The Many Styles of Pioneer Creativity

Ben Fraley
April 18, 2023


For the next couple of articles, I am going to focus on Pioneer due to my preparation for Dreamhack Dallas and the Regional Championship. So today we are taking a look at Creativity in Pioneer. 

I would tell you the deck's plan but with Pioneer Creativity, there is no singular plan! There are 3 versions of the deck each with a slightly different plan of attack. The three versions are the Pro Tour-winning Wurm+Xenagos combo, the Atraxa build, and lastly the Gearhulk list. 

First off, Reid Duke & Team Channel Fireball's list. 

Reid Duke won the Pro tour with this ingenious list. This version of the deck focuses on Indomitable Creativity for x=2 for a one-shot kill. This will cheat out Xenagos, God of Revels, and Worldspine Wurm to create a 30/30 haste, trampler to kill your opponent. Additionally, this deck runs 4 Big Score as an A+B combo plan. Big Score on turn 4 enables a turn 5 kill with Creativity and allows you to hold up interaction on your opponent's turn. Big Score without this though is largely a bad card. The pros of this deck are that the combo should win the game on the spot and the combo cards are very resilient. A 30/30 kills people 99% of the time, Xenagos is indestructible and the Wurm creates three 5/5 tokens and shuffles itself back into your library. This deck's cons are that the combo pieces are bad to draw, Big Score isn't a very good card and neither is Fire Prophecy. They are below par for Pioneer and drawing a Wurm when you're about to combo is just awful. 

The next version is a more value-focused build. “Atraxa-tivity” is built around the idea of using Indomitable Creativity to cheat out Atraxa, Grand Unifier, and kill the opponent in a slower more grindy game. 

Atraxa is a huge threat, a 7/7 with a pile of keywords that draws up to 5 cards means that your opponent is still in a bad spot even if they manage to remove it. This adaptation came after a lot of sideboards were changed to deal with the Wurm. Having your Wurm get Fading Hope'd by Lotus Field or exiled with Vanishing Verse is pretty painful. This type of threat which also is a card draw engine thoroughly improves your game against decks like UW Control and is much better in the face of removal. It still faces some of the problems of classic creativity: Drawing Atraxa is bad and Fire Prophecy, the card used to remedy it, is underpowered. Each version of this deck comes with its own drawbacks, this one is much slower and more resilient, while the Wurm build can kill out of nowhere.

Lastly is my favorite build of this deck, Gearhulk Creativity. Gearhulk Creativity is the least powerful build in terms of casting Indomitable Creativity but is the most consistent in card quality and gameplan. It hasn't won a Pro Tour but it did place 2 people in the top 8 of the Saturday Challenge on 4/15/2023. The 2 builds were slightly different in card choices but both use Torrential Gearhulk, a 6 mana artifact creature from Kaladesh, to get a free instant or sorcery back from the yard.

Torrential Gearhulk allows you to get back any instant or sorcery for free. This means it is both good in multiples or on its own. One specific instant pairs especially well with the Gearhulk and that is Magma Opus. It is 8 mana and can be put into the graveyard for 2 mana to make a treasure. It sets itself up perfectly for Indomitable Creativity and is an incredibly powerful spell. The pros of this build are that there are really no bad draws, Gearhulk is underpowered but is not a dead card, unlike Atraxa or Wurm. The overall card quality is just better than the other builds. The cons are that Magma Opus can be expensive and the deck is slower than both the other versions. I am definitely biased as this deck is awesome.

Stern Lesson is, frankly, brilliant technology. It discards a card to enable Gearhulk, it creates a token and the Powerstone can even help cast Gearhulk if you draw it instead of Creativity.

As one final note, the 5th place list even has a “Learn” package to pair with Divide by Zero. Environmental Sciences, Teachings of the Archaics, and Mascot Exhibition provide tons of utility. Additionally, don't forget that Learn also lets you rummage! (Rummaging is shorthand for discarding a card and then drawing a card)

Those are the different builds of Creativity in Pioneer and though I have built 5c Midrange in paper for Pioneer I am very tempted to build any of these. Let me know what you think and which one you'd want to try out!