MTG Arena Zone Premium
Join our Premium community, remove all advertisements, get access to exclusive content!
MTG Arena Zone Premium
Join our Premium community, remove all advertisements, get access to exclusive content!
Crucias, Titan of the Waves by Filipe Pagliuso

Bo1 Historic Metagame Tier List and Rankings

Our Arena Best of One Historic (Bo1) metagame tier list in MTG Arena comes with the latest up to date decklists and descriptions, their weaknesses, and when it is good to play.

Introduction

Discover the best Magic: The Gathering Arena Historic decks and archetypes that the players are using to climb the ranked ladder and win tournaments. Our MTG Arena Best of One (Bo1) Historic 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.

TierDeck NameGuide
Tier 1Boros ThoptersGuide
Tier 1Izzet WizardsGuide
Tier 1Izzet BelcherGuide
Tier 2Selesnya Heliod ComboGuide
Tier 2Azorius Affinity Guide
Tier 2Mono Green ElvesGuide
Tier 2Selesnya EnchantressGuide
Tier 2Azorius AurasGuide
Tier 2Mardu Reanimator
Tier 2Mardu Greasefang ReanimatorGuide
Tier 2Azorius ControlGuide
Tier 2Mono Red AggroGuide
Tier 2Jeskai DragonstormGuide
Tier 2Mono Green DevotionGuide
Tier 3Gruul Creativity
Tier 3Mono Red GoblinsGuide
Tier 3Selesnya Angels
Tier 3Selesnya Humans Guide

Tier 1 Decks

Boros Thopters

Boros Thopters
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $242.99
Historic
Artifacts
best of 1
0 mythic
29 rare
28 uncommon
3 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Creatures (16)
4
Ornithopter
$1.40
4
Esper Sentinel
$131.96
4
Ingenious Smith
$1.56
Artifacts (18)
4
Portable Hole
$7.16
2
Shadowspear
$43.98
4
Barbed Spike
$1.40
Enchantments (8)
60 Cards
$403.04
Sideboard
1 Cards
$0.99

This is a very low to the ground artifact-based aggressive deck that is capable of some incredibly fast starts, can apply pressure, and has some good tools to grind into longer games too. Retrofitter Foundry is very much the centerpiece of the deck, allowing you to sacrifice your early Thopters on turn 1 or 2 to start generating 4/4s which are both great on offense, and at stonewalling other creatures.

Michiko's Reign of Truth is another card that provides a lot of raw power and will often allow you to close games out when used on a flying creature or paired with Shadowspear to trample through. Lurrus of the Dream-Den also gives the deck both a good way to grind into longer games and a great mana sink in games where you flood out, and using it to loop Ornithopter every turn with a Retrofitter Foundry in play, or Yotia Declares War as a removal spell each turn, is hard for a lot of decks to beat.

Weaknesses: By far the biggest weakness of this deck is mass artifact removal like Divine Purge, Brotherhood's End, and Fade from History. Unlike the Azorius Affinity deck which has access to better counterspells, you don’t really have good counterplay to these sort of cards, so it will be very difficult to beat Azorius Control if they’re packing a lot of copies of Divine Purge or red decks running Brotherhood's End.

When is it good to play? This will depend entirely on how much mass artifact removal is being run – if it’s very common then this won’t be a good choice, otherwise, this is an excellent deck.

Izzet Wizards

Bo1 Izzet Wizards
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $271.85
Historic
best of 1
0 mythic
26 rare
25 uncommon
9 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Creatures (15)
4
Soul-Scar Mage
$9.16
4
A-Symmetry Sage
$0.00
Instants (13)
4
Play with Fire
$7.96
4
Consider
$5.96
Sorceries (13)
4
Reckless Charge
$1.40
60 Cards
$275.81
Sideboard
1 Cards
$1.49

This is one of the fastest aggressive decks in the format that leverages cheap creatures with evasion that grow alongside burn spells and pump spells to deal a lot of damage incredibly quickly. The deck really punishes decks that don’t have early interaction (which is less prevalent in Best of 1,) and has good tools to produce card advantage like Expressive Iteration and A-Mentor's Guidance, especially since A-Symmetry Sage, Balmor, Battlemage Captain, and Reckless Charge can boost the power of Dreadhorde Arcanist which allows it to recast more expensive spells like Expressive Iteration and Wizard's Lightning.

One of the biggest advantages of Wizards over other aggressive options is that you have a decent amount of interaction through your burn spells (a lot of other aggressive decks in the format are purely linear and don’t have many or any ways to interact), which can be used to take out the opponent’s creatures, or go face to force through additional damage.

Burn spells also give you good reach which enables you to finish off the opponent from a low life total, even if they manage to take out all of your creatures. Reckless Charge, in particular, gives the deck a huge amount of speed since you can force a lot of damage through, even if you started the turn with no creatures in play, which makes it very risky for the opponent to ever tap out against you.

Weaknesses: This deck is vulnerable to cheap early interaction since so much of your early pressure comes from your creatures, so decks with a lot of early cheap interaction like Azorius Control or Rakdos Arcanist are often difficult matchups. Additionally, there are also some decks that are capable of racing you (especially when you’re on the draw) that largely dodge your interaction (unless you’re running Spell Pierce) like Jeskai Dragonstorm.

When is it good to play? Izzet Wizards is usually a good choice if there isn’t much single-target removal in the format, and the other linear decks are either slower than you, or made up of smaller creatures like Mono Green Elves that you can slow down with your burn spells.

Izzet Belcher

Izzet Belcher by Skura
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $162.72
Historic
best of 3
16 mythic
24 rare
20 uncommon
0 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Sorceries (24)
4
Strike It Rich
$1.96
4
Irencrag Feat
$1.96
Artifacts (4)
60 Cards
$331.64

This is a combo deck that is looking to find and activate Goblin Charbelcher which will almost always kill the opponent on the spot (unless the opponent has an insanely high life total) since the deck runs no actual lands.

In order to make mana, this deck uses the modal double faced lands from Zendikar (which don’t count as lands in the deck so they still work with Goblin Charbelcher), and mana accelerants like Strike It Rich, Prismari Command, and Irencrag Feat (which provides exactly enough mana to cast Goblin Charbelcher and activate it the same turn).

Since you’re good at generating treasures, you can run 4 Indomitable Creativity as another way to find the Goblin Charbelcher, and you can run counterspells like Pact of Negation and An Offer You Can't Refuse to protect your combo. It also gets to completely blank creature removal which is a big advantage in Best of 1.

Weaknesses: Having to run the modal double faced lands means all of your lands will either enter tapped, or deal you 3 damage to enter untapped which can lead to slow or painful starts, both of which can often get punished by fast aggressive decks especially on the draw. Additionally the deck is pretty vulnerable to both discard spells and counterspells, and cards like Pithing Needle and Karn, the Great Creator that prevent you from activating the Goblin Charbelcher.

When is it good to play? Charbelcher is a good option if the format is focused around interacting with the board, since this deck operates on a completely different axis and doesn’t really care about the board at all.

Tier 2 Decks

Selesnya Heliod Combo

Bo1 Selesnya Heliod Combo
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $270.07
Historic
best of 1
5 mythic
27 rare
12 uncommon
16 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
Creatures (27)
4
Soul Warden
$7.16
4
Lunarch Veteran
$1.40
4
Scurry Oak
$3.96
Instants (4)
Enchantments (4)
Lands (24)
8
Plains
$2.80
4
Sunpetal Grove
$19.96
4
Temple Garden
$55.96
60 Cards
$298.12

This is a combo deck built around assembling Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Scurry Oak, and a life gain enabler like Soul Warden, which essentially produces infinite life, infinite +1/+1 counters on Scurry Oak, and infinite 1/1 squirrel tokens. The deck also runs a ‘fair’ life gain plan B which utilises the life gain enablers like Heliod, Sun-Crowned, alongside Voice of the Blessed and Trelasarra, Moon Dancer, to produce huge creatures that provide additional value and sometimes win the game on their own without even needing to combo.

The fact this deck is built around so many life gain synergies means it’s naturally favored against aggressive creature decks, especially since Soul Warden also triggers on your opponent’s creatures entering the battlefield, which can produce huge amounts of value if you have it alongside Trelasarra, Moon Dancer, Voice of the Blessed, or Heliod, Sun-Crowned. Collected Company is incredibly powerful in this deck since it can hit all three of your combo pieces, so it threatens to win at instant-speed, even if you only have one combo piece in play.

Skyclave Apparition is also important as an out to cards like Rampaging Ferocidon that shut off your life gain, or Solemnity to give you an out to the Enchantress lock. The single copy of Ajani, Strength of the Pride is important to give you an out cards like Serra's Emissary (since if you combo off with a Trelasarra, Moon Dancer in play, you get to scry through your whole deck, allowing you to put Ajani, Strength of the Pride on top to sweep away the opponent’s board the following turn,) as well as being a generically good card in the deck.

Weaknesses: The biggest weakness of this deck is that it’s very vulnerable to interactive decks packing ways to take out your creatures and combo pieces as you play them like Azorius Control. Outside of Collected Company, this deck doesn’t really have good ways to grind into the mid-late game, so if the opponent is able to take out your early threats, you’re basically just left at the mercy of the top of your deck.

Another weakness is that the combo doesn’t win you the game immediately, and so even if you do make 100s of Squirrel tokens during your turn, the opponent can just untap and use a board sweeper to completely stabilize if they’re playing control.

When is it good to play? This is a good choice assuming interactive decks aren’t very popular. Typically in Best of 1, decks are a lot more linear and less interactive which means the Heliod combo is usually a good choice, but if interactive decks like Rakdos Arcanist or Azorius Control become more popular then this deck will struggle.

Additionally, even though you do have an out to ‘lock’ decks through Ajani, Strength of the Pride being able to deal with Serra's Emissary, and Skyclave Apparition being able to deal with Solemnity, those decks are often fast to turn the corner and good at protecting their locks so those matchups are also usually quite bad for you.

Azorius Affinity

Bo1 Azorius Affinity
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $253.02
Historic
best of 1
0 mythic
32 rare
17 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (15)
3
Ornithopter
$1.05
4
Esper Sentinel
$131.96
4
Ingenious Smith
$1.56
4
Thought Monitor
$5.16
Instants (4)
4
Metallic Rebuke
$1.40
Artifacts (25)
4
Portable Hole
$7.16
1
Shadowspear
$21.99
4
Nettlecyst
$7.96
Lands (16)
1
Plains
$0.35
2
Deserted Beach
$17.98
60 Cards
$368.44

This is an artifact synergy deck that is capable of fast aggressive starts but also has access to good interaction like Portable Hole and Metallic Rebuke, and card advantage like Thought Monitor Retrofitter Foundry provides very fast starts when paired with Ornithopter, and can also be used as a mana sink when you are light on resources or want to hold open mana for Metallic Rebuke. Nettlecyst provides a huge amount of stats and can force through lethal fairly easily when attached to a flier or paired with Shadowspear, and the construct tokens off Karn, Scion of Urza play a similar role too.

In terms of card advantage, Thought Monitor is by far the best card in the deck and can be reduced to one mana fairly consistently, and Ingenious Smith is great at digging for specific artifacts and then growing, plus Esper Sentinel often provides card advantage or forces the opponent to play off curve. The deck can also afford to run artifact graveyard hate like Soul-Guide Lantern which still synergizing with your game plan and is great at improving your matchups against the all-in graveyard combo decks, and other decks with smaller graveyard synergies.

Weaknesses: The deck can struggle against decks that go-wide fast like Mono Green Elves and Mono Red Goblins, and also doesn’t have great ways to break through ‘locks’ like Serra's Emissary or Nine Lives + Solemnity if you don’t have Metallic Rebuke to stop them on the stack. The channel mode on Moonsnare Prototype and Otawara, Soaring City do work as outs but they’re quite expensive and only act as temporary answers.

When is it good to play? Affinity is a great option if graveyard combo decks are very popular since you can afford to run main deck graveyard hate like Soul-Guide Lantern in high numbers without jeopardising your linear game plan, and is also decent against decks that are weak to single-target removal (because of Portable Hole,) or decks that struggle to beat large creatures or lifegain (off the back of Nettlecyst and Shadowspear). On the flip side, it’s not particularly good against go-wide decks or ‘lock’ decks so if Mono Green Elves or Enchantress are popular, it might not be the best choice.

Mono Green Elves

Bo1 Karn Elves
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $191.96
Historic
best of 3
4 mythic
33 rare
0 uncommon
23 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Instants (4)
Lands (21)
16
Forest
$5.60
4
Castle Garenbrig
$11.96
60 Cards
$341.72
7 Cards
$34.19

This is a go-wide tribal deck with combo elements to it. The deck is largely built around ramping multiple Elves into play fast off Llanowar Elves and Elvish Mystic – this then enables you to produce a lot of mana off Elvish Archdruid and Circle of Dreams Druid which you can then use to activate Allosaurus Shepherd or Elvish Warmaster to pump your whole board and attack for lethal fast.

The deck is incredibly linear and capable of some insanely fast starts, plus the addition of Leaf-Crowned Visionary as a two mana lord that produces card advantage is huge and gives the deck more ways to grind into the mid-late game. This is another great Collected Company deck since it can hit all of your ‘combo pieces’ like Elvish Archdruid, Circle of Dreams Druid, Allosaurus Shepherd, and Elvish Warmaster at the end of the opponent’s turn, often allowing you to combo out of nowhere the following turn.

Additionally you have access to Karn, the Great Creator which gives you outs to a lot of situations that would otherwise be impossible to beat and the passive is really strong against Thopters and Affinity, and also stops Greasefang, Okiba Boss from crewing Parhelion II. Tormod's Crypt gives you a way to stop Dragonstorm combo and reanimator, Haywire Mite gives you an out to Nine Lives + Solemnity, Transmogrifying Wand can kill Serra's Emissary naming creature, and Staff of Domination essentially acts as a 1 card combo – it lets you draw your whole deck and produce infinite mana if you have Elvish Archdruid or Circle of Dreams Druid and 5 Elves in play – you can then win the same turn by fetching Aetherflux Reservoir once you draw another Karn, the Great Creator.

Weaknesses: Elves is incredibly soft to sweeper effects like Divine Purge and Brotherhood's End, so it will usually have a very bad matchup against the controlling decks. Thankfully control is a fairly small part of the metagame and not many other decks are running sweepers.

When is it good to play? Elves is largely a good choice to play if sweepers aren’t very common.

Selesnya Enchantress

Bo1 Selesnya Enchantress
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $169.94
Historic
best of 1
0 mythic
42 rare
2 uncommon
16 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (8)
4
Sanctum Weaver
$7.16
Enchantments (22)
4
Candletrap
$1.40
4
Sterling Grove
$13.96
1
Rest in Peace
$0.79
4
Solemnity
$11.96
4
Nine Lives
$3.16
Lands (20)
2
Forest
$0.70
2
Plains
$0.70
2
Sunpetal Grove
$9.98
4
Temple Garden
$55.96
60 Cards
$210.92

This is a ‘lock’ deck that is trying to assemble Nine Lives and Solemnity which prevents you from taking any additional damage, and then once the game is locked out, you can then win with Approach of the Second Sun (which enables you to win through opposing locks like Serra's Emissary or opposing Enchantress decks).

The deck has access to a lot of card advantage through Sythis, Harvest's Hand and Enchantress's Presence, Sterling Grove is great at protecting your lock (two Sterling Grove in play completely shuts off the opponents single target removal as an out to the lock) and digging for specific enchantments (like Rest in Peace against graveyard decks or Nine Lives or Solemnity if you have the other piece), and Sanctum Weaver can produce an insane amount of mana which leads to incredibly explosive turns.

Sanctum Weaver also combos with Gauntlets of Light to produce infinite mana once you have a high density of enchantments in play which can then often enable you to draw your whole deck if you also have multiple enchantress effects like Sythis, Harvest's Hand and Enchantress's Presence in play, and win off Approach of the Second Sun all in the same turn (Sterling Grove enables you to tutor for Gauntlets of Light to set this up).

Weaknesses: There are a number of cards that circumvent the Nine Lives + Solemnity lock: Stomp on Bonecrusher Giant and Questing Beast will shut off the damage prevention of Nine Lives for a turn, anything that causes you to ‘lose life’ instead of take damage like Sling-Gang Lieutenant isn’t affected by Nine Lives, and cards like Farewell from Azorius Control will essentially win the opponent the game on the spot if you have Nine Lives in play.

Additionally, the earliest you can pull off the lock is turn four which can sometimes be too slow against very fast aggressive decks, especially when you’re going second. Having said that, you do have Candletrap as very efficient interaction that can slow the opponent down, and just getting Nine Lives in play on turn three, even without Solemnity will often slow the opponent down enough for you stabilize.

When is it good to play? Enchantress is a great pick assuming that control isn’t very popular since that’s by far its worst matchup. Additionally, very fast aggressive decks like Izzet Wizards can sometimes be hard to race if you can’t setup the lock very quick, and Mono Red having access to four Bonecrusher Giant can sometimes enable them to force lethal through even after you’ve set up the lock, so those can be scary matchups too.

Outside of that though, you have good tools to lock a lot of decks out of the game, searchable graveyard hate, and can win through other locks so you have good tools against most of the other decks in the format.

Azorius Auras

Azorius Auras
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $188.98
Historic
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
30 rare
14 uncommon
16 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Enchantments (21)
4
Ethereal Armor
$1.40
2
Gryff’s Boon
$0.70
1
Arcane Flight
$0.35
4
Combat Research
$1.40
1
Aether Tunnel
$0.39
Lands (20)
1
Island
$0.35
5
Plains
$1.75
2
Adarkar Wastes
$8.98
4
Seachrome Coast
$11.16
60 Cards
$288.1
Sideboard
1 Cards
$0.99

This deck is focused around getting one of its two mana creatures like Kor Spiritdancer into play, protecting it, and then loading it up with a load of auras which is capable of going over the top of a lot of other decks in the format. It operates on a completely different axis to most decks in the format and really punishes decks that don’t have early interaction since it can usually outrace most decks if it’s left unchecked. The deck is capable of some incredibly fast starts, and lifelink auras like Staggering Insight mean you are usually capable of racing against aggressive decks too.

By far the biggest weakness of the deck is that it’s very vulnerable to early single-target removal and discard spells (since your deck basically does nothing if the opponent can pick off all of your creatures,) but you also have access to protection in the form of Selfless Savior, Spell Pierce, Slip Out the Back, etc., as well as Lurrus of the Dream-Den to recover if the opponent is able to pick off your early creatures.

Weaknesses: This deck is very weak to decks that have a lot of early interaction or discard spells like Rakdos Arcanist since if they can take out all of your creatures, you’ll just be left with a bunch of auras that do nothing. Additionally, you will often have to mulligan hands that don’t have a good mix of creatures and auras, which does make you weaker to discard spells and counterspells.

When is it good to play? Auras is a great choice if there isn’t much early single-target interaction being played since it’s often capable of outracing linear, aggressive decks if they can’t kill your early creatures. The deck can often struggle to race against other more all-in ‘lock’ or combo decks like Gruul Creativity, Enchantress, and Jeskai Dragonstorm, but you could run Spell Pierce if you wanted to improve those matchups.

Mardu Reanimator

Mardu Reanimator
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $446.44
Historic
best of 1
12 mythic
29 rare
8 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
4
Nahiri, the Unforgiving
{R/W/P}
$3.96
Sorceries (15)
4
Thoughtseize
$71.96
3
Bone Shards
$1.05
4
Unburial Rites
$1.40
Lands (22)
1
Swamp
$0.35
2
Sacred Foundry
$43.98
4
Godless Shrine
$59.96
4
Blood Crypt
$91.96
60 Cards
$444.56

Decklist Updates: Atraxa, Grand Unifier is a great reanimation target to go alongside Serra's Emissary that helps you completely refuel and the lifelink body is great at stabilizing to enable you to set up for a second reanimation. Nahiri, the Unforgiving is also a great addition to the deck that allows you to loot your big creatures into the graveyard, acts as card advantage when you’re empty-handed, and works incredibly well with Priest of Fell Rites since you can make a copy with haste from the graveyard on turn 3 to immediately reanimate something. Additionally you can use the 0 ability to make a copy of Stitcher's Supplier or Scrapwork Mutt to set up the graveyard for the following turn.

This is a deck that is looking to reanimate big creatures like Serra's Emissary and Atraxa, Grand Unifier into play as early as possible and takes advantage of the lack of graveyard hate in the format. You have a lot of effects that allow you to set up the graveyard in the early turns like Faithless Looting and Stitcher's Supplier, and can then reanimate your big creature using Priest of Fell Rites or Unburial Rites, both of which can also be used from the graveyard.

Bone Shards gives you an out to problematic creatures whilst also acting as a discard outlet for your reanimation targets, and Thoughtseize is a great tool to slow the opponent down or get rid of a key piece of interaction to clear the way for your gameplan.

Weaknesses: Graveyard hate is a big problem for this deck since your whole strategy revolves around reanimating creatures from the graveyard (thankfully graveyard hate isn’t run in high numbers generally so this isn’t too much of an issue in most games). Additionally, the deck is weaker against very interactive decks like control that are capable of countering your reanimation spells, and have decent ways to get rid of your reanimated creatures once they’re in play too.

When is it good to play? Assuming graveyard hate and control aren’t very popular, Reanimator is generally a good choice, and is often desirable over other combo decks like Mardu Greasefang Reanimator or Jeskai Dragonstorm if discard spells are popular too, since Reanimator is able to play through disruption slightly better.

Mardu Greasefang Reanimator

Bo1 Mardu Greasefang Reanimator
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $416.14
Historic
best of 1
5 mythic
36 rare
4 uncommon
15 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (3)
Sorceries (8)
4
Unburial Rites
$1.40
Artifacts (4)
4
Parhelion II
$3.96
Lands (20)
4
Sacred Foundry
$87.96
4
Godless Shrine
$59.96
4
Blood Crypt
$91.96
60 Cards
$360

This is an all-in combo deck that is trying to take advantage of the lack of graveyard hate in the format – some decks will be running graveyard hate, but usually in low numbers since not many decks can afford to run it in high numbers without negatively affecting their linear game plan, and a lot of decks just don’t have any at all. This deck is trying to assemble either Greasefang, Okiba Boss + Parhelion II, or reanimate a Serra's Emissary or Platinum Angel as fast as possible (ideally on turn three).

You have a lot of looting effects to pitch Parhelion II and your reanimation targets into the graveyard, and Goblin Engineer can dump both Parhelion II, and Platinum Angel from your deck into the graveyard to combo with. Overall, Serra's Emissary is the more desirable creature to reanimate since it locks the game out much more effectively, but Platinum Angel often does the job against decks that have very little, or no removal like Mono Green Elves. Pulling off Greasefang, Okiba Boss + Parhelion II on turn 3/4 is usually good enough to win the game on its own too against a lot of decks.

Weaknesses: By far the biggest weakness off this deck is graveyard hate – you do have a chance against single-use graveyard hate like Soul-Guide Lantern, but permanent pieces like Rest in Peace or Unlicensed Hearse basically lock you out of your combos. You do still have a number of creatures you can beat down with as a backup plan (and can always hardcast Serra's Emissary if the game goes long,) but most of the time you have to just hope they don’t have it.

Additionally, Serra's Emissary and Platinum Angel are sometimes not good enough to lock out the game against certain decks like control, so you should be looking to try and set up the Greasefang, Okiba Boss side of the deck in those matchups.

When is it good to play? How viable this deck is will largely depend on how much graveyard hate you expect to see. Since most decks can’t afford to run a lot of hate pieces, and a lot of decks don’t run any at all, I think this will usually be a fairly safe pick, and is one of the faster graveyard combo decks in the format.

Azorius Control

Bo1 Azorius Domain Control
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $633.75
Historic
best of 1
7 mythic
48 rare
4 uncommon
1 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (6)
Creatures (5)
Instants (12)
Sorceries (4)
4
Divine Purge
$0.00
Enchantments (6)
2
Shark Typhoon
$23.98
4
Leyline Binding
$43.96
Lands (27)
1
Island
$0.35
4
Glacial Fortress
$15.96
4
Deserted Beach
$35.96
2
Breeding Pool
$45.98
2
Steam Vents
$39.98
2
Raugrin Triome
$35.98
2
Watery Grave
$35.98
60 Cards
$570.72

This is a deck that is trying to interact with the opponent in the early game in order to stabilize, make the game go long, and then win the long game off the back of finishers like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria Calim, Djinn Emperor, and Shark Typhoon. Control is strong in Best of 1 because it really capitalizes on a lot of linear decks being pretty vulnerable to interaction.

Sweepers in particular are very strong against go-wide decks like Mono Green Elves, Mono Red Aggro, Selesnya Heliod Combo etc., single target removal is very strong against decks like Izzet Wizards, Azorius Auras, Gruul Creativity etc., and counterspells are strong vs combo decks like Mardu Greasefang, Reanimator, and Jeskai Dragonstorm. The issue with control is that you need to find these answers pretty fast and you need to have the right type of interaction eg. drawing single-target removal typically isn’t good enough against Mono Green Elves, having removal and not counterspells typically isn’t good enough against Jeskai Dragonstorm etc., but you do have Seek New Knowledge as a way to dig towards the right answers while getting rid of cards you don’t need.

Fragment Reality is great here as early interaction, but you can also use Fragment Reality on your own Leyline Binding in order to cheat Lyra Dawnbringer into play which is great a stabilising against aggro. Having said that, you don’t need to be running domain, there are multiple viable ways to build control like straight Azorius, or even Jeskai or Esper too – the archetype is quite flexible overall.

Weaknesses: The biggest weakness of control is that you’ll sometimes draw the wrong type of interaction for any given matchup, and considering the speed of Best of 1, this can sometimes be game losing. Having said that, you do have ways to dig towards what you need, and you have great tools to buy yourself time against creature decks too. There are some decks that also have a naturally strong matchup against control like Rakdos Arcanist and Selesnya Humans, and a lot of the faster decks are sometimes hard to stop when you lose the die roll too.

When is it good to play? As long as decks with disruption like Rakdos Arcanist and Selesnya Humans aren’t the most played decks in the format, I think control will usually be a good choice, assuming you know which answers you need to dig for in any given matchup.

Mono Red Aggro

Monored Aggro Bo1
by piccirko
Buy on TCGplayer $64.25
Historic
best of 1
4 mythic
25 rare
12 uncommon
19 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
60 Cards
$102.38

This is a pure aggressive deck that is focused on committing to the board as quickly as possible to force damage through, and then has good reach in the late game to finish the opponent off using cards like Bonecrusher Giant, Roiling Vortex, and Ramunap Ruins.

I like this build in particular because it utilizes Torbran, Thane of Red Fell incredibly well – it obviously adds more power to your attackers in general, but it causes Goblin Chainwhirler to deal three damage to each creature (which can often single-handedly beat a deck like Elves), causes Roiling Vortex to deal three damage to the opponent each turn, and will deal three damage directly to the opponent off each creature they play when you have Rampaging Ferocidon in play.

It also has good tools to help in matchups that are otherwise tricky like life gain decks (which can be shut off by Roiling Vortex and Rampaging Ferocidon), control decks (where Roiling Vortex, Den of the Bugbear, and Ramunap Ruins are good at pushing through the final points of damage), ‘lock’ decks (since the Stomp side of Bonecrusher Giant will shut off the protection from Serra's Emissary or the damage prevention from Nine Lives,) and certain all-in combo decks (since Roiling Vortex will deal 5 damage to the opponent when they try to cast something like Dragonstorm or Emergent Ultimatum off Mizzix's Mastery).

Weaknesses: Even though you do have access to ways to shut off life gain, you won’t necessarily always draw them and life gain decks often run Skyclave Apparition to exile them even if you do, so life gain strategies like Heliod combo and Selesnya Angels can be difficult. Similarly, you’re not always going to have Bonecrusher Giant to shut off ‘lock’ decks, and you’re not always going to draw Goblin Chainwhirler against a deck like Elves, so other decks that can race against you can be difficult if your answers don’t line up well.

When is it good to play? Assuming life gain strategies and ‘lock’ decks like Selesnya Enchantress or Gruul Creativity aren’t very popular, this deck is a great choice, especially if you like playing faster games.

Jeskai Dragonstorm

Bo1 Jeskai Dragonstorm
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $290.17
Historic
best of 1
5 mythic
32 rare
13 uncommon
10 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (9)
Instants (8)
Sorceries (23)
4
Unburial Rites
$1.40
1
Final Parting
$0.35
4
Dragonstorm
$9.96
Lands (20)
2
Spirebluff Canal
$37.98
2
Steam Vents
$39.98
1
Sacred Foundry
$21.99
60 Cards
$313.32

This is a very all-in combo deck that is looking to cast Dragonstorm off Mizzix's Mastery or Emergent Ultimatum to set up a board state of Terror of the Peaks and two Bladewing the Risen to produce infinite damage (the second Bladewing the Risen entering play will cause the legend rule to trigger sending one of them to the graveyard, which then enables you to target it off the Bladewing the Risen trigger, and it entering the battlefield will cause Terror of the Peaks to deal four damage to the opponent. You then bring back the Bladewing the Risen that has just been sent to the graveyard and loop it over and over again dealing infinite damage).

This deck will spend the first few turns setting up the graveyard to try and set up for a combo kill on turn four – this is performed by sending Dragonstorm or Emergent Ultimatum to the graveyard, and then casting it from the graveyard using Mizzix's Mastery, or casting it off Scholar of the Lost Trove by cheating it into play off Unburial Rites.

If you’re casting Dragonstorm, then you need to have one of the dragons in the graveyard (so that you can then go infinite with just two copies of Dragonstorm since Bladewing the Risen will be able to return the dragon from your graveyard to play), or have casted an extra spell that turn (since three copies of Dragonstorm is always good enough to combo assuming you still have enough dragons left in your deck).

If you cast Emergent Ultimatum then the three cards you should pick are Dragonstorm, Scholar of the Lost Trove, and Final Parting. If the opponent lets you have Dragonstorm you just win off the combo, but if they give you Scholar of the Lost Trove and Final Parting, you can put Scholar of the Lost Trove on the stack first, then Final PartingFinal Parting will resolve first allowing you to put Dragonstorm into the graveyard, then Scholar of the Lost Trove will resolve allowing you to cast the Dragonstorm you’ve just put in the graveyard, allowing you to win with the combo anyway. This might sound complicated but it’s much easier to understand once you start playing.

Weaknesses: By far the biggest weakness of this deck is graveyard hate since your whole deck revolves around casting these big spells from the graveyard. As I’ve said before, graveyard hate isn’t usually run in high numbers, if at all, so it’s not often not an issue. Discard spells and counterspells can also be an issue but being able to combo off from the graveyard using Unburial Rites can sometimes help circumvent that.

Another big drawback of this deck is that it’s not possible to combo off before turn four which can be an issue when you’re going second, since a decent number of other decks are also capable of killing on turn four so you can be too slow on the draw.

When is it good to play? Dragonstorm is good to play when graveyard hate isn’t very common and most decks care about playing to, or interacting with the board. This deck doesn’t care about committing to the board at all, and unlike certain other combos like Greasefang, Okiba Boss, this one will win the game on the spot. On the flip side, this deck can be risky to play if there are a lot of other very fast decks in the format since this deck isn’t able to win before turn four which can often be too slow going second.

Mono Green Devotion

Bo1 Mono Green Devotion
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $270.38
Historic
best of 1
4 mythic
31 rare
8 uncommon
17 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (8)
Creatures (23)
4
Llanowar Elves
$1.40
4
Elvish Mystic
$1.40
Sorceries (4)
Enchantments (4)
Lands (21)
13
Forest
$4.55
60 Cards
$428.26
7 Cards
$66.03

This is a ramp deck that is largely built around Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and is looking to generate absurd amounts of mana as fast as possible, and then pull cards from the sideboard from the Karn, the Great Creator wishboard to close the game out. This deck is capable of very fast starts off the back of Leyline of Abundance and manadorks like Llanowar Elves, and Storm the Festival allows for some crazy combo-esque turns where you can produce amounts of mana by untapping Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx with Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner.

You also have big creatures that can act as a roadblock against aggro decks like Cavalier of Thorns and Old-Growth Troll which are great at stabilizing and also draw you a card off the Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner passive. The wishboard also gives you access to outs and hatepieces for a lot of commonly played Best of 1 combo decks too, and the passive on Karn, the Great Creator is great against Thopters, Affinity, and Greasefang.

Weaknesses: You don’t have any way to interact in the early turns so you have to rely almost entirely on racing which can be difficult against other fast combo decks, and especially against decks that pack early interaction for your turn 1 manadorks like Izzet Wizards. Since you’re so reliant on racing you’ll often have to mulligan in order to have a fast start which can leave you very vulnerable to either removal for your early ramp creatures, or discard spells for your payoffs.

When is it good to play? This is generally at its best when decks aren’t trying to interact and don’t have removal for your manadorks – having said that you can sometimes struggle against fast combo decks too when you’re on the draw so losing the die roll can be an issue in some matchups.

Tier 3 Decks

Gruul Creativity

Bo1 Gruul Creativity
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $309.07
Historic
best of 1
11 mythic
34 rare
8 uncommon
7 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (3)
Creatures (4)
Instants (4)
4
Verdant Command
$1.96
Sorceries (16)
4
Strike It Rich
$1.96
4
Transmogrify
$5.16
Enchantments (8)
Lands (25)
3
Mountain
$1.05
4
Rootbound Crag
$19.96
4
Rockfall Vale
$7.16
4
Stomping Ground
$51.96
4
Sacred Foundry
$87.96
60 Cards
$386.76

This is another ‘lock’ deck that runs a high number of token makers alongside four Transmogrify and four Indomitable Creativity to cheat Serra's Emissary into play as fast as possible, and can consistently do so as early as turn three (channelling Careful Cultivation or casting Emergent Sequence on turn two enables turn three Serra's Emissary, as does turn one Strike It Rich into turn two Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.) Serra's Emissary naming creature single-handedly beats a lot of decks like Mono Green Elves that aren’t running interaction, and even against decks that are running interaction, you tend to close the game out so fast because Serra's Emissary is a 7/7 that it doesn’t give them much time to find an answer.

So many other decks in the format are capable of killing on turn gour which is why being able to cheat Serra's Emissary into play on turn three is important, because it allows you to ‘lock’ out the opponent before they can win even when you’re going second. The deck also runs Chandra, Torch of Defiance as a backup plan, which can be consistently played on turn three off the same enablers described earlier.

Weaknesses: The biggest weakness of this deck is to instant-speed interaction since if the opponent kills the creature token you’re targeting, it will fizzle the Transmogrify or Indomitable Creativity which is a disaster. You can circumvent this by targeting treasure tokens off Strike It Rich or Fable of the Mirror-Breaker with Indomitable Creativity, but this isn’t always an option, especially if you only have Transmogrify, or you need to go for the turn three combo. Thankfully, decks that tend to run more instant-speed interaction also tend to be slower so you can often bide your time and play around interaction in those grindier matchups.

There are also matchups like control where Serra's Emissary sometimes isn’t good enough to hold the fort since it can’t protect against sweepers, and it can be destroyed by insants if you name plansewalker and vice-versa. This is why Chandra, Torch of Defiance is a nice addition since it’s very strong against control where Serra's Emissary isn’t always reliable.

When is it good to play? This deck is a great choice when the format is very linear and not interactive. This deck is built to capitalize on all-in aggro or combo decks that have very few or no ways to remove a Serra's Emissary and can then start closing the game out quickly.

Mono Red Goblins

Bo1 Mono Red Goblins
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $138.81
Historic
best of 1
0 mythic
31 rare
8 uncommon
21 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Enchantments (4)
Lands (24)
17
Mountain
$5.95
4
Castle Embereth
$1.96
60 Cards
$217.76

This is a tribal deck that is capable of applying pressure very fast off the back of hastelords + Krenko, Mob Boss, and also has Muxus, Goblin Grandee which essentially acts as a one card combo that can win you the game from an empty board. Because of this, the deck is attacking on two different fronts, where creature removal is good against your early goblins, but doesn’t stop Muxus, Goblin Grandee winning the game, and discard spells and counterspells can stop Muxus, Goblin Grandee, but are ineffective against your early creatures.

Skirk Prospector, Goblin Warchief, and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker are all great at ramping into Muxus, Goblin Grandee (Fable of the Mirror-Breaker can help you dig for Muxus, Goblin Grandee too,) Conspicuous Snoop is great at providing card advantage (and can sometimes randomly win the game if you happen to have Krenko, Mob Boss on top of your library,) and Battle Cry Goblin, Rundvelt Hordemaster, and Goblin Chieftain are all capable of producing a lot of extra power.

Weaknesses: Since this build is very linear and doesn’t pack any interaction or graveyard hate, you’re very weak to ‘lock’ decks and combo decks like Esper Reanimator, Jeskai Dragonstorm, Selesnya Enchantress etc. (although you are capable of racing those decks, especially if you’re on the play.) There are also specific cards like Hushbringer and Rampaging Ferocidon that are almost impossible for this deck to beat, but thankfully they’re only run in one specific deck each.

Finally, since the whole deck is built around racing and not interacting, you can sometimes end up losing the race against other linear decks if you’re on the draw.

When is it good to play? As long as ‘lock’ decks and all-in combo decks aren’t popular, goblins is usually a good choice. It’s very powerful and quite resilient to most decks that are trying to interact like control and Rakdos Arcanist, and is usually able to go bigger than most other creature decks in the format because of Krenko, Mob Boss.

Selesnya Angels

Bo1 Selesnya Angels
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $361.3
Historic
best of 1
5 mythic
39 rare
2 uncommon
14 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
Creatures (29)
4
Soul Warden
$7.16
4
Bishop of Wings
$15.96
4
Resplendent Angel
$151.96
1
Legion Angel
$0.49
Instants (4)
Enchantments (2)
2
Cleric Class
$3.58
Lands (24)
10
Plains
$3.50
4
Sunpetal Grove
$19.96
4
Temple Garden
$55.96
60 Cards
$416
Sideboard
3
Legion Angel
$1.47
3 Cards
$1.47

This is a tribal deck utilizing lifegain synergies, and flying creatures with high toughness that give it a naturally good matchup against aggressive creature-based decks. This deck is capable of gaining a crazy amount of life each turn and has big flyers that are hard to attack past, and can turn the corner very quick especially if you’re able to trigger Righteous Valkyrie or Resplendent Angel in the early game.

Even though these Collected Company builds have much more disparate matchups than the Orzhov builds that are more popular in Best of 3, the Orzhov builds are just much too slow for the faster, more linear Best of 1 metagame, and so Collected Company is necessary to keep up with the speed of the format.

The main issue with this deck is that it’s very strong against creature decks, but tends to struggle against combo and interactive decks like control since it takes a lot longer to close the game out compared to most other aggressive decks. This particular build tries to mitigate that somewhat by running a lot of one drops that enable you to trigger Resplendent Angel on turn three off a turn two Bishop of Wings (Soul Warden, Speaker of the Heavens, and Cleric Class all enable this curve out,) which does allow the deck to present a somewhat fast clock. Collected Company is also very strong in this deck since you have so many synergistic and powerful two and three mana creatures, and Legion Angel is a nice addition since it allows you to utilize your sideboard.

Weaknesses: This deck doesn’t have great tools to fight against combo decks or slower, more interactive decks like control so it can definitely be a risk to play if you expect those sorts of decks to be a big part of the metagame.

When is it good to play? This is a great choice if the meta is largely made up of creature decks, but is much more risky to play when combo decks, or slower, more interactive decks like control are popular.

Selesnya Humans

Bo1 Selesnya Humans
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $321.92
Historic
best of 1
4 mythic
45 rare
0 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
60 Cards
$523.17

This is another tribal deck, but this one is all about aggression paired with disruptive elements. Humans is capable of some incredibly fast aggressive starts off the back of cards like Thalia's Lieutenant and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, and can run four Collected Company and four Inquisitor Captain at the top end which gives it a lot of explosiveness and pressure, as well as providing a way back into the game if the opponent stabilizes against your early aggression.

It also has access to great disruptive cards like Esper Sentinel, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Ranger-Captain of Eos, etc., that are great at slowing down control decks, and makes it very difficult for certain combo decks like Dragonstorm and Reanimator to play on curve. It does have decent tools to try and press the advantage against opposing creature decks too like Skyclave Apparition and Sigardian Evangel (which is a great hit off Collected Company during the end of your opponent’s turn since the copy will stay in your hand for your next turn, allowing you to tap down the opponent’s creatures).

Weaknesses: Unfortunately, the Best of 1 metagame is a lot more hostile towards Humans since it struggles to deal with creature decks that go bigger than it like Mono Green Elves, Selesnya Heliod Combo, Mono Red Goblins etc. which are much more popular decks in Best of 1. It also doesn’t have great ways to stop creature based combos like Greasefang, Okiba Boss or Priest of Fell Rites reanimating a big creature.

When is it good to play? Humans is a great choice if decks relying more on non-creature spells like control and Jeskai Dragonstorm are popular. It’s also fairly decent against creature decks that don’t tend to go wide as fast like Affinity and Auras.

Enjoy our content? Wish to support our work? Join our Premium community, get access to exclusive content, remove all advertisements, and more!

  • No ads: Browse the entire website ad-free, both display and video.
  • Exclusive Content: Instant access to all exclusive articles only for Premium members, at your fingertips.
  • Support: All your contributions get directly reinvested into the website to increase your viewing experience!
  • Discord: Join our Discord server, claim your Premium role and gain access to exclusive channels where you can learn in real time!
  • Special offerFor a limited time, use coupon code L95WR9JOWV to get 50% off the Annual plan!
MTG Arena Zone Premium
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: 101