Traditional Historic (BO3) Metagame Tier List and Rankings: September 2021

Traditional Historic (BO3) Metagame Tier List and Rankings - Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

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 Arena (BO1) Historic.
  • 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 4: Off-meta decks.

Jumpstart: Historic Horizons Traditional Historic (BO3) Tier List and Rankings

  • September 6, 2021: Jumpstart has been out for a little bit and the Historic metagame was absolutely turned on it’s head as a result. There’s a myriad of new archetypes being explored and even dominating Historic while old archetypes are finding their bearings or holding their place in the metagame. Since the meta is still so fresh, a lot of these placements should be viewed as somewhat temporary while more data comes in about how to metagame is developing.

    That being said, the metagame is looking unbelievably fresh with no deck obviously dominating the field and a huge amount of very reasonable options all very close together in power level. Especially in Tier 2, the rankings are near arbitrary and really more depend on your proficiency with the strategy rather than one being inherently better than another which is quite a pleasant play experience no matter the format.

TIER ONE DECK ARCHETYPES

1. JESKAI CREATIVITY

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon
  • Win Rate: 60.6%
  • Change: Unlisted -> 1

(H) Jeskai Creativity 

Planeswalkers (2)
2
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Creatures (2)
2
Serra's Emissary
Spells (27)
4
Hard Evidence
4
Expressive Iteration
1
Fire Prophecy
3
Lightning Helix
4
Memory Lapse
2
Anger of the Gods
4
Indomitable Creativity
4
Prismari Command
1
Commit/Memory
/
Enchantments (4)
2
Search for Azcanta
2
Shark Typhoon
Lands (25)
4
Dwarven Mine
4
Fabled Passage
1
Island
3
Mountain
1
Plains
4
Raugrin Triome
4
Sacred Foundry
4
Steam Vents
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Unholy Heat
4
Rest in Peace
2
Mystical Dispute
2
Narset, Parter of Veils
2
Wrath of God
1
Shark Typhoon
1
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1
Nezahal, Primal Tide

Unsurprisingly leading the pack, we have Jeskai Creativity. With much of the power from both Temur Creativity and Jeskai Control wrapped into one package, this deck can attack from multiple angles making it difficult to combat.

2. JESKAI CONTROL

Updated JooHyun Jeskai 

Planeswalkers (7)
3
Narset, Parter of Veils
4
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Spells (22)
4
Unholy Heat
4
Expressive Iteration
4
Lightning Helix
4
Memory Lapse
2
Anger of the Gods
4
Archmage's Charm
Enchantments (5)
1
Search for Azcanta
4
Shark Typhoon
Lands (26)
2
Fabled Passage
4
Glacial Fortress
4
Hallowed Fountain
2
Island
1
Mountain
4
Raugrin Triome
1
Riverglide Pathway
4
Steam Vents
4
Sulfur Falls
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Grafdigger's Cage
1
Portable Hole
1
Abrade
1
Aether Gust
3
Dovin's Veto
1
Rest in Peace
1
Search for Azcanta
2
Anger of the Gods
2
Mystical Dispute
1
Commence the Endgame

Although this is less inherently powerful as Jeskai Creativity which is privy to more turn 4 wins, Jeskai Control is still an amazing choice for the Historic metagame. Sporting a solid matchup against functionally everything, this deck has the best interaction in the format and can even by proactive if you want to go for the Magma Opus version.

3. MONO WHITE HUMANS

(H) Monowhite Humans 

Creatures (34)
4
Dauntless Bodyguard
3
Giant Killer
3
Thraben Inspector
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Thalia's Lieutenant
4
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Ranger-Captain of Eos
4
Skyclave Apparition
Artifacts (4)
4
Esper Sentinel
Lands (22)
4
Faceless Haven
18
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Reidane, God of the Worthy
1
Giant Killer
4
Baffling End
4
Containment Priest
3
Archon of Emeria

A surprising Tier 1 addition coming out of Jumpstart, Humans is really starting to prove itself as it currently has the highest win rate in Historic. With a fast curve and a lot of annoying disruptive creatures, Humans is in an excellent position to foil Jeskai decks and still perform against the rest of the field.

4. SIMIC MERFOLK

Simic Merfolks by Bohe 

Creatures (33)
2
Benthic Biomancer
4
Kumena's Speaker
4
Shoreline Scout
4
Master of the Pearl Trident
4
Merfolk Mistbinder
4
Merfolk Trickster
4
Silvergill Adept
4
Merrow Reejerey
3
Svyelun of Sea and Sky
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Lands (23)
4
Botanical Sanctum
4
Breeding Pool
2
Hinterland Harbor
9
Island
4
Unclaimed Territory
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Grafdigger's Cage
2
Relic of Progenitus
2
Spell Pierce
2
Aether Gust
2
Decisive Denial
2
Inscription of Abundance
1
Negate
2
Mystical Dispute

The final Tier 1 inclusion and a new deck to boot, Simic Merfolk is looking excellent with the release of Jumpstart. Now that every Merfolk they’re playing is actively good, the deck can flood the board extremely easily with huge creatures and also has an amazing sideboard to combat any of the slower decks.

TIER TWO DECKS

5. MONO RED HOLLOW ONE

(H) Hollow One v2 

Creatures (15)
4
Blazing Rootwalla
4
Dragon's Rage Channeler
4
Seasoned Pyromancer
2
Hazoret the Fervent
1
Ox of Agonas
Spells (14)
4
Faithless Looting
2
Lightning Axe
4
Unholy Heat
4
Fiery Temper
Artifacts (8)
4
Bomat Courier
4
Hollow One
Lands (23)
4
Den of the Bugbear
15
Mountain
4
Ramunap Ruins
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
3
Abrade
4
Bonecrusher Giant
1
Phoenix of Ash
2
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2
The Akroan War
1
Ox of Agonas

One of my personal favorite decks, Hollow One is insanely fast and not easy to interact with as it has a lot of elements to contend with. There are 3 different versions right now: Obosh, Arclight Phoenix, or neither, so despite it having over a 60% win rate it’s hard to justify placing it in Tier 1 right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if it made it to Tier 1, but the best list for it needs to be found.

6. JUND CITADEL

Updated Jund Citadel 

Creatures (30)
4
Gilded Goose
4
Llanowar Elves
4
Blood Artist
4
Priest of Forgotten Gods
4
Prosperous Innkeeper
4
Mayhem Devil
4
Woe Strider
2
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Artifacts (4)
4
Bolas's Citadel
Lands (22)
4
Blightstep Pathway
3
Blooming Marsh
4
Darkbore Pathway
4
Overgrown Tomb
2
Phyrexian Tower
4
Stomping Ground
1
Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Fatal Push
2
Inquisition of Kozilek
3
Noxious Grasp
2
Scavenging Ooze
3
Reclamation Sage
2
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

What used to be the least popular version of Sacrifice has turned into the most popular! Now that getting out a Bolas’s Citadel is way more consistent and you have better back up plans when you fail to find one in Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, the deck has been absolutely thrumming. The main thing holding it back is likely difficulty of play, but those who are experienced with the archetype can definitely make it feel like a Tier 1 option.

7. RAKDOS ARCANIST

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon
  • Win Rate: 56.3%
  • Change: Unlisted -> 7

(H) Rakdos Arcanist 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures (16)
4
Dragon's Rage Channeler
4
Stitcher's Supplier
4
Dreadhorde Arcanist
2
Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger
2
Young Pyromancer
Spells (20)
2
Claim/Fame
/
3
Faithless Looting
1
Fatal Push
2
Inquisition of Kozilek
4
Thoughtseize
3
Unholy Heat
3
Village Rites
2
Kolaghan's Command
Artifacts (1)
1
Soul-Guide Lantern
Lands (23)
4
Blightstep Pathway
4
Blood Crypt
1
Den of the Bugbear
1
Dragonskull Summit
4
Fabled Passage
2
Hive of the Eye Tyrant
3
Mountain
4
Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Bone Shards
2
Duress
1
Liliana's Defeat
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
1
Angrath's Rampage
1
Epic Downfall
2
Feed the Swarm
2
Fry
1
Noxious Grasp
1
Go Blank
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Now the most popular version of the Delirium archetype, Arcanist combines the old power of it’s shell with the new busted Delirium cards that easily slot into the deck. My inherent issue with Arcanist has always been difficulty of play and the power level of the strategy being a bit low, but the Delirium cards should help out at least the power level concern by getting an insanely strong threat and a disgusting removal spell.

8. SELESNYA COMPANY

Heliod Company by Bohe 

Planeswalkers (2)
2
Ajani, Strength of the Pride
Creatures (26)
2
Giant Killer
4
Soul Warden
4
Ajani's Pridemate
4
Prosperous Innkeeper
4
Trelasarra, Moon Dancer
4
Scurry Oak
4
Skyclave Apparition
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Enchantments (6)
2
Daxos, Blessed by the Sun
4
Heliod, Sun-Crowned
Lands (22)
4
Branchloft Pathway
2
Castle Ardenvale
3
Forest
1
Lair of the Hydra
6
Plains
2
Sunpetal Grove
4
Temple Garden
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Declaration in Stone
2
Rest in Peace
2
Scavenging Ooze
4
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
2
Devouring Light
2
Knight of Autumn
1
Yasharn, Implacable Earth

An homage to Modern, Heliod Company has made it’s way into Historic as well! The deck has a really strong plan A and a great back up plan which makes the deck quite a potent threat against a lot of the meta. The biggest downside to this deck is that itt isn’t the best against the Jeskai decks, but it’s not like those matchups are unwinnable.

9. MONO GREEN ELVES

(H) Monogreen Elves 

Creatures (32)
4
Allosaurus Shepherd
4
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Llanowar Elves
4
Dwynen's Elite
4
Elvish Clancaller
4
Elvish Warmaster
2
Skyshroud Lookout
4
Elvish Archdruid
1
Imperious Perfect
1
Craterhoof Behemoth
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Enchantments (2)
2
Growing Rites of Itlimoc
Lands (22)
3
Castle Garenbrig
1
Lair of the Hydra
18
Snow-Covered Forest
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Heaven/Earth
/
3
Run Afoul
2
Heroic Intervention
1
Ranger Class
2
Scavenging Ooze
2
Reclamation Sage
4
Shifting Ceratops

What used to be the most powerful proactive deck in the format has been relegated to lower Tier 2. Elves is still insanely powerful, but is an absolute dog to both Jeskai variants which is absolutely not where you want to be right now. Maybe if they branch out to go Golgari or something they can bring a better fight to Jeskai, but the plan is inherently weak to constant interaction so it’s hard to say. It’s still sporting an excellent win rate so I may be overstating how poorly it’s positioned, but it’s definitely much better ladder deck than a tournament one.

10. 5 COLOR NIV MIZZET

(H) 5 Color Niv 

Companion
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
Creatures (12)
2
Hydroid Krasis
4
Territorial Kavu
1
Orcus, Prince of Undeath
4
Niv-Mizzet Reborn
1
The Scarab God
Spells (20)
1
Assassin's Trophy
2
Expressive Iteration
4
Growth Spiral
4
Lightning Helix
1
Tyrant's Scorn
3
Vanishing Verse
1
Deafening Clarion
4
Prismari Command
Lands (28)
1
Blood Crypt
1
Breeding Pool
1
Dragonskull Summit
1
Drowned Catacomb
1
Glacial Fortress
2
Hallowed Fountain
3
Indatha Triome
3
Ketria Triome
2
Raugrin Triome
1
Rootbound Crag
1
Sacred Foundry
3
Savai Triome
1
Steam Vents
1
Stomping Ground
1
Sulfur Falls
1
Temple Garden
1
Woodland Cemetery
3
Zagoth Triome
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
4
Dovin's Veto
1
Vanishing Verse
2
Deafening Clarion
2
Deputy of Detention
1
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
1
Klothys, God of Destiny
1
Kunoros, Hound of Athreos
2
Mystical Dispute
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring

Getting a surprising boost for Jumpstart with Territorial Kavu, Niv has been putting up a solid performance as a very reasonable midrange deck option. Kavu really helps it not get run over early as well so it can keep the fight going into the late game more often than not. Nevertheless, my inherent issue with Niv is that the mana base is always going to bring a layer of inconsistency, but it’s the best it’s ever been.

11. GRUUL SHAMANS

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon
  • Win Rate: 56.6%
  • Change: Unlisted -> 11

(H) Gruul Shamans 

Creatures (32)
4
Llanowar Elves
4
Burning-Tree Emissary
4
Elvish Visionary
1
Fauna Shaman
4
Goblin Anarchomancer
4
Harmonic Prodigy
3
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Rage Forger
4
Seasoned Pyromancer
Spells (7)
3
Shatterskull Smashing
4
Collected Company
Enchantments (1)
1
Klothys, God of Destiny
Lands (20)
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Forest
1
Hashep Oasis
1
Mountain
2
Ramunap Ruins
1
Rootbound Crag
4
Stomping Ground
3
Temple of Abandon
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
2
Abrade
3
Goblin Ruinblaster
1
Klothys, God of Destiny
2
Rampaging Ferocidon
2
Reclamation Sage
2
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1
The Akroan War

One of the coolest Tribal decks coming from Jumpstart, Gruul Shamans is looking to do the same thing Elves does: flood the board and win as quickly as possible. It’s really funny providing actual lethal on Turn 3, but I don’t believe this deck does anything inherently better than Elves at the moment despite being a bit more interactive against the small creature decks. I would love to see how this archetype evolves though as there’s a lot of potential there.

12. IZZET PHOENIX

(H) Izzet Phoenix 

Creatures (14)
4
Sprite Dragon
4
Arclight Phoenix
1
Crackling Drake
1
Ox of Agonas
4
Stormwing Entity
Spells (25)
4
Faithless Looting
1
Lightning Axe
4
Opt
2
Pillar of Flame
4
Expressive Iteration
4
Faithless Salvaging
2
Finale of Promise
4
Fiery Temper
Lands (21)
2
Fabled Passage
2
Island
3
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
2
Spirebluff Canal
4
Steam Vents
4
Sulfur Falls
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
2
Aether Gust
1
Fry
2
Negate
2
Anger of the Gods
1
Beacon Bolt
2
Brazen Borrower
2
Mystical Dispute
1
Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Phoenix has received a lot of new tools from Jumpstart, but it’s having trouble figuring out what it actually want to use. How many Faithless Salvaging, do they use more Madness cards, the Delirium package? The deck is one that requires perfect tuning and balancing, and without a major tournament to incentivize a team to break it, it’s likely to hover around the lower tiers until the best list is found.

TIER THREE DECK ARCHETYPES

13. SELESNYA ENCHANTRESS

(H) Selesnya Enchantress 

Planeswalkers (1)
1
Calix, Destiny's Hand
Creatures (1)
1
Setessan Champion
Spells (1)
1
Bala Ged Recovery
Enchantments (36)
4
Sky Tether
3
Destiny Spinner
4
Sanctum Weaver
4
Sterling Grove
4
Sythis, Harvest's Hand
4
Wolfwillow Haven
4
Enchantress's Presence
3
Nine Lives
3
Solemnity
2
Cast Out
1
Sigil of the Empty Throne
Lands (21)
4
Branchloft Pathway
4
Forest
5
Plains
2
Scattered Groves
2
Sunpetal Grove
4
Temple Garden
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Baffling End
3
Rest in Peace
2
Banishing Light
1
Archon of Sun's Grace
2
Gideon's Intervention
3
Leyline of Sanctity
2
Wrath of God

A super cool deck coming from Jumpstart, Selesnya Enchantress is looking to play a bunch of Enchatments and a bunch of cards that like when Enchantments are played. The deck looks like a blast to play, but is going to need a lot of refinement before it gets anywhere.

Thank you for reading! Have a great day!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

4 Responses

  1. Rampert says:

    You have 5 vanishing verse in the 5 color niv list, 4 in main board and 1 in sideboard. That list runs 1 assassin trophy in main board and 3 vanishing verse instead.

  2. Hannes77 says:

    Thank you for the meta tier lists!!! 🙂 Is there a BO1 version coming soon as well?