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Wilds of Eldraine Key Art

Bo3 Historic Metagame Tier List and Rankings

Our Traditional Best of Three Historic (Bo3) 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 Three (Bo3) 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.

Meta Overview and Changes

The biggest addition with Wilds of Eldraine has been Utopia Sprawl which was a huge buff to Mono Green Devotion who’s biggest weakness previously was the fragility of the mana dorks it relied on for early ramp. Now with Utopia Sprawl which is much more difficult to interact with, the deck can run a ramp package which isn’t vulnerable to Orcish Bowmasters, and it changes the way interactive decks need to approach the matchup since cards that were previously great in the early game such as Fatal Push are often dead against starts involving Utopia Sprawl and Wolfwillow Haven.

This has led to Devotion becoming one of the strongest linear decks which has caused real headaches for The One Ringmidrange decks that had been very popular since the release of LotR. By extension this has led to a resurgence in fast linear decks that demand early interaction like Izzet Wizards which is typically very good against Devotion since they tend to race a lot quicker and Devotion doesn’t have great options for early interaction to slow them down either, although Wizards still remains weak to the interactive decks like Dimir Control and Jund Midrange.

Additionally, the rise of Mono Green Devotion has also been beneficial to the combo decks such as Yawgmoth since they can typically race to the combo faster than Devotion is able to find a hate card or close out the game themselves. However, these creature-based combo decks like Yawgmoth and Kethis also have a rough matchup against Wizards as well since they can’t afford to run much interaction without diluting their synergies, so there’s a decent amount of counterplay between the top decks at the moment.

Historic Best of Three (Bo3) Meta Tier List

TierDeck NameGuide
Tier 1Golgari YawgmothGuide 馃啎
Tier 1Mono Green DevotionGuide
Tier 1Kethis ComboGuide
Tier 1Dimir ControlGuide
Tier 1Izzet WizardsGuide
Tier 2Jund MidrangeGuide
Tier 2Gruul Goblins
Tier 2Dimir NinjasGuide
Tier 2Izzet CreativityGuide
Tier 2Rakdos SacrificeGuide
Tier 3Gates
Tier 3Bant HammertimeGuide
Tier 3Mardu Reanimator
Tier 3Simic Merfolk
Tier 3Azorius AffinityGuide

Tier 1 Decks

Golgari Yawgmoth

Golgari Yawgmoth by K盲p盲l盲
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $683.76
Historic
best of 3
5 mythic
40 rare
6 uncommon
9 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
4
Chord of Calling
$27.96
Sorceries (2)
Enchantments (2)
2
Elven Chorus
$7.98
Lands (23)
1
Forest
$0.35
4
Khalni Garden
$5.96
4
Blooming Marsh
$33.96
4
Darkbore Pathway
$29.96
4
Overgrown Tomb
$63.96
1
Phyrexian Tower
$42.99
60 Cards
$782.68
Sideboard
1
A-Haywire Mite
$0.00
1
Scavenging Ooze
$0.49
3
Fatal Push
$6.87
1
Pile On
$0.49
4
Thoughtseize
$59.96
1
Necromentia
$0.79
15 Cards
$76.16

This is a sacrifice-based combo deck that is largely built around Yawgmoth, Thran Physician which can draw infinite cards when combined with Prosperous Innkeeper, and either 2 Young Wolf or a Young Wolf and a Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, and can deal infinite damage if you replace Prosperous Innkeeper with a drain effect like Blood Artist.

Even though the deck has access to an infinite damage combo, you can very consistently win without it due to the sheer amount of card advantage that Yawgmoth, Thran Physician produces either by building a wide board and then casting Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, or with combinations such as Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons which is able to kill all of your opponent鈥檚 creatures will drawing a ton of cards.

It can find its key combo pieces incredibly consistently thanks to cards like Chord of Calling and Eldritch Evolution, which also give you access to silver bullet tutor targets from the sideboard such as A-Haywire Mite Scavenging Ooze, and Skyfisher Spider. Additionally you also have Elven Chorus as somewhat of a backup plan (which synergizes very nicely with your cheap creatures allowing you to pull ahead on card advantage against interactive decks), and you already run a lot of ramp for Yawgmoth, Thran Physician so can very consistently cast Elven Chorus on turn 3.

Weaknesses: Being a creature based high synergy deck means that there’s very little room in the maindeck for interaction so the matchup against very fast linear aggressive decks that demand early interaction such as Izzet Wizards is definitely unfavored game 1, and still tricky post-sideboard since you can’t afford to bring in too much interaction without diluting your synergies.

Additionally the deck is very centered around Yawgmoth, Thran Physician meaning you’re very vulnerable to cards like Pithing Needle or extraction effects like Necromentia, The End and The Stone Brain. You do have alternate threats such as Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, Thrun, Breaker of Silence and Elven Chorus that are capable of closing games out, but the deck is way less powerful if Yawgmoth, Thran Physician is taken out of the equation.

When is it good to play? Yawgmoth is one of the most generically powerful decks right now so should be good to play in most metas unless very fast aggro decks like Izzet Wizards are the most popular deck.

Mono Green Devotion

Huntmaster Devotion
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $308.84
Historic
best of 3
4 mythic
33 rare
12 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (8)
Creatures (22)
2
Llanowar Elves
$0.98
4
Paradise Druid
$1.40
Sorceries (4)
Enchantments (4)
4
Utopia Sprawl
$1.96
Lands (22)
11
Forest
$3.85
4
Temple Garden
$59.96
60 Cards
$389.55
15 Cards
$108.82

Decklist Updates: The addition of Utopia Sprawl from Wilds of Eldraine has been an absolutely huge buff to the archetype since the previous big weakness of the deck was that your early ramp was largely comprised of mana dork creatures that were weak to removal which was magnified even further with the release of Orcish Bowmasters making 1 toughness dorks like Llanowar Elves incredibly risky. Utopia Sprawl being 1 mana ramp that can’t be hit by creature removal is huge and changes the dynamic with how interactive decks have to approach the matchup since cards that were good previously like Fatal Push can be entirely dead if the Devotion player has starts with Utopia Sprawl or Wolfwillow Haven.

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 off both Karn, the Great Creator and Grizzled Huntmaster to close the game out.

This is one of the most generically powerful decks in the format that is capable of very fast starts off the back of Utopia Sprawl and manadorks like Delighted Halfling, and Storm the Festival allows for some crazy combo-esque turns where you can produce huge 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, Polukranos Reborn, and Grizzled Huntmaster which are great at stabilizing and also draw you a card off the Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner passive.

There are a lot of different ways you can build the deck but this version is my personal favorite since it can leverage Grizzled Huntmaster to fetch silver bullets which can really improve the few bad matchups Devotion has such as Yasharn, Implacable Earth against Yawgmoth, Arasta of the Endless Web against Wizards, and Reidane, God of the Worthy in the mirror.

The white splash is relatively free here since you get access to white mana off Utopia Sprawl, Paradise Druid (which is being run over Wolfwillow Haven in order to have a high enough creature count to enable Grizzled Huntmaster consistently), and Delighted Halfling, so the only swap needed in the manabase is replacing 4 basic Forests with 4 Temple Garden and the splash also gives you access to Portable Hole off Karn, the Great Creator which helps a lot against the low to the ground decks.

Weaknesses: The biggest weakness of Devotion is that it lacks early interaction meaning that you can struggle against both fast aggro decks that demand early removal such as Izzet Wizards, and fast combo decks. There are some combo decks like Kethis and Belcher which Karn, the Great Creator really punishes through its passive ability, but other combo decks like Yawgmoth, Creativity, and Samwise can be problematic since they can often get their combo online before you can find a hate piece from your wishboard to cut them off.

Grizzled Huntmaster does help with these issues as previously mentioned because of access to hate cards like Yasharn, Implacable Earth and Arasta of the Endless Web a turn earlier, however it’s more vulnerable to interaction compared to Old-Growth Troll, and it takes up slots in your sideboard meaning the options you have access to off both Karn, the Great Creator and Grizzled Huntmaster is more narrow because they’re competing for space.

When is it good to play? Devotion is one of the strongest linear decks in the format and should be a good choice assuming fast aggro decks like Wizards or Auras aren’t popular.

Kethis Combo

Kethis Combo by Omri
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $704.99
Historic
best of 3
22 mythic
31 rare
3 uncommon
4 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
60 Cards
$925.4
15 Cards
$60.88

Decklist Updates: The big new update to this list is Agatha's Soul Cauldron which works incredibly well in the shell since the whole deck is built around creatures with activated abilities and filling the graveyard, and it’s also a legendary permanent itself so can be exiled and recast with Kethis, the Hidden Hand. Being able to copy the activated abilities of Emry, Lurker of the Loch, Rona, Herald of Invasion, and especially Kethis, the Hidden Hand onto other creatures is incredibly strong, provides another layer of redundancy, and makes the deck much less vulnerable to Pithing Needle since you can use Kethis, the Hidden Hand‘s ability on other creatures using Agatha's Soul Cauldron even if Kethis, the Hidden Hand has been named with the Pithing Needle.

Kethis is a graveyard-based combo deck looking to use Kethis, the Hidden Hand to mill your whole deck using some combination of Mox Amber, Emry, Lurker of the Loch, Jace, the Perfected Mind and Relic of Legends, then win with Jace, the Perfected Mind by milling the opponent out.

I want to preface this by saying that this is probably one of the most difficult decks to play in the format since there are so many potential combo lines you can take, and it鈥檚 difficult to know when to go for it, but for that reason I think it鈥檚 also a deck that is definitely underrated and underplayed too. If you鈥檙e interested in learning this deck then I highly recommend reading Omri鈥檚 very in-depth guide here which explains the general deck and main combo lines even if the list included is slightly outdated.

Weaknesses: Outside of being difficult to pilot, the deck is also weak to graveyard hate. It does have multiples ways to remove or fight through graveyard hate (Boseiju, Who Endures, Urza's Ruinous Blast, etc.), but if there is a high density of graveyard hate in the format, it can often slow the deck down enough that it isn鈥檛 able to combo off fast enough. Outside of that, it can also sometimes struggle to race the fastest aggro decks like Izzet Wizards, and is very vulnerable to Karn, the Great Creator against Mono Green Devotion.

When is it good to play? Kethis will largely be a good choice if there鈥檚 not a ton of graveyard hate and not a lot of very fast aggro decks like Wizards.

Dimir Control

Dimir Control by Mystmin
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $420.08
Historic
best of 3
4 mythic
45 rare
4 uncommon
7 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Creatures (7)
3
Snapcaster Mage
$56.97
4
Orcish Bowmasters
$231.96
Instants (23)
4
Fatal Push
$9.16
1
Cling to Dust
$0.49
2
Bind to Secrecy
$0.00
2
Make Disappear
$1.98
1
Memory Deluge
$0.99
1
The End
$0.49
Sorceries (4)
1
Thoughtseize
$14.99
2
Languish
$0.98
Artifacts (1)
1
Pithing Needle
$0.99
60 Cards
$498.85
Sideboard
1
Stern Scolding
$1.29
2
Aether Gust
$0.78
2
Thoughtseize
$29.98
1
Go Blank
$0.69
1
Languish
$0.49
1
Stone of Erech
$0.49
15 Cards
$41.45

This is a control deck that is looking to leverage cheap early interaction and counterspells to make the game go long, pull ahead on card advantage, and close out the game with your creatures such as Orcish Bowmasters, Snapcaster Mage, and Hall of Storm Giants.

Dimir has generally surpassed Azorius as the control color of choice since the release of Orcish Bowmasters since Orcish Bowmasters is very good against control because it has flash making it hard to answer safely, and it punishes draw effects which are typically common in white control decks (this is especially punishing against Teferi, Hero of Dominaria which was one of the big reasons to be in white previously).

Additionally being in black gives you access to Orcish Bowmasters yourself which plays very well in a control shell since it’s a flash threat so it doesn’t interfere with you wanting to hold mana open for interaction and counterspells, it’s very good against aggro, and is also good against The One Ring which can be a big issue if it resolves.

Outside of that black also gives you access to much more efficient interaction such as Fatal Push, and discard spells which give you an edge in control mirrors and are very useful against combo decks too. Counterspells are also very good against a number of decks in the format right now since a lot of decks are trying to resolve expensive sorcery speed cards such as The One Ring and Yawgmoth, Thran PhysicianDelighted Halfling can be an issue at stopping this but the cheap black removal usually means you can kill it before it becomes an issue.

There are two main ways to build Dimir Control right now, either with Lurrus of the Dream-Den as your companion, or with The One Ring as your top end. I think they’re both good options but the Lurrus of the Dream-Den variants have been having more success recently, mainly since there’s still a lot of hate for The One Ring being run right now which is especially punishing in a control shell when you often have to go shields down for a turn to cast it.

This build from Mystmin has a nice mix of interaction between the maindeck and sideboard allowing you to pivot the deck depending on the matchup, and the archetype is quite flexible if you wanted to improve specific matchups as the metagame shifts.

Weaknesses: One of the drawbacks of being in black instead of white is that you have no way of answering resolved artifacts or enchantments meaning if you don’t have a counterspell to stop a powerful card such as Cabaretti Revels or Agatha's Soul Cauldron it’s likely to stick around for the rest of the game which is incredibly difficult to overcome.

Additionally, even though the deck runs a high density of counterspells, there are a number of decks that have a high density of threats that provide immediate value when they enter play such as Mono Green Devotion meaning that unless you happen to have a counterspell for each of their threats, your black removal is likely to be trading down since their threats provide 2 for 1 value.

When is it good to play? Dimir Control can be a good choice into any metagame if your list is well tuned for the decks your expecting to face – you can’t tune your list to beat everything but if you have a good idea of the decks you’re likely to face and make changes accordingly then the deck is a solid pick.

Izzet Wizards

Izzet Wizards by Ulf
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $172.8
Historic
best of 3
0 mythic
31 rare
18 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (15)
4
A-Symmetry Sage
$0.00
4
Soul-Scar Mage
$5.96
Instants (8)
4
Flame of Anor
$27.96
Sorceries (17)
3
Birthday Escape
$1.05
3
Reckless Charge
$1.05
4
Sleight of Hand
$1.40
Lands (20)
1
Island
$0.35
4
Fiery Islet
$7.96
4
Spirebluff Canal
$59.96
4
Steam Vents
$55.96
60 Cards
$250
Sideboard
4
Snapcaster Mage
$75.96
3
Rona’s Vortex
$1.05
2
Stern Scolding
$2.58
2
Molten Impact
$0.00
3
Alpine Moon
$7.47
15 Cards
$88.05

Decklist Updates: The main changes here are the addition of the ring tempts you spells like Birthday Escape and Ranger's Firebrand that make your creatures unblockable against bigger creatures which is very relevant right now against a deck like Mono Green Devotion. With the recent rise of Devotion and continued popularity of combo decks without much interaction such as Yawgmoth and Kethis, Wizards does seem relatively well positioned, however it’s still quite weak to the more interactive decks such as Jund Midrange and Dimir Control so its matchups can be quite polarized.

This is probably the fastest aggressive deck in the format right now that leverages cheap creatures, pump spells, and burn spells to force through a ton of damage often out of nowhere. This deck really punishes slower decks or decks that don鈥檛 have early removal, and it also has a decent ability to grind due to Dreadhorde Arcanist and card advantage spells like Expressive Iteration and Flame of Anor (especially since A-Symmetry Sage and Balmor, Battlemage Captain can boost the power of Dreadhorde Arcanist which allows it to recast more expensive spells like Expressive Iteration and Flame of Anor).

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: The deck is very weak to decks packing a lot of interaction since the deck grinds to a halt if the opponent is able to answer all of your creatures. This is especially problematic game 1 since it’s very easy for cards like Reckless Charge to get blown out by an instant-speed removal spell. Additionally since you’re reliant on red damage-based removal you can struggle to deal with bigger creatures such as Cavalier of Thorns and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse – the addition of Flame of Anor has helped with this a great deal against 5 toughness creatures though.

When is it good to play? Wizards is a great choice against less interactive decks like Devotion, Yawgmoth, and Kethis, but tends to struggle against decks packing more removal like Jund Midrange and Dimir Control.

Tier 2 Decks

Jund Midrange

Jund Midrange
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $1090.04
Historic
best of 3
12 mythic
39 rare
4 uncommon
5 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (12)
4
Orcish Bowmasters
$231.96
Instants (8)
4
Fatal Push
$9.16
Sorceries (8)
4
Thoughtseize
$59.96
Artifacts (4)
4
The One Ring
$259.96
Enchantments (4)
Lands (24)
1
Mountain
$0.35
1
Haunted Ridge
$8.99
4
Blooming Marsh
$33.96
4
Stomping Ground
$55.96
4
Overgrown Tomb
$63.96
4
Blood Crypt
$75.96
60 Cards
$1357.44
Sideboard
3
A-Haywire Mite
$0.00
3
Cut Down
$4.47
4
Duress
$1.40
3
Pithing Needle
$2.97
15 Cards
$9.54

This is your typical midrange deck full of generically powerful threats and interaction, and will pivot its game plan post-sideboard depending on the deck it鈥檚 up against. Discard spells give you good tools to fight the control and combo decks, and Jund colours give you access to great creature removal like Fatal Push and Go for the Throat to stabilise against the faster creature decks.

At the top end of the deck you have The One Ring which completely snowballs the game in your favor once it’s online, and works very well in the midrange shell since your early interaction helps pave the way for The One Ring to resolve, and then it can completely refuel you, drawing you into more interaction to deal with whatever the opponent happens to draw. The One Ring also pairs very well with Sheoldred, the Apocalypse (which is a strong card in its own right) by completely mitigating the life loss downside of The One Ring and swinging the life total race back in your favor.

Outside of that the deck has access to high quality threats such as Orcish Bowmasters, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, and Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion which are all very powerful standalone cards that are all capable of pulling you ahead, and then cementing your position in the game.

Rakdos Midrange is a viable alternative with a cleaner manabase and more utility lands, however I feel the quality of threats in that deck has decreased since the addition of Orcish Bowmasters which makes both Seasoned Pyromancer, and the recently nerfed Crucias, Titan of the Waves a lot worse, whereas Jund gets access to Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion and Abundant Harvest for added consistency and value, and cleaner answers to opposing The One Ring such as A-Haywire Mite

Weaknesses: Since these lists lean pretty heavily on discard spells in a lot of matchups, it鈥檚 naturally weak to the opponent top decking well. There are a lot of decks in the format that have cards that are great at recovering from behind like Expressive Iteration, The One Ring, Storm the Festival, etc., so even though it鈥檚 fairly easy to strip the opponent of their early resources, if you don鈥檛 apply pressure on board quickly enough, the opponent can often easily draw out of it.

Additionally, midrange decks have traditionally been decks that you can tune to beat anything, but can鈥檛 tune to beat everything, and in a format like Historic where every deck is so streamlined and efficient at what it鈥檚 doing, that can be really punishing if you queue into a matchup you weren鈥檛 expecting or prepared for with your suite of interaction, which can definitely be an issue especially if you鈥檙e playing on the ladder.

On top of that, there is still a decent amount of hate for The One Ringin the format meaning your top end card can be vulnerable, and the addition of Utopia Sprawl to Devotion makes that matchup a lot more difficult than it used to be too.

When is it good to play? Due to the nature of being a pure midrange deck, these lists are usually pretty good to play if you have a good understanding of the current top decks and tune your list accordingly. Since these lists have access to a lot of discard spells and threats that snowball advantage, you鈥檙e usually well positioned if Control or Combo is very popular, and you generally do well against decks that are weak to single-target removal like Auras or Wizards since the premium removal in these colors is largely single-target.

Gruul Goblins

Gruul Goblins by dtr
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $126.28
Historic
best of 3
0 mythic
33 rare
12 uncommon
15 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Enchantments (5)
60 Cards
$161.05
15 Cards
$28.59

This is a creature-based combo deck that is built to take full advantage of Cabaretti Revels, often being able to set up lethal if it ever gets to untap with it. The main cards that really enable the combo turns with Cabaretti Revels are Skirk Prospector and Rundvelt Hordemaster alongside the cost reducers in Goblin Anarchomancer and Goblin Warchief. As you reduce the cost of your goblins sacrificing them to Skirk Prospector becomes mana positive, and sacrificing your goblins with Rundvelt Hordemaster in play provides you card advantage to continue churning through your deck and swarming the board with Cabaretti Revels continuously putting more creatures into play.

Cards like Goblin Matron can find you any piece your missing or can just be used to search for more copies of Goblin Matron to keep getting additional creatures in play off Cabaretti Revels, and then once you’ve built up a huge board you can close the game out by giving everything haste with Goblin Warchief, or dealing direct damage with Pashalik Mons. Since Cabaretti Revels seeks cheaper creatures it’s also very consistent at finding its key card in Skirk Prospector since it accounts for four out of the six 1 drops in the deck.

Even without Cabaretti Revels the deck is capable of playing a strong aggressive beatdown plan, and you can still often have combo turns without needing Cabaretti Revels with the right sequence of draws.

Weaknesses: Since this is a very high synergy deck there’s no room for interaction in the maindeck outside of Pashalik Mons, and you can’t afford to board in that much without diluting your synergies so matchups against fast linear decks that demand interaction like Izzet Wizards can be difficult.

Even though you do have some good sideboard options such as Squee, Dubious Monarch and Goblin Ringleader, the Dimir Control matchup can also be tricky since you’re quite soft to sweepers in a lot of spots, and cards like Cabaretti Revels and Goblin Influx Array are weak to counterspells.

Additionally even though the deck is very capable of winning without Cabaretti Revels, the power of the deck when you have it is much higher than when you don’t which can lead to fairly disparate quality of your opening hands.

When is it good to play? Gruul Goblins has an advantage over the other creature-based combo decks right now in that it can more easily play through creature removal due to the power of Cabaretti Revels, meaning it should be a good choice as long as linear decks that demand interaction like Izzet Wizards aren’t that popular.

Dimir Ninjas

Dimir Ninjas by Crokeyz
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $418.5
Historic
best of 3
1 mythic
33 rare
8 uncommon
18 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (7)
4
Fatal Push
$9.16
3
Spell Pierce
$1.47
Sorceries (1)
Artifacts (4)
60 Cards
$494.62
15 Cards
$37.45

Decklist Updates: This version of the deck by Crokeyz is going much more low to the ground and ditching cards like Ingenious Infiltrator in favor of running Lurrus of the Dream-Den as its companion.

This is a tempo deck that is looking to leverage powerful Ninjitsu cards like A-Moon-Circuit Hacker and A-Silver-Fur Master whilst also having access to disruptive cards like Fatal Push and Spell Pierce in order to go underneath the opponent and kill them before they can establish their game plan. Retrofitter Foundry is also great here since it can produce bodies to help you Ninjitsu, and is also able to produce big 4/4s in the first few turns by sacrificing Ornithopter and Changeling Outcast (which counts as a Thopter because of its changeling ability.)

This is a deck that is capable of some insanely fast starts and can snowball advantage very quickly, while Retrofitter Foundry also provides a way for you to grind if the game does go longer. The combination of unblockable and flying creatures makes it easy for Ninjas to pull off Ninjitsu abilities whilst also making it easy to force through the final points of damage needed to win. Cheap counterspells and removal with a tempo-based gameplan is solid against a number of top decks right now such as Devotion and Control, and the cheap interaction also lines up well against decks like Izzet Wizards as well.

Weaknesses: Like most tempo decks, this is weak to other very low to the ground creature decks such as Yawgmoth that is capable of casting multiple cheap spells per turn which can outscale your removal and counterspells, and is also vulnerable to decks with a lot of early single-target removal like Jund Midrange which can prevent you from setting up early Ninjutsu triggers. Having said that, Retrofitter Foundry is generally more difficult for those interactive decks to deal with (and is very strong at grinding in those matchups), and you鈥檙e still capable of beating go-wide aggressive decks if you have a fast start, especially going first.

Additionally getting off to a fast start and having your early interaction line up well is paramount to the success of the deck, so losing the die roll is more problematic for Ninjas than a number of other decks.

When is it good to play? This will be a good choice if there aren鈥檛 too many low to the ground creature decks in the format, since it really wants to take advantage of slower decks by repeatedly generating card advantage or applying pressure, and holding up protection for it鈥檚 board state.

Izzet Creativity

Izzet Creativity
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $272.64
Historic
best of 3
5 mythic
30 rare
5 uncommon
20 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (2)
1
Griselbrand
$0.79
Instants (20)
4
Fiery Impulse
$1.56
4
Make Disappear
$3.96
4
Volcanic Spite
$1.40
2
Flame of Anor
$13.98
2
Big Score
$4.58
Sorceries (8)
4
Hard Evidence
$1.40
Enchantments (4)
Lands (26)
2
Mountain
$0.70
2
Shivan Reef
$3.58
3
Mutavault
$28.47
4
Spirebluff Canal
$59.96
4
Steam Vents
$55.96
60 Cards
$349.15
15 Cards
$78.37

This is a control combo deck that is looking to get two artifact or creature tokens into play, and then cast Indomitable Creativity for x=2 in order to cheat both Griselbrand and A-Queza, Augur of Agonies into play, which can then win you the game by repeatedly activating Griselbrand to draw 7 cards and drain the opponent for 7 until you deal lethal damage. The deck runs early removal and counterspells in order to stabilize and buy time to set up the combo, and then has multiple token generators to enable Indomitable Creativity like Hard Evidence, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Big Score and Mutavault and Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance in the manabase.

You also have access to multiple ways to put your Creativity targets back in the deck if you happen to draw them such as Seek New Knowledge and Volcanic Spite, and post-sideboard you can pivot into Serra's Emissary against the aggro decks so you can often win with x=1.

Big Score was originally a big part of the deck since it produces two treasures and is good at digging for your fifth land or Indomitable Creativity if you don鈥檛 have it, so can often single-handedly set up for the turn 5 win, however with the addition of Orcish Bowmasters it’s generally much riskier so I’ve cut down to 2 to make room for Flame of Anor which can importantly answer Sheoldred, the Apocalypse as well as being able to pick 2 modes when Mutavault is animated.

Weaknesses: Discard spell heavy decks such as Rakdos or Jund Midrange are tough matchups since cards like Thoughtseize can remove your relevant interaction or key combo pieces to clear the way for their top end like The One Ring or Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, leaving you at the mercy of the top of your deck early on. Additionally more focused control decks like Dimir will generally have more interactive tools than you so that’s another deck where it’s very difficult to resolve your combo.

When is it good to play? Creativity is generally good against linear decks that aren’t disruptive such as Devotion and Yawgmoth, but tends to struggle more against interactive decks running discard spells and counterspells like Jund Midrange and Dimir Control.

Rakdos Sacrifice

Rakdos Anvil Bombardment
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $374.77
Historic
best of 3
0 mythic
32 rare
16 uncommon
12 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Creatures (8)
4
Orcish Bowmasters
$231.96
Instants (8)
4
Fatal Push
$9.16
4
Shrapnel Blast
$1.56
Sorceries (4)
Artifacts (14)
4
Chromatic Star
$1.40
2
Terrarion
$0.70
4
Oni-Cult Anvil
$1.56
Enchantments (4)
60 Cards
$413.56
Sideboard
2
Pile On
$0.98
4
Thoughtseize
$59.96
2
Duress
$0.70
3
Pithing Needle
$2.97
15 Cards
$67.15

This is a new sacrifice deck that is largely enabled by the addition of Goblin Bombardment from Wilds of Eldraine. This is a very high-synergy sacrifice deck that runs a lot of cheap artifacts to enable Oni-Cult Anvil, Shrapnel Blast, and Gleeful Demolition. Goblin Bombardment gives the deck both great interaction against creatures as well as very good reach in the mid-lategame allowing you to deal the final points of damage by sacrificing your board of small creatures.

Oni-Cult Anvil and Gleeful Demolition supplies a steady stream of tokens which you can use with Goblin Bombardment, and it works very nicely with Orcish Bowmasters as well enabling you to make great use of the orc tokens. In addition to Goblin Bombardment you also have Fatal Push as very efficient interaction which is great against the other creature decks, and Shrapnel Blast which is important as being another way you can kill bigger creatures like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse as well as being able to go face to close out games too.

All of the artifact enablers replace themselves to keep the cards flowing, and you get access to Lurrus of the Dream-Den to recycle them which provides great insurance against both flood and early interaction.

Weaknesses: Since the deck often needs a few turns to get its wheels turning and its engines online you can often be too slow against certain combo decks, plus Karn, the Great Creator from Devotion can be an issue too since you’re pretty heavily built around artifact synergies. Additionally since the deck is very high synergy you’re having to run a number of individually low powered cards like Wizard's Rockets which means you can sometimes be left with a bunch of 1 mana cycling artifacts if the opponent uses discard spells or counterspells on your key engine cards.

When is it good to play? This will be a great choice if creature-based decks make up the majority of the format, however it is generally weaker against combo, especially non-creature combo like Creativity, and will really struggle if cards like Divine Purge start seeing play again.

Tier 3 Decks

Gates

Gates by Kplers84
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $169.35
Historic
best of 3
7 mythic
13 rare
18 uncommon
22 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

This is a 3 or 4 color ramp deck built around gates synergies. Even though the gates entering tapped is a massive drawback especially in a format as fast as Historic, it does give you access to powerful payoffs such as Baldur's Gate which is a land that can produce a ton of mana, Maze's End which is a win condition that’s difficult to interact with, and Gates Ablaze which is a very efficient sweeper for 3 mana.

Even though some builds are running Yorion, Sky Nomad as a companion, you have a number of cards that can search for your big payoff in Baldur's Gate via Circuitous Route and Open the Gates, which then enables you to ramp into your big top end cards like Primeval Titan and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger more consistently. Primeval Titan is the real powerhouse in this deck which is a very scary standalone threat that’s hard to deal with, good at stabilizing since it’s a big creature and it can fetch Plaza of Harmony to gain you some life, and it’s great at fetching Baldur's Gate, Maze's End, and the requisite gates to meet the Maze's End win condition.

Additionally it can fetch Blast Zone which is great as extra interaction particularly against Pithing Needle which is one of the few ways of stopping Maze's End. Even though the deck does usually play from behind due to the high number of tapped lands, you do have good early ramp in the form of Arboreal Grazer, Kami of Bamboo Groves, and Elvish Rejuvenator, as well as sweepers to stabilize such as Gates Ablaze and Farewell.

Weaknesses: The majority of your lands entering tapped does mean the deck is playing from behind from the get-go, especially if you’re on the draw. Even though you do have access to good sweepers particularly post-sideboard this makes you vulnerable to fast aggressive decks like Izzet Wizards, and especially weak to creature decks that leverage discard spells and counterspells like Dimir Ninjas.

Additionally the sweepers do mean you have a reasonable gameplan against creature-based combo decks, but non-creature combo decks such as Creativity or Belcher are problematic, and even the creature-based combo decks like Kethis can be tricky if you don’t find your hate cards which can be hard to do in an 80 card deck.

When is it good to play? Gates is generally good against slower decks like Midrange or Control who struggle to interact with your lands. Additionally you can definitely beat creature strategies because of your sweepers but the very fast aggressive decks like Izzet Wizards that can force through a lot of damage quickly and also have good reach can be hard too if you don’t find a Gates Ablaze on curve of some Plaza of Harmony to gain some life.

Bant Hammertime

Bant Hammertime
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $182.92
Historic
best of 3
4 mythic
39 rare
16 uncommon
1 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Creatures (21)
4
Ornithopter
$1.40
4
Giver of Runes
$33.96
Artifacts (14)
4
Colossus Hammer
$11.96
2
Shadowspear
$45.98
Enchantments (4)
4
Sigarda’s Aid
$35.96
Lands (21)
1
Plains
$0.35
4
Seachrome Coast
$13.96
4
Mana Confluence
$159.96
2
Breeding Pool
$41.98
3
Temple Garden
$44.97
60 Cards
$515.24
15 Cards
$11.51

Decklist Updates: With the addition of Orcish Bowmasters, Esper Sentinel has become a lot worse, however we’ve recently got a very good replacement in Giver of Runes which is great at both protecting our equipped creature, and helping it attack through chump blockers.

This is an incredibly fast aggro combo deck that is capable of killing on turn 2 or 3 fairly consistently off the back of Colossus Hammer and Belt of Giant Strength. The general gameplan of the deck is to get an early creature equipped with one of these powerful equipment using equip cost reducers like Sigarda's Aid, Kemba's Outfitter, and Kemba, Kha Enduring and force through a huge amount of damage in the first few turns.

Invisible Stalker is particularly hard for more interactive decks to deal with and can force lethal through even if the opponent has blockers in play, and you have Ornithopter as another creature that is great to equip early, and pairs nicely with Retrofitter Foundry to make 4/4s as an alternate way to apply pressure. You also have a number of ways to grind into longer games such as The Reality Chip (which pairs really nicely with the equip cost reducers), Lurrus of the Dream-Den, and Retrofitter Foundry.

Weaknesses: Since the majority of the power in the deck lies in the equipment, artifact removal is very strong against you, particularly mass artifact removal like Brotherhood's End. Thankfully you do have access to Lurrus of the Dream-Den as a way to recover but early artifact removal often slows you down a lot. Additionally creature removal can slow you down to buy the opponent time to get a foothold in the game, but you do have more counterplay to this like Invisible Stalker and protection like Loran's Escape.

Finally discard spells can be an issue too since you do play quite like a combo deck so the opponent removing either your equipment or the equip enabler can leave you stranded without anything powerful to do, and it’s also weak to A-Haywire Mite which is seeing quite a lot of play right now as an answer to The One Ring.

When is it good to play? This is generally a good deck to play when discard spells and artifact removal aren’t that popular.

Mardu Reanimator

Mardu Reanimator by duckmalo
by Vertyx
Buy on TCGplayer $488.82
Historic
best of 3
7 mythic
35 rare
8 uncommon
10 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Instants (4)
4
Fatal Push
$9.16
Sorceries (8)
4
Thoughtseize
$59.96
4
Unburial Rites
$1.40
Enchantments (4)
Lands (18)
1
Mountain
$0.35
2
Swamp
$0.70
3
Sacred Foundry
$56.97
1
Savai Triome
$19.99
2
Godless Shrine
$29.98
3
Blood Crypt
$56.97
60 Cards
$673.87
15 Cards
$27.45

Decklist Updates: The new land cyclers in Oliphaunt and Troll of Khazad-d没m are great additions to the archetype as cards that fix your mana and are reasonable targets to reanimate as well.

This is a midrange combo deck that is looking to reanimate big creatures like Atraxa, Grand Unifier and Serra's Emissary as early as turn 3 off cards like Priest of Fell Rites and Unburial Rites. The deck also runs a lot of interaction and midrange staples (that also happen to be discard outlets to enable your reanimator plan) like Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Crucias, Titan of the Waves, and Orcish Bowmasters, meaning the deck is very capable of playing a fair gameplan and grinding into longer games too.

Having access to Jegantha, the Wellspring as the companion and treasures off Crucias, Titan of the Waves and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker enables you to potentially hardcast Atraxa, Grand Unifier so you’ can’re able to cast your top end threats even if the opponent has graveyard hate.

Weaknesses: As a reanimator deck you’re naturally weak to graveyard hate, and although you do have answers like Fragment Reality, it still shuts off your fastest starts which can allow other decks to race you before you can play your top end threats. Additionally combo decks like Yawgmoth and Kethis go bigger than you since they can win on the spot whereas your reanimation targets don’t so you need your interaction to line up well in order to win those matchups.

When is it good to play? Mardu Reanimator will typically be a good choice when the format is largely comprised of fair decks and there aren’t as many combo decks present.

Simic Merfolk

Simir Ring Merfolk by Quillcy
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $504.48
Historic
best of 3
7 mythic
30 rare
17 uncommon
6 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
Sorceries (2)
Artifacts (4)
4
The One Ring
$259.96
Enchantments (5)
4
Utopia Sprawl
$1.96
Lands (19)
1
Forest
$0.35
2
Island
$0.70
3
Mutavault
$28.47
1
Field of Ruin
$0.35
4
Breeding Pool
$83.96
1
Ketria Triome
$13.99
60 Cards
$587.41
15 Cards
$27.63

Decklist Updates: This new version of Merfolk by Quillcy gives the deck a new angle of attack since it can combo off by untapping The One Ring with Merrow Reejerey to draw more cards, as well as untapping a land equipped with Utopia Sprawl in order to keep producing mana to play more merfolk which then triggers Merrow Reejerey to untap The One Ring and the land repeatedly etc. This will often allow you to draw through your whole deck and then win with Jace, Wielder of Mysteries.

Merfolk is an aggressive tribal deck that is looking to leverage a high number of 鈥榣ord鈥 effects to put a lot of power into play fast, as well as having disruptive elements like Merrow Reejerey, Brazen Borrower, and Spell Pierce to win on tempo. This deck is all about tempo and is especially well positioned against slower decks like Control, non-creature based Combo, or bigger Midrange decks that often need to spin their wheels in order to set up.

In addition to the high number of ‘lords’ which can present a very fast clock, the deck has access to a lot of instant-speed flash threats that can often blow the opponent out if they鈥檙e not careful. It鈥檚 typically weakest against opposing creature-heavy decks, but Savage Swipe, Brazen Borrower, Merrow Reejerey, and Merfolk Trickster (not to mention the extra power the lords can put into play), gives the deck decent tools to help in those matchups too.

Even outside of the combo, the addition of The One Ring in Quillcy’s list also gives the deck another good way to grind into longer games alongside Svyelun of Sea and Sky.

Weaknesses: This deck struggles the most against other creatures decks that tend to go bigger and is generally forced to race against other creature-based combo decks such as Yawgmoth and Kethis due to not having that much interaction which can be tricky on the draw. Additionally it can struggle against other tempo decks with more interaction like Izzet Wizards, and it’s vulnerable to Orcish Bowmasters not only because of some 1 toughness creatures, but also because of The One Ring and Svyelun of Sea and Sky drawing cards.

When is it good to play? Merfolk is at its best when there are fewer go-wide creature decks since it preys on the slower decks with its tempo game plan. The new combo with The One Ring also enables it to race against other combo decks but it does make the deck more vulnerable to Orcish Bowmasters too.

Azorius Affinity

UW Metatect Artifact Aggro
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $266.12
Historic
best of 3
0 mythic
31 rare
24 uncommon
5 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Creatures (22)
4
Ornithopter
$1.40
4
Esper Sentinel
$139.96
4
Vault Skirge
$2.36
4
Ingenious Smith
$1.40
Artifacts (12)
4
Portable Hole
$3.96
Enchantments (8)
4
Ensoul Artifact
$2.36
Lands (18)
1
Plains
$0.35
4
Adarkar Wastes
$27.96
4
Seachrome Coast
$13.96
60 Cards
$352.72
Sideboard
4
Hushbringer
$3.96
4
Metallic Rebuke
$1.56
4
Glass Casket
$1.40
15 Cards
$9.25

This is an artifact synergy deck that is capable of closing games out very quickly and can grind well into longer games which is a very potent combanation.

You can force through a lot of damage early off the back of cards like Ensoul ArtifactMichiko’s Reign of Truth, and Retrofitter Foundry if you have it alongside an early Ornithopter or Hope of Ghirapur to make a 4/4 on turn 1 or 2. Additionally, you have decent interaction in the form of Portable Hole, and Glass Casket & Metallic Rebuke post-sideboard, plus Esper Sentinel which provides early disruption against interactive decks.

You also have a lot of tools to grind into longer games too like Lurrus of the Dream-DenRetrofitter Foundry, and Innovative Metatect (which is capable of snowballing the game very quickly if you can connect to seek on turn 2). The deck also has a lot of A+B synergies (eg. Retrofitter Foundry + OrnithopterEnsoul Artifact + Darksteel CitadelInnovative Metatect + flying Artifact creature) and Ingenious Smith is great at assembling these synergies whilst also growing as a threat itself.

Weaknesses: The biggest weakness of Affinity is that it鈥檚 incredibly vulnerable to mass artifact removal like Divine Purge, and Brotherhood's End. These aren’t that popular right now thankfully but there is a lot of cheap single-target artifact removal seeing play like A-Haywire Mite which can still be problematic.

Additionally with the big rise of creature-based combo decks in the format recently, Affinity might struggle to race through the chump blockers that these decks can produce, and this deck doesn’t have great ways to stop them outside of Pithing Needle or graveyard which the combo decks will likely be prepared for post-sideboard.

When is it good to play? Affinity is generally a good choice to play when there’s not much mass artifact removal, and not as much creature-based combo decks that are good at producing early chump blockers.

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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: 119