Streets of New Capenna is now officially released, and we have finally had the chance to play with the new cards on Arena! The very first card I wanted to try out was Endless Detour, since it seemed to have the most potential to be totally overpowered. However, as you may remember me mentioning last week, it doesn’t really fit into any decks in Arena formats right now. Luckily, this last week an entirely new format was added to Arena! 

Explorer is a brand new format that is acting as a bridge between Arena’s current card pool and Pioneer. As Pioneer fans know, WOTC has been promising that the format will eventually come to Arena, and this is the first solid step in that direction. Essentially, Explorer includes all the cards on Arena from Standard-legal sets. This means everything from Kaladesh to Capenna is legal, aside from cards on the Pioneer ban list such as Oko, Thief of Crowns.

I have never had the chance to play Pioneer before, but I have been loving Explorer so far and I am excited to see it catch up with Pioneer over time. The format feels similar to Historic, but without all the cards from Alchemy sets and Historic Horizons. For me that is a good thing, as it was always difficult to keep track of all the new cards that could only be found on Arena. Explorer’s increased connection to Standard sets makes it much easier to keep tabs on.

My first approach to the new format was to look at Pioneer decks that didn’t lose much when they were brought into Explorer. This led me to Azorius Control, which is one of the top decks in Pioneer. When brought into Arena the only major card it loses is Supreme Verdict. When looking at the list I realized that Endless Detour could be the perfect addition. Splashing green is easy enough, especially with the new Bant tri-colour land, and Endless Detour adds so much disruption. Acting as a counterspell, a removal spell, and an answer to everything from Fires of Invention to Nissa, Who Shakes the World. Obviously it is a temporary answer, but we need to look no further than Memory Lapse and Aether Gust to see how powerful cards like this are. The ability to slow opponents down is all that is needed in a deck like this, which plays eight planeswalker cards that can be deployed afterwards to start taking control of the game. Sometimes Endless Detour can even do something truly unique like putting a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria at low loyalty back on top of your own library in order to protect it and recast it. All in all, Endless Detour has lived up to every expectation of mine so far, and a full four copies seems like a good place to be.

Here is my decklist at the moment:

Arena Decklist

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

2 Narset, Parter of Veils
4 The Wandering Emperor
4 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
2 March of Otherworldly Light
2 Dovin’s Veto
2 Jwari Disruption
2 Fateful Absence
4 Absorb
4 Memory Deluge
2 Sunpetal Grove
2 Farewell
3 Portable Hole
4 Omen of the Sea
4 Shark Typhoon
2 Island
2 Plains
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Temple Garden
1 Castle Ardenvale
3 Breeding Pool
3 Hengegate Pathway
2 Hall of Storm Giants
1 Deserted Beach
4 Hallowed Fountain
1 Hinterland Harbor
1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire
1 Otawara, Soaring City
2 Cleansing Nova
4 Endless Detour
1 Scattered Groves
4 Spara’s Headquarters

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad
1 Narset’s Reversal
2 Dovin’s Veto
4 Mystical Dispute
2 Sunset Revelry
3 Rest in Peace
2 Settle the Wreckage

As with most versions of the deck in Pioneer, this is a Yorion deck. However, over the course of my few days testing the deck I have made some modifications to the existing Pioneer lists. Most of these changes have been to the deck’s removal, as I get a better idea of what threats are common in Explorer. The main takeaway I have had so far is that instant-speed spot removal has been much more effective than large sweepers. There are not very many decks that go wide in the format right now, and as long as you have a few cheap removal spells against aggro you should be safe. The abundance of creature-lands and vehicles make sweepers unreliable, and the quality of sweepers available is already low.

Fateful Absence has been my favourite piece of removal in the deck, largely because you can hold it up on an opponent’s turn alongside Endless Detour, counterspells, The Wandering Emperor, Memory Deluge, and more. This deck can do everything on the opponent’s turn, making it a true draw-go deck and a truly scary deck to play against.

The rest of the deck features many of the best blue and white control cards printed in recent years. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, which is still probably the best UW control card on Arena after all these years. Absorb, which is the best all around counterspell. Shark Typhoon, which is capable of blocking creatures, drawing cards, and even being a win condition. The Wandering Emperor and Memory Deluge are some more recent printings that are just as powerful. You can often hold up both of these four drops and then play whichever one best responds to what the opponent is doing, often providing an important advantage as early as turn four.

Usually it is difficult to play control decks in the first few weeks of a new format, since you will be attempting to control unknown threats. However, this is quite possibly the best control deck I have ever played. The consistency of its draws and the versatility of its answers are unmatched by anything else I have seen in Explorer so far. I expect some version of UW-based control to definitely be tier-one in the format at all times. At the moment, the wide variety of decks that players are bringing to the unsettled format means that a catch-all like Endless Detour is a perfect inclusion. For that reason, I’ll be sticking with Bant for the time being.

As this deck develops, I could see more green cards being included. In particular, Growth Spiral seems like it could be a great fit. Another instant-speed play would be welcome, and being able to play The Wandering Emperor on turn three or Teferi on turn four would be very exciting. I have tested a version of the deck with Growth Spiral a bit, but I’ll have to report back on it later! Once ramp cards are being included, it’s also tempting to add large green threats like Nissa, Who Shakes the World and possibly even Hydroid Krasis

If you’re looking for something to try in the brand new Explorer format then this is the deck for you! It closely resembles existing Pioneer decks, and it uses most of the same cards as control decks in other Arena formats, so it won’t be too hard on your wildcards. Plus, it’s an adaptable archetype that will surely be competitive for a long time.

Ready to start exploring? 🚀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.