Is Pioneer Boros-Convoke Really Meta Breaking?
As the Pioneer Regional Championships quickly approach a new deck has shaken up the meta. Boros Convoke, also referred to as “Pioneer Hogaak”, is a deck that looks to use cheap creatures to convoke out either of 2 very powerful 5 drops in Venerated Loxodon and Knight-Errant of Eos. The name “Pioneer Hogaak” is a reference to moderns 2019 summer scourge Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis. Both decks look to amass a large board with the now-banned modern version using Bridge from Below and Hogaak, while the Pioneer deck looks to use artifact tokens, Gleeful Demolition, and the 8 5-Drop Convokers.
In this article we will take a look at:
- What the deck does and what makes it powerful
- The different builds
- How the meta has adapted
- A budget list for anyone that wants to try it out
- My final thoughts
So what does the deck do and what makes it good?
As stated previously this deck is looking to build a wide board and kill your opponent quickly. This is done with 12 cheap ways to produce artifacts to turn on Gleeful Demolition, those being Voldaren Epicure, Thraben Inspector, and Ornithopter, as well as more cheap aggressive creatures such as cards like Burning-Tree Emissary, Clarion Spirit, Resolute Reinforcements, Giant Killer, and even Forbidden Friendship.
The power that comes with this deck is the pay-offs in Venerated Loxodon and Reckless Bushwhacker for aggressive finishers and Knight-Errant of Eos as a way to grind and produce card advantage and board advantage. The versatility provided by each card is amazing, in longer games your artifact tokens from Epicure and Inspector allow you to really grind out the extra couple of turns necessary to kill against Rakdos by looting and drawing from the Blood and Clue tokens.
What are some different builds?
The deck is still largely being tuned but the main debate revolves around whether or not to play Burning-Tree Emissary to enable or disable Jegantha as a companion. Burning-Tree Emissary pairs very well with Reckless Bushwhacker, but the green mana is not usable for much else in the deck which leads to a lot of people’s discontent with the card. On the other side, Jegantha in aggro decks serves very little purpose as the extra card often doesn’t matter when in long games your average card quality is so low. I prefer the Burning-Tree Version as in my experience Jegantha does not win games in the same way Burning-Tree does.
This list with Burning-Tree got 9th in the Challenge on Saturday
This list got 21st at LMS Valencia over the weekend, a big European tournament with about 400 participants. Its overall record was 10-4-1, an impressive performance.
How has the meta adapted?
Originally this deck was crushing pioneer leagues, Pioneer twitter was overrun with pictures of people posting 5-0s. The meta has begun to change to compensate for this new scourge and its win rate is seemingly dropping significantly. New Sideboard cards include Languish, a card included in the winning Rakdos Midrange list from Sundays Challenge. Also in Sundays challenge the 14th place Lotus Field deck was running 4 Board wipes in the Sideboard, double the typical amount. Gearhulk Creativity Lists are adapting with Cinderclasm as an instant-speed versatile board wipe that can be flashed back with Gearhulk. The meta is quickly finding answers to deal with the deck and as such the deck is suffering.
If you are looking to try this deck out without spending 300 dollars mostly on lands I would run this list.
My final thoughts:
I genuinely believe that this deck is good and can be a real contender in the meta, however, its power was originally exaggerated as it exploited a hole in the metagame that no other deck did. While other aggro decks like humans or mono-red are aggressive, nothing like Convoke existed that presented such a large clock so quickly. As board wipes increase in sideboards this deck will creep back down to more reasonable numbers and, in my prediction, eventually the sideboard hate and meta-game share will reach an equilibrium that maintains Convoke a strong choice but not one that is obviously the correct choice. I personally do not suggest this deck as of right now for larger events like the RC, however at local RCQs where metagames move slower this deck could be a great choice to exploit the weakness that may still exist in your local meta. This deck is great and I would definitely recommend picking up the budget version I provided to test it out!
2 Weeks from now I will write my Report on the Dallas Regional Championship so remember to come back and check it out! I will be running Gearhulk Creativity, with a list similar to the one that won LMS Valencia.