May 18, 2022

MTG Arena is about to add its most requested format

In a world lacking glossy advertisements for magic arenathere is only one silver lining for the game. With Historic being impacted by Alchemy cards, players are looking to Wizards of the Coast to provide a non-rotating “true to paper” format. Well, the wait is almost over and you can get a taste of what’s to come right now!

what was written

Wizards of the Coast

“What Was Written” is this week’s Midweek Magic format, and it’s exciting. We have talked about it over the past few weeks. This format is basically Pioneer but with cards that are legal on Arena. This means no digital cards, no cards older than Back to Ravnica. It also incorporates the Pioneer Prohibited List. What’s nice is that we can play almost entirely complete Pioneer decks, of which we’ll drop a few lists at the end.

There are a few complaints we have with the mode. First off, it’s not best of 3, it’s best of 1. That doesn’t make it a true paper representation of what Pioneer would be like. I can understand that though, as the team probably wants to test what Best of 1 would look like, as that will be an option when the format hits the client.

The other is that it’s not an All Access event. Since this even uses an expansive card pool, chances are many players won’t be able to participate in the event because they don’t have the necessary cards. The last is that it’s just too short. It is only available for 2 days. Now WotC said that the first version of this “bridge to Pioneer” format will be permanently coming to the game in the next two months, so that’s very exciting.

READ MORE: Is $50 Too Much? – A near-perfect solution to MTG Arena problem #1

Bridge Lists

If you want to play this event, there are a plethora of possible decks in this format. Fireshoes has posted a Twitter thread with almost or 100% legal decklists for this format, which are pulled directly from the Pioneer format. These lists were aggregated from SCGCON, MTGO Lists of League 5-0, and some of his own. It also outlines the B&R list for the event.


From what Fireshoes posted, we pulled a few rosters and tested them at the event. The first is Yorion Fires. The only card that is not lit Arena East Chained to the rocks. In our list, we replaced it with circle of containment.

The second list is Mardu Greasefang. In this listing, the only card we don’t have is 1 copy of Urborg, Tomb of Yaugzebul. We just added an additional Blood Crypt to the deck to fill that.

The last list didn’t contain any cards in the main deck that weren’t on Arena. This is a Grixis Control deck.

The event is free, so give it a try if you like Pioneer. From our first tests and watching other creators play the event, it seems very diverse and super fun!

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