Standard Best of One Meta Snapshot – November 2021

Hello everyone! With the advent of our new Bo3 Tier Lists, we’ll be doing meta snapshots a bit differently. Best of One Tier Lists will still be curated by me and/or the other members of MTG Arena Zone and they’ll each have a report that goes along with any updates discussing the overall state of the metagame. With that brief introduction to the article out of the way, let’s hop right into it!


THE REIGN OF AGGRO MAY BE COMING TO AN END

Hamlet Vanguard Art by PINDURSKI
Hamlet Vanguard Art by PINDURSKI
Bo1 Monowhite Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
4 mythic
47 rare
9 uncommon
0 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
60 Cards
$213.4

Aggressive decks have long lauded over the Best of One metagame and this is no different, though their grip is loosening. Since Standard 2022, Monowhite Aggro has been at the top of the metagame with it’s quick starts and surprisingly interactive threats. Furthermore, since the play/draw dynamics in Bo1 are pretty stark, it’s one of the few decks that can have functionally unbeatable draws when it’s on the play no matter what the opponent is playing. Considering it’s velocity and versatility, it’s no surprise it’s been on top for so long.

Bo1 Monogreen Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
51 rare
4 uncommon
5 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (24)
2
Lotus Cobra
$5.58
4
Kazandu Mammoth
$1.00
Instants (2)
1
Snakeskin Veil
$1.29
Sorceries (4)
4
Blizzard Brawl
$1.00
Artifacts (4)
Enchantments (4)
4
Ranger Class
$47.96
Lands (22)
2
Faceless Haven
$14.98
60 Cards
$180.92

Trailing not too far behind it, like it was in Standard 2022, is Monogreen Aggro. The deck isn’t as fast as Monowhite which can be somewhat detrimental as you lose the ability to cheese out quick wins, but does have much larger threats that can better withstand interaction or small blockers, something Monowhite can struggle with. Furthermore, having access to Blizzard Brawl and Esika's Chariot is a huge advantage no other deck can replicate and helps maintain a lot of Monogreen’s success.

Bo1 Selesnya Humans
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Tribal
best of 1
5 mythic
49 rare
2 uncommon
4 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
60 Cards
$177.48

Although these two decks have been Tier 1 for months, their other aggro buddies are not necessarily faring as well and are dropping off in popularity. Selesnya Humans is the next highest creature deck, currently sitting at 6th, but it’s somewhat a blend of Monowhite and Monogreen without doing anything better than either of them. Goblins is also in a weird spot where it has a lot of interaction to keep the pressure up, their threats are not upgrading with the times and they’re left playing with a lot of mediocre cards. To round out the Tier 2 options, Clerics is still a decent choice with a lot of synergies and the super cool Pyre of Heroes, but lacks the explosiveness of the other aggro decks. Once you leave Tier 2, the aggressive options keep dwindling in viability.

It seems strange in a format seemingly defined by it’s creature decks that there aren’t too many excellent ones anymore, but that just shows there’s a solid metagame in flux. It’s very likely that this trend will continue until there’s only a few creature decks left that can contend to be the best decks in the metagame, and when that happens, the slower decks preying upon creatures will start to build to cannibalize each other. When that happens, the floodgates will likely open again to creature deck dominance. Now let’s be clear, I’m not saying creature decks are bad or you’re not going to see them, but with the uptick of anti-creature midrange decks, you’re definitely going to have a rougher time than you did before. Speaking of anti-creature midrange decks…


THE RISE OF BLACK MIDRANGE

Blood on the Snow Art by Martina Fackova
Blood on the Snow Art by Martina Fackova

In an attempt to foil the aggressive decks starting back to Standard 2022, Black midrange decks utilize a host of value creatures, planeswalkers, and board wipes to fight the good fight. It was a Tier 1 option then with some subsidiaries, but never could claim the top spot as it was strong against the creature decks, but had some inconsistencies in general and also struggled against the bigger decks of the format.

However, that may all be changing soon. Both Monowhite and Monogreen got new tools to make them even more potent which puts a really big squeeze on the slower decks of the format. Looking to cast expensive spells? Thalia, Guardian of Thraben may have something to say about that. Need to make it to turn 5? Ascendant Packleader into 2 drop into Old-Growth Troll don’t agree. With these decks becoming more efficient, the slower decks need to adapt. If you don’t want to play a deck dedicated to beating creatures, you’re going to need to gear your deck moreso to beating them anyway so you don’t get run over.

Bo1 Monoblack Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
9 mythic
25 rare
16 uncommon
10 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (6)
2
Professor Onyx
$27.98
Creatures (13)
4
Eyetwitch
$1.00
4
Shambling Ghast
$3.16
Instants (8)
4
Deadly Dispute
$11.16
4
Infernal Grasp
$7.16
Sorceries (6)
Enchantments (3)
Lands (24)
15
Snow-Covered Swamp
$26.85
4
Field of Ruin
$1.00
4
Faceless Haven
$29.96
60 Cards
$399.64
7 Cards
$4.97

Now what does this have to do with Black midrange? It’s the perfect storm for a takeover. The aggro decks are getting more efficient, since they’re better they’ll see more play. Since they see more play, they put more pressure on Black’s bad matchups to gear themselves to beating aggro at the expense of their power. Furthermore, Black got a great new tool in The Meathook Massacre to work in conjunction with Blood on the Snow to have more wrath effects.

With all these factors, Black midrange is still great against the creature decks if not better since the cards that made their decks potent against the other slow decks don’t matter as much against Black. Nice 2/1s, here’s a Skullport Merchant. Furthermore Blacks historically bad matchups like Izzet or Control need to gear way more towards creatures so it’s not just Black having dead cards like it used to be. Finally decks that historically snacked on Black and can’t adapt like Simic Ramp is being pushed out of the metagame anyway by efficient creature decks. This is the best time to be playing a Midrange deck, all the results are following.

Bo1 Orzhov Control
by DoggertQBones
Standard
best of 1
8 mythic
30 rare
10 uncommon
12 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (6)
Creatures (15)
4
Eyetwitch
$1.00
4
Shambling Ghast
$3.16
Instants (8)
4
Vanishing Verse
$9.96
4
Deadly Dispute
$11.16
Sorceries (4)
Enchantments (2)
Lands (25)
2
Field of Ruin
$0.50
4
Faceless Haven
$29.96
60 Cards
$376.6
7 Cards
$4.97

Currently Monoblack just barely trails Monowhite in terms of rankings, and that may not be the case forever and I expect it’s subsidiaries to pick up more traction as well. Orzhov Midrange was always an offshoot of Monoblack that seemed slightly less good, but with Edgar, Charmed Groom and Path of Peril if that’s what you want, may now have the tools to surpass Monoblack as the midrange deck of choice. That could be a nightmare scenario for aggro decks as if Orzhov becomes better, it’s not as if Monoblack disappears, it just means they have double the problems to worry about.

In a similar vein, we have Rakdos Midrange picking up more steam as well which foregoes some of the strength it has in creature matchups to play the very powerful Immersturm Predator which can be a huge threat in every matchup, slow or fast and Goldspan Dragon as a finisher. As the midrange mirrors pick up, this can also be a better and better choice, which still doesn’t make aggro’s life any easier.

Bo1 Rakdos Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
6 mythic
29 rare
12 uncommon
13 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
Instants (4)
4
Deadly Dispute
$11.16
Sorceries (5)
Lands (24)
4
Faceless Haven
$27.96
4
Sulfurous Mire
$2.36
60 Cards
$357.18
6 Cards
$4.68

The final Black midrange deck of the list isn’t a Blood on the Snow deck, but still has plenty of staying power in every matchup: Jund Midrange. Jund utilizes ramp creatures into big threats like (once again) Immersturm Predator and Goldspan Dragon to pick up its wins. It’s not going to be as potent against creature decks without Blood on the Snow, but with Jaspera Sentinel and Prosperous Innkeeper as nice blockers and Esika's Chariot, Immersturm Predator, and Lolth, Spider Queen for top end, they definitely aren’t hurting for good cards against creature decks either.

Bo1 Jund Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
11 mythic
38 rare
7 uncommon
4 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
Instants (3)
3
Infernal Grasp
$5.37
Sorceries (4)
Artifacts (4)
Lands (23)
3
Forest
$0.75
4
Darkbore Pathway
$33.96
4
Haunted Ridge
$43.96
2
Rockfall Vale
$11.98
60 Cards
$522.72

As the metagame develops more, I expect to see many more Snow-Covered Swamps coming your way and it may be time to tech your aggressive decks to be a bit more resilient to fight that. How else can you fight the good fight?


OFF META DECKS TO ROUND OUT THE METAGAME CYCLE

Faithbound Judge Art by Svetlin Velinov
Faithbound Judge Art by Svetlin Velinov
Bo1 Izzet Turns
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Control
best of 1
4 mythic
30 rare
20 uncommon
6 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (2)
Instants (21)
3
Fading Hope
$0.75
2
Demon Bolt
$0.50
3
Divide by Zero
$0.75
Sorceries (11)
Enchantments (3)
Lands (23)
5
Island
$1.25
6
Mountain
$1.50
2
Field of Ruin
$0.50
60 Cards
$168.34
7 Cards
$4.83

As I said before, metagames are cyclical. Aggro has been excellent so midrange is coming in waves to try and stamp it out. How can you respond? With a deck that goes bigger than Blood on the Snow. I did say before that these decks were being chased out by Monowhite and Monogreen Aggro, but as long as you still respect the aggro decks, but have a plan for the Black midrange decks, you can be in an excellent spot.

For example, our Tier 1 Izzet Turns list is the perfect example of that where it has plenty of respect for the aggressive decks while using Galvanic Iteration plus Alrund's Epiphany to cut through the Black decks regardless. This is a pretty known quantity though so what else can you do that’s a bit spicier that will have the same effect?

Bo1 Azorius Control
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Control
best of 1
2 mythic
33 rare
21 uncommon
4 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (2)
2
Faithbound Judge
$12.98
Instants (23)
2
Negate
$3.58
3
Fateful Absence
$17.97
4
Saw It Coming
$3.16
4
Divide by Zero
$1.00
4
Memory Deluge
$63.96
Sorceries (9)
3
Sunset Revelry
$1.05
4
Doomskar
$17.96
Lands (26)
2
Island
$0.50
7
Plains
$1.75
4
Field of Ruin
$1.00
4
Deserted Beach
$35.96
60 Cards
$215.76
7 Cards
$4.83
Bo1 DImir Control
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Control
best of 1
5 mythic
33 rare
18 uncommon
4 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (5)
Instants (27)
4
Consider
$9.16
3
Fading Hope
$0.75
3
Power Word Kill
$1.05
3
Infernal Grasp
$5.37
4
Divide by Zero
$1.00
4
Memory Deluge
$63.96
Sorceries (2)
Enchantments (2)
Lands (24)
4
Island
$1.00
6
Swamp
$1.50
2
Field of Ruin
$0.50
4
Shipwreck Marsh
$47.96
60 Cards
$378.1
7 Cards
$3.29

Control could definitely be the ticket. In Standard 2022 both Azorius and Dimir Control were abysmal options with sub 50% win rates. Now, they lept over the 50% threshold and keep climbing. Control decks need a stable environment to thrive, and a few weeks after set release is definitely closing in on that environment. As they find how many pieces they need to not get rolled by aggro they can spend the rest of their focus on the Black decks and show them an awful time. What if Control isn’t your speed?

Bo1 Simic Ramp
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Ramp
best of 1
2 mythic
27 rare
22 uncommon
9 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (12)
4
Fading Hope
$1.00
4
Divide by Zero
$1.00
1
Memory Deluge
$15.99
Sorceries (4)
4
Field Trip
$1.00
Lands (24)
6
Forest
$1.50
4
Island
$1.00
3
Field of Ruin
$0.75
1
Quandrix Campus
$0.25
60 Cards
$149.78
7 Cards
$4.83

I’ve always been a big fan of Ramp decks, and that’s no different now. Ramp can have the tools to be decent against aggro, but you do need to build a bit differently to achieve that. For example, our Simic Ramp list isn’t completely ideal at beating aggro, but it does show it’s respect with 4 Cyclone Summoner, 4 Fading Hope, and 4 Neverwinter Dryad so it’s not helpless either. However, this deck should generally smush Blood on the Snow decks as value creatures are no real match for 7 drops. If you want to respect aggro a bit more, you can think of splashing a color like Black to get cheap removal like Infernal Grasp or Flunk with removal/ram like Binding the Old Gods. You could even go my preferred route with Temur and get plenty of cheap burn spells to suit your fancy (something I’ll be talking about again in the future!)

No matter where your proclivities lie, you could almost certainly find something that’s gonig to suit your tastes considering the Bo1 meta will always be in this paradoxical harmonious flux. The only thing you can guarantee is that the more things try to stay the same, the more they’re going to change in response. All types of decks are always going to be represented so riding the trends isn’t easy, but picking the right deck at the right time can lead you to massiv win streaks and avoid frustration of facing your bad matchup over and over again.

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.