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MTG Arena Standard Decks – Best-of-One (BO1) Metagame Tier List – Theros Beyond Death Standard


Our Magic: The Gathering metagame tier list ranks all the best ladder decks for the Theros Beyond Death Standard best-of-one (BO1) game mode. In this guide, we provide a description and explanation for each archetype, a sample decklist, with links to more decklists and deck guides, if any available at the time. If you want to view all the best meta decks and their ranking in one snapshot, we have a summary table below and explain in further detail the reasoning of their rankings below as well. Before we start, please read the following important key points on the BO1 mode:

  • In MTG Arena there are far more BO1 games being played, but currently there is a lack of data regarding what people are playing. We take into account the metagame data supplied by the MTG Arena Tool tracker and the occasional snapshots shared by the Untapped.gg tracker (they are also working on global statistics). Until then, much of the information is therefore subjective and will be reviewed on a consistent basis by our team.
  • Best-of-three (BO3) is how competitive MTG was intended to be played – sideboarding allows players to leverage skill and mitigates variance. Most pro players and tournaments play BO3, which makes obtaining refined, archetype defining decklists more difficult. This also makes decks with more predictable strategies better here, since opponents cannot prepare against it.
  • BO1 has a different hand selection algorithm to BO3 – it selects from two opening hands, the one that has the closest to the average land to spell ratio for your deck. Games also generally favor whoever plays first.
  • Combining all the reasons above and with a more broad and diverse player base, the BO1 metagame currently heavily favors aggressive strategies, which generally has a lower barrier of entry, and to some extent combo and control.

Check out our Best-of-Three (BO3) Standard Deck Tier List!
You can also check out all our budget Standard deck options here!

February 2020 Ranked Season

The card style rewards for the February 2020 ranked season are Wolfwillow Haven and Taranika, Akroan Veteran for reaching Gold and Platinum rank, respectively. Reaching top 1200 Mythic at the end of the season qualifies you for the Ikoria Mythic Qualifier #2 in March. Check out the February 2020 Season page for more details!

Metagame Tier List – February 3, 2020

  • February 3, 2020: Tier list adjustment to the current metagame.
  • January 23, 2020: Revamped the tier list for week one of Theros Beyond Death Standard. We took into account the snapshot Untapped.gg shared with the community. Please use BO3 decklists as a reference point since BO1 decks are still far few in between.
  • January 16, 2020: Theros Beyond Death is now released and the tier list will be updated to reflect the metagame.
TierDeck ArchetypeDecklistsRelated Archetypes
1Rakdos SacrificeDecklistsJund Sacrifice
1Azorius ControlDecklists
1Jeskai FiresDecklists
1Mono Red AggroDecklists
2Rakdos KnightsDecklists
2Gruul AggroDecklistsGruul Adventures
2Simic RampDecklists
2Temur ReclamationDecklists
2Mono White DevotionDecklistsMono White Aggro
2Mono Black DevotionDecklists
2Simic FlashDecklists
3Esper HeroDecklistsEsper Control
3Mono Green StompyDecklists

Looking for more Standard deck archetypes and decks? Check out our deck database!
Tip: You can now filter the decks by play mode – BO1 or BO3!

Tier 1

Jund Sacrifice / Rakdos Sacrifice

All Jund Sacrifice decklists
All Rakdos Sacrifice decklists

Sacrifice strategies received some new cards in Theros Beyond Death that are definitely worth experimenting, and could get stronger over time. Woe Strider is the most obvious inclusion out of the lot, as it provides another free sacrifice outlet in addition to Witch’s Oven and makes good use of the graveyard as another resource. The Rakdos decks have also been on a surge the past week as its more aggressive stance is better in an open metagame and especially in a BO1 environment.

Azorius Control

All Azorius Control decklists

Theros Beyond Death has completely changed Azorius Control, adding many powerful cards and upgrades the decked desperately needed. It adds a four mana board wipe, one of the best finishers of our time Dream Trawler and a whole bunch of Sagas such as The Birth of Meletis and Elspeth Conquers Death that provide great value as the game goes on. Other support cards like Thassa’s Intervention and Omen of the Sea cannot be ignored either, as they add a lot of consistency and flexibility to the deck. We’re excited to see how control decks unfold in the coming weeks, especially in BO1 where it is particularly weaker to aggro decks.

Jeskai Fires

All Jeskai Fires decklists

Jeskai Fires is similar to Rakdos Knights in that it does not receive too many upgrades from the new set other than the Temples. Until the new decks figure out ways to beat the it, the core deck is itself powerful enough to remain on the metagame watchlist for now as it fades away slowly over time.

Mono Red Aggro

All Mono Red Aggro decklists / Deck Guide

Theros Beyond Death adds some depth to the previously under powered Mono Red decks, with Phoenix of Ash making the biggest impact. It has evasion, good later on in the game where it can keep coming back from the graveyard and even has an ability that can be used as a mana sink. Anax is also another card that has impressed – it holds Embercleave really well, and is resilient against board wipes and removal. While these cards may not be enough to take the deck back to tier one status, it is worth keeping an eye on.

Tier 2

Rakdos Knights

View All Rakdos Knights Decklists

Rotting Regisaur and Embercleave is still one of the best streamlined aggressive combinations for BO1 play until the metagame settles down. The deck does not add too much valuable cards with Theros Beyond Death unfortunately, but there are definitely cards worth experimenting such as Shadowspear.

Gruul Aggro / Gruul Adventures

View All Gruul Aggro Decklists / Deck Guide
View All Gruul Adventures Decklists

There are two main builds of Gruul in the current Standard environment, Aggro or Adventures. In BO1, we lean towards the straight up Gruul Aggro deck as it is more explosive – you care less about the card advantage that the Adventure package provides and just want to end the game as soon as possible.

Simic Ramp

All Simic Ramp Decklists / Deck Guide

The new age Simic deck receives a huge boost in Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, which goes hand to hand with the pre-existing shell with Cavalier of Thorns. Nissa, Who Shakes the World remains a key (or shall we say, broken) card in the new Standard metagame and this will likely be the deck to beat in the coming weeks.

Temur Reclamation

All Temur Reclamation decklists / Deck Guide

Another deck that received a boost with Theros Beyond Death is Temur Reclamation. It is still weak against Teferi, but it has more flexible main deck answers such as Storm’s Wrath and Thassa’s Intervention. Uro is also a huge boost as it adds more ramp and a secondary win condition that can repeatedly come back from the graveyard.

Mono White Devotion / Mono White Aggro

View All Mono White Devotion Decklists / Deck Guide
View All Mono White Aggro Decklists

A tentative addition to the tier list, Mono White Devotion is a flexible deck based around the lifegain and Devotion synergy introduced to Standard with Theros Beyond Death. The deck is quite interesting because it can be aggressive, like the traditional white weenie, or even a more midrange build suitable for longer games and resilient to disruption. Either way, the deck is currently primed for BO1 currently because it can fend off the opposing aggressive decks quite well due to the lifegain offered by many of its card.

Mono Black Devotion

View All Mono Black Devotion Decklists

Another new addition to the metagame, Mono Black Devotion makes use of the Devotion mechanic and makes use of Gray Merchant of Asphodel as the key card, but similar to Mono White Devotion and being a new deck, has a few variations. There is argument that the deck is easy to disrupt by control decks keeping its creatures off the board, but Mono Black Devotion has enough value going for it that it may not be an issue. We will find out whether this deck will be part of the meta with refining or fade away, at least until the first set of tournament results.

Simic Flash

View All Simic Flash Decklists

The latest version of Simic Flash looks to defeat opponents by mixing counterspells and ramp spells. It does not add a whole lot in Theros Beyond Death, but still plays a role in the meta to keep the slower decks in check.

Tier 3

Esper Hero / Esper Control

All Esper Hero decklists
All Esper Control decklists

Esper decks received a huge boost in Theros Beyond Death as well. The two Temples and Ashiok, Nightmare Muse are the biggest ones (in addition to the cards above in Azorius Control), comparing it to the great Teferi himself. The more midrange Esper Hero deck applies pressure through the powerful two drop Hero of Precinct One or a more traditional control deck. Either way, there is a lot of variation in these lists so far but it looks like it’s finally time for control decks to shine.

Mono Green Stompy

All Mono Green Stompy decklists

Unfortunately, Theros Beyond Death was not a good set for Mono Green Stompy. Though it received some interesting cards like Nylea, Keen-Eyed, Destiny Spinner and The First Iroan Games, the new cards do not help too much to enhance the deck with ahead-of-the-curve big creatures. This is still a popular BO1 deck however, so it will be interesting to see if any players adapt the new cards into the deck.



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16 Responses

  1. Brendan Dillon says:

    Are you getting data straight from the likes of Untapped.gg or relying on self-reported info?

  2. James says:

    With BO1 deck lists and strategies, it’s safe to say this website had everything an MTG Arena player needs.

  3. sterisk says:

    Hey Terence, my friend is questioning your credibility when I showed him your list. How can I convince him your tier list is legit?

    • mtgazone mtgazone says:

      Hi sterisk! You can’t convince anyone really – we are not pros or have solid statistica to back it up (yet) and we state above that it is subjective. One way would be to try for yourself, climb the rankings with one of the decks and show your friend!

  4. Beloved Beloved says:

    Hey thank you so much for this list, really helpful read for me!

  5. anon says:

    Where is the untapped.gg data? I can’t find it on their site

  6. VanBersi99 says:

    I think Abzan Auras deserves a place in this tier list, I’m currently 31-5 since I built this deck

  7. Brendan Dillon says:

    I don’t think Knights can be considered T1 anymore. I love the deck, but it got nothing out of THB (unless you count a scry land) and everything else got better. Right now Mono-red with Anax is looking T1

  8. Boggle says:

    Those Mono White Devotion lists are performing VERY poorly in Bo1 now.

    • mtgazone mtgazone says:

      Speak of the devil, we were just updating the list! 🙂

      • Boggle says:

        Brilliant, I was trying them out and they just get blown out so hard by the new RDWs stuff that it’s not even funny. If you’re Mono-W with that level of lifegain and power and you’re still getting crushed because RDW is on Embercleave plan now, you’re not staying in T1.

        I think they’ll end up Tier 3 unless a better plan is found for the aggro mirror.

  9. Boggle says:

    I think it’s worth mentioning that CoverGoBlue’s Bo1 Bogle deck (G/W Enchantress) is at least Tier 2 in Bo1, perhaps even T1. It utterly crushes Red with its combinations of lifegain, tall, vigilance Paradise Druids and has enough engine sustain to have a game against control. It can also go wide against sacrifice strategies and has some resistance thanks to Hunted Witness.