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MTG Arena Standard Decks – Best-of-One (BO1) Metagame Tier List – January 2020

Our Magic: The Gathering metagame tier list ranks all the best ladder decks for the Throne of Eldraine Standard best-of-one (BO1). 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 MTG Arena Tool and we believe the Untapped.gg tracker is also working on this feature in more detail. 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. Having said that, we will try provide decklists suitable for Diamond onwards – if you would like to submit your deck, please let us know via the Submit Deck form, Discord or Twitter!
  • 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!

January 2020 Season

The card style rewards for the January 2020 ranked season are Epic Downfall and Stonecoil Serpent for reaching Gold and Platinum rank, respectively. Check out the January 2020 Season page for more details!

Metagame Tier List – January 5, 2019

  • January 5, 2019: Reviewed the tier list for January 2020. The list remains much the same, with Embercleave still dominating. Removed the half tiers.
TierDeck ArchetypeDecklistsRelated Archetypes
1Rakdos KnightsDecklistsBoros Knights
1Gruul AdventuresDecklistsGruul Aggro
1Jeskai FiresDecklistsGrixis Fires
2Simic FlashDecklists
2Jund SacrificeDecklistsRakdos Sacrifice
2Golgari AdventuresDecklists
2Mono Green StompyDecklists
2Izzet FlashDecklists
2Temur AdventuresDecklists
2Mono White AggroDecklists
2Mono Red AggroDecklistsMono Red Cavalcade
2Simic RampDecklists
3Temur ReclamationDecklists
3Esper StaxDecklistsEsper Control
3Azorius ControlDecklists

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

Rakdos Knights

Using Embercleave in your aggressive deck is almost mandatory nowadays. The Rakdos Knights deck is especially powerful as other competing aggressive decks in the metagame often do not have an answer to Rotting Regisaur. It usually will have the biggest body on the field, and if you are going first and play it on the third turn, the game will be quickly over especially if you have Embercleave in your hand. With plenty of one drops to start the game and with the drawing power of Stormfist Crusader, this makes for a very powerful BO1 deck.

Gruul Adventures

Gruul Adventures is another flavor of an aggressive deck featuring Embercleave that does really well in BO1, and the emphasis is on the bigger creatures such as Questing Beast (carries over all but one damage due to deathtouch) and Lovestruck Beast. A lot of its creatures are also out of Deafening Clarion range and has the Edgewall Innkeeper package to refuel your hand to keep up with more controlling decks.

Jeskai Fires

Jeskai Fires fares relatively well in a hostile BO1 environment due to the inclusion of Deafening Clarion. It is also a very consistent and streamlined deck. Decks also generally do not pack enchantment hate, which means you can use the full power of Fires of Invention freely most of the time. Having said that, it does rely on a few cards to survive the first few turns of the game but Sphinx of Foresight should help find the cards you need.

Tier 2

Simic Flash

Word of caution for this deck archetype – the recent Simic Flash by Seth Manfield at Mythic Championship VII have popularized the hybrid ramping and flash strategy. Their deck targeted a slower metagame in the tournament, which worked wonders but in the typical MTG Arena BO1 ladder environment, it tends to have a rougher time due to its weakness against aggro decks, especially if you happen to be on the draw. For this reason, we still think some of the ramp package is good but including the early creatures that has been part of the “classic” Simic Flash is not a bad idea.

Jund Sacrifice

Jund Sacrifice is a great deck filled with synergies and card advantage. In BO1, this can be harder to set up and will rely on your ability to draw well into your Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven combo. The abundance of Embercleave makes chump blocking with the cat make it less fruitful. Mayhem Devil is also a great card against aggro to ping your opponent’s creatures for minimal cost. If you are after a more aggressive sacrifice deck, then instead try the Rakdos version which forgoes the Food synergy.

Golgari Adventures

Midrange decks like Golgari Adventures seem a bit too slow in the BO1 metagame with Embercleave, and relying on removal that makes you lose life is not a great deal either. Since we do not have a chance to sideboard, the main deck needs to be tailored well to the expected aggression and Lovestruck Beast and Rotting Regisaur do a decent job of that already. The sample deck is basically Chris Kvartek’s deck used in Mythic Championship VII, which we feel already is flexible enough for BO1.

Mono Green Stompy

Mono Green Stompy is usually not a top tier deck in BO3, but it does shine in BO1 due to its linear strategy. The biggest incentive to go mono green is Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig and to some extent, Vivien, Arkbow Ranger. The deck is consistent and can curve out fantastically – each creature is a menace to deal with in BO1 because they are usually bigger than other creatures of the same cost.

Izzet Flash

Izzet Flash is a strong contender in Standard BO1, as it still encapsulates the counterspell strategy that is very strong on the play. The point of difference with its counterpart archetype Simic Flash cannot deal with very well is its ability to fend off early aggression with burn spells such as Shock and Bonecrusher Giant. Gadwick, the Wizened is also a strong late game play and being able to to tap your opponents creatures is a strong tempo move.

Mono White Aggro

Mono White is a viable aggro archetype that can have some explosive draws thanks to Venerated Loxodon and being able to go wide super fast. It is quite weak to sweepers like Deafening Clarion (though it includes Unbreakable Formation as a hedge against that) and it has no late game power so games will decided pretty quickly.

Mono Red Aggro

The king of BO1 has been Mono Red Aggro for a while but its strength has toned down a bit since Standard rotation. More of the deck’s strength is in its barrier to entry for new players, but even then with the inclusion of rares such as Torbran, Thane of Red Fell (a must have for this deck), Fervent Champion and Embercleave, it does not make it too budget friendly. While the deck is still formidable and consistent due to its mono color, the Rakdos or Gruul aggressive strategies are a better choice for now.

Simic Ramp

Simic Ramp is a fairly linear deck that can snowball into bigger things that your opponents will not be able to do anything about. For it to get going, it does require surviving a few crucial early turns against the aggression in the BO1 field, which might be a tough ask. Arboreal Grazer and Leafkin Druid have good bodies that can help with this. Keep in mind there is also more direct removal for Risen Reef in BO1, which is a key component of the deck. The sample deck is based on Andrea Mengucci’s top 8 Mythic Championship VII deck as a starting point.

Tier 3

Temur Reclamation

Temur Reclamation is a nice and linear combo-ramp deck suitable for BO1 play. Of course, drawing the wrong half of the deck can be annoying at times but it can fend off early aggression pretty well with its key card in BO1 – Flame Sweep. If you like this deck, watch out for the presence of Teferi, Time Raveler as it is played in Jeskai Fires.



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8 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