MTG Challenger Decks – Updated 2022

Wizards of the coast do a pretty good job of releasing pre-constructed decks that allow players to jump right into MTGs most popular formats. One great example of this is of course the commander precons. Another instance is the challenger decks that started in April 2018. Challenger decks are great for players who want an easy onramp to playing Pioneer or Standard Magic: The Gathering. If you are interested in challenger decks at all, you’ve come to the right place. Before we dive in, let’s start with what an mtg challenger deck is.

Challenger decks are 75- card (60-card main deck & 15-card sideboard), preconstructed decks, built with tournament level or competitive play in mind. They are designed primarily for the Standard format at the Friday Night Magic level. Furthermore, they are playable and competitive right out of the box.

As mentioned above, these decks are generally made with Standard in mind. However, as of 2021, there are challenger decks for Pioneer as well. Regardless of format, challenger decks are awesome pick-ups for new and veteran players alike. So, let’s take a look at the decks, which formats you can play them in, and what you can expect to pay for them. As well as how best to upgrade them.

Table Of Contents:

  1. Challenger Decks 2022 Overview And Upgrades
  2. Challenger Decks 2021 Overview And Upgrades
  3. Frequently Asked Questions

Challenger Decks 2022 Overview And Upgrades

Mono-White Aggro

Full Decklist

Creatures: (30)
Reidane, God of the Worthy
Monk of the Open Hand
Usher of the Fallen
Codespell Cleric
Clarion Spirit
Luminarch Aspirant
Intrepid Adversary
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Skyclave Apparition
Elite Spellbinder

Instants: (4)
Kabira Takedown
Fateful Absence

Enchantments: (3)
Paladin Class
Lands: (23)
Faceless Haven
20 Snow-Covered Plains

Sideboard: (15)
Loyal Warhound
Cathar Commando
Portable Hole
Maul of the Skyclaves
Selfless Samurai
Sungold Sentinel
Imperial Recovery Unit

How The Deck Works

The low CMC creatures in the deck make it so you can play multiple threats each turn. While cards like Monk of the Open Hand and Codespell Cleric reward you for it and turn your early plays into finishers. All the while, the deck “taxes” the opponent’s resources leaving them without answers and easy prey.


There are a lot of Standard-legal cards that could be added to this mtg challenger deck to increase its power level and consistency. While also adding in more removal and interaction and increasing the threat density. Let’s take a look at some high-level upgrades to Standard Mono-White Aggro.

the wandering emporer

Main Board

4 Hopeful Initiate4 Codespell ClericHopeful Initiate is much easier to trigger multiple times and is less conditional. Has much better consistency. Gives main board artifact and enchantment hate.
2 Brutal Cathar2 Clarion SpiritBrutal Cathar is more aggressive, less situational, and offers a repeated form of removal.
1Thalia, Guardian of Thraben & 1 Elite Spellbinder2 Clarion SpiritTrimming the amount of non-creature spells in the deck makes Thalia more effective. While Elite Spellbinder adds more creature-based disruption.
2 The Wandering Emperor2 Kabira TakedownThe Wandering Emperor is much better against far more matchups (pressures control decks & exiles aggressive threats), pumps up creatures, and makes tokens. Overall a much more powerful card.
3 Intrepid Adversary2 Fateful Absence & 1 Reidane, God of the WorthyWith things like Brutal Cathar and The Wandering Emperor we can afford to cut things like Fateful Absence for more impactful cards. Intrepid Adversary has good stats for it’s cmc, can be a lord for the deck and is a much better topdeck late game.
3 Adeline, Resplendent Cathar3 Paladin ClassAdeline, Resplendent Cathar is much more aggressive. Contributes to the board in a timely fashion. Paladin Class takes quite a while to generate value. Creatures are better with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.
2 Cave of the Frost Dragon & 1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire3 Faceless HavenFaceless Haven is banned in Standard and has to be replaced to upgrade the deck. So, Cave of the Frost Dragon is our “man-land” replacement of choice. While there is no downside at all to a single copy of Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire.
2 Crawling Barrens2 Snow-Covered PlainsReplacing 2 Plains with Crawling Barrens still gives the deck access to 20 sources of white mana and ups the deck’s threat density

Related: Complete List of MTG Arena Codes – December 2022


Sideboards will be more dependent on your specific meta than the main deck. However, there are a few cards from the stock list that have some clear upgrades that we can touch on.

Brutal CatharCathar CommandoThere are many more match-ups where I would want extra removal. With that said, Hopeful Initiate in the mainboard is a replacement for Cathar Commando.
Guardian of FaithSelfless SamuraiGuardian of Faith offers more complete protection and can save multiple creatures instead of only one.
The Wandering EmperorImperial Recovery UnitA much more well-rounded card that can come in against many more decks and be effective.

Dimir Control

Full Decklist

Creatures: (6)
Graveyard Trespasser
Iymrith, Desert Doom
Hullbreaker Horror

Sorceries: (6)
Crippling Fear
Blood on the Snow

Instants: (22)
Jwari Disruption
Power Word Kill
Baleful Mastery
Saw It Coming
Thirst for Discovery
Parasitic Grasp
Hero’s Downfall
Memory Deluge
Infernal Grasp
March of Wretched Sorrow
Lands: (26)
Field of Ruin
Ice Tunnel
Hall of Storm Giants
Evolving Wilds
Shipwreck Marsh
Snow-Covered Swamp
Snow-Covered Island

Sideboard: (15)
Saw It Coming
Mischievous Catgeist
Siphon Insight
Ray of Enfeeblement
Bloodvial Purveyor
Bloodchief’s Thirst

How The Deck Works

This blue/black control deck thwarts opposing gameplans with copious amounts of interaction; like spot removal, board wipes, and counterspells. Then, in firm control of the board, it only needs to stick one of its late-game bombs to close out games.

Dimir Control | Magic: The Gathering Challenger Deck 2022 | Tournament-Ready | 75 Cards + Tokens
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.


This mtg challenger deck has a very good control shell right out of the box. Therefore, most of the upgrades here will be improvements to the quality of the interaction. However, there are some powerful card advantage pieces that I feel are too good to pass up. Let’s take a look at the changes.

lolth spider queen

Main Board

4 Syncopate & 1 Negate3 Saw it Coming & 2 Thirst for DiscoverySyncopate & Negate improve the versatility of the decks counter spells and are more efficient than Saw it Coming.
2 Jwari Disruption & 1 Negate3 Blood on The SnowBlood on The Snow is a fine card. However, it’s inferior to some of the upgraded spot removal and board wipes in the deck. While having early interaction like Jwari Disruption & Negate is a key to victory.
1 Lolth, Spider Queen &
1 Mordenkainen
2 Memory DelugeLolth, Spider Queen & Mordenkainen both offer card advantage that is superior to Memory Deluge. Furthermore, both are impactful for the deck in several other ways.
1 March of Wretched Sorrow & 2 Baleful Mastery3 Shadows’ VerdictMarch of Wretched Sorrow & Baleful Mastery are slightly too expensive for their benefit if you don’t throw away resources to cheapen them. Shadows’ Verdict is somewhat costly but it is a one-sided board wipe considering all our permanents are CMC 4 or higher.
1 Infernal Grasp, 2 Soul Shatter and 2 Bloodchief’s Thirst3 Power Word Kill & 2 Parasitic GraspInfernal Grasp, Soul Shatter and Bloodchief’s Thirst are far less conditional removal spells than Power Word Kill and Parasitic Grasp.
2 Kotose, the Silent Spider & 2
Kairi, the Swirling Sky
3 Graveyard Trespasser & 1 Hullbreaker HorrorKotose, the Silent Spider can remove cards from the graveyard just like Graveyard Trespasser but is more disruptive and can be a win-con. While Kairi, the Swirling Sky does the same thing as Hullbreaker Horror but at a far better rate.
4 Clearwater Pathway4 Ice TunnelLands coming in untapped makes holding up early counterspells or removal much easier. Furthermore, without Blood on The Snow in the deck there isn’t much incentive to play a tap land here.
1 Otawara, Soaring City & 1 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire2 Evolving WildsEvolving Wilds is slightly too slow for my liking. While Otawara, Soaring City and Takenuma, Abandoned Mire offer some strong upsides with six legendary creatures in the deck.

Sideboards will be more dependent on your specific meta than the main deck. However, there are a few cards from the main deck that I think make great post-board cards for the deck. Let’s take a look at them.


3 Graveyard TrespasserGood Graveyard hate and can gain life against aggro and burn. Great in the sideboard but is a bit hit or miss for the main deck.
1 Hullbreaker HorrorA great spell to bring in against opposing control decks.
2 Crippling FearToo conditional for the main deck but is great post-board against tribal decks.
3 Ray of EnfeeblementWith mono-white aggro running rampant in the meta this is a must somewhere in the 75

Rakdos Vampires

Full Decklist

Creatures: (25)
Voldaren Bloodcaster
Henrika Domnathi
Voldaren Epicure
Bloodtithe Harvester
Vampire Socialite
Florian, Voldaren Scion
Dominating Vampire
Immersturm Predator
Sokenzan Smelter

Instants: (7)
Infernal Grasp
Village Rites
Voltage Surge
Lands: (24)
Blightstep Pathway
Voldaren Estate
Den of the Bugbear
Bloodfell Caves

Artifacts: (4)
Mukotai Soulripper
Oni-Cult Anvil

Sideboard: (15)
Infernal Grasp
Falkenrath Forebear
Callous Bloodmage
Anje, Maid of Dishonor

How The Deck Works

In typical vampire fashion, blood is a resource and lives are a resource. The deck wants to be creating blood tokens and sacrificing them, as well as your creatures to ping opponents for damage. Draining opponents of life not only brings you closer to victory but also pumps of several of the deck’s vampires.


This is the mtg challenger deck I feel needs the most upgrades. In my experience, it is the least focused of the four decks from 2022. It divides its resources between, Vampire Tribal, Aristocrats (sacrificing creatures), and some artifact synergies that I’m assuming are there for the blood tokens.

meathook massacre

My upgrades are to focus the deck on the first two strategies mentioned to make it more cohesive and thus, more powerful. While it was one of the weaker stock lists, I think it is close to the top after upgrades.

3 Ob Nixilis, the Adversary2 Dominating Vampire & 1 Henrika DomnathiOb Nixilis, the Adversary does everything the deck wants. It allows you to sacrifice creatures and rewards you for it. While Dominating Vampire and Henrika Domnathi are powerful cards they don’t contribute much to the strategy.
3 The Meathook Massacre2 Immersturm Predator & 1 Florian, Voldaren ScionImmersturm Predator & Florian, Voldaren Scion are both awesome cards in the deck. However, The Meathook Massacre is an amazing sacrifice payoff and removal that can’t be passed up. So, we will trim some good cards for some great cards.
1 Anje, Maid of Dishonor & 1 Olivia, Crimson Bride2 Sokenzan SmelterAnje, Maid of Dishonor has a much better ability to pay mana into than Sokenzan Smelter. Her ability works with creatures and our blood tokens. While, Olivia, Crimson Bride is a powerful win-con that can reanimate previously sacrificed creatures.
3 Falkenrath Pit Fighter & 2 Vampire Socialite2 Mukotai Soulripper, 2 Oni-Cult Anvil & 1 Voltage SurgeThese changes move us away from the sub-par artifact theme of the stock list and help to focus the deck’s strategy a bit. While also giving us card draw and more targets to sacrifice to Ob Nixilis on turn 3.
4 Deadly Dispute3 Voltage Surge & 1 Village RitesDeadly Dispute simply generates too much value and card advantage not to be in the deck.
1 Agadeem, the Undercrypt, 1 Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass, 2 Blightstep Pathway & 4 Haubted Ridge3 Basic Swamp, 1 Basic Mountian & 4 Bloodfell CavesM.D.F.C cards like Agadeem’s Awakening and Shatterskull Smashing are very powerful. While, Blightstep Pathway & Haunted Ridge are strictly upgrades over basics and Bloodfell Caves.
1 Hive of the Eye Tyrant & 2 Secluded Courtyard,1 Basic Mountian, 1 Den of the Bugbear, 1 Voldaren EstateRemoving a Den of the Bugbear for Hive of the Eye Tyrant gives us a man land for both colors. While, playing less Voldaren Estate makes room for the less painful Secluded Courtyard.
1 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance & 1 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire1 Basic Swamp & 1 Basic MountianWith lots of legendary creatures in the deck post upgrades, Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance & Takenuma, Abandoned Mire are quite nice to have as a 1-of.

Related: The MTG Color Wheel


3 Vampire’s Vengence3 Falkenrath ForebearFalkenrath Forebear is a nice grindy card but with things like Olivia, Crimson Bride & Agadeem’s Awakening in the main board we can cut this for a pseudo-onesided board wipe.
2 Go Blank2 AbradeAbrade should be in the 75 for sure. However, four copies may be a bit much for most meta’s. In its place, Go Blank is good hand disruption and graveyard hate.
2 Sorin the Mirthless2 Anje, Maid of DishonorSince we already play Anje in the mainboard post upgrades, we can fill these spots with a nice Jack-Of-All-Trades planeswalker for the deck post-board.

Gruul Stompy

Full Decklist

Creatures: (22)
Ulvenwald Oddity
Tovolar’s Huntmaster
Halana and Alena, Partners
Goldspan Dragon
Jaspera Sentinel
Magda, Brazen Outlaw
Briarbridge Tracker
Twinshot Sniper

Sorceries: (2)
Light Up the Night
Thundering Rebuke

Instants: (8)
Snakeskin Veil

Enchantments: (4)
Ranger Class
Lands: (24)
Rockfall Vale
10 Forest
Lair of the Hydra

Sideboard: (15)
Twinshot Sniper
Thundering Rebuke
Tovolar, Dire Overlord
Burning Hands
Kappa Tech-Wrecker
Lantern of the Lost

How The Deck Works

Gruul always has access to well-costed powerful creatures. This deck is no exception. However, it can ramp out its threats even faster than usual thanks to its strong treasure token sub-theme. Not only do the treasures accelerate the game plan but they also make several of the creatures like Briarbridge Tracker stronger.

Gruul Stompy | Magic: The Gathering Challenger Deck 2022 | Tournament-Ready | 75 Cards + Tokens
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.


This list is quite strong right out of the box. With that said, there are a few notable cards that are missing from the list. Considering there are very few bad cards in this stock list, we are going to have to cut some good cards for some great cards. Without further ado, let’s upgrade Gruul Stompy.

atsushi the blazing sky
3 Goldspan Dragon1 Ulvenwald Oddity, 1 Magda, Brazen Outlaw and 1 Tovolar’s HuntmasterAre the cards removed here are good cards for the deck. However, playing a full playset of Goldspan Dragon is a must.
3 Esika’s Charriot2 Twinshot Sniper and 1 AbradeEsika’s Charriot contributes much more to the board and overall strategy of the deck than Twinshot Sniper.
1 Atsushi, the Burning Sky1 Snakeskin VeilAtsushi, the Burning Sky is an aggressive, evasive creature that offers a ton of value if it gets removed. Furthermore, this can be tutored out with agda, Brazen Outlaw. Dropping a Snakeskin Veil helps lower our non-creature count just a bit.
2 Moonveil Regent2 Ulvenwald OddityMoonveil Regent and Ulvenwald Oddity have very similar stat-lines. I give the nod to Regent here because of the powerful card advantage it can offer in the late game, when your hand is empty. This too can be tutored out with agda, Brazen Outlaw.
2 Reckless Stormseeker2 Briarbridge TrackerBriarbridge Tracker isn’t a bad card at all. However, giving our larger creatures haste and +1/+0 with Reckless Stormseeker makes for some huge turns out of nowhere.
2 Prosperous Innkeeper2 Briarbridge TrackerProsperous Innkeeper isn’t flashy but it does a lot for the deck.
1 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defience and 1 Boseiju, Who Endures1 Basic Mountian and 1 Basic ForestThe mana base is solid overall. However, there is no downside to playing one of each of the channel lands available to the deck.
4 Cragcrown Pathway and 1 Den of the Bugbear2 Basic Mountains, 2 Basic Forest, and 1 Lair of the HydraPlaying four pathway lands over basics helps to fix mana a bit. While Den of the Bugbear gives the deck a man land in both colors.


2 Outland Liberator2 Kappa Tech-WreckerThese cards have similar effects. However, Outland Liberator doesn’t require you to deal damage to remove an opposing threat.
2 Toski, Bearer of Secrets2 Tovolar, Dire OverlordThis slot of the sideboard is devoted to control match-ups and Toski, Bearer of Secrets is the card for the job. He can’t be countered or easily removed, so he is sure to keep your hand full of threats.
2 Tangletrap2 Twinshot SniperTangletrap is a much more versatile. Helps clear the way for the decks flying creatures. Furthermore, it is another way to remove artifacts post-board since we cut one Abrade.

Challenger Decks 2021 Overview And Upgrades

The 2021 decks are no longer standard legal. So, we will look at how to upgrade the decks to make them competitively playable for Pioneer. That way people who picked up these decks for Standard last year can play them again.

With that said, I won’t go into the reasoning behind each change as much, as most of the upgrades are cards with similar effects at much better mana costs.

Azorius Control

Full Decklist

Creature (6)
Skyclave Cleric
Dream Trawler
Archon of Sun’s Grace

Sorcery (4)
Emeria’s Call
Shatter the Sky

Instant (10)
Saw It Coming
Thirst for Meaning
Behold the Multiverse

Artifact (2)
Glass Casket

Enchantment (14)
Shark Typhoon
Elspeth Conquers Death
The Birth of Meletis
Omen of the Sea
Banishing Light

Land (24)
Temple of Enlightenment
Tranquil Cove
Sideboard (15)
Archon of Sun’s Grace
Banishing Light
Glass Casket
Skyclave Apparition
Confounding Conundrum
Mystical Dispute
Essence Scatter

How The Deck Works

This is a take on classic blue/white control. The deck wants to negate opposing threats using counterspells and removal. Then close out games with some strong flying creatures like Dream Trawler.


Upgrading this mtg challenger deck for Pioneer will consist of some power upgrades to the counterspells and other control pieces. Furthermore, the enchantment synergies will stay, but they will also be improved upon.

teferi hero of dominaria
3 Opt and 2 Dig Through Time3 Thirst for Meaning and 2 Behold the Multiverse
3 Supreme Verdict1 Emeria’s Call, 2 Shatter the Sky,
2 Dovin’s Veto and 3 Absorb3 Neutralize, 1 Saw It Coming, and 1 Negate
2 Search for Azcanta,
2 Detention Sphere, and 1 Cast Out
3 Elspeth Conquers Death and 2 Banishing Light
2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, 2 Azorius Charm, 1 Sphinx’s Revelation, 1 Syncopate, and 1 Mystical Dispute4 The Birth of Meletis, 3 Omen of the Sea
4 Glacial Fortress and 4 Hallowed Fountain4 Temple of Enlightenment and 4 Tranquil Cove
3 Sigil of the Empty Throne, 2 Starfield Mystic, 1 Sphere of Safety, and 1 Prison Realm2 Skyclave Cleric, 2 Dream Trawler, 2 Glass Casket and 1 Omen of the Sea


3 Alseid of Life’s Bounty, 1 Sphere of Safety1 Archon of Sun’s Grace and 3 Confounding Conundrum
4 Leyline of Sanctity and 2 Authority of the Consuls2 Banishing Light, 2 Glass Casket, and 2 Skyclave Apparition
2 Nyx-Fleece Ram2 Essence Scatter
3 Rest in Peace3 Mystical Dispute

Dimir Rouges

Full Decklist

Creature (24)
Blackbloom Rogue
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Thieves’ Guild Enforcer
Vantress Gargoyle
Nighthawk Scavenger
Zareth San, the Trickster
Merfolk Windrobber
Soaring Thought-Thief

Sorcery (2)
Bloodchief’s Thirst

Instant (9)
Malakir Rebirth
Drown in the Loch
Heartless Act

Land (25)
Temple of Deceit
Dismal Backwater
Sideboard (15)
Bloodchief’s Thirst
Into the Story
Pestilent Haze
Agonizing Remorse
Cling to Dust

How The Deck Works

This deck’s game plan is to use its evasive creatures to mill the opponent’s libraries. Then, use your opponent’s full graveyard to enhance creatures like, Thieves’ Guild Enforcer and close games with some sneaky abilities.

Dimir Control | Magic: The Gathering Challenger Deck 2021 | Tournament-Ready | 75 Cards + Tokens
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.


This rouge tribal mtg challenger deck is pretty well suited for Pioneer as is. However, there are a few potent rouges and some good interaction that we gain access to being in Pioneer instead of Standard. Let’s take a look at some Dimir upgrades.

brazen borrower
2 Brazen Borrower and 4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner2 Blackbloom Rogue, 3 Vantress Gargoyle, and 1 Nighthawk Scavenger
2 Agonizing Remorse and 1 Into the Story1 Malakir Rebirth and 2 Heartless Act
Cling to DustBasic Swamp
4 Clearwater Pathway, 4 Drowned Catacomb, and 4 Watery Grave4 Temple of Deceit, 4 Dismal Backwater, 2 Basic Island, 2 Basic Swamp


3 Crypt Incursion1 Bloodchief’s Thirst and 2 Pestilent Haze
2 Crux of Fate2 Into the Story

Mono-Red Aggro

Full Decklist

Creature (27)
Fervent Champion
Kargan Intimidator
Bonecrusher Giant
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Akoum Hellhound
Rimrock Knight
Anax, Hardened in the Forge

Sorcery (6)
Shatterskull Smashing
Roil Eruption

Instant (8)
Spikefield Hazard

Artifact (1)

Land (18)
Castle Embereth
16 Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Relic Robber
Roiling Vortex
Soul-Guide Lantern
Redcap Melee
Thundering Rebuke
Soul Sear

How The Deck Works

This red deck wins is a classic strategy, that does indeed when games. Burn spells that can function as removal or be direct damage to your opponent help clear the way for the deck’s low-costed aggressive creatures, to finish opponents off.

Mono-Red Aggro | Magic: The Gathering Challenger Deck 2021 | Tournament-Ready | 75 Cards + Tokens
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.


This is another example of a deck that is quite well-positioned to transition into the Pioneer meta from Standard. Mono-Red is always good, regardless of format and Pioneer is no exception.

soul scar mage
4 Monastery Swiftspear and 4 Soul-Scar Mage4 Fervent Champion and 4 Akoum Hellhound
4 Viashino Pyromancer4 4 Rimrock Knight
4 Goblin Gathering4 Anax, Hardened in the Forge
2 Light up the Stage, 4 Wizard’s Lightning, 4 Wild Slash4 Spikefield Hazard, 4 Shock, and 2 Shatterskull Smashing
2 Lightning Strike and 2 Embercleave4 Roil Eruption


4 Eidolon of the Great Revel4 Redcap Melee
2 Abrade and 2 Experimental Frenzy2 Relic Robber and 2 Roiling Vortex
3 Searing Blood and 2 Rampaging Ferocidon3 Thundering Rebuke and 2 Soul Sear

Mono-Green Stompy

Full Decklist

Planeswalker (1)
Garruk, Unleashed

Creature (29)
Kazandu Mammoth
Stonecoil Serpent
Swarm Shambler
Scavenging Ooze
Wildborn Preserver
Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig
Lovestruck Beast
Wildwood Tracker
Syr Faren, the Hengehammer
Thrashing Brontodon

Sorcery (5)
Turntimber Symbiosis
Primal Might

Instant (6)
Ram Through
Snakeskin Veil

Land (19)
19 Forest
Sideboard (15)
Thrashing Brontodon
Snakeskin Veil
Khalni Ambush
Chainweb Aracnir
Return to Nature
Oakhame Adversary
Run Afoul

How The Deck Works

Like most mono green decks, this one also loves to beat opponents down with huge, powerful creatures. Not only does the deck play some of the biggest creatures it can, but they are all well-costed for their stats. Meaning you can put opponents on the back foot early as you power out your threats.

Mono-Stompy | Magic: The Gathering Challenger Deck 2021 | Tournament-Ready | 75 Cards + Tokens
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.


Mono-Green Stompy is a classic strategy in Magic: The Gathering. While this base does the archetype justice, there are some strong creatures that are gained by branching into Pioneer. Let’s take a look at how to make this list stomp as hard as possible.

questing beast
4 Llanowar Elves and 4 Elvish Mystic3 Swarm Shambler, 4 Wildwood Tracker and 1 Stonecoil Serpent
4 Werewolf Pack Leader2 Scavenging Ooze, 2 Wildborn Preserver
4 Steel Leaf Champion3 Kazandu Mammoth and
1 Stonecoil Serpent
2 Elder Gargaroth, 2 Questing Beast, and 1 Ghalta, Primal Hunger2 Gemrazer and 3Thrashing Brontodon
2 Garruk, Unleashed and 4 Garruk’s Harbinger4 Ram Through and 2 Snakeskin Veil
1 The Great Henge1 Turntimber Symbiosis
2 Castle Garenbrig, 1 Boseiju, Who Endures, 2 Hashep Oasis5 Basic Forest

Related: The 10 Best MTG Green Board Wipes


2 Heroic Intervention2 Snakeskin Veil
3 Scavenging Ooze3 Oakhame Adversary
3 Reclamation Sage2 Return to Nature and 1 Thrashing Brontodon
3 Hornet Nest3 Chainweb Aracnir

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Challenger Decks?

Challenger decks are preconstructed MTG decks that are built with competitive play in mind. They contain everything a player needs to play at Friday Night Magic level events right out of the box. Each one is modeled after a top-tier deck in Standard and/or Pioneer at the time of its release.


Each mtg challenger deck contains the following:

  • a 60-card main deck
  • a 15-card sideboard
  • 1 spindown life counter
  • a quick reference guide
  • a box capable of holding 75-sleeved cards

Related: All MTG Commander Precons – The Complete Guide

What Formats Are They Legal In?

Allied Fires Deck | Magic: The Gathering Challenger Deck 2020 | Tournament-Ready | 75 Cards + Tokens
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/18/2024 11:21 pm GMT

Challenger decks released for Standard are legal in Standard (until any cards in the deck “rotate” out) Pioneer, Modern, Vintage, and Legacy. So, decks are legal in the format they are released in, and all other formats where each card in the deck is legal.

As an example, Pioneer challenger decks are legal to play in Pioneer and can be played in Modern, Vintage, and Legacy since all cards legal in Pioneer are legal in those formats as well.

Related: MTG Modern: A Getting Started Guide (Primer)

If you wanna play a challenger deck in a format with a larger card pool than the one it was released for, consider upgrading it using all the cards available to you in that format. That way you can be as competitive as possible for the format you’re playing.

For our reader’s convenience, I have listed the challenger decks and which format they’re currently legal in below.

Challenger DecksLegal In
2018 challenger decksPioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage
2019 challenger decksPioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage
2020 challenger decksPioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage
2021 challenger decksPioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage
Pioneer challenger decksPioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage
2022 challenger decks *See below for the mono-white aggro deckPioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage

*The mono-white aggro deck contains three copies of Faceless Haven which was banned in Standard before the release of the deck. Despite this, the deck remains Standard-legal as long as you play the challenger deck exactly as it comes out of the box.

Here is Wizards of the Coast’s statement regarding the deck.

The Mono White Aggro Standard Challenger Deck set to release on April 1, 2022, will contain three copies of the now-Standard-banned Faceless Haven. In terms of what this means for tabletop and digital formats, please see below.

1. For tabletop formats: This deck will still be legal for tournament play in tabletop Magic: The Gathering formats, but only as is. Specifically, the 60-card deck and 15-card sideboard will be legal as long as no changes are made to it.

2. For digital formats: Both Magic: The Gathering Arena and Magic Online will be handling these bans in the same way they normally handle Standard bans. Since the challenger decks are not offered as a product on either platform, there will not be an exception to Standard legality to allow that precise list of cards in Standard play.

Wizards of the Coast

End Step

Challenger decks are a lot of fun for new and veteran players alike. So, if you play MTG at any level I can’t recommend them enough. Whether you’re looking to break into Standard for the first time, trying to take your Standard play to the next level, or converting last year’s decks into solid-budget Pioneer decks, I hope you have found this article helpful. Until next time, get out there and play some MTG.

Photo of author

Geno Doak

I started playing Magic in 2015. I love all formats but I particularly love to play and build decks in modern. Pretty much every part of my life has been influenced by Magic in some way or another. It is something I am very passionate about. RIP Simian Spirit Guide.