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Much Abrew: PIONEER Hammer Time!

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we're finding out if one of my all-time favorite decks—Hammer Time—can work in Pioneer! While Modern Hammer Time went from Budget Magic all-star to best deck in the format, the deck is a bit different in Pioneer. While the goal is the same—get a Colossus Hammer on something as quickly as possible and beat the opponent down—there's no Stoneforge Mystic or Puresteel Paladin. To actually get a Hammer equipped to something without paying its massive equip cost, we turn to the Warrior tribe, where—alongside old standby Sigarda's Aid—we get Resolute Strike and even Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients to help free-equip our Colossus Hammers. Can the deck work in Pioneer? Let's get to the video and find out on this week's Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: PIONEER Hammer Time!

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  • Record-wise, we finished 3-2 with Pioneer Hammer Time, which is pretty solid for a rogue brew. Along the way, we got to experience the archetype's extreme highs and lows. We had quite a few Turn 3 or 4 kills but also had some games where a timely removal spell would leave us without a threat to close out the game, or where we'd mulligan into oblivion looking for our combo pieces.
  • The plan is pretty straightforward: we're trying to find Colossus Hammer, a way to equip it for free, and a creature to equip it to. Along with just naturally drawing Colossus Hammer, we can tutor it up with Fighter Class, which is basically our Pioneer-legal Stoneforge Mystic (although not nearly as powerful). For equipping for free, we have Resolute Strike (assuming we have a Warrior) and Sigarda's Aid, alongside Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients, which is a bit slow, although it does have the upside of making a token to equip to. 
  • Creature-wise, we don't have anything with double strike, so we normally need to get in two Colossus Hammer hits to win the game. Seasoned Hallowblade and Adanto Vanguard are perhaps our two best Colossus Hammer targets since they can protect themselves by becoming indestructible, although Fervent Champion and Fireblade Charger have the upside of costing just one mana, which potentially allows us to be attacking with a Colossus Hammered creature on Turn 2. Finally, we have Lion Sash, which is mostly in the deck as a tutor target for Fighter Class (being able to snag a creature with it is sweet), although having some graveyard hate in the main deck is a huge upside in a world where Velomachus Combo and Phoenix are popular. Really though, it doesn't matter too much which creature carries the Colossus Hammer—any of them will get the job done.
  • In general, I think this build of Hammer Time is a good starting point for Hammer Time in Pioneer. It has everything you're looking for: Hammers, creatures, and ways to equip for free and protect threats. But the deck also has a few weird choices, with perhaps the biggest being that there is no removal anywhere in the main deck or sideboard (unless you count Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients as removal, which you probably shouldn't because it's so expensive and inconsistent). We had a few games where a removal spell would have been super helpful (see: our match against Spirits where we got run over by Curious Obsession). While we don't need a ton of removal, having a playset of March of Otherworldly Light or something similar would probably be worthwhile. 
  • Another weird aspect of the deck is that Resolute Strike is one of our main plans for equipping Colossus Hammer, but not all of our creatures are Warriors. In fact, only about half of our creatures actually work with Resolute Strike, which is awkward. While Fervent Champion and Adanto Vanguard might be good enough despite the anti-synergy, I think that replacing them with Warriors could be worth testing, at least. Zurgo Bellstriker can imitate the haste of Fervent Champion, and about a million two-drop Warriors could replace Adanto Vanguard, although none of them have its self-protection ability.
  • Finally, Mutavault was a bit annoying in the mana base. We had multiple games where we wanted to cast a Fighter Class on Turn 2 but didn't have the right colors of mana because of Mutavault. Den of the Bugbear might be a better option in the creatureland slot.
  • The good news is that the deck actually felt pretty powerful. Its good draws can be unbeatable for a lot of decks, and while the deck isn't as strong as the Modern version, that's fine because Pioneer isn't as strong as Modern. With a bit more tuning (and some removal!), Pioneer Hammer Time could be a pretty legit option for the format. It turns out that killing people on Turn 3 is solid. Who would have guessed?
  • So, should you play Pioneer Hammer Time? I think the answer is yes, although as we talked about before, I view this build as more of a starting point for the archetype than a finished product, so feel free to do some brewing and make some upgrades. But in the long run, I think it's very possible that Hammer Time could end up as a real archetype in the format, if not tier one, then at least as a playable and fun lower-tier option!


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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