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. Being updated for The Brothers' War(BRO)!
|Tier 1||Izzet Wizards|
|Tier 1||Mono Green Elves|
|Tier 1||Mono Red Aggro|
|Tier 1||Selesnya Heliod Combo|
|Tier 1||Azorius Affinity 🔼|
|Tier 2||Azorius Auras 🔽|
|Tier 2||Selesnya Enchantress|
|Tier 2||Mardu Greasefang Reanimator|
|Tier 2||Azorius Control|
|Tier 2||Mono Red Goblins|
|Tier 2||Gruul Creativity|
|Tier 2||Rakdos Arcanist 🔼|
|Tier 2||Esper Reanimator|
|Tier 3||Jeskai Dragonstorm 🔽|
|Tier 3||Selesnya Angels|
|Tier 3||Selesnya Humans 🆕|
Tier 1 Decks
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.
Mono Green Elves
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.
This deck is very strong in Best of 1 since it’s fairly resilient against single-target removal (which is the most prevalent type of interaction) since you can go wide so fast – it also really takes advantage of the fact that sweeper effects are fairly uncommon outside of control, which is its biggest weakness.
Weaknesses: Elves is incredibly soft to sweeper effects like Divine Purge and Anger of the Gods, 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 which is a big reason why Elves is so strong and popular. Another weakness is the deck usually doesn’t run interaction which means it has no way of beating lock pieces like Serra's Emissary or Nine Lives + Solemnity.
When is it good to play? Elves is largely a good choice to play if sweepers aren’t very common, and ‘lock’ decks utilizing Serra's Emissary or Enchantress aren’t a popular strategy.
Mono Red Aggro
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.
Selesnya Heliod Combo
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.
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.
Tier 2 Decks
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.
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.
Mardu Greasefang Reanimator
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.
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 Goblins
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.
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.
This is a very low to the ground interactive deck that is trying to capitalize on certain decks being very weak to interaction through a high density of creature removal and discard spells, and also takes advantage of a lack of graveyard hate in Best of 1. Dreadhorde Arcanist is the centerpiece of the deck, allowing you to recast your cheap interaction, and turn one creature removal or discard spell into turn two Dreadhorde Arcanist can be very difficult for a lot of decks to beat.
The deck is capable of filling up the graveyard very fast off cards like A-Dragon's Rage Channeler and Faithless Looting which helps to get delirium online, and enables you to escape Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger fast which is your main finisher in the deck. Since this deck is full of single-target removal, the deck is fairly weak to decks that go wide fast like Mono Green Elves, which is why this list is also running Witch's Vengeance as a way to stabilize in those matchups that you can always discard to Faithless Looting if you don’t need it.
Similarly, this list is also running three Soul-Guide Lantern as a way to improve the matchups against the graveyard-based combo and lock decks, that provides a different card type for delirium, and can also be looped to provide card advantage with Lurrus of the Dream-Den.
Weaknesses: This deck is fairly vulnerable to graveyard hate, not to the same extent as a deck like Mardu Greasefang Reanimator, but it will still slow you down significantly. Thankfully, graveyard hate is usually run in low numbers or sometimes not at all, and the deck would lose a lot of speed if you chose to run more expensive midrange cards that don’t interact with the graveyard. Even with two Witch's Vengeance in the deck, the go-wide matchups like Mono Green Elves are still fairly unfavorable for the most part unless you happen to consistently draw your two-of.
When is it good to play? Rakdos Arcanist is a good choice if there isn’t much graveyard hate, and the format is largely made of decks that are weak to single-target removal (like Izzet Wizards, Azorius Auras etc.,) or discard spells (like Azorius Control, Jeskai Dragonstorm etc.) If go wide decks like Mono Green Elves or Selesnya Humans are more popular then Rakdos Arcanist might have trouble keeping up.
This is a graveyard-based deck that is looking to reanimate powerful creatures like Serra's Emissary and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite using spells like Priest of Fell Rites and Unburial Rites. The deck has a lot of ways of filling the graveyard in the earlygame which allows it to consistently reanimate big creatures that often single-handedly win the game on turn three or four.
Unlike a lot of other combo decks, you also have decent interaction in the form of Thoughtseize (that can slow down the opponent’s game plan and get rid of potentially problematic graveyard hate,) and Bone Shards (that acts as unconditional removal and a discard outlet in one.) The fact that your two most powerful reanimation spells in Priest of Fell Rites and Unburial Rites can be cast from the graveyard is also huge and gives you resilience against discard spells and counterspells (since the unearth on Priest of Fell Rites can’t be stopped by regular counterspells,) and provides additional value from milling cards with Founding the Third Path and Stitcher's Supplier.
Weaknesses: Graveyard hate is a big problem for this deck since your whole strategy revolves around reanimating creatures from the graveyard (as I’ve mentioned 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.
Tier 3 Decks
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 Parting – Final 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.
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.
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.