Arena Standard (BO1) Metagame Tier List and Rankings: Strixhaven – May 2021

Arena Standard (BO1) Metagame Tier List and Rankings: Strixhaven

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 List and Rankings

  • April 30th, 2021: Strixhaven has been out for 2 weeks and Standard has been decently shaken up as a result! Although many of the popular decks stayed mostly the same, their relative position in the meta has definitely changed around quite a bit. There’s going to be a lot of old faces on the list, but some fresh ones as well!
Rank ArchetypeTierGuide
7znr-221-brushfire-elementalGruul Adventures2Guide
10Toski, Bearer of Secrets Art by Jason RainvilleNaya Tokens3Guide
4znr-236-soaring-thought-thiefDimir Rogues2Guide
9eld-171-questing-beastMono Green Stompy3
6iko-185-emergent-ultimatumSultai Ultimatum2Guide
5improbable allianceCycling2Guide
8Alrund's EpiphanyTemur Adventures2Guide
3Mono White Devotion

Mono White Lifegain

1Guide
1khm-404-frost-bite

Mono Red Aggro

1Guide
2iko-216-winota-joiner-of-forcesBoros Winota1Guide

TIER ONE DECKS

1. MONO RED AGGRO

 

Creatures
4
Fervent Champion
4
Fireblade Charger
4
Hall Monitor
4
Robber of the Rich
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Spells
4
Frost Bite
Artifacts
4
Embercleave
Enchantments
4
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Lands
4
Faceless Haven
20
Snow-Covered Mountain
Cards (60)

The darling of Arena ladder, Monored has always been by far the most popular deck and have been putting up reasonable results as well. Despite it’s excellent performance on ladder (currently the deck with the highest win rate), I still don’t love it as I believe some of it’s strong tournament results are more a result of how popular the deck is rather than how well it’s actually positioned in the metagame. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to do well in Standard, you need a really good plan for Monored.

2. WINOTA

 

Creatures
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
4
Furycalm Snarl
7
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
9
Plains
Cards (60)

The newest addition to the pantheon of good decks in Standard, Winota has been bubbling the metagame for quite awhile but is finally making the push into relevance. Although Winota still has a lot left to prove, it has the ability to be fast like Monored and interactive like Monowhite which is a great place to be. Right now I’m a little worried as the current Winota builds seem to have an overreliance on Winota, but it’ll be a great test to see if Winota is the real deal or a flash in the pan.

3. MONO WHITE AGGRO

 

Creatures
2
Reidane, God of the Worthy
4
Giant Killer
4
Selfless Savior
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Seasoned Hallowblade
3
Elite Spellbinder
2
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
4
Skyclave Apparition
Artifacts
1
Shadowspear
4
Maul of the Skyclaves
Enchantments
4
Alseid of Life's Bounty
Lands
4
Faceless Haven
20
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)

Monowhite is a solid and popular deck, but hasn’t felt well positioned in quite awhile. It doesn’t seem that well positioned against a lot of the top decks and doesn’t really do anything much better than Monored which has access to higher power level cards. I don’t think Monowhite will ever be a bad choice per se, but I think you can do better if you like playing aggressive decks.

TIER TWO DECKS

4. DIMIR ROGUES

 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures
4
Merfolk Windrobber
4
Ruin Crab
4
Thieves' Guild Enforcer
4
Soaring Thought-Thief
Spells
2
Agadeem's Awakening
1
Cling to Dust
4
Drown in the Loch
2
Eliminate
1
Essence Scatter
1
Lullmage's Domination
2
Of One Mind
3
Baleful Mastery
1
Crippling Fear
4
Into the Story
Lands
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
7
Island
5
Swamp
3
Temple of Deceit
Cards (60)

Rogues success is all about meta positioning, and the meta is looking real nice for it. With a lot of the top decks being on the clunkier end of the spectrum, Rogues can easily swoop in and remind people that you always have to respect this matchup no matter what you’re playing. I would say Rogues is a much better tournament deck than a ladder deck as rough matchups like Monored and Cycling are more common on the ladder, but it’s still an excellent choice for grinding if you’re well versed in the archetype.

5. CYCLING

 

Creatures
4
Flourishing Fox
4
Drannith Stinger
4
Valiant Rescuer
4
Irencrag Pyromancer
Spells
4
Go for Blood
2
Shredded Sails
4
Startling Development
1
Neutralize
4
Zenith Flare
2
Frostveil Ambush
4
Boon of the Wish-Giver
Enchantments
4
Improbable Alliance
Lands
4
Hengegate Pathway
1
Island
1
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
1
Plains
4
Raugrin Triome
4
Riverglide Pathway
Cards (60)

Cycling has been putting up consistent results since the emergence of Sultai Ultimatum and continues to be a great choice overall. Considering you have a good matchup against the top 3 decks, Cycling is always poised to sneak up out of nowhere and take a tournament by surprise. The largest issues Cycling has is the hands with Flourishing Fox and/or Valiant Rescuer are infinitely better than hands without and Test of Talents is a huge problem for the archetype, two inhibitors that will likely keep Cycling out of the top tier of Standard.

6. SULTAI ULTIMATUM

 

Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Planeswalkers
1
Professor Onyx
Creatures
4
Tangled Florahedron
1
Valki, God of Lies
4
Quandrix Cultivator
2
Yorion, Sky Nomad
1
Massacre Wurm
1
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Spells
2
Sea Gate Restoration
2
Heartless Act
1
Negate
1
Mystical Dispute
3
Eureka Moment
1
Extinction Event
4
Shadows' Verdict
2
Alrund's Epiphany
4
Emergent Ultimatum
Enchantments
4
Omen of the Sea
4
Wolfwillow Haven
1
Elspeth's Nightmare
3
Binding the Old Gods
1
Kiora Bests the Sea God
Lands
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Darkbore Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
3
Forest
3
Island
1
Ketria Triome
2
Swamp
4
Temple of Malady
4
Zagoth Triome
Cards (80)

Sultai didn’t get too much from Strixhaven, but even little advantages can add up. The terror of Emergent Ultimatum is still very much alive in Standard and the list is only going to become more tuned and refined. Unlike it’s first appearance, Sultai Ult can likely never be the best deck as Rogues gatekeeps it so well and the aggro decks can be challenging as well. However, this deck rewards a tuned build and great play so if you like this strategy, it’s still a great choice.

7. GRUUL ADVENTURES

 

Creatures
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Magda, Brazen Outlaw
4
Rimrock Knight
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Lovestruck Beast
4
Goldspan Dragon
Spells
4
Shatterskull Smashing
Artifacts
2
Esika's Chariot
3
Embercleave
2
The Great Henge
Lands
4
Cragcrown Pathway
1
Fabled Passage
9
Forest
2
Hall of Oracles
5
Mountain
Cards (60)

Gruul is in an interesting spot as many figured the archetype solved and mediocre, but Raphael Levy has revived it with a weird build hitting rank 1. I like trying to work towards the board more and lowering the curve so this looks like a great direction to take Gruul, but like Winota, this iteration has a lot to prove before it can be placed higher.

8. TEMUR ADVENTURES

 

Companion
1
Obosh, the Preypiercer
Creatures
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brazen Borrower
4
Lovestruck Beast
4
Goldspan Dragon
Spells
2
Mystical Dispute
2
Saw It Coming
3
Alrund's Epiphany
Artifacts
3
The Great Henge
Lands
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
2
Island
4
Ketria Triome
2
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
Cards (60)

Temur is (and has for awhile) been the preferred version of Adventures. Utilizing Obosh, the Preypiercer for a free card, the broken Adventure package, and the most powerful cards Standard has to offer, Temur has been a mainstay of the format. Instead of having more polarizing matchups, Temur has a more subtle matchup spread with functionally no matchup being worse than a 60/40 overall which makes it a great deck for either ladder or tournament play.

TIER THREE DECKS

9. MONO GREEN STOMPY

 

Planeswalkers
1
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
Creatures
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Swarm Shambler
4
Scavenging Ooze
4
Lovestruck Beast
1
Thrashing Brontodon
4
Gemrazer
3
Questing Beast
Spells
1
Blizzard Brawl
4
Primal Might
Artifacts
4
Stonecoil Serpent
3
The Great Henge
Lands
2
Castle Garenbrig
3
Faceless Haven
18
Snow-Covered Forest
Cards (60)

Monogreen has mostly been absent from the metagame at large, but Rumti and associates refuse to go down without a fight. I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to say that this deck is literally ranked 10 in the metagame, but the archetype has been around for awhile and has still yet to make any significant splash in the metagame. That being said, 3 pilots using Rumti’s list were all able to reach 7 wins in the Standard metagame challenge, so maybe the consensus surrounding the deck is starting to shift. I’ll be excited to see if the deck can start to make significant strides and move up the tier list.

10. NAYA TOKENS

 

Companion
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
Creatures
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Giant Killer
4
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Clarion Spirit
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Lovestruck Beast
2
Toski, Bearer of Secrets
Spells
3
Kabira Takedown
Enchantments
4
Showdown of the Skalds
Lands
4
Branchloft Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
3
Forest
2
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
2
Plains
Cards (60)

Naya did have a good weekend last week, but the archetype seems to keep falling further and further from favor. With a lot of difficulty in the Rogues and Sultai Ultimatum matchup, and not as good of a Temur matchup as it initially seemed, Naya is quickly loosing it’s foothold in the metagame. Maybe a fresh build of the archetype can help bring it back into prominence, but it’s future is looking a bit grim.

Thank you for reading!

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, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and teaching!

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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