It’s the hottest topic in Magic today: should Wizards ban Inverter of Truth in Pioneer? The deck is popular and one of the top tier decks in the format. No matter which side of the fence you are on, you need a plan to deal with it, or at least the hope that something from the deck will be banned soon. I’m here today to tell you what I think should happen, and how to beat the deck as long as it remains in the metagame.

My Take on the Question

While some might consider this the minority opinion, but I believe Inverter Variants are fine to stay in Pioneer and don’t need a ban. And iIf something does get banned, it should not to be Inverter of Truth.

First of all, I am personally a fan of combo decks, so that’s where I’m coming from. Rock-Paper-Scissor formats are generally healthy, and combo decks form an important part of that balance. With a card pool as big as Pioneer, combo decks will be around no matter what. Right now we have Inverter, Mono-White Devotion, and Lotus Breach that I can think of off the top of my head.

Three combo decks with completely different engines have been doing well in the format. That already brings variety to the combo side of the metagame. Looking at these decks and most particularly Inverter, games play out in a variety of ways. It’s not often you have Turn 4 Inverter of Truth into a win on turn five. There are many paths to that point. Navigating through these turns against an Inverter opponent is often tough and thought provoking—exactly the kind of high-level Magic I enjoy the most. And it’s not the sign that it’s time for a ban.

While Inverter may be the best in the format with a large target on its back, I think that’s okay. Formats are allowed to have a best deck. Looking at MTGGoldfish, the next four best decks have neither warped hemselves nor felt the need to do so to maintain viability. Inverter being 18% of the format is high, but we haven’t hit alarming numbers yet. I would get concerned if it starts hitting over 25% of the format.

Most importantly, there are other decks capable of winning in the format. Sultai Delirium is arguably the best deck or close to it right now in Pioneer. While winning a Pro Tour littered with Inverter, it also recently won a SCG classic in Indianapolis last weekend.

How to Beat Inverter

If you want to beat Inverter, you have multiple ways to do it. Here’s one that’s straightforward: Mono-Black Aggro.

Mono-Black Aggro

Creatures (25)
Scrapheap Scrounger
Bloodsoaked Champion
Dread Wanderer
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Murderous Rider
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Rankle, Master of Pranks

Spells (11)
Fatal Push
Grasp of Darkness
Liliana’s Triumph
Lands (24)
14 Swamp
Castle Locthwain
Ifnir Deadlands
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Early and fast pressure backed up by Thoughtseize beats a lot of decks. Discard is generally good against combo decks anyway, but you need to apply pressure before they draw replacements. This deck does that very wel. Plus, access to a Hero’s Downfall effect in Murderous Rider helps answer Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. These cards would be in the deck with or without Inverter in the format—they are simply good cards—and that’s a good place to be against the top deck.

It’s important that decks aren’t warping themselves to play cards that are only good against Inverter. That’s a sign of a warped metagame—think about Leyline of the Void versus Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis in Mondern. Warping your deck to beat a dominant deck will cause you to lose to other decks in the format. But we aren’t there with Inverter in Pioneer.

If you want to play a slower game with more value while still playing Thoughtseize, you have the other potential best deck in Pioneer: Sultai Delirium.

Sultai Delirium

Creatures (19)
Satyr Wayfinder
Scavenging Ooze
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Courser of Kruphix
Murderous Rider
Tireless Tracker
Walking Ballista
Ishkanah, Grafwidow
Emrakul, the Promised End

Planeswalkers (3)
Liliana, the Last Hope
Nissa, Who Shakes the World

Spells (15)
Fatal Push
Traverse the Ulvenwald
Abrupt Decay
Grisly Salvage
Lands (23)
Blooming Marsh
Botanical Sanctum
Overgrown Tomb
Breeding Pool
Watery Grave
Lumbering Falls
Fabled Passage

Cards like Traverse of Ulvenwald help you work around their combo by hunting up interactive creatures like Murderous Rider. Sultai can also keep Dig Through Time in check with Scavenging Ooze, which is huge. Then there’s the potential “Oops I Win” by casting Emrakul and causing them to exile their graveyard.

What to Ban if Necessary

While I don’t think Inverter of Truth needs to be banned, my first nominee is Dig Through Time. It can help build value when you can’t combo off, while also helping you find a combo piece plus protection or interaction to ensure victory. Dig Through Time is an egregious Magic card banned or restricted in many formats, and I doubt it will stay in Pioneer much longer.

If Dig Through Time does get banned, Inverter decks will take a hit but remain functional. Should it come to pass, the banning could help the format settle away from combo being strongest and level out the Rock-Paper-Scissors further. But I’m not convinced it needs to happen yet.

Bannings hurt players who’ve acquired the deck. Let’s save it for absolute emergencies and see how the format settles itself. What have you tried to beat Dimir Inverter? Any other good suggestions to balance the metagame?

Zack a veteran grinder at this point plays most of his magic online nowadays. That doesn’t mean you won’t find him occasionally slinging spells at an Open or Grand Prix. Catch him streaming on Twitch to find where he’s at with all the formats.

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