10, Apr, 24

Cheerios-Style MTG Deck Makes Strange Appearance in Unexpected Format!

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Article at a Glance

With Outlaws of Thunder Junction releasing relatively soon, many players are awaiting to see how the new cards will shake up various formats. After all, some Constructed formats have grown a bit stale in recent months. Standard is completely dominated by Aftermath Analyst decks, while Rakdos Vampires and Izzet Phoenix have a bit of a chokehold on Pioneer.

As such, we’ve seen a minimal amount of innovation. If your brew can’t beat these strategies, it probably will fall short. Interestingly, though, one deck that recently emerged in Pioneer managed to dismantle three Phoenix/Vampires players on its way to an undefeated Magic Online Pioneer League run. This deck is highly creative, building on some ideas associated with Modern Cheerios decks of old. Does this deck actually have legs in the format, or is it just a flash in the pan? To help answer this question, it’s important to break down what the deck’s main goals are and how they fit into the format at large.

Basic Cheerios Plan

Sram, Senior Edificer

In general, the basic Cheerios plan revolves around the utilization of a large number of zero-mana Equipment alongside a way to generate value from casting them. In Modern, these two cards were typically Sram, Senior Edificer and Puresteel Paladin. Each zero-drop you played would draw you a card, which had a high likelihood of being another zero-drop. With multiple of these Creatures out at once, it became relatively trivial to churn through your library.

Eventually, you would find Grapeshot after building up an enormous Storm count and kill the opponent. Unfortunately, in Pioneer, multiple pieces are missing that Modern Cheerios relied on. Puresteel Paladin is not Pioneer legal, making you much more reliant on Sram. Mox Opal is nonexistent, and its banning in Modern years back is part of the reason Cheerios fell off to begin with. There also aren’t Storm payoffs like Grapeshot to speak of.

As such, this deck is less combo-oriented and more focused on acting as one big value engine. Following up Sram or Monastery Mentor with a bunch of zero-drop Equipment is an easy way to pull ahead. Skrelv, Defector Mite is here to help protect these two potent threats from Instant-speed removal spells that could break up your engine.

Of course, the downside with this strategy is that these Artifacts do almost nothing on their own. Even with Sram in play drawing you extra cards, you need some way to convert these Artifacts into meaningful board presence. Monastery Mentor is great at this, but it can be hard to set up a turn where both Sram and Mentor are in play at the same time, and you have a bunch of Artifacts to play. Fortunately, there is one hidden gem that this deck maximizes to ensure you don’t run out of gas.

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Paradoxical Outcome… Sort of


The card in questions is none other than Leave//Chance. Leave is a rather interesting card that gives you the option to return all of those zero-mana Artifacts to your hand at will. Now, unlike Paradoxical Outcome, you won’t be able to draw cards for each non-Land permanent you return to your hand. However, the fact that Leave only costs two mana is a huge difference.

With Sram in play, being able to cast Leave for cheap, return a bunch of your zero-drops, and draw a bunch of cards all over again is big game. Similarly, Leave can help you build out a big board with Mentor. Leave is also quite strong at protecting you from board wipes. Temporary Lockdown is a big problem for this deck, but in some cases, you may be able to use Leave to return your Equipment or copies of Sram to your hand and save your board.

Leave can even return Showdown of the Skalds in a pinch to keep the card advantage flowing. In reality, Leave is the glue that holds this deck together. This deck is centered around generating value, as Sram doesn’t outright win the game on its own. The goal is to draw cards, flood the board with Mentor tokens, and when necessary, dig for Ghirapur Aether Grid to help close the game. This deck is scary despite having flown under the radar.

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Strengths and Weaknesses


This archetype is a bit strange, but it does have some things going for it in the current metagame. Against Rakdos Vampires and Izzet Phoenix, this deck has the potential to bury the opponent in card advantage. If your opponent ever taps out, you may be able to slam Sram or Mentor and go to town. Showdown of the Skalds is a menace against these decks, too.

The downside, of course, is that your threat count is limited. You will have to be extremely patient regarding when to deploy your threats in the face of Fatal Push or Fiery Impulse. Against Phoenix, you can afford to take a bit more time to set things up. Vampires is trickier, though, as Thoughtseize is a game-changer and may leave you stranded with a bunch of useless Equipment after taking your payoff.

This deck is also extremely vulnerable to Temporary Lockdown. Leave can help, as mentioned, but it’s not always easy to set this up. Additionally, the Counterspells out of control decks that play Lockdown can be problematic. The issue is, this deck relies on synergy. If Sram or Mentor get answered quickly, it can take some time to rebuild. The zero-mana Equipment are crucial to the deck but do virtually nothing on their own.

With this in mind, if you’re going to give this deck a shot, make sure to mulligan aggressively. What’s nice is that this deck is very quick at putting your opponent to the test. If they can’t remove Sram or Mentor right away, they risk falling super far behind. For fans of Cheerios-style strategies, you may finally be in luck. This Pioneer version is sweet, and perhaps it will inspire some further innovation leading into the release of Outlaws of Thunder Junction.

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