Ikoria Lair of Behemoths, the latest Magic: The Gathering set, offers so much to Pioneer players that it may be difficult to even know where to start. It has everything from staples that will give rise to brand-new archetypes, to excellent additions to already well-established.
Companion cards will most likely dominate a huge chunk of the format this season, so be prepared. Basically, all types of decks get serious support from combo pieces to removal spells.
This list showcases some of the best new MtG cards from Ikoria, so be sure to check them out, if you consider yourself a Pioneer enthusiast.
Once this card's requirement is fulfilled, drawing two cards for one mana is very strong. There are a lot of decks in Pioneer that run both human and non-human creatures, so getting there shouldn't be a problem at all.
For example, decks that run Young Pyromancer can easily achieve this, since the main card is human that summons elementals. That's just one of many ways to make Of One Mind work.
Although the first option on this spell is quite limited, when it comes to removal spells, it's still very good against most of the creatures in the format.
But the second option is where things get really interesting. It can be well combined with Thing in the Ice, as Heartless act actually removes all four counters from it and flips it immediately.
This is a huge swing that can be achieved on turn three. The next turn you can hit for 7 damage.
This complex enchantment offers several different things that may not always work together. However, the last two abilities can be well combined with Arclight Phoenix and other creatures that want to be discarded.
In other cases it can be very good alongside Underworld Breach, which requires lots of cards in your graveyard to satisfy the escape costs.
In either case, Song of Creation will be very useful. There is definitely more to this card than meets the eye.
Rakdos decks that run Goblin Chainwhirler can easily combine it with Call of the Death-Dweller and clean up an entire board of enemy creatures by using a deathtouch counter.
It can also be used in a more obvious way in Orzhov Aristocrats lists by bringing back those dead creatures and feeding them to Cruel Celebrant over and over again. The damage can pile up quickly in these instances.
This card is clearly designed to be in the Izzet Tempo decks that run a lot of cheap instant and sorcery spells, which can be easily exploited by the Blitz.
It can also exile such strong cards like Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath without even having any instants or sorceries in the graveyard. Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor will have the power to exile Uro when it's played and when its sacrifice trigger goes off.
This enchantment can be used equally well in decks that build specifically around it, such as Cycle decks, and control archetypes that naturally draw quite a few cards during in the course of a game.
Of course, Cycle lists will embrace Ominous Seas and produce a lot of those 8/8 tokens quite early in the match-up.
It can be well combined with such cards like Heartwarming Redemption, Channeled Force, and Zenith Flare.
Wizards of the Coast can't help themselves but keep printing cards that give players more tools to summon cards like Emrakul, the Promised End.
Of course, it's almost impossible to cast Emrakul for 13 mana, so you need Kinnan to put it onto the battlefield for a far more preferable 7 mana instead.
This means that Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy will go into a Simic Ramp shell with Llanowar Elves and Sylvan Caryatid. It's just a matter of time until you get to swing for 13 points of damage by the infamous Eldrazi monster.
Pioneer never had access to such fancy 1 mana removal spells like Path to Exile or Swords to Plowshares. But now it has Swallow Whole!
Sure, it has a restriction that requires the enemy creature to be tapped and you to have a creature of your own. Besides Blazing Hope, which isn't nearly as good as Swallow Whole, this is the closest thing to Path to Exile we have in Pioneer right now.
This seemingly slow spell can be very effective in decks that run Seasons Past. In that case it would function like a tutor card that puts any creature from your library into your graveyard.
It is also the closest thing to Gifts Ungiven that Pioneer format has ever seen. It's not as good as Gifts Ungiven, but it gets the job done when you need to put Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath into your graveyard and other similar cards.
Modern has Mirran Crusader and Legacy has True-Name Nemesis. Now Pioneer has a similar kind of card in the form of Lavabrink Venturer.
If you're playing against decks that run black and green mana, then choose Even against Assassin's Trophy and Abrupt Decay. If an opponent runs blue mana, then chose Odd against Disallow and Absorb counterspells.
This simple strategy will make Lavabrink Venturer one of the most valuable cards in any aggro white shell in the format.
The inclusion of a new human lord was inevitable in a human-centric set such as Ikoria.
But General Kudro of Drannith is more than just a lord, it's a removal machine. It can deal with two of the biggest threats in Pioneer right now, such as Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath.
This will easily make Humans deck an even bigger powerhouse in Pioneer than it was before.
This companion card is a given for all ETB-based decks that will benefit greatly from all the repeatable triggers after Yorion enters the battlefield.
Take into account any of the planeswalkers that don't have plus abilities: Knight of Autumn, Charming Prince, Thought-Knot Seer, Reflector Mage, and many others.
As you see, it's easy to consider Yorion, Sky Nomad as arguably the best companion card in the Pioneer format. It's so strong that even well-established archetypes will try and build around it.
Besides the very useful tri-lands, Ikoria has introduced a new card draw land that will be welcome in many if not most decks in Pioneer.
It's a very simple yet effective design that allows you to choose either between generating colorless mana (which would serve well all Eldrazi decks) or generating card draw.
There is a similar land in Pioneer called Sea Gate Wreckage, but it was mainly designed for aggro decks that run out of cards quickly. Bonder's Enclave, on the other hand, has a far wider field of application.
This dragon would be a fantastic addition to all Blue-Red Prowess lists that run Opt, Wizard's Lightning, Monastery Swiftspear, and Stormchaser Mage.
Sprite Dragon is even better than Prowess creatures in many regards due to it being able to accumulate counters and keep its power and toughness throughout the game.
Actually, this ability could make Sprite Dragon a worhtwhile inclusion into some non-typical decks, such as Storm.
This removal spell was specifically designed for Humans decks. You could use it in other shells as well, but in that case it wouldn't be better than Orzhov Charm, which hasn't been a very popular card lately. Nobody wants to lose life while removing enemy creatures.
But if you are planning to run Humans this season in Pioneer, then consider Dire Tactics as an additional removal spell to Fatal Push, which can't deal with creatures that cost more than 4 mana.
In addition to this list of the best Ikoria Lair of Behemoths cards for Pioneer, be sure to check out our other list above, or head over to our MtG guides hub for more.