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The Best MTG Challenger Decks

Wizards of the Coast (WotC) consistently releases new MTG products tailored for players who lack extensive collections to build their own decks. These products often take the form of Intro and Challenger decks. In 2022, we witnessed the launch of four Standard Challenger decks and four Pioneer Challenger decks.

What Is a Challenger Deck?

A Challenger deck is a preconstructed 60-card deck accompanied by a 15-card sideboard. It includes some of the most popular cards in recent formats. The goal of these preconstructed decks (precons) is to be competitive straight out of the box in a given format, providing at least a challenge for your friends and at Friday Night Magic (FNM) events.

Adjusting to the meta and competing at the highest level requires more effort. An additional benefit of these decks is the reprinting of certain competitive staples, enhancing the decks’ value with rares, mythics, and valuable uncommons. These cards are playable across multiple formats, from Standard to Pioneer, Modern, and EDH.

Top Pick Categories

  • Most Competitive, Best Value: Magic The Gathering Pioneer Challenger Deck 2022 – Izzet Phoenix (Blue-Red)
  • Best For New Players: Magic: The Gathering Pioneer Challenger Deck 2022 – Gruul Stompy (Red-Green)
  • Best Budget Deck: Magic: The Gathering 2022 Challenger Deck – Rakdos Vampires (Black-Red)
  • Best if Cost Is No Object: Magic The Gathering Challenger Deck: Hazoret Aggro (Red) WOCC54800000-Aggro

Best Overall

Izzet Phoenix Pioneer Challenger Deck

This deck is the top pick overall, offering the most value. It’s competitive straight from the box and has potential longevity.

Best for New Players

Gruul Stompy Pioneer Challenger Deck

Stompy decks are typically recommended for beginners. The Rakdos Vampire is a good pick for Standard in 2023, but for new players, the Pioneer’s Gruul Stompy deck is the better choice in this category.

Best Budget Deck

Rakdos Vampires Standard Challenger Deck

This is the ideal budget deck for Standard play. It’s similar to a Pioneer sacrifice build, and most of the cards remain legal in Standard.

Best Competitive Deck

Izzet Phoenix Pioneer Challenger Deck

The Izzet Phoenix deck stands out for its durability in the competitive scene, particularly with Arclight Phoenix builds.

Best Choice if Cost Is No Object

Hazoret Aggro Pioneer Challenger Deck

This deck offers a collection of red staples, making it an ideal choice regardless of budget constraints.

Best Value

Izzet Phoenix Pioneer Challenger Deck

The Izzet Phoenix deck wins again for its card value alone, making it a viable long-term investment for Pioneer players.

Best Bundle

Pioneer Challenger 2020 Deck Bundle

The best bundle award goes to the Pioneer Challenger 2020 deck bundle. It contains a variety of powerful cards suitable for controlling and aggressive play styles.

Wrap Up

Pioneer and Standard formats offer the advantage of card availability at lower prices. Challenger decks, while not perfect, can quickly elevate a player to FNM level. The Pioneer Izzet Phoenix deck, for example, is nearly tournament-ready with a few upgrades. Let us know your thoughts on the best MTG proxy print Challenger decks.



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