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MTG Arena Standard Decks – Best-of-Three (BO3) Metagame Tier List – January 2020

Our Magic: The Gathering metagame tier list ranks all the top competitive decks for Throne of Eldraine Standard. With the advent of MTG Arena, there are more events, tournaments and matches being played more than ever before and it may be hard to keep track of the best decks in the format. Here we will include the defining meta decklist, description and explanation for each archetype, 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. We will provide further explanations as well.

Check out our Best-of-One (BO1) Standard Deck Tier List!
A new player looking for Budget Standard decks? Look here!
Browse all Standard decklists 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 4, 2019

  • January 5, 2019: The tier list remains overall steady and is expected to be so until the release of Theros Beyond Death. Removed the 1.5 tier, and reassessed sample decklists. Added Temur Adventures to Tier 2.
TierDeck ArchetypeDecklistsRelated Archetypes
1Jeskai FiresDecklistsFive-Color Fires
1Jund SacrificeDecklistsRakdos Sacrifice
Golgari Sacrifice
1Simic FlashDecklists
1Rakdos KnightsDecklists
2Temur AdventuresDecklists
2Golgari AdventuresDecklists
2Simic RampDecklists
2Izzet FlashDecklistsMono Blue Tempo
2Gruul AdventuresDecklistsGruul Aggro
3Mono White AggroDecklists
3Temur ReclamationDecklists
3Esper ControlDecklistsEsper Doom
3Azorius ControlDecklists
3Mono Red AggroDecklists

Tier 1

Jeskai Fires

The most popular deck since the Standard banning of Oko are the Fires of Invention decks – who would have thought playing spells for free would be powerful? Fires of Invention practically doubles your mana as well. The version that players seem to have settled on is the one featuring Cavalier of Flame, Cavalier of Gales and Kenrith, the Returned Kingas the creature package and Sphinx of Foresight to help you find the cards you need. The deck has access to cards to stall the game with Deafening Clarion as the key card. This deck is perfect for a slower meta and especially where green-based aggro decks (such as Gruul) have been hit hard by the loss of Once Upon a Time.

Jund Sacrifice

Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven welcomes Trail of Crumbs as the new partner for card advantage, showing the core engine is still powerful without the help of Oko, Thief of Crowns. The deck is currently positioned well in a metagame that is less prepared against it, though as it becomes more prominent artifact, enchantment and even graveyard hate will be able to shut down the deck without too much difficulty. Even then, drawing the wrong half of the deck can be a common occurrence too. The Golgari version is just as good, capitalizing on Casualties of War and a more consistent mana base. The Jund versions include a splash for the best sacrifice payoff cards, Mayhem Devil and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King.

Simic Flash

Simic Flash is a deck packed with creatures with flash backed up by counterspells. It is one of the decks that has not been weakened by the Standard bans, and has always been present in the metagame. At Mythic Championship VII, the deck archetype has been innovated to become a more midrange deck that goes for the longer game that forgoes the early creatures like Spectral Sailor and Brineborn Cutthroat and has a semi-mana ramping strategy.

Rakdos Knights

Although this Rakdos deck is called Knights, it acts more like a combo deck that involves Rotting Regisaur and Embercleave to finish the game out of nowhere. The other game plan involves curving out your creatures like a standard aggro deck that are individually annoying for your opponents to deal with.

Tier 2

Temur Adventures

Temur Adventures is a deck that gains an incredible amount of card advantage through Lucky Clover and Edgewall Innkeeper. The key adventure card is Fae of Wishes, that grabs game finishing or defensive cards from the sideboard. The other adventure cards such as Bonecrusher Giant, Lovestruck Beast and Brazen Borrwer also provide immense value even on their own, and they each have their role to play. The deck has been popularized and perfected by Aaron Gertler, who took the deck to high Mythic rankings. The weakness of the deck are to aggro decks as it does take a few turns to get going.

Golgari Adventures

Golgari Adventures has evolved into a solid midrange deck that has not been hit too hard by the loss of Once Upon a Time, and is boosted slightly by the disappearance of Veil of Summer and less decks needing to use Noxious Grasp or Aether Gust in their maindeck. The deck has a good curve that does not rely too much on Edgewall Innkeeper’s card advantage and can act as the aggressor, or out-grind opponents also when necessary. The key point of this deck is that there are a number of viable builds available. In the recent tournament, Chris Kvartek innovated the archetype with his aggressive deck featuring Rotting Regisaur and The Great Henge, whereas Ally Warfield brought with her the Knights and Lucky Clover package to capitalize on the Adventure spells even more.

Simic Ramp

A new entry into the tier list, this is another green / blue deck but focuses solely on ramping mana mainly via Risen Reef and Nissa, Who Shakes the World and going for the big Hydroid Krasis for the win or searching for End-Raze Forerunners with Finale of Devastation to buff all your creatures and overrun your opponent. This is a fairly linear deck that does its own thing (unlike Simic Flash which has some interaction), where it asks opponents to answer your threats and keep up with your strategy.

Izzet Flash

Izzet Flash is a new archetype similar to Simic Flash. It plucks away at your opponent’s life total throughout the game, countering their key spells along the way. Gadwick, the Wizened is the major incentive to play the deck. Once you draw a few cards with it and untap with him with a handful of spells to back it up, it will be smooth sailing from there. It even can tap down your opponent’s creatures so that you can attack through their blockers.

Gruul Adventures

Gruul Adventures combines the aggressiveness of Gruul Aggro and the Adventure package from Edgewall Innkeeper for card advantage. This deck was a stand out from Mythic Championship VI performing well even against the Oko Food decks, but the loss of Once Upon a Time hurt its consistency significantly, and enough for it to be wary of its future place in the metagame. The saving grace is that you are less likely to face Noxious Grasp and Aether Gust in the maindeck of your opponents now that Oko is gone.

Tier 3

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. At this stage, the deck is probably not tournament worthy but is nice and quick to climb the ladder.

Temur Reclamation

This is a fairly linear combo deck that uses the excess mana generated by Wilderness Reclamation at the end of your turn and killing the opponent with Expansion // Explosion. As another slower deck similar to Azorius Control, be wary of playing this deck as players are better equipped against it or more players run Teferi, Time Raveler. The banning of Veil of Summer did help, but not by that much.

Esper Control

The banning of Veil of Summer brings back the traditional Esper Control back on the menu, supported by Teferi, hand disruption, targeted removal and board wipes. Esper Stax – built around Doom Foretold and Dance of the Manse, is still a valid variation of the deck. As the metagame develops further, Kaya, Orzhov Usurper is a great way to answer Witch’s Oven and Cauldron Familiar so we can see this deck rising in strength.

Azorius Control

The Azorius Control deck is packed with counterspells and Prison Realm to answer all your opponents in a timely manner. The deck gets better in a Teferi-less meta, but its weakness is in the lack of finishers and the length of time needed to win. We are not a huge fan of this deck archetype without cards like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and its extremely grindy nature.

Mono Red Aggro

Mono Red Aggro is always an over-performer in an unknown metagame, where its linear gameplan and consistency makes it harder for unrefined decklists to beat. The banning of Oko and Once Upon a Time is also the most significant factor that allows Mono Red to be a bigger part of the meta as it was very difficult to beat the Food decks.

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15 Responses

  1. Risto Kaasik says:

    I feel like Simic Flash should be tier 2-3. I played whole last season with Simic Flash (490 games), when DotD was not banned and Flash was unfavored (around 40-60)against it. It has even match-up against Food decks, and completely dominates all the control decks (Fires and Stax) and is very strong against most aggro decks (Gruul, rakdos and mono red). Only decks that completely rekts Flash are Golgari Adventure and Dimir Mill.

    Speaking of Golgari Adventure which I chose to play this season is completely out of the picture. Have played 60 games with it, which is not a lot but still have not played a single mirror match. And frankly I am not having such success with it as I had with Simic Flash. Maybe I’m not playing it correctly but it doesn’t do well against control decks and neither Aggro decks.

    • mtgazone mtgazone says:

      I think your skill and experience of the deck matters a lot in MTG, perhaps even more so than the strength of the deck. 490 games is a lot! The pros bring the strongest decks to tournaments because their skill level is so similar, which means playing a weaker deck would be a huge disadvantage.

  2. Brendan Dillon says:

    Assuming a ban comes on Oko (though I think Restricted list would be more reasonable), it will be interesting to see the next phase of the metagame, though I expect it to remain strongly green, there are just too many strong green cards to build around right now.

    • mtgazone mtgazone says:

      People are expecting the deck will continue on as a Ramp variant just without Oko – kinda like last Standard season, with more options now. Being restricted is out of the question, as that is usually just for the Vintage format.

    • Philip Kendall says:

      Nothing’s ever been restricted in Standard, they’re not going to start now – and if they were, Field of the Dead would have been the prime candidate as it was obnoxious only in multiples.

      • Brendan Dillon says:

        So young… That’s not true at all. Standard (originally known as Type II) had many restricted cards back in the day. Maybe no restricted cards since you started playing, but that’s not ‘never’.
        And what made FoD obnoxious wasn’t when it triggered in multiples, it’s that there were so few ways to counter it in the first place
        Oko is powerful, but it’s just a planeswalker, there are plenty of ways to tackle him, but having to deal with another one right after getting rid of the first, that’s the nauseating part.

  3. Jake S says:

    I’ve been playing a lot of Simic Flash in Plat, and it easily carried me to Diamond in the last couple of days in Bo3. Since hitting Diamond I’ve found it to be less than ideal, but switching to an Izzet Flash version has done absolute wonders.

    What’s nice about the Izzet version in the current metagame is its ability to easily switch to a Draw-Two archetype through sideboarding Irencrag Pyromancers and Improbable Alliances. This lets it have a much better matchup against both aggro and T3feri, though Narset then becomes a problem (though a less painful one than T3feri). Shifting Ceratops is a lot less scary when you have red removal, too.

    Royal Scions is really the standout card. The versatility of cycling through your deck or beating down the opponent wtih their +1s, plus the inevitability of their ult, makes for a very scary card that people tend to either overlook–to their detriment–or dump too many resources into, leaving plenty of room for a Brineborn Cutthroat to get stacked.

    Overall the deck seems to be pretty well positioned against the top of the field, though who’s to say whether it will pick up steam. Personally I’m hoping it doesn’t, so I can afford to grab the Scions in paper!

  4. Kakata says:

    How is Golgari Adventures tier 1? that’s easily the worst deck in the meta right now and I don’t see anyone using that deck in tournaments lately either.

  5. Andrew says:

    Is there a link to BO1 decklists

  6. Brendan Dillon says:

    Considering the Top 8 at MCVII, I think it’s pretty reasonable to move simic Flash into Tier 1, and equally reasonable to move Fires to Tier 2. Personally I prefer Jund Sacrifice over either. Golgari Adventures is probably T2 as well.

    • Damian Cohen says:

      And even more reasonable to include Simic Ramp Elementals (as played by Andrea Mengucci) at least in tier 2 status. It’s been fantastic all the weekend.

    • mtgazone mtgazone says:

      It’s a bit hard to base the list purely on the tournament as it’s a completely different metagame environment – this version of Simic Flash is good, but I’m not sure if it’s Tier 1. Maybe 1.5 currently?

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