Arena Standard (BO1) Metagame Tier List and Rankings: July 2021

Arena Standard (BO1) Metagame Tier List and Rankings

Introduction

Discover the best Magic: The Gathering Arena Standard decks and archetypes that the players are using to climb the ranked ladder and win tournaments. Explore the MTG Arena (BO1) Standard metagame as we regularly rank the top decks in a tier list, as well as our comprehensive analysis and review.

  • Click here to view the separate analysis and tier list for Traditional (BO3) Standard.
  • Click on the deck archetype name to find a brief description, links to the full deck guide with a more detailed overview and to find the latest decklists representing it.
  • Each deck will be ranked in numerical order as well as tier order. The higher something is within the tier, the better it is than other decks.
  • Below the tier list you will also find a curated decklist for each archetype as well as a full explanation and reasonings behind these rankings and tiers.

Methodology

When constructing the tier list, we take into account a variety of factors and sources:

  • Field representation, win rate and matchups: How prolific a deck is on the Mythic ladder and how it stacks up against the other popular decks in the metagame.
  • Third-party applications: that track matches and publishes the data directly from ladder play. Currently, we have access to Untapped.gg, MTGA Assistant, MTG Arena Pro and MTG Arena Tool.
  • Tournaments: Important results shaped professional players. MTGmeta.io and MTG Data aggregates these results to analyze their performance.
  • Game Mode: As a general rule, best-of-one (BO1) prefers linear strategies and the metagame is different from Traditional best-of-three (BO3). Read more about the differences here. Generally speaking, the tournaments results are in BO3 only, have a much smaller sample size and its environment is very different from an open MTG Arena ladder experience.
  • Opinion: Our own ladder experience and in consultation with players.
  • Others: If a deck doesn’t appear below, either the play rate of it is too low for it to make a tangible impact or it falls below the tier 3 threshold which we sometimes will highlight as Honorable Mentions below. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad deck either, as this will just be focused on the most popular decks in the current metagame.

Legend

  • Tier 1: The best of the best. The most consistent decks that sport the highest win rates and generally, the highest play rates.
  • Tier 2: Very solid decks that are slightly lacking in some capacity, whether it’s consistency or power compared to the Tier One 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 metas.
  • Tier 3: Either these decks are poorly positioned or have a lot of power/consistency issues. These are decks that see play, but are generally worse choices than your other options.
  • Tier 4: Off-meta or decks that are not in the rankings, but we have coverage on.

Tier List and Rankings

July 21, 2021

AFR has been out for a few weeks, and surprisingly, has had functionally no impact on the metagame.

Despite that, the meta has still been developing as new decks are being tried out and old decks are climbing or falling in popularity and win rate. The win rates are taken from Platinum to Mythic players between July 8th to July 19th.

TIER ONE DECK ARCHETYPES

1. BOROS WINOTA

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 59.3% (17000 matches)
  • Change: 2 -> 1

Bo1 Boros Winota 

Creatures (36)
4
Selfless Savior
4
Usher of the Fallen
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Rimrock Knight
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Skyclave Apparition
4
Blade Historian
4
Winota, Joiner of Forces
Lands (24)
4
Furycalm Snarl
7
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
9
Plains
Cards (60)

With the highest win rate and play rate, Boros Winota finally takes the spot away from Monowhite after a long while. With an extremely fast clock backed up by the absolutely punishing nature of Winota, Joiner of Forces, the deck is a huge force to be reckoned with.

2. MONO WHITE LIFEGAIN

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 58.0% (11000 matches)
  • Change: 1 -> 2

Monowhite Lifegain Aggro Bo1 

Creatures (20)
4
Selfless Savior
4
Speaker of the Heavens
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
4
Skyclave Apparition
Artifacts (4)
4
Maul of the Skyclaves
Enchantments (12)
4
Alseid of Life's Bounty
4
Daxos, Blessed by the Sun
4
Heliod, Sun-Crowned
Lands (24)
4
Castle Ardenvale
16
Plains
4
Radiant Fountain
Cards (60)

Lifegain has been at the top of the meta for awhile and it looks like it’s not going anywhere. The deck is powerful, consistent, and great against the other creature decks of the format.

3. MONO RED AGGRO

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 57.7% (21000 matches)
  • Change: 3 -> 3

Bo1 Monored Aggro 

Creatures (22)
4
Fervent Champion
2
Fireblade Charger
2
Hall Monitor
3
Rimrock Knight
4
Robber of the Rich
4
Bonecrusher Giant
3
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Spells (4)
4
Frost Bite
Artifacts (4)
4
Embercleave
Enchantments (5)
4
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
1
The Akroan War
Lands (25)
2
Den of the Bugbear
4
Faceless Haven
19
Snow-Covered Mountain
Cards (60)

Monored, like many other decks on this list, have been a mainstay in Bo1 for awhile and has firmly remained the most popular deck in Best of One. The deck has a very fast game plan and despite it not being the “strongest deck”, it’s sheer speed allows you to overwhelm any opponent.

4. MONO WHITE AGGRO

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 58.4% (9100 matches)
  • Change: 4 -> 4

Bo1 Monowhite Aggro 

Creatures (29)
1
Reidane, God of the Worthy
4
Giant Killer
4
Selfless Savior
2
Drannith Magistrate
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Seasoned Hallowblade
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Skyclave Apparition
2
Legion Angel
Artifacts (2)
2
Maul of the Skyclaves
Enchantments (5)
4
Alseid of Life's Bounty
1
Paladin Class
Lands (24)
1
Cave of the Frost Dragon
4
Faceless Haven
19
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (2)
2
Legion Angel

Although traditional Monowhite Aggro now has eclipsed Lifegain’s win rate, I’m still a little skeptical to place it above it. It’s such a small percentage and Lifegain is still the more popular option, so I want to be cautious and leave Monowhite at the bottom off Tier 1 for now.

However, with the power of the AFR cards maybe it can usurp it’s more popular brother from it’s ranking in the future if the data supports it.

TIER TWO DECK ARCHETYPES

5. CYCLING

Bo1 Boros Cycling Standard 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures (16)
4
Flourishing Fox
4
Drannith Healer
4
Drannith Stinger
4
Valiant Rescuer
Spells (22)
4
Go for Blood
4
Startling Development
3
Memory Leak
4
Zenith Flare
4
Frostveil Ambush
3
Boon of the Wish-Giver
Enchantments (4)
4
Footfall Crater
Lands (18)
7
Mountain
11
Plains
Cards (60)

The top of tier 2, Boros Cycling is a powerful deck plagued by it’s own inconsistency. It can have starts that no deck can beat, but also have anemic starts where you do nothing the first few turns which makes the deck a little scary to play at times.

That being said, it’s an excellent and powerful deck to break into ladder with and will trounce nearly every deck thats not in the top tier.

6. MONO GREEN AGGRO

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 55.4% (14000 matches)
  • Change: Unlisted -> 6

Bo1 Monogreen Aggro 

Creatures (26)
4
Kazandu Mammoth
3
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Swarm Shambler
1
Scavenging Ooze
4
Werewolf Pack Leader
4
Lovestruck Beast
3
Gemrazer
3
Questing Beast
Spells (4)
4
Blizzard Brawl
Artifacts (3)
3
The Great Henge
Enchantments (4)
4
Ranger Class
Lands (23)
2
Castle Garenbrig
4
Faceless Haven
17
Snow-Covered Forest
Cards (60)

Much like Best of 3, Monogreen is really finding it’s stride as it’s the deck that picked up the most from AFR with Werewolf Pack Leader and Ranger Class. It has a solid win rate and sees a huge amount of play, but can struggle against the Monowhite decks which are also very popular. I’ll keep an eye out for this one as I wouldn’t be surprised if this breaks into Tier 1 at some point.

7. DIMIR ROGUES

Bo1 Rogues 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures (16)
4
Merfolk Windrobber
4
Ruin Crab
4
Thieves' Guild Enforcer
4
Soaring Thought-Thief
Spells (19)
2
Agadeem's Awakening
4
Drown in the Loch
1
Eliminate
4
Heartless Act
2
Didn't Say Please
2
Lullmage's Domination
4
Into the Story
Enchantments (1)
1
Dead Weight
Lands (24)
1
Castle Locthwain
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
6
Island
3
Swamp
4
Temple of Deceit
2
Zagoth Triome
Cards (60)
Sideboard (1)
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

I’m surprised that Rogues performs so well in Bo1 as the meta is so aggressive, but if your list is teched towards other aggro decks it’s definitely not unreasonable. Rogues shines against off meta or untuned decks while still being reasonable against the fast decks, but the fact is Bo1 has a lot of fast deck swhich can give Rogues a hard time. However, Rogues good starts are so hard to beat no matter what deck they’re playing and it does perform well against Monowhite traditionally.

8. SULTAI ULTIMATUM

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 55.2% (12000 matches)
  • Change: 9 -> 8

Bo1 Sultai Ultimatum 

Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Creatures (8)
1
Valki, God of Lies
2
Polukranos, Unchained
2
Quandrix Cultivator
2
Elder Gargaroth
1
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Spells (27)
3
Jwari Disruption
1
Pelakka Predation
1
Sea Gate Restoration
3
Eliminate
4
Heartless Act
4
Cultivate
2
Extinction Event
3
Shadows' Verdict
2
Alrund's Epiphany
4
Emergent Ultimatum
Enchantments (13)
4
Omen of the Sea
4
Wolfwillow Haven
4
Binding the Old Gods
1
Kiora Bests the Sea God
Lands (32)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Darkbore Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
3
Forest
3
Island
1
Ketria Triome
2
Swamp
3
Temple of Malady
4
Zagoth Triome
Cards (80)
Sideboard (1)
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad

Although this isn’t as strong as it is in Bo3, it has picked up some steam allowing it to be a competitive choice in Bo1. That being said, it still isn’t the greatest choice by any means as the hyper aggressive nature of Best of One doesn’t suit Sultai Ultimatum particularly well, even if you build for aggro in mind.

TIER THREE DECK ARCHETYPES

9. MONO BLACK AURAS

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 54.0% (5800 matches)
  • Change: 11 -> 10

Monoblack Auras Bo1 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures (14)
4
Archfiend's Vessel
4
Serrated Scorpion
2
Fiend Artisan
4
Mire Triton
Spells (12)
2
Malakir Rebirth
4
Village Rites
2
Heartless Act
4
Call of the Death-Dweller
Enchantments (12)
4
Dead Weight
4
Hateful Eidolon
2
Mogis's Favor
2
Mire's Grasp
Lands (22)
2
Castle Locthwain
20
Swamp
Cards (60)

Monoblack Auras sees reasonable play and sports a decent win rate, but does have some endemic problems it needs to work out. The power level of the deck is lower than most of the others in the meta and it really only shines against creature decks, being a complete dog to stuff like Sultai or Cycling. It’s a solid deck if you enjoy the game play or face exclusively creature decks, but it’s certainly not your best option.

10. IZZET DRAGONS

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 48.6% (6000)
  • Change: Unlisted -> 11

Bo1 Izzet Dragons 

Creatures (10)
3
Galazeth Prismari
4
Goldspan Dragon
3
Iymrith, Desert Doom
Spells (24)
4
Frost Bite
4
Dragon's Fire
4
Expressive Iteration
4
Prismari Command
4
Saw It Coming
4
Alrund's Epiphany
Lands (26)
2
Frostboil Snarl
2
Hall of Storm Giants
4
Riverglide Pathway
7
Snow-Covered Island
7
Snow-Covered Mountain
4
Volatile Fjord
Cards (60)

The final deck for the tier list, Izzet Dragons is decently popular, but has a sub 50% win rate on ladder. The deck can be very powerful if it curves multiple interative spells into a Dragon, but when it doesn’t do that, it can crumble extremely quickly to an aggro deck. I would definitely steer clear of this for now.

Thank you for reading! Have a great day!

DoggertQBones

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

6 Responses

  1. Ugh says:

    While the BO1 and BO3 tier lists are always a bit different, it appears that’s especially true right now with tier 1 and tier 2 a near complete flip-flop between the two articles. Can you talk a little bit about what makes some of these decks so much better for BO1, and others so much better for BO3? Is it simply that midrange decks have better sideboard plans available, or is there more to it than that? Thanks!

    • Terence says:

      Aggro decks fare much better in BO1 in general – because they are linear and with hand smoothing, the chances of getting a good hand are slightly better. This is why their weightings are a bit different in this regard. This is why you’ll also see some decks in BO1 (e.g. Mono Black Auras, Tibalt’s Trickery, etc) and not in BO3 because as you said, sideboarding makes them very weak.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      You pretty much hit the nail on the head, Ugh. Sideboards can heavily shift matchups especially in the aggro v midrange dynamic.

  2. Hannes77 says:

    Will there also be an updated metagame tier list for Historic BO1 and BO3 soon? 🙂 Last time there wasn’t one. :-/ I always highly appreciate the lists! 🙂

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Coming out next week, don’t you worry! I’ve been studying up to make it as accurate as possible!

  3. Gratum says:

    Hello, I already have a made Mono Red Aggro deck but I’m wondering if it’s worth to craft the Winota deck. Highly appreciate the lists! Thank you.

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