March 4, 2020

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Indomitable Creativity in Pioneer

Pioneer so far has been a great place for brewing, strategies and certain build-around cards that it's shocked me. Who could've said with a straight face a year ago that Inverter of Truth and Hidden Strings would have the best decks built around them? The newest brew I've come across in my play is one involving the combo of The Birth of Meletis and Indomitable Creativity. After many leagues and a number of events, a playable list has come to form.

 

The deck looks like and plays like the old "Sun and Moon" deck from a few Modern seasons ago. Heavy on the card parity with spells like The Birth of Meletis and Pirate's Pillage.  You keep the board clear with Anger of the Gods and Sweltering Suns and then finish them off with a whole host of planeswalkers or Indomitable Creativity and various finishers replacing Through the Breach.

Our Big Hits

Let's discuss what we are looking to cheat out.

Emrakul, the Promised End - This giant bowl of spaghetti is going to be the majority of the damage coming at your opponent. Flying, trample, and Protection from Instants gives your opponents little to no answers to dealing with her. A key thing to remember is that in a slower deck with good removal like this Emrakul, the Promised End will often be castable, and it's Mindslaver effect will likely end the game.

Dragonlord Kolaghan - Kolaghan provides haste for your team on a relatively sturdy body. If you play your cards right, this hasty dragon is capable of stealing games out of nowhere. A key interaction to keep in mind is if Kolaghan finds their way into your hand, you can discard them to Pirate's Pillage and then reanimate them with one of your copies of Elspeth Conquers Death. Creativity isn't the only way to power out your threats.

Angel of Serenity - Removal, graveyard hate and a finisher all in one. It arrives on the battlefield and exiles up to three of your opponent's threats, allowing for your team to have a clear path of attack.

Void Winnower - This card is a mess of oracle text. It helps to turn off approximately half of your opponent's spells and blockers. Couple that with Angel of Serenity getting rid of odd converted mana costs blockers, while also having impressive power and toughness to close out the game.

Our Backup Win Conditions

 

First and probably most important in this current meta is Gideon of the Trials - His last ability often being the most important, creating an emblem that prevents opponents from winning and you from losing the game as long as you have a Gideon planeswalker. This is exactly what you need against the Inverter menace and Underworld Breach.

After Gideon, we have the two Elspeth's in Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis - To address the obvious, they both make tokens that can be Indomitable Creativityed into your game-ending threats. But their tokens and other abilities allow them both to provide dangerous threats that protect you while pressuring your opponents.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance - This card is just a house, probably still the best red planeswalker. Chandra deals damage while providing red card advantage, can provide mana, and remove your opponent's creatures. Her emblem brings about the end of the game. I love ultimating this planeswalker, as it makes counterspells just look silly.

Nahiri, the Harbinger - Nahiri is just an all-around good planeswalker. Her +1 ability provides some much-needed card advantage, and the -2 ability has a wide variety of targets so will always be relevant text. As well, playing a few large threats is great for you to have so that Nahiri's ultimate can play your Emrakul, the Promised End and end the game on the spot.

The Rest of the Deck

The deck has a lot of play against the majority of the meta. Even lists like Mono-Red or Mono-Black this deck has a large number of plays for. The planeswalkers aforementioned provide plenty of protection against most pesky decks, and a sweet sweeper package of Sweltering Suns and Anger of the Gods will help you stay alive.  So far the powerhouse of the deck is that 0/4 Wall token that The Birth of Meletis creates. It blocks, eats a removal spell and gets "Polymorphed" quite nicely by Indomitable Creativity.

A lot of the deck will be make or break based on your mulligan decisions. Look for three lands, hopefully, with a Temple of Triumph. Use your Fabled Passages on Mountains unless you need that second white mana as you want to be able to find a Plains with your The Birth of Meletis. Hopefully, you'll have one of your sweepers in your opening hand. But outside aggro decks don't worry too much if you don't have one. The most important cards to have in your hand, surprise, are planeswalkers. Yes this seems kinda obvious but this deck is flying a little below the radar right now, so distracting your opponent with a planeswalker is what you want to do before you finish them off with an Indomitable Creativity or to even set it up.

Sideboard Guide

The sideboard offers a number of silver bullets in various matchups. Games two and three are often where this deck will shine but without the proper sideboard or sideboarding guide, this deck will struggle against some of the key decks.

VS Inverter of Truth

+3 Gideon of the Trials

+3 Leyline of Sanctity

+4 Silence

-4  Chained to the Rocks

-3 Anger of the Gods

-3 Sweltering Suns

Typically you are going to lose game one but sometimes that one of mainboard Gideon of the Trials will get you there. But in case it doesn't, your board has another three copies to prevent losing to the Thassa's Oracle and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries menace. Leyline of Sanctity is going to protect your hand against a whole host of hand disruption and Unmoored Ego. Silence is where I've been kinda experimenting. Originally it was only in the board for control and Breach but I've found disrupting my Inverter opponents for just a turn typically wins the game quite decisively.

VS Underworld Breach

+3 Gideon of the Trials

+4 Silence

+1 Wear // Tear

-4 Chained to the Rocks

-3 Anger of the Gods

-1 Sweltering Suns

This one is a pretty good matchup due to the lack of interaction in their deck, and your sideboard cards being so powerful in the matchup. Do your best to have both types of Gideon of the battlefield with an emblem from Gideon of the Trials. It makes it significantly harder for them to win having to bounce to two Gideons vs just one. Silence is pretty self-explanatory in this match. Cast it in response to their Underworld Breach for maximum value. Last but not least is Wear // Tear. Being able to kill their Underworld Breach just feels so good. Remember to wait until they have little mana floating so that they can't continue to go off without the Breach. So far I'm undefeated in this matchup and I actually think it is one of the best matchups for this deck.

VS Mono-Red

+1  Gideon of the Trials

+1 Devout Decree

+3 Leyline of Sanctity

-2 Indomitable Creativity

-1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion

-2 Elspeth Conquers Death

So far this matchup has been quite favorable. Having a bunch of cheap mainboard sweepers keeps the board clear of those pesky prowess creatures. The Birth of Meletis is the gift that keeps on giving in this matchup, handing you a 0/4 blocker and gaining you two life. As well the planeswalkers in this deck matchup mostly well against a deck without a significant amount of card draw so being able to kill one or two threats with any of your planeswalkers is going to be a great boon. Key things to sideboard against are direct damage spells, so Leyline of Sanctity is going to give you a huge advantage. Remember to only put one onto the battlefield if they are in your opening hand, save the extra for Pirate's Pillage. Devout Decree is pretty self-explanatory. It removes pretty much every threat your opponent is likely to throw at you, try to save it for a Torbran, Thane of Red Fell though as it dodges your Sweltering Suns and Anger of the Gods.

VS Mono-Black

+1  Abrade

+1 Devout Decree

+3 Leyline of Sanctity

-2 Indomitable Creativity

-1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion

-1 Elspeth Conquers Death

-1 Chained to the Rocks

You will board very similarily for this match like you did for Mono-Red but with one major change, you are going to keep in one of the Elspeth Conquers Death. You are likely going to have one of your planeswalkers die to a Swift End in this matchup and being able to reanimate one of them is going to swing this matchup even farther in your favor. I like to board out a few of the Indomitable Creativity so that I have more removal and buffers against what my opponent is doing.

VS Sultai Delirium

+1 Chandra, Awakened Inferno

-1 Indomitable Creativity

I'm going to preface this by saying I have played this matchup only once and it was wild. Game one they didn't have any idea what I was playing so I was able to combo off quickly leaving them kinda confused for game two. In game two my mainboard Anger of the Gods cleaned up a few creatures early and I was able to sit behind a few 0/4 wall tokens until I activated the ultimate on Chandra, Torch of Defiance. So what do I think of this matchup? Well on paper game one seems in your favor. Chained to the Rocks removes everything efficiently and keeps you on curve.  As well Anger of the Gods is going to do everything you want it to. Typically they don't have mainboard counterspells so you are good to go for the combo whenever you are ready.

VS Spirits

+2  Abrade

+2 Silence

-2 Indomitable Creativity

-1 Nahiri, the Harbinger

-1 Elspeth Conquers Death

This matchup has been the worst so far for the deck. A combination of quick flying threats has given me an abysmal record against the Bant Spirits deck. On paper, I wasn't too concerned, but so far the Sweltering Suns and Anger of the Gods have been a little less than effective when they have two lords out and Rattlechains ready to flash in. Key things to remember in this matchup is to always play around Rattlechains and Spell Queller. These cards will negate your plan and interaction. If you don't keep them in mind you will be blown out more often than not.

To wrap up, I love this deck. It is just so so much fun to have your opponent realize what you are doing just a little too late and have some hasty threats bearing down on them. It matches up surprisingly well against the field and I'm confident to say seems absolutely ban proof. With the upcoming ban update next week, aren't we all looking for a little security in our deck choices?

So should you try this deck out? Yes, it is so much fun. But will it likely show up at the next set of Regional Pro Tours? Probably not, but this archetype is one to recognize and will likely steal some wins from unsuspecting Pioneer players.