In lieu of Once Upon A Time, Field of the Dead and Smuggler’s Copter being banned on Monday, I wanted to take a look at a deck I have been playing around with in Pioneer. I give you, UG Midrange:

Simic Midrange

Creatures (28)
Jadelight Ranger
Merfolk Branchwalker
Wicked Wolf
Lovestruck Beast
Llanowar Elves
Gilded Goose
Brazen Borrower
Questing Beast

Planeswalkers (8)
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
Oko, Thief of Crowns

Artifacts (3)
Heart of Kiran

Enchantments (1)
Hadana's Climb

Lands (20)
Forest
Yavimaya Coast
Botanical Sanctum
Breeding Pool
Sideboard (15)
Scavenging Ooze
Rhonas, the Indomitable
Aether Gust
Hunt the Hunter
Nissa, Steward of Elements
Negate
Mystical Dispute
Blossoming Defense
Reclamation Sage

While Once Upon A Time was still in the format, UG Stompy fit a similar shell to this UG Midrange deck. The deck maximized Once Upon A Time by consistently having an early mana dork or turn 2 threat:

Simic Stompy

Creatures: (26)
Elvish Mystic
Ghalta, Primal Hunger
Gilded Goose
Llanowar Elves
Lovestruck Beast
Questing Beast
Rhonas the Indomitable
Steel Leaf Champion
Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig

Planeswalkers: (4)
Oko, Thief of Crowns

Spells: (8)
Once Upon a Time
Stubborn Denial

Artifacts: (2)
Heart of Kiran

Lands: (20)
Botanical Sanctum
Breeding Pool
Forest
Hashep Oasis
Yavimaya Coast
Sideboard: (15)
Feed the Clan
Heroic Intervention
Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
Prey Upon
Sleep
Spell Pierce

With the loss of Once Upon A Time it’s time to turn cards that help you dig through your deck. Jadelight Ranger and Merfolk Branchwalker are what we turn to.

The explore mechanic helps fill in the void that is left by Once Upon A Time to help with card selection/advantage. The Turn 1 Goose into Turn 2 Oko plan still seems to be completely busted. Wicked Wolf synergizes well with this plan and is removal for early game creatures that the format is full of. Not to mention, it is an excellent pilot for Heart of Kiran. Lovestruck Beast may not have as many 1/1’s to rely on in this current build, but can act as a pilot for copter, fight target for Vivien, Arkbow Ranger and a wall for aggro to get through. Vivien helps commit more power to the board and can get Rhonas, the Indomitable as a wish target to help push more damage through. The one of Hadana’s Climb is just to act for evasion for one when it flips and to help push more damage if the board state gets clogged.

As I have seen more and more Control decks begin to pop up, I added two Nissa, Steward of Elements to the board. The card is a hard-to-deal-with early game threat and gains you so much value as the game goes long. I added two Blossoming Defense due to the increase in spot removal and decrease in sweepers for most midrange decks thanks to Field of the Dead being banned. Hunt the Hunter deals with opponents mana dorks and Mystical Dispute still remains to be a necessary counter coming out of the board for early game Planeswalkers.

I will continue to work on this deck as the meta shapes more over the next coming weeks, but I feel as though UG Midrange is definitely a viable option for your future Pioneer Tournaments.