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Much Abrew: Fiend Artisan Rally (Pioneer)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. It's been a while since we've played Pioneer, so this week, we're heading back to Magic's newest format to play one of my favorite archetypes in all of Magic: Aristocrats!  While mass-reanimation Rally the Ancestors Aristocrats decks have been floating around in Pioneer almost since the day the format was created, the deck recently got a huge boost in power in the form of Fiend Artisan, which is often a 5/5 or 10/10 for just two mana in a deck overflowing with graveyard fillers like Satyr Wayfinder and Stitcher's Supplier, making it a great backup plan for games when we don't draw Rally the Ancestors or Return to the Ranks.

The other reason I wanted to try Fiend Artisan Rally is that it has Lurrus of the Dream Den as a companion, which is very close to a free-roll since we want all of our creatures to cost two or less for Return to the Ranks anyway. We haven't played a companion deck since companions were nerfed, so along with being a sweet deck, Fiend Artisan Rally will give us a chance to see just how good (or not good) the best companion in Pioneer is under the new rules, where you have to pay three mana to add it to your hand rather than just casting it on Turn 3. How good is Rally the Ancestors in Pioneer? Is Fiend Artisan as insane as it looks? Is Lurrus of the Dream Den still playable post-companion nerf? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Fiend Artisan Rally

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  • Record-wise, we finished our league 3-2 with Fiend Artisan Rally, which is pretty decent, especially considering we played against Lotus Field Combo twice, in what seems like a really difficult matchup for our deck (although we miraculously did manage to beat it once!).

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  • Traditionally, the problem with a deck like Fiend Artisan Rally is the games where we don't draw a mass reanimation spell since our deck is filled with underpowered, synergistic creatures that aren't likely to be able to kill our opponent on their own. Fiend Artisan is the solution to this problem. Since our deck is so good at filling our graveyard, it's really easy to make Fiend Artisan into a 5/5 or 10/10 really early in the game and win by beating our opponent down fairly!

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  • As for Lurrus of the Dream Den, it felt good but fair. With the new three-mana tax, the number of games that we actually added Lurrus of the Dream Den to our hand was fairly small, but it did give us something to do when we ran out of action, and it was very strong when it hit the battlefield, singlehandedly winning our match against Lotus Field Combo by allowing us to recast a Damping Sphere from our graveyard.
  • In general, it felt like Lurrus landed in the right spot post-nerfing. Even with the three-mana tax, it is good enough in our deck (especially since we are built around filling the graveyard and can use it to cast things like Fiend Artisan once we have milled them) that it is worth avoiding expensive permanents to be able to play it as our companion, but it's not good enough to really build our deck around since taking a turn off to add it to our hand is a meaningful cost. We also had a game where we spent three mana to add Lurrus to our hand only to have it get Thoughtseized before we could play it. While it was sad because we ended up losing the game as a result, from a more meta perspective, it felt good to know that there were ways for opponents to interact with the companion. While our sample size was small, at least in Fiend Artisan Rally, Lurrus of the Dream Den felt like a decent, fun card but not oppressive or overpowered. 

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Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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