Arena Historic (BO1) Metagame Tier List and Rankings: Post Time Warp Ban – June 2021

Arena Historic (BO1) Metagame Tier List and Rankings

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. Explore the Arena (BO1) Historic metagame as we regularly rank the top decks in a tier list, as well as our comprehensive analysis and review.

  • Click here to view the separate analysis and tier list for Traditional Historic (BO3).
  • Click on the deck archetype name to find a brief description, links to the full deck guide with a more detailed overview and to find the latest decklists representing it.
  • Each deck will be ranked in numerical order as well as tier order. The higher something is within the tier, the better it is than other decks.
  • Below the tier list you will also find a curated decklist for each archetype as well as a full explanation and reasonings behind these rankings and tiers.

Methodology

When constructing the tier list, we take into account a variety of factors and sources:

  • Field representation, win rate and matchups: How prolific a deck is on the Mythic ladder and how it stacks up against the other popular decks in the metagame.
  • Third-party applications: that track matches and publishes the data directly from ladder play. Currently, we have access to Untapped.gg, MTGA Assistant, MTG Arena Pro and MTG Arena Tool.
  • Tournaments: Important results shaped professional players. MTGmeta.io and MTG Data aggregates these results to analyze their performance.
  • Game Mode: As a general rule, best-of-one (BO1) prefers linear strategies and the metagame is different from Traditional best-of-three (BO3). Read more about the differences here. Generally speaking, the tournaments results are in BO3 only, have a much smaller sample size and its environment is very different from an open MTG Arena ladder experience.
  • Opinion: Our own ladder experience and in consultation with players.
  • Others: If a deck doesn’t appear below, either the play rate of it is too low for it to make a tangible impact or it falls below the tier 3 threshold which we sometimes will highlight as Honorable Mentions below. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad deck either, as this will just be focused on the most popular decks in the current metagame.

Legend

  • Tier 1: The best of the best. The most consistent decks that sport the highest win rates and generally, the highest play rates.
  • Tier 2: Very solid decks that are slightly lacking in some capacity, whether it’s consistency or power compared to the Tier One archetypes. These can still be strong choices for ladder or for tournaments if you are highly skilled with the archetype or play them during the right metas.
  • Tier 3: Either these decks are poorly positioned or have a lot of power/consistency issues. These are decks that see play, but are generally worse choices than your other options.

Tier List

  • June 9, 2021: Initial adjustment for the Time Warp ban announcement.
  • June 7, 2021: With Strixhaven and the Mystical Archives out for nearly 2 months, the meta has been firmly established. Unfortunately, Turns rules over Historic with an iron grip since Thassa’s Oracle got hit with a ban and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change without a ban or two. If you enjoy the play patterns of the top decks, and they are generally pretty interesting, this is the metagame for you!
  • May 6, 2021: Strixhaven and the Mystical Archive have been out for 3 weeks and Historic has never looked better for it. A lot has changed in Historic with the introduction of so many powerful cards which has made the metagame be in complete flux for weeks, a surprising reality compared to the general stasis that comes after a week of intense play. There are plenty of old decks still looking great with (or without) improvements, but there’s plenty of decks that have been powered up enough to finally make a splash.
Rank ArchetypeTierGuide
9grn-91-arclight-phoenix-art-cropIzzet Phoenix3Guide
8rna-85-spawn-of-mayhemMono Black Aggro3Guide
2hou-90-earthshaker-khenraMono Red Aggro1Guide
7dds-55-burning-tree-emissaryGruul Aggro3Guide
4jmp-116-kor-spiritdancerAuras2Guide
6m19-34-resplendent-angelAngels2Guide
3jmp-391-elvish-archdruidElves2Guide
5stx-17-elite-spellbinderSelesnya Company2Guide
1torrential gearhulkJeskai Control1Guide

TIER ONE DECKS

1. JESKAI CONTROL

(H) Bo1 Jeskai Control 

Planeswalkers (6)
2
Narset, Parter of Veils
4
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Spells (23)
1
Dovin's Veto
4
Lightning Helix
4
Memory Lapse
1
Anger of the Gods
3
Prismari Command
1
Commit/Memory
/
2
Mizzix's Mastery
3
Wrath of God
4
Magma Opus
Artifacts (4)
4
Torrential Gearhulk
Enchantments (1)
1
Search for Azcanta
Lands (26)
2
Castle Ardenvale
1
Clifftop Retreat
4
Glacial Fortress
4
Hallowed Fountain
1
Island
1
Plains
4
Raugrin Triome
2
Sacred Foundry
4
Steam Vents
3
Sulfur Falls
Cards (60)

Jeskai leverages many of the insanely powerful Mystical Archive cards to trounce most of the metagame.

2. MONO RED AGGRO

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon
  • Win Rate: 57.8%
  • Change: Unlisted -> 2

(H) Bo1 Monored 

Creatures (26)
4
Fanatical Firebrand
4
Fervent Champion
4
Burning-Tree Emissary
4
Earthshaker Khenra
4
Robber of the Rich
4
Bonecrusher Giant
2
Rampaging Ferocidon
Spells (4)
4
Shock
Artifacts (4)
4
Embercleave
Enchantments (4)
4
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Lands (22)
4
Faceless Haven
18
Snow-Covered Mountain
Cards (60)

Monored looks to go under every other deck in the metagame with a brutally fast start backed up by Embercleave. Even in the face of Lightning Helix, Monored still manages to perform very well for itself.

TIER TWO DECKS

3. ELVES

(H) Bo1 Elves 

Creatures (36)
4
Allosaurus Shepherd
4
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Llanowar Elves
4
Dwynen's Elite
4
Elvish Clancaller
3
Elvish Visionary
4
Elvish Warmaster
4
Elvish Archdruid
3
Imperious Perfect
2
Realmwalker
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Lands (20)
3
Castle Garenbrig
17
Forest
Cards (60)

Elves doesn’t do well against interaction, but it is disgustingly fast having the best goldfish starts in the format. If you manage to untap with an Elvish Archdruid, you’re extremely likely to win. This deck is perfect for those who have wildcards to burn and want to just slam their hand onto the battlefield ASAP.

4. AURAS

(H) Bo1 Orzhov Auras 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures (8)
4
Kor Spiritdancer
4
Sram, Senior Edificer
Spells (8)
4
Claim/Fame
/
4
Thoughtseize
Enchantments (23)
4
Cartouche of Solidarity
3
Dead Weight
2
Hateful Eidolon
4
Kaya's Ghostform
4
Sentinel's Eyes
2
All That Glitters
2
Angelic Gift
2
Heliod's Punishment
Lands (21)
4
Brightclimb Pathway
4
Concealed Courtyard
4
Godless Shrine
2
Isolated Chapel
4
Plains
1
Sacred Foundry
2
Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (1)
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Auras is excellent against most of the metagame as it’s able to go over the small decks and grind reasonably well against the slow decks. That being said, Auras is prone to awkward starts and a lot of mulligans which is a huge detriment in Bo1 compared to Bo3 where that’s mitigated more. Beyond Jeskai, Auras is likely the best positioned deck, but the consistency issues hold it back.

5. SELESNYA COMPANY

(H) Bo1 Selesnya Company 

Creatures (32)
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Llanowar Elves
4
Luminarch Aspirant
3
Scavenging Ooze
4
Archon of Emeria
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Lovestruck Beast
4
Skyclave Apparition
1
Yasharn, Implacable Earth
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Artifacts (3)
3
The Great Henge
Lands (21)
4
Branchloft Pathway
5
Forest
4
Plains
4
Sunpetal Grove
4
Temple Garden
Cards (60)

A fast curve with a proactive and disruptive game plan is what Selesnya is all about. Selesnya shines against other creature decks as Lovestruck Beast and The Great Henge are just insane against them, but can definitely struggle against decks looking to go over the top of it.

6. ANGELS

(H) Bo1 Angels 

Planeswalkers (3)
3
Ajani, Strength of the Pride
Creatures (29)
1
Reidane, God of the Worthy
4
Soul Warden
4
Speaker of the Heavens
4
Bishop of Wings
4
Youthful Valkyrie
4
Resplendent Angel
4
Righteous Valkyrie
4
Skyclave Apparition
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Lands (24)
4
Branchloft Pathway
12
Plains
4
Sunpetal Grove
4
Temple Garden
Cards (60)

Angels is the formats premiere creature killer. You’ll likely destroy any creature deck (barring Elves), but will struggle against any deck that’s not looking to get scrappy. If you believe you’re going to see a lot of Aggro decks, this is the perfect deck for your climb.

TIER THREE DECKS

7. GRUUL AGGRO

(H) Bo1 Gruul Aggro 

Creatures (34)
1
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Llanowar Elves
4
Pelt Collector
4
Burning-Tree Emissary
4
Scavenging Ooze
4
Voltaic Brawler
3
Ahn-Crop Crasher
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Gruul Spellbreaker
2
Questing Beast
Spells (2)
2
Shatterskull Smashing
Artifacts (4)
4
Embercleave
Lands (20)
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Forest
3
Hashep Oasis
3
Mountain
2
Ramunap Ruins
4
Stomping Ground
Cards (60)

Gruul is a solid deck, but very poorly positioned. It struggles against literally every deck placed above it beyond Monored which obviously is not a good spot to be in. It’s a solid deck, but there are better options.

8. MONO BLACK AGGRO

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon!
  • Win Rate: 51.3%
  • Change: Unlisted -> 9

(H) Bo1 Monoblack Aggro 

Creatures (22)
4
Dread Wanderer
4
Gutterbones
4
Knight of the Ebon Legion
2
Skyclave Shade
2
Murderous Rider
2
Rankle, Master of Pranks
4
Spawn of Mayhem
Spells (10)
2
Fatal Push
2
Inquisition of Kozilek
4
Thoughtseize
2
Heartless Act
Artifacts (4)
4
Scrapheap Scrounger
Lands (24)
2
Castle Locthwain
4
Faceless Haven
18
Snow-Covered Swamp
Cards (60)

A port over from Bo3 Historic. Monoblack is designed to try and beat Turns, the boogeyman of the format. While it’s somewhat successful in that endeavor, it doesn’t perform spectacularly well against the rest of the field which puts it firmly in Tier 3. That being said, a strong curve with solid interaction can never really be bad either.

9. IZZET PHOENIX

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon!
  • Win Rate: 50.1%
  • Change: 14 -> 10

(H) Bo1 Izzet Phoenix 

Creatures (13)
4
Sprite Dragon
4
Arclight Phoenix
1
Crackling Drake
1
Ox of Agonas
3
Stormwing Entity
Spells (26)
4
Brainstorm
4
Faithless Looting
3
Lightning Axe
4
Opt
3
Pillar of Flame
1
Shock
4
Expressive Iteration
2
Finale of Promise
1
Mystical Dispute
Lands (21)
3
Fabled Passage
2
Island
3
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
2
Spirebluff Canal
4
Steam Vents
3
Sulfur Falls
Cards (60)

Unlike Bo3, Phoenix definitely doesn’t shine in Bo1. Since it’s prone to awkward starts, the fast decks of the format can easily clobber it before it finds any sort of foothold. When you have strong starts it feels weird that it’s not placed higher, but the amount of hands that are just nonstarters really kills the deck in such a fast and punishing metagame.

Thank you for reading! Have a great day!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is a streamer and high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, GW Company in Historic, and Temur Koma in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and teaching! Twitch Discord

5 Responses

  1. Chrysologus says:

    I’ve won my last eight games in a row with Angels. So fun!

  2. Chrysologus says:

    Wait, why are we playing Goblin Instigator instead of Irencrag Feat in bo1?

  3. Hannes77 says:

    Thank you very much for the BO1 List! This is awesome! 🙂
    I’m frequently running into Elves especially, followed by Jeskai and UW Control and lastly Auras and creature decks like Angels and Gruul. If you look at this as your meta, what deck would you recommend to have the best possible matchup against all the decks? Initially, I was shooting for Jeskai Control with lots of wrath and spot removal, but now I’m thinking if Jund Food would be a better option to have a better control matchup, since I would have lots of dead romval cards in hand then. What would you take? 🙂

  4. Sebbo says:

    Hey Thanks for the great articles. It has been really helpful to study this tier list and the guides to the decks. I would LOVE a quick reevaluation on this since the Meta has changed a bit since May and one deck on the list (dimir pact) was banned lately. Keep up the great work 🙂

  5. Hannes77 says:

    Thank you very much again that there is also a BO1 list! 🙂 I also highly appreciate the come back of the amounts of necessary wildcards for each deck! I really missed that function the last months. Thank you! 🙂

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