MTG Arena Zone Premium
MTG Arena Zone Premium

Explorer Metagame

Explore the best decks in the metagame for Explorer, for both Best of One (Bo1) and Best of Three (Bo3). Our metagame data is provided by MTGArena.pro (for MTG Arena) and MTG Meta (tournaments), and the tier list and rankings are carefully curated based on a variety of factors and sources by our expert players. Data being collected for The Brothers' War(BRO).

Metagame Matchup Matrix

explorer
07 Jun 2022 - 08 Dec 2022
scroll right
Powered by
win
rate
vs
other
vs
rakdos midrange
vs
mono red aggro
vs
azorius control
vs
rakdos sacrifice
vs
Mono Green Aggro
vs
mono blue spirits
vs
jund sacrifice
vs
Humans
vs
Angels
vs
izzet control
vs
esper control
vs
esper greasefang
vs
mardu greasefang
vs
jeskai control
vs
jeskai fires
other
42.04% metagame
439 matches
global 41.0% [36.5%-45.7%]
-
30.6%
98 matches
46.0%
50 matches
38.9%
36 matches
33.3%
24 matches
51.9%
27 matches
38.1%
21 matches
45.8%
24 matches
27.8%
18 matches
35.7%
14 matches
45.0%
20 matches
61.5%
13 matches
12.5%
8 matches
33.3%
12 matches
40.0%
10 matches
60.0%
5 matches
other
42.04% metagame
439 matches
global 41.0% [36.5%-45.7%]
rakdos midrange
13.27% metagame
489 matches
global 58.3% [53.9%-62.6%]
69.4%
98 matches
-
64.7%
51 matches
61.5%
52 matches
27.5%
40 matches
43.8%
32 matches
62.1%
29 matches
44.2%
43 matches
50.0%
18 matches
57.7%
26 matches
73.3%
15 matches
53.8%
13 matches
72.7%
11 matches
100.0%
7 matches
50.0%
6 matches
42.9%
7 matches
rakdos midrange
13.27% metagame
489 matches
global 58.3% [53.9%-62.6%]
mono red aggro
6.35% metagame
258 matches
global 46.5% [40.5%-52.6%]
54.0%
50 matches
35.3%
51 matches
-
64.3%
28 matches
35.3%
17 matches
26.3%
19 matches
54.5%
11 matches
33.3%
9 matches
50.0%
6 matches
44.4%
9 matches
62.5%
8 matches
20.0%
10 matches
62.5%
8 matches
100.0%
3 matches
25.0%
4 matches
100.0%
3 matches
mono red aggro
6.35% metagame
258 matches
global 46.5% [40.5%-52.6%]
azorius control
5.73% metagame
237 matches
global 50.6% [44.3%-56.9%]
61.1%
36 matches
38.5%
52 matches
35.7%
28 matches
-
53.8%
13 matches
41.7%
12 matches
45.5%
11 matches
53.8%
13 matches
40.0%
5 matches
50.0%
8 matches
44.4%
9 matches
80.0%
10 matches
60.0%
5 matches
100.0%
4 matches
66.7%
6 matches
100.0%
1 matches
azorius control
5.73% metagame
237 matches
global 50.6% [44.3%-56.9%]
rakdos sacrifice
4.05% metagame
152 matches
global 58.6% [50.6%-66.1%]
66.7%
24 matches
72.5%
40 matches
64.7%
17 matches
46.2%
13 matches
-
50.0%
8 matches
62.5%
8 matches
20.0%
10 matches
33.3%
6 matches
62.5%
8 matches
50.0%
2 matches
-
50.0%
2 matches
33.3%
3 matches
50.0%
2 matches
-
rakdos sacrifice
4.05% metagame
152 matches
global 58.6% [50.6%-66.1%]
Mono Green Aggro
3.28% metagame
154 matches
global 52.6% [44.7%-60.3%]
48.1%
27 matches
56.3%
32 matches
73.7%
19 matches
58.3%
12 matches
50.0%
8 matches
-
57.1%
7 matches
55.6%
9 matches
33.3%
12 matches
0.0%
4 matches
100.0%
1 matches
50.0%
2 matches
0.0%
1 matches
50.0%
2 matches
100.0%
1 matches
0.0%
1 matches
Mono Green Aggro
3.28% metagame
154 matches
global 52.6% [44.7%-60.3%]
mono blue spirits
3.07% metagame
125 matches
global 50.4% [41.8%-59%]
61.9%
21 matches
37.9%
29 matches
45.5%
11 matches
54.5%
11 matches
37.5%
8 matches
42.9%
7 matches
-
0.0%
2 matches
83.3%
6 matches
16.7%
6 matches
50.0%
2 matches
100.0%
4 matches
0.0%
2 matches
66.7%
3 matches
33.3%
3 matches
100.0%
3 matches
mono blue spirits
3.07% metagame
125 matches
global 50.4% [41.8%-59%]
jund sacrifice
2.93% metagame
155 matches
global 56.8% [48.9%-64.3%]
54.2%
24 matches
55.8%
43 matches
66.7%
9 matches
46.2%
13 matches
80.0%
10 matches
44.4%
9 matches
100.0%
2 matches
-
50.0%
8 matches
60.0%
5 matches
50.0%
2 matches
66.7%
3 matches
66.7%
3 matches
33.3%
6 matches
66.7%
3 matches
0.0%
1 matches
jund sacrifice
2.93% metagame
155 matches
global 56.8% [48.9%-64.3%]
Humans
2.37% metagame
126 matches
global 58.7% [50%-66.9%]
72.2%
18 matches
50.0%
18 matches
50.0%
6 matches
60.0%
5 matches
66.7%
6 matches
66.7%
12 matches
16.7%
6 matches
50.0%
8 matches
-
45.5%
11 matches
25.0%
4 matches
100.0%
2 matches
100.0%
1 matches
-
33.3%
3 matches
50.0%
6 matches
Humans
2.37% metagame
126 matches
global 58.7% [50%-66.9%]
Angels
2.03% metagame
109 matches
global 56.9% [47.5%-65.8%]
64.3%
14 matches
42.3%
26 matches
55.6%
9 matches
50.0%
8 matches
37.5%
8 matches
100.0%
4 matches
83.3%
6 matches
40.0%
5 matches
54.5%
11 matches
-
50.0%
2 matches
100.0%
1 matches
50.0%
4 matches
-
-
100.0%
1 matches
Angels
2.03% metagame
109 matches
global 56.9% [47.5%-65.8%]
izzet control
1.82% metagame
82 matches
global 47.6% [37.1%-58.2%]
55.0%
20 matches
26.7%
15 matches
37.5%
8 matches
55.6%
9 matches
50.0%
2 matches
0.0%
1 matches
50.0%
2 matches
50.0%
2 matches
75.0%
4 matches
50.0%
2 matches
-
-
-
33.3%
3 matches
-
100.0%
2 matches
izzet control
1.82% metagame
82 matches
global 47.6% [37.1%-58.2%]
esper control
1.47% metagame
67 matches
global 38.8% [28%-50.8%]
38.5%
13 matches
46.2%
13 matches
80.0%
10 matches
20.0%
10 matches
-
50.0%
2 matches
0.0%
4 matches
33.3%
3 matches
0.0%
2 matches
0.0%
1 matches
-
-
50.0%
4 matches
-
0.0%
1 matches
-
esper control
1.47% metagame
67 matches
global 38.8% [28%-50.8%]
esper greasefang
1.12% metagame
50 matches
global 50.0% [36.6%-63.4%]
87.5%
8 matches
27.3%
11 matches
37.5%
8 matches
40.0%
5 matches
50.0%
2 matches
100.0%
1 matches
100.0%
2 matches
33.3%
3 matches
0.0%
1 matches
50.0%
4 matches
-
50.0%
4 matches
-
-
-
-
esper greasefang
1.12% metagame
50 matches
global 50.0% [36.6%-63.4%]
mardu greasefang
0.91% metagame
48 matches
global 41.7% [28.8%-55.7%]
66.7%
12 matches
0.0%
7 matches
0.0%
3 matches
0.0%
4 matches
66.7%
3 matches
50.0%
2 matches
33.3%
3 matches
66.7%
6 matches
-
-
66.7%
3 matches
-
-
-
100.0%
1 matches
-
mardu greasefang
0.91% metagame
48 matches
global 41.7% [28.8%-55.7%]
jeskai control
0.84% metagame
45 matches
global 51.1% [37%-65%]
60.0%
10 matches
50.0%
6 matches
75.0%
4 matches
33.3%
6 matches
50.0%
2 matches
0.0%
1 matches
66.7%
3 matches
33.3%
3 matches
66.7%
3 matches
-
-
100.0%
1 matches
-
0.0%
1 matches
-
-
jeskai control
0.84% metagame
45 matches
global 51.1% [37%-65%]
jeskai fires
0.56% metagame
34 matches
global 41.2% [26.4%-57.8%]
40.0%
5 matches
57.1%
7 matches
0.0%
3 matches
0.0%
1 matches
-
100.0%
1 matches
0.0%
3 matches
100.0%
1 matches
50.0%
6 matches
0.0%
1 matches
0.0%
2 matches
-
-
-
-
-
jeskai fires
0.56% metagame
34 matches
global 41.2% [26.4%-57.8%]
vs
other
vs
rakdos midrange
vs
mono red aggro
vs
azorius control
vs
rakdos sacrifice
vs
Mono Green Aggro
vs
mono blue spirits
vs
jund sacrifice
vs
Humans
vs
Angels
vs
izzet control
vs
esper control
vs
esper greasefang
vs
mardu greasefang
vs
jeskai control
vs
jeskai fires

Explorer Best of One (Bo1) Metagame Tier List

Introduction

Discover the best Magic: The Gathering Arena Explorer decks and archetypes that the players are using to climb the ranked ladder and win tournaments. Our MTG Arena Best of One (Bo1) Explorer metagame regularly reviews and ranks the top decks in a tier list, as we also follow up with our comprehensive analysis and review from data available. Updated 10/20/2022

Tier 1 Decks

The best of the best. The most consistent decks that sport the highest win rates and generally, the highest play rates.

Tier 2 Decks

Very solid decks that are slightly lacking in some capacity, whether it’s consistency or power compared to the Tier 1 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 meta.

Tier 3 Decks

Either these decks are poorly positioned or have a lot of power and consistency issues. These are decks that see play, but are generally worse choices than your other options.

Tier 4 Decks

Off-meta or archived decks that are not currently in the rankings. We may also have coverage on them, as going against the meta is always a fun challenge!

TierDeck Name
Tier 1Mono Blue Spirits
Tier 1Abzan Greasefang
Tier 1Mono Red Aggro
Tier 1Selesnya Angels
Tier 2Mono Green Stompy
Tier 2Mono Green Elves
Tier 2Rakdos Sacrifice
Tier 2Azorius Control
Tier 3Rakdos Midrange
Tier 3Temur Ignus

Tier 1:

Mono Blue Spirits:

Bo1 Mono Blue Spirits
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $70.43
Explorer
best of 1
2 mythic
24 rare
13 uncommon
21 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (25)
3
Spectral Sailor
$1.05
4
Rattlechains
$1.40
4
Supreme Phantom
$2.76
4
Shacklegeist
$1.40
2
Brazen Borrower
$25.98
Instants (6)
2
Lofty Denial
$0.50
Enchantments (6)
2
Combat Research
$0.70
Lands (23)
3
Faceless Haven
$1.05
60 Cards
$121.18

This is a tempo deck that is capable of some very fast aggressive starts and also has good disruption in the form of counterspells, bounce spells, and the ability to tap down the opponent’s creatures. The Spirits tribal theme gives the deck access to strong creatures that also pack disruptive abilities like Mausoleum Wanderer that can counter non-creature spells, Rattlechains which can protect your other creatures from removal and then allow you to play almost entirely at instant-speed, and Shacklegeist that can tap down opposing creatures.

Creature heavy draws alongside Supreme Phantom enable some very fast starts that are even capable of outracing other aggro decks, but other draws with fewer creatures allow you to play games where you suit up a single creature with a Curious Obsession or Combat Research, protect it with counterspells or protection spells like Slip Out the Back, and then win on card advantage.

Weaknesses: Like a lot of tempo decks, Spirits can struggle against very fast low to the ground aggressive decks, since it generally prefers to play against slower decks where it can leverage counterspells and bounce spells to prevent the opponent from stabilizing. It can also struggle against decks with a lot of cheap interaction like Fatal Push, especially with hands where you’re trying to suit up a single creature with Curious Obsession.

When is it good to play? As long as the format isn’t completely overrun by very low to the ground aggressive decks then Spirits is a great choice, since it’s great against slower decks, and is very capable of outracing faster decks too due to the high amount of flying threats, and creature disruption like Brazen Borrower and Shacklegeist which can slow down the opponent.

Abzan Greasefang:

Bo1 Abzan Greasefang
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $454.46
Explorer
best of 1
4 mythic
43 rare
4 uncommon
9 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (4)
Creatures (12)
Instants (4)
4
Grisly Salvage
$1.00
Sorceries (12)
4
Thoughtseize
$67.96
Artifacts (8)
4
Parhelion II
$5.96
Lands (20)
1
Swamp
$0.25
4
Blooming Marsh
$31.96
4
Temple Garden
$55.96
1
Godless Shrine
$12.99
2
Overgrown Tomb
$25.98
60 Cards
$437.84

This is a combo deck that is trying to pitch a vehicle into the graveyard, and then bring it back with haste using Greasefang, Okiba Boss as early as turn three! This is especially powerful in Best of 1 since the two main ways of stopping the combo (graveyard hate and instant-speed creature removal) are both much less common in Best of 1 which increases your odds of being able to combo off.

The deck can set up vehicles in the graveyard very consistently using mill spells like Grisly Salvage and Stitcher's Supplier, or discarded from your hand with cards like Liliana of the Veil and Raffine's Informant. With graveyard hate being less common in Best of 1, the mill spells are even more potent since the deck runs four Can't Stay Away which also allows you to reanimate Greasefang, Okiba Boss if you mill it over, so it’s very easy to find both parts of your combo. Even if the opponent is able to stop the combo or you take a little longer to find Greasefang, Okiba Boss, the deck is still capable of playing a reasonable fair game off the back of cards like Liliana of the Veil and Esika's Chariot too.

Weaknesses: The combo is weak to graveyard hate and insant-speed interaction, so if the opponent has either of those, you’re often forced to rely on your ‘fair’ game plan which won’t be good enough in certain matchups. Additionally, most of the Best of 1 Greasefang, Okiba Boss lists are very focused on setting up the combo and don’t tend to run much interaction themselves outside of Thoughtseize, so if you’re against a fast aggressive deck, and you have a slower start, or the opponent has a way to stop your combo then you can sometimes get overrun.

When is it good to play? Abzan Greasefang is generally a great choice in most situations in Best of 1 since your linear game plan is so strong and the deck has a good amount of resilience too. Having said that, it can be risky if people start running more graveyard hate or instant-speed interaction since that will shut off the most powerful part of your deck.

Mono Red Aggro:

Bo1 Mono Red Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $92.72
Explorer
best of 1
8 mythic
16 rare
16 uncommon
20 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Artifacts (4)
4
Embercleave
$33.96
Enchantments (4)
Lands (24)
14
Mountain
$3.50
2
Castle Embereth
$0.70
4
Ramunap Ruins
$2.76
60 Cards
$107.16

This is a very pure aggro deck that is trying to commit creatures to the board as fast as possible to close the game out before the opponent has a chance to stabilize. The deck is capable of some very fast starts since it runs a lot of haste creatures and cards like Burning-Tree Emissary really help you to flood the board quickly.

Embercleave and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell also allow you to force lethal damage through even if the opponent has stabilized against you, especially if you can equip Embercleave to Anax, Hardened in the Forge. The deck also has access to decent reach in the late game because it has elements of burn like Ramunap Ruins, Bonecrusher Giant, Kumano Faces Kakkazan, etc. so it’s very difficult to completely stabilize against this deck unless the opponent has a decent amount of incidental life gain.

Weaknesses: The deck is very one dimensional which means it’s fairly easy to stop if you’re running a deck with a lot of interaction or sweepers like Azorius Control. It doesn’t have great ways to stop other linear decks that are attacking from a different angle either like Abzan Greasefang (that is very capable of outracing you if they get the combo off early), and doesn’t have great ways to beat a deck like Selesnya Angels that is essentially built to take advantage of aggro decks like Mono Red (although you could main deck Rampaging Ferocidon as a way to improve that matchup).

When is it good to play? Mono Red is a very generically strong deck, especially when it’s on the play, so it’s generally a good choice as long as its tougher matchups like Selesnya Angels or Rakdos Sacrifice don’t account for a big portion of the metagame.

Selesnya Angels:

Bo1 Selesnya Angels
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $368.59
Explorer
best of 1
5 mythic
39 rare
4 uncommon
12 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
Instants (4)
60 Cards
$470.82

This is a tribal deck built around life gain synergies that has a lot of flying creatures and creatures with high toughness that are solid blockers. Packing creatures that are great on defense alongside a ton of life gain makes this naturally very well positioned against aggro decks which make up a big portion of the Best of 1 metagame. It’s also one of the best Collected Company decks in the format since it has a bunch of great 2 and 3 mana creatures with good synergy, so a good Collected Company hit can single-handedly win you a lot of games.

Additionally, the deck is very good at turning the corner and closing out the game once it’s stabilized because most of your threats are flyers, especially if you’ve gotten a bunch of +1/+1 counters from Giada, Font of Hope, or you’ve managed to hit the 27 life threshold for Righteous Valkyrie, or the 5 life threshold for Resplendent Angel.

Weaknesses: Although Angels is very strong against aggressive, creature-based decks, it has a really big weakness to slower, more interactive decks like control which makes it a risky choice if those are a big part of the format. Thankfully in Best of 1, aggressive creature decks make up a much bigger portion of the meta and the slower, more interactive decks like Azorius Control and Rakdos Midrange are generally less popular than in Best of 3, so this isn’t as much of an issue in Best of 1.

When is it good to play? As long as the meta is made up of a lot of aggressive or creature-based strategies then Angels is a great choice.

Tier 2:

Mono Green Stompy:

Mono Green Turbo Henge
by MTG Arena Zone
Buy on TCGplayer $462.46
Explorer
best of 1
6 mythic
34 rare
2 uncommon
18 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
Sorceries (2)
2
Primal Might
$0.70
Artifacts (4)
4
The Great Henge
$279.96
Lands (20)
14
Forest
$3.50
2
Hashep Oasis
$0.70
60 Cards
$482.96

This is an aggro deck that leverages big creatures to apply pressure fast, and has access to Collected Company and The Great Henge as a way to go over the top of a lot of other decks in the format. The green creatures generally have very big stats relative to their mana cost which gives you an inherent advantage over most other aggro decks in the format since your creatures out scale theirs in most cases.

Being able to run four Llanowar Elves and four Elvish Mystic also enables some very fast starts where you can land a huge three drop on turn two or potentially play a Collected Company or The Great Henge on turn three. Speaking of which, Collected Company is a really strong card in this deck due to the high number of powerful three-drops, and The Great Henge allows you to out grind even Control decks if you can resolve it, so these cards provide the deck with solid ways to beat the slower, more grindy decks that a lot of other aggro decks struggle to beat.

Weaknesses: One of the biggest weaknesses of Mono green is it doesn’t have access to great interaction (all of the green creature removal are fight spells which mean they can’t be played very early and are vulnerable to instant-speed interaction), which means you tend to struggle against a deck like Mono Blue Spirits or Selesnya Angels that can often outrace you because most of their creatures have flying, and you don’t have great ways to slow them down.

Additionally, the fact that none of your creatures have haste means that it’s easier for more interactive decks to stabilize against you (assuming you don’t land Collected Company or The Great Henge) because they’ll always have a turn to kill your creatures before they start dealing damage.

When is it good to play? This is a great choice if decks that require early interaction like Mono Blue Spirits and Selesnya Angels aren’t a big part of the meta.

Mono Green Elves:

Mono Green Elves
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $238.34
Explorer
best of 1
1 mythic
32 rare
4 uncommon
23 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
Sorceries (1)
Lands (21)
15
Forest
$3.75
60 Cards
$243.88

This is a go wide aggro deck that is trying to capitalize on a lack of sweepers in the Best of 1 format. The idea with this deck is to go wide fast and pump your whole board with lord effects on cards like Elvish Clancaller and Leaf-Crowned Visionary. Going wide also allows you to generate a lot of mana off cards like Circle of Dreams Druid and Marwyn, the Nurturer, which you can then pump into Elvish Warmaster to boost your whole board, or produce a ton of card advantage off Leaf-Crowned Visionary.

The vast majority of creature removal run in Best of 1 is single-target which this deck is fairly resilient to because it’s able to swarm the battlefield so fast, and since it’s a creature deck with some combo elements, it’s often capable of going over the top of other creature decks in the format.

Weaknesses: The single biggest weakness of Elves is to board sweepers which means your matchup against a deck like Azorius Control will be really bad. It also doesn’t run any interaction which means it can often be outraced by other linear decks like Abzan Greasefang or Selesnya Angels.

When is it good to play? Elves is generally a good choice as long as board sweepers and combo decks like Abzan Greasefang or Temur Ignus aren’t very popular.

Rakdos Sacrifice:

Bo1 Rakdos Sacrifice
by DoggertQBones
Buy on TCGplayer $453.14
Explorer
best of 1
0 mythic
32 rare
24 uncommon
4 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (16)
4
Unlucky Witness
$1.00
4
Mayhem Devil
$13.96
Instants (10)
4
Fatal Push
$9.96
2
Village Rites
$0.50
4
Deadly Dispute
$11.96
Sorceries (4)
Artifacts (4)
4
Witch’s Oven
$5.16
Enchantments (4)
60 Cards
$341.36
Sideboard
1 Cards
$5.99

This is a high synergy sacrifice deck that is looking to take advantage of the high amount of creature decks in Best of 1. Cauldron Familiar + Witch's Oven paired with cheap efficient removal like Claim the Firstborn, Fatal Push, and Bloodtithe Harvester gives Rakdos Sacrifice a naturally good matchup against the creature decks in the format. The deck also has very good reach in the lategame due to the direct damage off cards like Cauldron Familiar, and Mayhem Devil so it’s very capable of winning games without even needing to attack.

Additionally, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker really helps to filter your draws off the second chapter, and provides great lategame engines if Reflection of Kiki-Jiki survives since it can copy Bloodtithe Harvest to act as a removal spell every turn, or copy Mayhem Devil to deal a bunch of direct damage, and Unlucky Witness and Deadly Dispute also give you good card advantage to grind if the game goes long.

Weaknesses: This particular build is very focused on beating creature decks (which makes sense considering that makes up a big portion of the Best of 1 metagame) but not running any cards for the slower decks like Thoughtseize or Ob Nixilis, the Adversary means that you’ll have a pretty rough time against slower decks like Azorius Control and 4/5C Enigmatic Incarnation.

When is it good to play? As long as there are a high number of creature-based decks in the format, Rakdos Sacrifice will be a great choice. If the meta shifts to more slower, late game decks like Azorius Control or Emergent Ultimatum for example, then it might not be the best choice but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Azorius Control:

Azorius Control
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $489.17
Explorer
best of 1
7 mythic
39 rare
9 uncommon
5 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Planeswalkers (7)
Instants (18)
4
Censor
$1.40
2
Dovin’s Veto
$6.98
3
Fateful Absence
$4.47
4
Absorb
$9.16
2
Memory Deluge
$0.78
Sorceries (4)
3
Supreme Verdict
$11.97
1
Farewell
$9.99
Artifacts (3)
3
Portable Hole
$7.47
Enchantments (3)
3
Shark Typhoon
$38.97
60 Cards
$431.74
Sideboard
1 Cards
$1.49

This is a late game deck that is trying to stabilize in the early game with a plethora of early interaction in the form of single-target removal, board sweepers, and counterspells, and then win in the late game off your finishers like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Control in Best of 1 is really trying to take advantage of a lot of the aggro decks being incredibly linear which makes them vulnerable to a lot of the interaction that control packs like Supreme Verdict.

There are also a number of decks like Rakdos Sacrifice that usually have good tools to fight Control in Best of 3, but tend to focus on beating creature decks in Best of 1, so you tend to have an edge in those matchups too. Instant-speed interaction also gives you a way to stop the most popular combo deck in Greasefang, Okiba Boss so the deck has tools to fight a lot of the popular decks in the format.

Weaknesses: Control is very weak to aggro decks that also pack disruption for non-creature spells like Mono Blue Spirits which runs Mausoleum Wanderer, counterspells, and protection spells in addition to other instant-speed threats which makes that matchup incredibly difficult to navigate. It’s also weak to discard effects which means that Abzan Greasefang and Rakdos Midrange which both tend to run four Thoughtseize and 3/4 Liliana of the Veil in Best of 1, so they have good tools to fight you.

On top of that, you need your interaction to line up well in order to stabilize so there will be some games against Aggro, especially where you’re going second where your interaction is either too slow or the opponent can outrace you (or has good ways to force through lethal like Den of the Bugbear or Ramunap Ruins from Mono Red).

When is it good to play? Control is generally a good choice so long as Mono Blue Spirits and to a lesser extent decks with discard spells like Abzan Greasefang and Rakdos Midrange arern’t a big part of the meta.

Tier 3:

Rakdos Midrange:

Rakdos Midrange
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $827.7
Explorer
best of 1
10 mythic
40 rare
6 uncommon
4 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (5)
Instants (6)
4
Fatal Push
$9.96
2
Infernal Grasp
$3.58
Sorceries (4)
4
Thoughtseize
$67.96
Enchantments (4)
60 Cards
$737.52

This is a deck that is packing a lot of very cheap, efficient removal and generically powerful threats. Discard spells like Thoughtseize and Liliana of the Veil are very effective against combo decks like Abzan Greasefang and control decks like Azorius Control, cheap removal like Fatal Push, Bonecrusher Giant, and Infernal Grasp are great against the variety of creature decks in the format, and generically powerful threats like Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker allow you to cement your position in the game and get ahead. Graveyard Trespasser also acts as a generically powerful threat that doubles up as graveyard hate which can be particularly useful against a deck like Abzan Greasefang to stop them from comboing off.

Weaknesses: Unlike Best of 3 where this is one of the best decks in the format, Rakdos Midrange tends to struggle a lot more in Best of 1 because it’s a deck that really leverages it’s sideboard to pivot it’s game plan depending on what it’s against. Obviously you don’t have access to your sideboard in Best of 1, so you lose the ability to cut your worse cards and adapt to the matchup you’re against, and you have to just hope you draw the right ‘half’ of your deck: for example if you’re against an aggro deck you have to hope to hit your creature removal and not your discard spells and planeswalkers, and against control, you have to hope to not draw a bunch of creature removal.

Additionally, since most creature decks are much more linear and generally faster in Best of 1, a lot of them are capable of outracing your single-target removal which means they can sometimes outrace you, even if you do draw creature removal against them.

When is it good to play? Rakdos Midrange is always going to be a fine choice in Best of 1 as long as the aggro decks aren’t going very wide (which makes your single-target removal less effective), but you’ll always be plagued with the issue of hoping to draw the right interaction for the particular matchup which isn’t always going to happen.

Temur Ignus:

Temur Ignus Combo
by MTG Arena Zone
Buy on TCGplayer $456.83
Explorer
best of 1
0 mythic
38 rare
14 uncommon
8 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Instants (4)
Sorceries (1)
Artifacts (4)
Lands (21)
1
Forest
$0.25
3
Rockfall Vale
$3.87
1
Breeding Pool
$22.99
4
Steam Vents
$79.96
1
Stomping Ground
$12.99
60 Cards
$352.22
Sideboard
1 Cards
$5.99

This is a combo deck that is looking to reduce the cost of Grinning Ignus (using some combination of Runaway Steam-Kin, Hazoret's Monument, or Birgi, God of Storytelling) which then allows you to bounce and recast Grinning Ignus an infinite number of times.

Once you’ve achieved this, you can then pair it with a payoff card like Risen Reef (which can essentially draw your whole deck since Grinning Ignus is an elemental), Hazoret's Monument (which lets you loot through your whole deck), Devilish Valet (which grows exponentially and can then deal infinite damage), Prosperous Innkeeper (which gains you infinite life), or Light Up the Night (which is a payoff for generating infinite mana if you can reduce Grinning Ignus by two mana). The deck also runs Collected Company as a way to find your combo pieces, and Risen Reef works nicely as card advantage that also triggers off both Grinning Ignus and Runaway Steam-Kin.

Weaknesses: This deck suffers from an issue that a lot of all-in combo decks without redundancy for it’s main combo piece has in that the disparity between hands you can get is quite big – sometimes you’ll just have a fast combo win which is capable of outracing most of the decks in the format, but a lot of the time you’ll have a slower hand that requires some digging to find the combo pieces, and those sorts of hands will often get punished and outraced by the faster, more consistent linear decks in the format.

Having said that, the deck does have some good ways of stabilizing against fast aggressive starts like the lifegain off Prosperous Innkeeper, but it will definitely be less consistent overall compared to other combo decks like Abzan Greasefang.

When is it good to play? Temur Ignus is largely a good choice when there isn’t as much creature removal around, and the fastest aggro and combo decks aren’t as popular.

Explorer Best of Three (Bo3) Metagame Tier List

Introduction

Discover the best Magic: The Gathering Arena Explorer decks and archetypes that the players are using to climb the ranked ladder and win tournaments. Our MTG Arena Traditional Best of Three (Bo3) Explorer metagame regularly reviews and ranks the top decks in a tier list, as we also follow up with our comprehensive analysis and review from data available. Updated 10/19/2022.

Tier 1 Decks

The best of the best. The most consistent decks that sport the highest win rates and generally, the highest play rates.

Tier 2 Decks

Very solid decks that are slightly lacking in some capacity, whether it’s consistency or power compared to the Tier 1 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 meta.

Tier 3 Decks

Either these decks are poorly positioned or have a lot of power and consistency issues. These are decks that see play, but are generally worse choices than your other options.

Tier 4 Decks

Off-meta or archived decks that are not currently in the rankings. We may also have coverage on them, as going against the meta is always a fun challenge!

TierDeck Name
Tier 1Mono Blue Spirits
Tier 1Abzan Greasefang
Tier 1Rakdos Sacrifice
Tier 1Rakdos Midrange
Tier 24C/5C Enigmatic Incarnation
Tier 2Mono Green Stompy
Tier 2Mono Green Ramp
Tier 2Abzan Humans
Tier 2Azorius Control
Tier 2Mono Red Aggro
Tier 2Jund Food
Tier 3Selesnya Angels
Tier 3Izzet Creativity

Tier 1:

Mono Blue Spirits:

Mono Blue Spirits
by MTG Arena Zone
Buy on TCGplayer $117.98
Explorer
best of 3
0 mythic
25 rare
15 uncommon
20 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (24)
4
Spectral Sailor
$1.56
4
Rattlechains
$1.56
4
Supreme Phantom
$2.76
4
Shacklegeist
$1.40
Instants (9)
2
Lofty Denial
$0.50
Enchantments (4)
Lands (23)
4
Faceless Haven
$1.40
60 Cards
$103.24
Sideboard
1
Cerulean Drake
$0.35
1
Brazen Borrower
$12.99
1
Dive Down
$0.25
2
Unsubstantiate
$0.70
2
Aether Gust
$1.58
15 Cards
$69.89

This is an aggressive tempo deck that pairs strong Spirit tribal synergies with cheap counterspells and bounce spells to race the opponent and close out the game before the opponent has a chance to stabilize. This is more creature-dense than most previous tempo decks, but the creatures also provide some nice disruptive elements – (Mausoleum Wanderer working as a counterspell on a stick, Rattlechains working as an instant-speed protection spell, Shacklegeist being able to tap down opponent’s creatures to slow them down etc.)

Geistlight Snare is an incredibly powerful counterspell in this deck that can be reduced to just one mana if you have a spirit equipped with Curious Obsession, and other instant-speed interaction like Lofty Denial and Slip Out the Back paired with flash threats like Spectral Sailor and Rattlechains makes it very difficult for the opponent to play around everything you could have.

The high number of creatures along with cards that can add additional power to your board like Supreme Phantom, Ascendant Spirit, and Faceless Haven give the deck access to some incredibly fast starts that are even capable of outracing aggro decks, and the deck is also capable of some powerful interactive hands that are very good at allowing you to protect a single creature with a Curious Obsession to run away with the game in terms of card advantage.

Weaknesses: Like most tempo decks, Mono Blue Spirits is weakest against fast, low to the ground aggressive decks like Abzan Humans and Mono Red Aggro. The deck is at its best against decks that typically want to cast one spell per turn since you can easily trade off with counterspells or bounce spells and go underneath the opponent, but you can struggle against decks that cast multiple spells each turn, especially going second. Having said that, you do have good options in the sideboard against aggressive decks like Aether Gust, Witness Protection, and Brazen Borrower.

Additionally, the deck can also struggle against lots of cheap single-target removal like Fatal Push, but this is pretty dependent on your hand – if you have a hand with one or two creatures, a Curious Obsession, and some interaction then multiple cheap removal spells can be an issue (although protection like Slip Out the Back helps a lot here), but creature-heavy hands, especially with Rattlechains can often play through early removal anyway. .

When is it good to play? This deck really takes advantage of slower decks that are trying to cast one spell per turn, so if the format is full of decks like Enigmatic Incarnation or Azorius Control then this is an excellent choice. Having said that, this particular list has great tools to outrace the faster decks in the format too, so I think this will be a good choice as long as very low to the ground aggro decks like Abzan Humans or Mono Red Aggro don’t become the most popular decks.

Abzan Greasefang:

Abzan Greasefang
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $603.76
Explorer
best of 3
4 mythic
43 rare
2 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (3)
Instants (6)
4
Grisly Salvage
$1.00
2
Corpse Churn
$0.50
Sorceries (11)
4
Thoughtseize
$67.96
Artifacts (9)
4
Parhelion II
$5.96
Lands (21)
1
Swamp
$0.25
3
Blooming Marsh
$23.97
4
Darkbore Pathway
$23.96
4
Temple Garden
$55.96
1
Godless Shrine
$12.99
2
Overgrown Tomb
$25.98
60 Cards
$413.86
15 Cards
$67.57

This is a combo deck that is trying to pitch one of it’s powerful vehicles into the graveyard to bring back with haste using Greasefang, Okiba Boss as early as turn three! Even if you can’t pull off the combo early in the game, bringing back something like Parhelion II later in the game is still usually good enough to win since it represents 13 hasty damage in the air, produces two 4/4 flyers, and then threatens to do it again the following turn if you can pitch Parhelion II back into the graveyard.

The deck has great ways of filling the graveyard in the early game to enable the fastest starts off cards like Grisly Salvage (which can pitch vehicles into the graveyard at the end of the opponent’s turn two often allowing you to combo off out of nowhere which punishes the opponent for tapping out), Witherbloom Command (which is also very useful since it kills most of the commonly played graveyard hate like Unlicensed Hearse and Rest in Peace), Corpse Churn, and Stitcher's Supplier.

A real strength of this deck is that it can also play a reasonable fair game plan if the opponent can stop the Greasefang, Okiba Boss combo off the back of cards like Esika's Chariot and Liliana of the Veil. To round it all off, you also get access to Thoughtseize which improves matchups against control and combo, and often allows you to clear the way to combo off.

Weaknesses: The combo itself is weak to both graveyard hate, and instant-speed creature removal which are both fairly common in the format, so certain decks which have a high density of those sorts of effects will often force you to win off your ‘fair’ game plan, which sometimes won’t be good enough. There is also sometimes a disparity in the speed and quality of your hands with some hands allowing you to combo on turn three, and other hands being slower and more reliant on getting good mills.

When is it good to play? Abzan Greasefang is a very strong generically powerful deck that is going to be good to play assuming the format isn’t full of decks packing a high density of instant-speed removal and graveyard hate.

Rakdos Sacrifice:

Rakdos Aristocrats
by Omrithopter
Buy on TCGplayer $629.89
Explorer
best of 3
6 mythic
24 rare
19 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Planeswalkers (4)
Creatures (18)
4
Unlucky Witness
$1.00
4
Mayhem Devil
$13.96
Instants (8)
2
Fatal Push
$4.98
2
Village Rites
$0.50
4
Deadly Dispute
$11.96
Sorceries (4)
1
Thoughtseize
$16.99
Artifacts (4)
4
Witch’s Oven
$5.16
60 Cards
$325.78
Sideboard
1
Fatal Push
$2.49
1
Abrade
$0.25
1
Noxious Grasp
$0.35
1
Duress
$0.25
3
Thoughtseize
$50.97
15 Cards
$197.89

This is a high-synergy sacrifice deck that has really good reach because of direct damage off cards like Cauldron Familiar, Ob Nixilis, the Adversary, and Mayhem Devil, that also has access to efficient cheap removal and decent card advantage.

The Cauldron Familiar + Witch's Oven loops and incredibly efficient creature removal in Claim the Firstborn and Fatal Push make this incredibly strong against aggressive creature strategies. Furthermore, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, Thoughtseize, and Ob Nixilis, the Adversary are strong against the slower decks like control while Unlucky Witness and Deadly Dispute are great at helping to produce card advantage in grindier matchups too.

Weaknesses: One of the biggest weaknesses of Rakdos Sacrifice is that it generally takes longer to close the game out than aggro which gives slower decks like Enigmatic Incarnation and Azorius Control time to set up their engines, and combo decks like Izzet Creativity time to go off. Additionally, other sacrifice decks that go bigger than you like Jund Food can be an issue, because they’re doing a very similar thing, but have a strong lategame due to cards like Korvold, Fae-Cursed King.

When is it good to play? Rakdos Sacrifice is a great choice if the format is full of creature decks since Cauldron Familiar + Witch's Oven, and cheap removal are so strong at stabilizing. It also has decent tools to outgrind other midrange decks so as long as the format isn’t dominated by combo decks, or decks going bigger than it like Jund Food or Enigmatic Incarnation, then it’ll be a good choice.

Rakdos Midrange:

Rakdos Midrange
by MTG Arena Zone
Buy on TCGplayer $796.54
Explorer
best of 3
7 mythic
43 rare
5 uncommon
5 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (3)
Instants (7)
4
Fatal Push
$9.96
1
Eliminate
$0.35
2
Bedevil
$1.58
Sorceries (4)
4
Thoughtseize
$67.96
Enchantments (4)
Lands (25)
2
Mountain
$0.50
3
Swamp
$0.75
4
Haunted Ridge
$47.96
4
Blood Crypt
$75.96
60 Cards
$640.64
15 Cards
$124.27

This is probably the most popular deck in the format right now, and is a deck packed with cheap, efficient interaction, and generically powerful cards to cement your position once you get ahead. Due to the nature of being a pure midrange deck and not having as much synergy, the deck is very flexible going into games two and three where you can pivot your game plan depending on the deck you’re up against. Against aggro you can pivot into more of a controlling role with additional creature removal, against control you can pivot into more of a disruptive and aggressive role using discard spells and planeswalkers that are difficult for the opponent to deal with, and against other grindy decks you can bring in more value-centric cards like Reckoner Bankbuster.

Weaknesses: As is the case with a lot of midrange decks, this is a deck that you can tune to beat anything, but not everything, and so tweaking your deck to improve one specific matchup will generally make you less well equipped for another matchup; this can be an issue when you’re playing on the ladder and are likely to face a wide variety of decks. You’re also a deck that usually relies on interacting to get a foothold in the game, and so if your interaction doesn’t line up well, especially against a faster deck, you can often get punished.

Additionally in grindy mirror matches, if both players are playing well, the game can often come down to who draws better which gives you less agency than normal. Having said that, the deck has great options to adapt to the metagame, is naturally strong against a decent number of decks (like control due to the high number of discard spells you can run), and can be easily tweaked to adapt to any metagame shifts.

When is it good to play? Generally, Rakdos Midrange will always be a decent option if your deck is built well for the current meta since you can adapt your game plan and interaction suite depending on what you’re up against. You do generally struggle against decks with engines that go bigger than you like Enigmatic Incarnation and the sacrifice decks, but you have good tools to address most other matchups.

Tier 2:

4/5C Enigmatic Incarnation:

4C Enigmatic Incarnation
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $909.47
Explorer
best of 3
3 mythic
58 rare
5 uncommon
14 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Companion
Lands (34)
1
Forest
$0.25
1
Plains
$0.25
2
Rootbound Crag
$7.98
2
Clifftop Retreat
$13.98
1
Sulfur Falls
$4.49
2
Breeding Pool
$45.98
2
Ketria Triome
$39.98
3
Temple Garden
$41.97
2
Steam Vents
$39.98
2
Raugrin Triome
$27.98
3
Stomping Ground
$38.97
3
Sacred Foundry
$53.97
80 Cards
$636.26
15 Cards
$60.17

This is a deck that is looking to use Enigmatic Incarnation as a toolbox to tutor creatures out of your deck to deal with any given situation and also has access to Fires of Invention and Yorion, Sky Nomad to get additional value off all of your enter the battlefield creatures and enchantments. This is my current build which only goes into 4 colors (for a slightly smoother mana base), but there are definitely good variants of this deck that run the full 5 colors which also provides access to better early interaction in the form of Trial of Ambition, and more toolbox options like Callous Bloodmage.

The recent printing of Leyline Binding is a huge addition to this deck as it now has access to instant-speed interaction (which was something previous builds were sorely missing, especially against a card like Greasefang, Okiba Boss), and enables you to sacrifice it to Enigmatic Incarnation to tutor really powerful creatures like Agent of Treachery and Titan of Industry onto the battlefield, which you can then copy with Glasspool Mimic and Reflection of Kiki-Jiki!

This is very much a deck that is looking to out-value other decks as the game goes long and the toolbox gives you really good access to answers to deal with any problematic permanent the opponent might have.

Weaknesses: The deck is particularly weak to very aggressive decks that also have disruption like Mono Blue Spirits, or Abzan Humans that have counterspells or taxing effects like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben to stop you casting your key spells like Enigmatic Incarnation on curve.

On the other end of the spectrum, it can also struggle against Control due to counterspells, and because you take a lot longer to close the game out than most other decks which gives them more time to set up their engines like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria plus cards like Farewell are incredibly hard to beat too. Greasefang, Okiba Boss decks can also be difficult game one, but with Leyline Binding, and four Rest in Peace post-sideboard, that matchup is much better than it used to be. Outside of that, this deck has good tools to beat most other decks.

When is it good to play? As long as aggro decks with disruption for non-creature spells like Spirits or Humans, and control decks aren’t very popular then this is a great choice. Generally, the more midrange focused the format is, the better this deck becomes.

Mono Green Stompy:

Mono G Turbo Henge
by Altheriax
Buy on TCGplayer $544.95
Explorer
best of 3
6 mythic
34 rare
2 uncommon
18 common<