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The Brothers' War

Bo3 Explorer Metagame Tier List and Rankings

Our latest update to the Traditional Explorer (Bo3) metagame tier list in MTG Arena.

Introduction

Discover the best Magic: The Gathering Arena Explorer decks and archetypes that the players are using to climb the ranked ladder and win tournaments. Our MTG Arena Best of Three (Bo3) Explorer Meta Tier List regularly reviews and ranks the top decks in the format, carefully curated by our expert Altheriax. We also follow up our choices based on a variety of factors and sources, with comprehensive analysis from the data available. Updated for The Brothers’ War (BRO)!

TierDeck Name
Tier 1Mono Blue Spirits
Tier 1Abzan Greasefang
Tier 1Rakdos Sacrifice
Tier 1Rakdos Midrange
Tier 2Gruul Midrange
Tier 2Enigmatic Incarnation
Tier 2Mono Green Stompy
Tier 2Mono Green Ramp
Tier 2Abzan Humans
Tier 2Azorius Control
Tier 24 Color Keruga Fires
Tier 2Mono Red Aggro
Tier 2Jund Food
Tier 2Selesnya Angels
Tier 3Izzet Creativity

Tier 1 Decks

Mono Blue Spirits

Mono Blue Spirits
by MTG Arena Zone
Buy on TCGplayer $117.98
Explorer
best of 3
0 mythic
25 rare
15 uncommon
20 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (24)
4
Spectral Sailor
$1.56
4
Rattlechains
$1.56
4
Supreme Phantom
$2.76
4
Shacklegeist
$1.40
Instants (9)
2
Lofty Denial
$0.50
Enchantments (4)
Lands (23)
4
Faceless Haven
$1.40
60 Cards
$103.24
Sideboard
1
Cerulean Drake
$0.35
1
Brazen Borrower
$12.99
1
Dive Down
$0.25
2
Unsubstantiate
$0.70
2
Aether Gust
$1.58
15 Cards
$69.89

This is an aggressive tempo deck that pairs strong Spirit tribal synergies with cheap counterspells and bounce spells to race the opponent and close out the game before the opponent has a chance to stabilize. This is more creature-dense than most previous tempo decks, but the creatures also provide some nice disruptive elements – (Mausoleum Wanderer working as a counterspell on a stick, Rattlechains working as an instant-speed protection spell, Shacklegeist being able to tap down opponent’s creatures to slow them down etc.)

Geistlight Snare is an incredibly powerful counterspell in this deck that can be reduced to just one mana if you have a spirit equipped with Curious Obsession, and other instant-speed interaction like Lofty Denial and Slip Out the Back paired with flash threats like Spectral Sailor and Rattlechains makes it very difficult for the opponent to play around everything you could have.

The high number of creatures along with cards that can add additional power to your board like Supreme Phantom, Ascendant Spirit, and Faceless Haven give the deck access to some incredibly fast starts that are even capable of outracing aggro decks, and the deck is also capable of some powerful interactive hands that are very good at allowing you to protect a single creature with a Curious Obsession to run away with the game in terms of card advantage.

Weaknesses: Like most tempo decks, Mono Blue Spirits is weakest against fast, low to the ground aggressive decks like Abzan Humans and Mono Red Aggro. The deck is at its best against decks that typically want to cast one spell per turn since you can easily trade off with counterspells or bounce spells and go underneath the opponent, but you can struggle against decks that cast multiple spells each turn, especially going second. Having said that, you do have good options in the sideboard against aggressive decks like Aether Gust, Witness Protection, and Brazen Borrower.

Additionally, the deck can also struggle against lots of cheap single-target removal like Fatal Push, but this is pretty dependent on your hand – if you have a hand with one or two creatures, a Curious Obsession, and some interaction then multiple cheap removal spells can be an issue (although protection like Slip Out the Back helps a lot here), but creature-heavy hands, especially with Rattlechains can often play through early removal anyway. .

When is it good to play? This deck really takes advantage of slower decks that are trying to cast one spell per turn, so if the format is full of decks like Enigmatic Incarnation or Azorius Control then this is an excellent choice. Having said that, this particular list has great tools to outrace the faster decks in the format too, so I think this will be a good choice as long as very low to the ground aggro decks like Abzan Humans or Mono Red Aggro don’t become the most popular decks.

Abzan Greasefang

Abzan Greasefang
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $603.76
Explorer
best of 3
4 mythic
43 rare
2 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (3)
Instants (6)
4
Grisly Salvage
$1.00
2
Corpse Churn
$0.50
Sorceries (11)
4
Thoughtseize
$67.96
Artifacts (9)
4
Parhelion II
$5.96
Lands (21)
1
Swamp
$0.25
3
Blooming Marsh
$23.97
4
Darkbore Pathway
$23.96
4
Temple Garden
$55.96
1
Godless Shrine
$12.99
2
Overgrown Tomb
$25.98
60 Cards
$413.86
15 Cards
$67.57

This is a combo deck that is trying to pitch one of it’s powerful vehicles into the graveyard to bring back with haste using Greasefang, Okiba Boss as early as turn three! Even if you can’t pull off the combo early in the game, bringing back something like Parhelion II later in the game is still usually good enough to win since it represents 13 hasty damage in the air, produces two 4/4 flyers, and then threatens to do it again the following turn if you can pitch Parhelion II back into the graveyard.

The deck has great ways of filling the graveyard in the early game to enable the fastest starts off cards like Grisly Salvage (which can pitch vehicles into the graveyard at the end of the opponent’s turn two often allowing you to combo off out of nowhere which punishes the opponent for tapping out), Witherbloom Command (which is also very useful since it kills most of the commonly played graveyard hate like Unlicensed Hearse and Rest in Peace), Corpse Churn, and Stitcher's Supplier.

A real strength of this deck is that it can also play a reasonable fair game plan if the opponent can stop the Greasefang, Okiba Boss combo off the back of cards like Esika's Chariot and Liliana of the Veil. To round it all off, you also get access to Thoughtseize which improves matchups against control and combo, and often allows you to clear the way to combo off.

Weaknesses: The combo itself is weak to both graveyard hate, and instant-speed creature removal which are both fairly common in the format, so certain decks which have a high density of those sorts of effects will often force you to win off your ‘fair’ game plan, which sometimes won’t be good enough. There is also sometimes a disparity in the speed and quality of your hands with some hands allowing you to combo on turn three, and other hands being slower and more reliant on getting good mills.

When is it good to play? Abzan Greasefang is a very strong generically powerful deck that is going to be good to play assuming the format isn’t full of decks packing a high density of instant-speed removal and graveyard hate.

Rakdos Sacrifice

Rakdos Aristocrats
by Omrithopter
Buy on TCGplayer $629.89
Explorer
best of 3
6 mythic
24 rare
19 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Planeswalkers (4)
Creatures (18)
4
Unlucky Witness
$1.00
4
Mayhem Devil
$13.96
Instants (8)
2
Fatal Push
$4.98
2
Village Rites
$0.50
4
Deadly Dispute
$11.96
Sorceries (4)
1
Thoughtseize
$16.99
Artifacts (4)
4
Witch’s Oven
$5.16
60 Cards
$325.78
Sideboard
1
Fatal Push
$2.49
1
Abrade
$0.25
1
Noxious Grasp
$0.35
1
Duress
$0.25
3
Thoughtseize
$50.97
15 Cards
$197.89

This is a high-synergy sacrifice deck that has really good reach because of direct damage off cards like Cauldron Familiar, Ob Nixilis, the Adversary, and Mayhem Devil, that also has access to efficient cheap removal and decent card advantage.

The Cauldron Familiar + Witch's Oven loops and incredibly efficient creature removal in Claim the Firstborn and Fatal Push make this incredibly strong against aggressive creature strategies. Furthermore, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, Thoughtseize, and Ob Nixilis, the Adversary are strong against the slower decks like control while Unlucky Witness and Deadly Dispute are great at helping to produce card advantage in grindier matchups too.

Weaknesses: One of the biggest weaknesses of Rakdos Sacrifice is that it generally takes longer to close the game out than aggro which gives slower decks like Enigmatic Incarnation and Azorius Control time to set up their engines, and combo decks like Izzet Creativity time to go off. Additionally, other sacrifice decks that go bigger than you like Jund Food can be an issue, because they’re doing a very similar thing, but have a strong lategame due to cards like Korvold, Fae-Cursed King.

When is it good to play? Rakdos Sacrifice is a great choice if the format is full of creature decks since Cauldron Familiar + Witch's Oven, and cheap removal are so strong at stabilizing. It also has decent tools to outgrind other midrange decks so as long as the format isn’t dominated by combo decks, or decks going bigger than it like Jund Food or Enigmatic Incarnation, then it’ll be a good choice.

Rakdos Midrange

Rakdos Midrange
by MTG Arena Zone
Buy on TCGplayer $796.54
Explorer
best of 3
7 mythic
43 rare
5 uncommon
5 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (3)
Instants (7)
4
Fatal Push
$9.96
1
Eliminate
$0.35
2
Bedevil
$1.58
Sorceries (4)
4
Thoughtseize
$67.96
Enchantments (4)
Lands (25)
2
Mountain
$0.50
3
Swamp
$0.75
4
Haunted Ridge
$47.96
4
Blood Crypt
$75.96
60 Cards
$640.64
15 Cards
$124.27

This is probably the most popular deck in the format right now, and is a deck packed with cheap, efficient interaction, and generically powerful cards to cement your position once you get ahead. Due to the nature of being a pure midrange deck and not having as much synergy, the deck is very flexible going into games two and three where you can pivot your game plan depending on the deck you’re up against. Against aggro you can pivot into more of a controlling role with additional creature removal, against control you can pivot into more of a disruptive and aggressive role using discard spells and planeswalkers that are difficult for the opponent to deal with, and against other grindy decks you can bring in more value-centric cards like Reckoner Bankbuster.

Weaknesses: As is the case with a lot of midrange decks, this is a deck that you can tune to beat anything, but not everything, and so tweaking your deck to improve one specific matchup will generally make you less well equipped for another matchup; this can be an issue when you’re playing on the ladder and are likely to face a wide variety of decks. You’re also a deck that usually relies on interacting to get a foothold in the game, and so if your interaction doesn’t line up well, especially against a faster deck, you can often get punished.

Additionally in grindy mirror matches, if both players are playing well, the game can often come down to who draws better which gives you less agency than normal. Having said that, the deck has great options to adapt to the metagame, is naturally strong against a decent number of decks (like control due to the high number of discard spells you can run), and can be easily tweaked to adapt to any metagame shifts.

When is it good to play? Generally, Rakdos Midrange will always be a decent option if your deck is built well for the current meta since you can adapt your game plan and interaction suite depending on what you’re up against. You do generally struggle against decks with engines that go bigger than you like Enigmatic Incarnation and the sacrifice decks, but you have good tools to address most other matchups.

Tier 2 Decks

Gruul Midrange

Gruul Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $476.61
Explorer
best of 3
3 mythic
44 rare
4 uncommon
9 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Creatures (22)
4
Llanowar Elves
$1.16
4
Elvish Mystic
$3.16
2
Scavenging Ooze
$1.58
Instants (3)
Artifacts (7)
Enchantments (4)
4
The Akroan War
$1.40
60 Cards
$263.46
15 Cards
$81.87

Looking to play an aggressive, yet fair game plan, Gruul Midrange ports over the Pioneer version over into Explorer.

Like Mono Green Stompy, the deck utilizes the full eight turn one mana creatures in Elvish Mystic and Llanowar Elves to get way ahead on curve, and to follow up with a myriad of excellent three drops afterwards. However, unlike Stompy which is mostly reliant on Collected Company and The Great Henge, Gruul opts for insanely powerful permanents such as Esika's Chariot for pressure, Skysovereign, Consul Flagship for pressure and interaction, and The Akroan War to make this a nightmare for other creature matchups.

Since the deck is both fast and plays exclusively strong cards, you have a very consistent game plan that can win quickly or be surprisingly grindy.

Weaknesses: While the deck is powerful, you are only playing on a very fair axis. Decks like Mono Blue Spirits can simply interact with your high impact cards or Abzan Greasefang can go over you very quickly, so while you have a consistent game plan, that may not work in the face of decks looking to not play fair.

When is it good to play? Since it is just a solid deck, there really isn’t a metagame this would be particularly bad in, however, it would excel in metagames where there are a lot of other creature strategies.

Enigmatic Incarnation

4C Enigmatic Incarnation
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $909.47
Explorer
best of 3
3 mythic
58 rare
5 uncommon
14 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Lands (34)
1
Forest
$0.25
1
Plains
$0.25
2
Rootbound Crag
$7.98
2
Clifftop Retreat
$13.98
1
Sulfur Falls
$4.49
2
Breeding Pool
$45.98
2
Ketria Triome
$39.98
3
Temple Garden
$41.97
2
Steam Vents
$39.98
2
Raugrin Triome
$27.98
3
Stomping Ground
$38.97
3
Sacred Foundry
$53.97
80 Cards
$636.26
15 Cards
$60.17

This is a deck that is looking to use Enigmatic Incarnation as a toolbox to tutor creatures out of your deck to deal with any given situation and also has access to Fires of Invention and Yorion, Sky Nomad to get additional value off all of your enter the battlefield creatures and enchantments. This is my current build which only goes into 4 colors (for a slightly smoother mana base), but there are definitely good variants of this deck that run the full 5 colors which also provides access to better early interaction in the form of Trial of Ambition, and more toolbox options like Callous Bloodmage.

The recent printing of Leyline Binding is a huge addition to this deck as it now has access to instant-speed interaction (which was something previous builds were sorely missing, especially against a card like Greasefang, Okiba Boss), and enables you to sacrifice it to Enigmatic Incarnation to tutor really powerful creatures like Agent of Treachery and Titan of Industry onto the battlefield, which you can then copy with Glasspool Mimic and Reflection of Kiki-Jiki!

This is very much a deck that is looking to out-value other decks as the game goes long and the toolbox gives you really good access to answers to deal with any problematic permanent the opponent might have.

Weaknesses: The deck is particularly weak to very aggressive decks that also have disruption like Mono Blue Spirits, or Abzan Humans that have counterspells or taxing effects like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben to stop you casting your key spells like Enigmatic Incarnation on curve.

On the other end of the spectrum, it can also struggle against Control due to counterspells, and because you take a lot longer to close the game out than most other decks which gives them more time to set up their engines like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria plus cards like Farewell are incredibly hard to beat too. Greasefang, Okiba Boss decks can also be difficult game one, but with Leyline Binding, and four Rest in Peace post-sideboard, that matchup is much better than it used to be. Outside of that, this deck has good tools to beat most other decks.

When is it good to play? As long as aggro decks with disruption for non-creature spells like Spirits or Humans, and control decks aren’t very popular then this is a great choice. Generally, the more midrange focused the format is, the better this deck becomes.

Mono Green Stompy

Mono G Turbo Henge
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $540.89
Explorer
best of 3
6 mythic
34 rare
2 uncommon
18 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
Sorceries (2)
2
Primal Might
$0.70
Artifacts (4)
4
The Great Henge
$279.96
Lands (20)
14
Forest
$3.50
2
Hashep Oasis
$0.70
60 Cards
$482.96
Sideboard
2
Kraul Harpooner
$0.70
2
Primal Might
$0.70
15 Cards
$101.09

This is an aggro deck that’s trying to beat down with really big creatures, and also has access to Collected Company and The Great Henge to go over the top of grindy decks like midrange and control too. The creatures in mono green have huge stats relative to their mana cost which means you generally have an advantage over other aggro decks that attack on the ground since your creatures tend to outscale theirs. Collected Company and particularly The Great Henge (which this particular build is focused around getting into play on turn three or four fairly consistently) also give the deck a way to grind into the mid-late game which a lot of the other all-in aggro decks struggle to do.

You also have decent options in the sideboard to deal with a lot of the most popular decks like Shapers' Sanctuary (which is really strong against decks that rely on single-target removal like Rakdos Midrange), Unlicensed Hearse (which when paired with Scavenging Ooze, gives the deck a high density of graveyard hate to stop Greasefang, Okiba Boss combo decks), Kraul Harpooner (which helps to improve the otherwise pretty bad mono Blue Spirits matchup, etc.)

Weaknesses: The removal in Mono Green is almost exclusively fight spells which makes it difficult to kill early threats (since you already need a bigger creature in play to use the fight spell), and makes you vulnerable to instant-speed removal (since the opponent can kill the creature you’re using to fight in response).

This makes the deck naturally weak to a deck like Mono Blue Spirits where their fast creature starts are often capable of outracing you since they all have flying and your removal is often too slow to swing the race back on your favor, especially when you’re going second (you could consider running additional Kraul Harpooner in the sideboard to help with that though).

Control can also be a tough matchup depending on how their interaction lines up – unlike Mono Red which has a lot more hasty creatures, all of your creatures have summoning sickness which makes it generally easier for Control to interact with your creatures favorably. On the flipside though, both Collected Company and The Great Henge are excellent in that matchup if you can resolve them, so it’s definitely a winnable matchup for sure.

When is it good to play? Mono Green is typically a good choice providing there aren’t a lot of decks that require early interaction (like Mono Blue Spirits), or a lot of control (which is a pretty swingy matchup depending on how their interaction lines up). Unlike a lot of other aggro decks, Mono Green generally has better matchup spreads overall because Collected Company and The Great Henge are both really good tools to help you beat grindier midrange decks that most other aggro decks struggle against.

Mono Green Ramp

Mono Green Ramp
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $312.12
Explorer
best of 3
4 mythic
30 rare
7 uncommon
19 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (21)
4
Llanowar Elves
$1.16
4
Elvish Mystic
$3.16
1
Voracious Hydra
$4.49
Sorceries (4)
Enchantments (4)
Lands (22)
15
Forest
$3.75
60 Cards
$243.54
15 Cards
$93.91

This is a ramp deck looking to utilise the very powerful turn one ramp creatures like Llanowar Elves to cast powerful threats like Karn, the Great Creator and Nissa, Who Shakes the World ahead of curve. There are multiple ways you can build this deck, some versions opting to go all the way up to Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, and other builds opting to stay closer to the Pioneer version of the deck using cards like Storm the Festival.

This deck is capable of some incredibly fast starts, and also has decent flexibility due to the options in the Karn, the Great Creator wishboard. It’s also generally a deck that is very good at going over the top of most of the format (apart from control and combo decks), so is naturally well positioned against a lot of smaller decks (Lovestruck Beast, Old-Growth Troll, and Cavalier of Thorns in particular are very strong at stabilizing against aggressive decks).

Weaknesses: A lot of the fast starts in this deck really revolve around untapping with a turn one Llanowar Elves or Elvish Mystic, so decks with a lot of early interaction like Rakdos Midrange are good at slowing the deck down a lot. Additionally, basically all of the power in the deck comes from the expensive ramp payoffs like Karn, the Great Creator and Nissa, Who Shakes the World which makes the deck pretty vulnerable to both discard spells and counterspells since they can both take out your big payoffs, often leaving you with ramp and nothing to do with it.

The final issue with ramp decks like this in general, is that most of your ramp cards are very bad draws later in the game, so if the opponent is able to disrupt your payoff cards, you can be left in a rough spot if you don’t draw well.

When is it good to play? This is generally a good deck to play if disruptive cards like discard spells and counterspells aren’t very popular. If you’re allowed to hold onto, and cast your payoffs, then the deck is incredibly strong and has great tools to go over the top of most other decks.

Abzan Humans

Abzan Humans
by MTG Arena Zone
Buy on TCGplayer $323.26
Explorer
best of 3
3 mythic
44 rare
10 uncommon
3 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

This is a tribal aggro deck with good disruptive elements like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Kitesail Freebooter which helps give it an edge against slower decks which rely on non-creature spells like Azorius Control and Izzet Creativity. The deck is low to the ground and capable of some very fast starts, usually off the back of Thalia's Lieutenant and General Kudro of Drannith which provide big buffs to your whole board.

The deck also has access to removal off the back of Brutal Cathar and Skyclave Apparition which helps against other creature decks, and it has ways to grind into longer games off the back of cards like Tenacious Underdog, Extraction Specialist, and Luminarch Aspirant. Additionally, Collected Company provides a really nice top end that gives the deck more explosiveness, and is a good way to recover if the opponent is able to deal with your early threats.

Weaknesses: While the deck is good against slower decks built around non-creature spells, it tends to struggle a lot against other creature decks that go bigger than it like Mono Green or Selesnya Angels. It also struggles a lot against basically all of the variations of sacrifice decks since they tend to naturally prey on these sorts of creature decks.

When is it good to play? Humans is at its best when the format is dominated by slower decks since it packs aggression and can disrupt which really limits the ability of the more interactive decks to stop you in time. As long as bigger creature decks and sacrifice decks aren’t very popular, then Humans is generally a good choice to play.

Azorius Control

Azorius Control
by MTG Arena Zone
Buy on TCGplayer $531.66
Explorer
best of 3
6 mythic
42 rare
7 uncommon
5 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (6)
Creatures (1)
1
Dream Trawler
$0.35
Instants (18)
2
Censor
$0.70
3
Dovin’s Veto
$11.97
4
Absorb
$9.16
3
Memory Deluge
$1.47
Sorceries (4)
2
Supreme Verdict
$7.98
2
Farewell
$19.98
Artifacts (2)
2
Portable Hole
$4.98
Enchantments (2)
2
Shark Typhoon
$25.98
60 Cards
$407.56
15 Cards
$38.11

This is a late-game deck that is looking to stabilize in the early game using single-target creature removal, board sweepers, and counterspells, and then run away with the late game off the back of it’s top-end cards like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Dream Trawler. There are multiple ways you can build this deck, this is a more standard version, but 80-card builds running Yorion, Sky Nomad, and Lotus Field variants that are trying to get ahead on mana are also both viable ways to build the deck.

This is probably the best late game deck in the format that’s capable of going over the top of other late game engine decks like Jund Food and Enigmatic Incarnation thanks to cards like Farewell that can reset the board without hitting your planeswalkers, and the deck has access to a good variety of sweepers and single-target removal which gives it solid options against whatever the most popular aggro decks are at any given time.

Weaknesses: Control has a big weakness to aggressive decks that also run disruptive elements like Humans or Spirits, where they can either tax your interaction with cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Kitesail Freebooter, or they have access to counterspells like Geistlight Snare and Spell Pierce. It’s also fairly weak to discard spells which means that decks like Rakdos Midrange where they have access to a high density of discard post-sideboard tricky matchups, and the deck can also struggle to deal with planeswalkers which a lot of different decks could potentially bring from their sideboard.

When is it good to play? Control is a good shout as long as tempo or aggro decks with disruption aren’t very common. If the format is largely pure aggro, or slower more value-focused midrange decks (as long as they’re not running too many discard spells) then control is a great choice.

4 Color Keruga Fires

4C Keruga Fires
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $639.28
Explorer
best of 3
10 mythic
44 rare
0 uncommon
6 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Enchantments (16)
4
Leyline Binding
$63.96
Lands (28)
1
Forest
$0.25
1
Island
$0.25
1
Mountain
$0.25
2
Plains
$0.50
1
Swamp
$0.25
4
Fabled Passage
$23.96
1
Ketria Triome
$19.99
1
Temple Garden
$13.99
1
Steam Vents
$19.99
3
Raugrin Triome
$41.97
2
Stomping Ground
$25.98
2
Sacred Foundry
$35.98
60 Cards
$552.6
15 Cards
$59.61

Looking to utilize some of Explorer’s most powerful cards on rate with Fires of Invention and Omnath, Locus of Mana, 4 Color Keruga Fires has a greedy, but powerful game plan to go over the top of any other deck in Explorer.

While Fires was already a relatively slow deck by nature, by playing Keruga, the Macrosage, you are forced to play cards that are exclusively three or more mana value. This may seem like a huge risk, but between Bonecrusher Giant and Leyline Binding being able to be played on turn two, and Temporary Lockdown to reset the board early, it is not nearly as risky as it seems. Then, if you’re able to make it to the mid game, you have a slew of insanely powerful threats that will quickly overpower any deck.

Weaknesses: While powerful and has some tools to mitigate how clunky it is, it is still a relatively clunky deck by nature so decks like Mono Blue Spirits can dismantle it or Abzan Greasefang can combo off before it has a chance to do anything relevant.

When is it good to play? When the metagame is a bit slower and players are trying to out value each other, this is an excellent option as this doesn’t care about the value game.

Mono Red Aggro

Mono Red Aggro
by MTG Arena Zone
Buy on TCGplayer $136.97
Explorer
best of 3
7 mythic
18 rare
15 uncommon
20 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
2
Play with Fire
$4.98
Artifacts (3)
3
Embercleave
$25.47
Enchantments (4)
Lands (23)
14
Mountain
$3.50
2
Castle Embereth
$0.70
2
Ramunap Ruins
$1.38
60 Cards
$105.26
Sideboard
2
Redcap Melee
$0.70
3
Fry
$1.05
2
Lava Coil
$0.50
15 Cards
$67.67

This is a very ‘pure’ aggro deck that is just looking to get creatures into play fast and kill the opponent before they get a chance to stabilize. Mono red has access to a lot of haste creatures and burn spells which are great at forcing the last few points of damage through, especially if the opponent doesn’t play carefully and leave back blockers. Embercleave and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell are also both great top end cards that allow you to force lethal through even if the opponent is doing a good job defending against you.

This deck is great at punishing slow decks, especially if they’re not running a lot of early interaction, and it has access to some great sideboard cards like Rampaging Ferocidon (that goes a long way to solve bad matchups against a deck like Selesnya Angels and Cat/Oven sacrifice decks), Goblin Chainwhirler (which is great against other low to the ground creature decks, especially with a Torbran, Thane of Red Fell in play since it will deal 3 damage to everything instead), and efficient targeted removal for certain matchups like Redcap Melee and Fry.

Weaknesses: The deck is very one dimensional so will tend to struggle against decks with a lot of interaction or sweepers that can stabilize against your early aggression. It can also struggle against creature decks that go ‘bigger’ than you like Mono Green (which has bigger creatures that can stonewall you if you don’t have Embercleave or Torbran, Thane of Red Fell), or Selesnya Angels (which is a really rough matchup due to the creatures with high toughness paired with a ton of life gain, although Rampaging Ferocidon does help a lot if you draw it).

When is it good to play? Mono red aggro is always a pretty decent option especially if you like faster matches, assuming that bigger creature decks like Selesnya Angels, or decks with a lot of interaction like Azorius Control aren’t very popular.

Jund Food

Jund Korvold
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $802.36
Explorer
best of 3
3 mythic
37 rare
19 uncommon
1 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Creatures (15)
4
Gilded Goose
$9.16
4
Mayhem Devil
$13.96
Instants (8)
4
Fatal Push
$9.96
4
Deadly Dispute
$11.96
Artifacts (7)
4
Witch’s Oven
$5.16
3
Oni-Cult Anvil
$1.05
Enchantments (7)
4
Trail of Crumbs
$1.56
Lands (23)
1
Forest
$0.25
3
Darkbore Pathway
$17.97
4
Stomping Ground
$51.96
4
Overgrown Tomb
$51.96
4
Blood Crypt
$75.96
60 Cards
$462.44
15 Cards
$134.97

Similar to Rakdos Sacrifice, this is another sacrifice variant that’s splashing green to gain access to Gilded Goose, Trail of Crumbs, and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, which provides a very strong card advantage engine, and essentially trades the speed and efficiency of Rakdos Sacrifice for a stronger late game.

Trail of Crumbs with Gilded Goose or Cauldron Familiar + Witch's Oven provides a really solid card advantage engine that’s really hard for other grindy decks to keep up with, and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King does a similar thing whilst also acting as a huge game ending threat that can swing for lethal within a turn or two of it coming down. The deck also gets to run Fable of the Mirror-Breaker which is an incredibly strong generically powerful card that allows you to ramp into Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, and allows you to copy Mayhem Devil if Reflection of Kiki-Jiki survives which is another really strong late game engine.

Weaknesses: Splashing Green for more value engines does slow the deck down which makes it more vulnerable to decks like Azorius Control that tend to go bigger than you since you’re slower to close the game out, which gives them more time to find a card like Farewell that’s incredibly strong against you. The Rakdos variant being more low to the ground also has an easier time stabilizing against aggressive decks – for the most part this deck is also pretty good against aggro on the whole but there will definitely fast starts from aggro decks that can run this build over, that the Rakdos deck would be able to handle.

When is it good to play? Similar to Rakdos, Jund Food is a great choice if the meta is full of creature decks since Cat/Oven + removal and Mayhem Devil is great at picking off opposing creatures. Additionally, this build is generally better against other grindy decks like Rakdos Midrange and Enigmatic Incarnation since Trail of Crumbs and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King provide a much stronger late game, so if those decks are popular, then Jund Food is a great choice. On the other hand, this build is even weaker to Azorius Control than the Rakdos variant, so if that’s a deck you expect to face a lot, then Rakdos might be a better choice.

Tier 3 Decks

Selesnya Angels

Selesnya Angels
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $474.22
Explorer
best of 3
4 mythic
40 rare
4 uncommon
12 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
Sorceries (3)
60 Cards
$470.82
15 Cards
$86.35

This is a tribal creature deck that is focused around life gain synergies, flyers and creatures with high toughness which make them great on defense. This deck is amazing against aggressive and creature decks because the Angels are very good at blocking, and the amount of incidental life gain the deck has can undo even the fastest starts from aggro decks.

This is also one of the best Collected Company decks in the format since the deck has a lot of very powerful and synergistic two and three mana creatures that can suddenly win the game out of nowhere if you get a good hit (usually involving some combination of Righteous Valkyrie, Resplendent Angel, Giada, Font of Hope, or Bishop of Wings). The deck is also good at turning the corner once you’ve stabilized, especially if you can hit the 27 life threshold for Righteous Valkyrie, or the 5 life threshold for Resplendent Angel since most of your creatures have flying which can get in for a lot of damage in the air.

Weaknesses: By far the biggest weakness of angels is that it’s matchup spread is pretty disparate. It’s really strong against aggro, sacrifice, and creature-based decks in general, but has an awful matchup against decks packing a lot of interaction or sweepers, especially Azorius Control which makes it a risky deck to run while the more interactive decks are a big part of the metagame.

When is it good to play? If the meta is largely made up of aggro, sacrifice, and other creature decks then angels is a great choice, but if Control or other more interactive decks are a part of the meta, it can be a risky choice.

Izzet Creativity

UR Opus Creativity
by darthjacen
Buy on TCGplayer $510.32
Explorer
best of 3
12 mythic
31 rare
4 uncommon
13 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (4)
Instants (22)
4
Consider
$7.16
4
Voltage Surge
$1.00
4
Censor
$1.40
3
Fire Prophecy
$0.75
3
Prismari Command
$14.97
4
Magma Opus
$13.96
Sorceries (4)
Enchantments (6)
2
Shark Typhoon
$25.98
Lands (24)
1
Island
$0.25
1
Mountain
$0.25
2
Sulfur Falls
$8.98
4
Spirebluff Canal
$67.96
4
Steam Vents
$79.96
60 Cards
$552.38
Sideboard
3
Fry
$1.05
3
Aether Gust
$2.37
15 Cards
$11.99

This is a combo/control deck that is looking to maximise the power of Torrential Gearhulk as both a late game threat and a payoff for playing an early Indomitable Creativity (there are also other potential builds of Creativity for example The Locust God variants that run Sage of the Falls and The Locust God as the only creatures to win the turn you play Indomitable Creativity for x=2, but the Torrential Gearhulk variants are the more prominent version).

The most powerful interaction with this deck is Torrential Gearhulk recasting a Magma Opus from the graveyard (which you can pitch easily to create a Treasure that both allows you to ramp into Torrential Gearhulk, and provides a target for Indomitable Creativity). You have access to a decent variety of interaction to buy you time in the early game like Voltage Surge, Prismari Command, and Fire Prophecy (which can put Torrential Gearhulk back into the deck if you need more targets for Indomitable Creativity), and the deck also has good sideboard options like Anger of the Gods for aggro, and Mystical Dispute for control mirrors.

Weaknesses: The two biggest weaknesses of this deck is that it’s most powerful plays get shut off by graveyard hate (which is incredibly common right now because of the prominence of Greasefang, Okiba Boss decks), and you’re reliant on red damage-based removal as opposed to unconditional white or black removal which means you have a hard time dealing with cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse from Rakdos Midrange, and bigger creatures run in decks like Mono Green Stompy and Selesnya Angels.

When is it good to play? This deck will be in a good spot in the meta when there’s less graveyard hate, and bigger creatures that outscale the red damage-based removal like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse are less popular.

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Altheriax
Altheriax

Alth is an MTG Arena grinder who has been #1 on the ladder multiple times and is always looking to bring new ideas and archetypes to the format and push them to the top spots on the ladder. You can follow him on Twitter and YouTube.

Articles: 37