Arena Historic (BO1) Metagame Tier List and Rankings – January 2021

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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 Traditional (BO3) 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

  • December 11, 2020: Updated tier list ahead of the Arena Open! Some considerations have also been made in light of the Zendikar Rising Championship tournament results.
  • November 25, 2020: Welcome to the first edition of the BO1 Historic tier list. Since there are no Historic BO1 tournaments (until the next Arena Open), we will be basing this heavily on the BO3 data and Untapped.gg data available since the release of Kaladesh Remastered.

TIER ONE

1. RAKDOS SACRIFICE

  • Change: New
  • Win Rate: 59.4%

The combination of Cauldron Familiar, Witch’s Oven, Mayhem Devil and Claim the Firstborn are especially powerful in a creature heavy metagame, as the previous Standard format has shown. The two-color Rakdos option is a great option in BO1 due to its mana base and aggressiveness. It can fend off creature based decks like Auras and Goblins, as well as go for the long game.

2. JUND SACRIFICE

In the three-color sacrifice deck, green is splashed for either the Food package or Collected Company. This is less preferable in a BO1 meta, where being slower (especially on the draw) is not the best place to be in.

3. AURAS

Historic Auras use Kor Spiritdancer and Sram, Senior Edificer to draw cards by casting Auras, creating big creatures and protecting them. The deck is proactive, linear and can snowball quickly if left unchecked, making it a powerhouse for BO1. A fantastic entry point for Historic as it is cheap to build. You can start on Mono White, and branch out to your preference. Azorius fares better in BO1 but Orzhov is also an option for access to better mana, removal spells and Thoughtseize in BO3.

4. GOBLINS

Historic Goblins’ main strategy is to ramp out Muxus, Goblin Grandee through mana acceleration cards such as Skirk Prospector, Wily Goblin and even Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Merely casting the card can often win the game on the spot, but of course the secondary tribal aggro plan can also come in as a backup. The deck is proactive, requires your opponents to answer your threats and is straightforward. Even if your hand and board is empty, all you have to do is draw a Muxus and you can come back into the game.

TIER TWO

5. SULTAI MIDRANGE

Sultai Midrange relies on the powerful Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath as its centerpiece and the great interaction and ramp spells to put it all together. The deck may be on the slower side for the BO1 meta, but the removal suite can be tailored around and is flexible enough to be able to beat most matchups.

6. MONO RED AGGRO

Historic Mono Red is in a decent spot, with a variety of builds and a larger card pool to select from. You can either go for a creature-heavy route with heavy hitters such as Embercleave and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, or somewhere in the middle with more burn spells to prevent your opponents from interacting with your threats and go straight to the face.

7. GRUUL AGGRO

The key piece for Gruul Aggro in Historic has always been Burning-Tree Emissary, which caused its initial suspension and now it can even utilize Collected Company. Similar to Mono Red, the deck is fast and is still a top choice for BO1 but there are now other decks that can outrace it or interact well enough with it.

8. NEOSTORM

  • Change: 7 > 8
  • Win Rate: 57.7%

Neostorm is currently the combo deck of choice in Historic, requiring essentially only two cards to go off. It shines especially in BO1 where it can do its own thing without giving your opponents a chance to interact with it.

TIER THREE

9. RAKDOS ARCANIST

Rakdos Arcanist plans to stick one or two early threats, utilize cheap interaction to get ahead, and then out-grind the opponent or simply beat them down. The deck leans heavily on using its graveyard as a resource, which you will find most players do not carry with them in BO1. You have access to the best interaction spells such as Fatal Push and Thoughtseize, but you just have to make sure you can close off the game fast enough.

10. MONO WHITE PRISON

  • Change: New
  • Win Rate: 56.6%

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Mono White Prison looks to lock out the game with enchantments. Solemnity and Nine Lives is the primary combo here, where your opponents are less likely to have answers for them. You have to draw the right cards at the right time, and Historic is a fast format – you cannot afford to stumble. Be wary of Bonecrusher Giant and Questing Beast also, as they can nullify the Nine Lives ability.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

11. MONO BLUE TEMPO

  • Change: 10 > 11
  • Win Rate: 58.7%

Mono Blue Tempo is a great budget entry level deck to Historic. For another similar option, try Rogues if you want to port your Standard version over with access to better spells!

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Terence

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2 Responses

  1. Hoodpope Hoodpope says:

    Colorless Ramp doesn’t make the cut? I am kind of surprised considering that having access to a Karnboard in a format where you don’t get value from your sideboard otherwise seems powerful. Having access to cage has been great against so many matchups.

    • Maul Maul says:

      Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is very OP. I wouldn’t be surprised if he would get the ban from Wizards. That deck can easily sideboard Dovin’s Veto for a secure way to cast Ugin. Another deck that should be on this list is mono-green Tron Nissa. Runs the same decklist, just fewer artifacts.

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