka Red, I have found these two to be the best aggro decks against Rakdos Midrange. Granted, I still believe the matchup is only about even, but at least it’s much better positioned than the previously mentioned decks. I do believe that Atarka Red has a better matchup against Rakdos Midrange, but I dislike the deck as it’s much less consistent and often has polarised draws.