Standard (BO3) Metagame Tier List

Skyclave-Apparition-Zendikar-Rising-MtG-Art

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 Traditional (BO3) 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 Arena (BO1) 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

  • October 30, 2020: With the crazy weekend of Magic we had behind us, a lot has changed! There’s even more fun look forwarding with the Arena Open this weekend then the second Zendikar Rising League Weekend the next so I found it prudent to fully update our tier list.
Rank ArchetypeTier
1znr-221-brushfire-elementalGruul Adventures
1
2znr-236-soaring-thought-thiefDimir Rogues
2
3eld-187-doom-foretold-art-cropEsper Doom
2
4thb-221-kroxa-titan-of-death-s-hungerRakdos Midrange
2
5Irencrag Feat (Throne of Eldraine) Art by Yongjae ChoiMono Red Ramp
2
6eld-152-feasting-troll-kingMono Green Food
2
7eld-14-giant-killerSelesnya Adventures
3
8eld-147-torbran-thane-of-red-fell-art-crop

Mono Red Aggro

3
9iko-189-genesis-ultimatumTemur Ramp
3
10iko-232-yorion-sky-nomadSelesnya Blink
3
11iko-232-yorion-sky-nomadAzorius Blink
3
12eld-97-murderous-riderGolgari Adventures
3
13iko-217-zenith-flareBoros Cycling
3

TIER ONE

1. GRUUL ADVENTURES

What a turnaround from last week! Gruul came out with guns blazing and has overtaken the meta in every conceivable way! According to MTG Data, it had a 65% win rate in the splits, Untapped.gg has Gruul at around a 60% win rate in Mythic ladder, and it’s by far the most popular deck on ladder right now. Gruul plays a lot of powerful cards, has explosive starts, but also has very grindy elements. If you’re looking for a deck to help bolster your win rate, look no further than here.

TIER TWO

2. DIMIR ROGUES

The next deck that performed very well last weekend was Dimir Rogues. Right now, there is a small distinction between lists since one runs Lurrus (as a permanent Companion) and others run Shark Typhoon (with Lurrus in the sideboard), but the Lurrus version seems to be outperforming the Shark version convincingly. In the Splits, Lurrus had a 59.5% win rate while Sharks had a 55.8%. The main distinction for the Shark version was that it performed better against Yorion, something that seems significantly less relevant now with the meta shift.

Although I still slate Rogues as the second best deck, I feel that it’s going to struggle significantly as older decks come out of the woodwork that have traditionally good matchups against it, such as Rakdos and Golgari Adventures. Coupled with Gruul Aggro being a difficult matchup, Rogues is in a rough spot currently. That said, Rogues has a surprising wealth of options in builds and boardings, so I would be surprised if a new list comes out that can help prevent it’s decline.

3. GOLGARI ADVENTURES

Golgari has had quite the journey since it’s rediscovery in Zendikar. For the first few days, it looked like the best deck, then Yorion completely pushed it out, but now Yorion is completely pushed out by Gruul, giving Golgari breathing room again. Surprisingly, Golgari had literally no representation in the last splits, and with it’s really poor Yorion matchup, it’s no surprise why. However, with the dominance of Gruul, Rogues still lurking around, and the surge of Rakdos, Golgari looks like an excellent choice moving forward. Golgari struggles with decks looking to go over it, but it’s excellent at beating up decks attempting to go under it or at roughly the same power level.

4. RAKDOS MIDRANGE

Off the back of a surprisingly strong performance in the Splits with a 60.4% win rate, Rakdos is looking to make a strong comeback. Similar to Golgari, Rakdos was perceived as the best deck for a short while before being pushed by Yorion as well. Although the Golgari matchup can be challenging, Gruul and Rogues are quite excellent for the deck. Furthermore, Rakdos is not nearly as weak to slower decks compared to Golgari which can really struggle with strategies going over the top of them. With Rogues on the downswing, Rakdos’s popularity will likely be stymied a bit, but it’s still a good time to be casting Kroxa.

5. SELESNYA ADVENTURES

  • Change: Unranked > 5
  • Mythic Win Rate: 54.9%

Gruul was the talk of the weekend, but Selesnya was the real sleeper in Standard! This was piloted solely by Rivals member, Kenji “NumottheNummy” Egashira, to an impressive 8-3 record. This deck plays extremely similarly to Golgari, but gets a nice advantage in the form of Elspeth Conquers Death. Furthermore, Selesnya actually gets a Pathway unlike Golgari, making the mana much cleaner.

I’m not sure where Selesnya is going to go from here, but two questions really need to be answered concerning it. One, is this deck better than Golgari? Elspeth Conquers Death and Branchloft Pathway are huge, but your sideboard options are extremely poor compared to Golgari. Furthermore, Faerie Guidemother is not an exciting card to have to play. Second, this deck benefitted from the surprise factor, so as the list becomes more well known, how will the metagame adapt? Only time will tell.

6. MONO RED AGGRO

  • Change: Unranked > 6
  • Mythic Win Rate: 59.9%

This deck is in a weird spot for me. On one hand, crokeyz managed to hit top 10 Mythic with his iteration of Mono Red, and it has the second highest win rate per Untapped.gg, right behind Gruul. On the other hand, Mono Red had no representation at the Splits, and sports an unfavorable matchup against 4 of the 5 decks listed above it.

Mono Red is excellent at taking down Rogues, but really struggles against Lovestruck Beast and The Great Henge, two cards that 3 of the above decks are all playing. Rakdos, as the outlier, has so much removal and value, it’s really difficult for Mono Red to kill them before Rakdos can stabilize. It will seemingly always have a presence in the metagame however, and I placed it in Tier 2 from the data alone, but I wouldn’t be led too astray as I don’t think the deck is powerful enough to compete with the other options right now.

7. ESPER DOOM

  • Change: 7 > 7
  • Mythic Win Rate: 55.7%

Esper hasn’t seen a significant amount of popularity, but it seems to be trending upwards despite Azorius’ poor performance last weekend and is sporting a reasonably strong win rate. Esper’s biggest hole right now is that it definitely struggles against Gruul, Mono Red, and Rogues can be challenging as well. However, it is quite adept at beating up on midrange decks that are going smaller than them, such as Rakdos and Golgari. I don’t think Esper is the best positioned deck, but it’s definitely a solid option.

8. AZORIUS BLINK

How the mighty have fallen. What was the best deck last week has taken an absolute nose dive this week. As I mention in the Downfall of Yorion article, I believe this is mostly due to the large target Yorion had on its back and how inbred the lists became to combat the perceived popularity of the mirror. Despite it nearly disappearing from the ladder since the Splits, it still boasts a reasonable win rate on ladder despite an abysmal win rate in the Splits at a staggeringly low 26.8%. Despite that, as people stop respecting Yorion, there’s a strong chance for it to come back in a big way.

TIER THREE

9. TEMUR RAMP

Oh Temur Ramp, how I love and pity thee. Although I really enjoy casting Genesis Ultimatum, it’s just not a good time to be doing so. Gruul, Mono Red, and Rogues all prove to be very challenging matchups, and with Yorion well in it’s downswing, there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to be playing Temur right now if winning is your sole goal. Furthermore, despite the amount of Yorion in the splits, it was still only able to get a 48.9% win rate. Not the most encouraging, but if Standard trends towards a midrange slugfest, Temur can end up being an excellent option.

10. SELESNYA BLINK

  • Change: 3 > 10
  • Mythic Win Rate: 50.6%

Propelled off the back of Ondrek Strasky’s incredible 8-0 run at the CFB Clash event, Selesnya saw a huge surge of popularity last week. Furthermore, Jacob Wilson took it to an impressive 8-3 record in the splits as well. Unfortunately for Selesnya, Azorius Yorion was a very rough matchup which made it a rather poor choice, even considering Wilson’s strong record. Despite that, it is relatively strong against faster decks, so with the uptrend of faster decks like Gruul and Mono Red, we’ll likely see Selesnya performing better sooner than later. It will have to contend with other excellent midrange options, but I think it could have the chops to make a splash with enough time. Until then, it’ll be relegated as a tier 3 archetype.

11. CYCLING

  • Change: Unranked -> 11
  • Mythic Win Rate: 51.6%

Cycling had it’s 15 minutes of fame right before Jeskai Lukka took over the format back in Ikoria, but hasn’t done that well since. However, it sees a reasonable amount of play on ladder and a 4 color version of it was piloted by Simon Goertzen to a respectable 7-4 finish. Despite that, I think Cycling is just not an inherently powerful or consistent strategy compared to what else you can be doing. This deck is excellent at crushing decks that don’t kill you quickly nor have that much interaction, but those decks are few and far between in this meta. Honestly, the largest upside to Cycling is likely how cheap it is to build on Arena, which is likely bolstering its popularity. You could certainly do worse than Cycling, but you can certainly do a lot better as well.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

MONO GREEN FOOD

  • Change: 10 > Honorable Mention

Why do I put this under Honorable Mentions? Well there isn’t enough play on ladder for it to have it’s win rate tracked by Untapped.gg yet over the past week. Despite that, I think this deck does powerful things and is poised to make a comeback in the upcoming weeks. Feasting Troll King is a very strong end game to work towards, making any deck looking to go 1 for 1 against you really struggle for their wins.

Despite that, I have 2 main issues with Mono Green. One, I’m unsure if this deck is better than the extremely similar Selesnya Blink. Two, Mono Green can really struggle with decks looking to go over it and those seem to still be lingering about. Despite Yorion being on the down trend, most of the Yorion decks can really give Mono Green a rough time. That being said, I’ll post the list that two of my testing partners, Chris Kvartech and Sorquixe, have both had top 50 Mythic runs on ladder with.

That’s all I have for today! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a great day!

DoggertQBones

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is a streamer and high ranked Arena player. He has one GP and PTQ Top 8, has 3-0d 3 professional draft pods, and loves writing and teaching!

2 Responses

  1. brooksbs brooksbs says:

    What do you mean when you say “The Splits”? Is that a tournament that I just haven’t heard about?

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