Traditional Standard (BO3) Metagame Tier List and Rankings: July 2021

Traditional Standard (BO3) 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 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 Standard (BO1).
  • 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 now and it, for better or worse, had functionally no impact on the format. This may be a controversial opinion, but Standard is in a pretty balanced place with a lot of strategies represented and a lot of mobility within the rankings as well.

That being said, I understand that these play patterns have become too repetitious for many players, but both the Arena Open and MIQ are Standard so it’s prudent to keep on top of it!

Due to the relatively low data I’m working with, this listing will focus much more heavily on tournament play rather than ladder as a new set coming out will always incentivize people to try out more decks rather than flocking towards the best strategies.

In terms of win rates, the data set we’re using is Platinum to Mythic payers from July 8th to July 19th.

TIER ONE DECKS

1. SULTAI ULTIMATUM

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 58.1 (3400 matches)
  • Change: 1 -> 1

Sultai Ultimatum by Matt Sperling 

Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Creatures (7)
1
Valki, God of Lies
2
Polukranos, Unchained
1
Quandrix Cultivator
2
Elder Gargaroth
1
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Spells (25)
2
Sea Gate Restoration
1
Duress
2
Disdainful Stroke
4
Heartless Act
1
Negate
4
Cultivate
1
Mystical Dispute
1
Extinction Event
3
Shadows' Verdict
2
Alrund's Epiphany
4
Emergent Ultimatum
Enchantments (15)
4
Omen of the Sea
4
Wolfwillow Haven
2
Elspeth's Nightmare
4
Binding the Old Gods
1
Kiora Bests the Sea God
Lands (33)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
1
Blightstep 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 (15)
1
Cling to Dust
1
Duress
1
Agonizing Remorse
1
Disdainful Stroke
3
Eliminate
1
Negate
1
Mystical Dispute
1
Shadows' Verdict
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
2
Shark Typhoon
2
Koma, Cosmos Serpent

Although this is 10th in terms of win rate on untapped, it would be criminal to not place this at the top spot. This has been dominating the few tournaments that have been held for normal Standard and is still the most powerful deck by far.

The control game plan into 7 mana win the game is a really hard combination to beat, and although it’s far from unbeatable, it’s still the strongest thing you can be doing.

2. TEMUR LUKKA

Temur Adventures by John Girardot 

Planeswalkers (4)
4
Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
Creatures (21)
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brazen Borrower
3
Llanowar Visionary
4
Lovestruck Beast
2
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Spells (7)
1
Shatterskull Smashing
2
Disdainful Stroke
2
Fire Prophecy
2
Mystical Dispute
Enchantments (2)
2
The Akroan War
Lands (26)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
2
Island
4
Ketria Triome
2
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Redcap Melee
1
Disdainful Stroke
2
Fire Prophecy
1
Negate
1
Test of Talents
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
1
Mystical Dispute
1
The Akroan War
3
Goldspan Dragon

My favorite Standard deck has really shot up the rankings and currently holds the highest Standard win rate (although the sample size is small). Furthermore this has been a popular choice in tournaments as well and still performing up to par for it’s 2nd place status.

Temur Lukka has all the power of a classic Adventures deck with the extremely powerful end game of Koma, Cosmos Serpent, a card many decks won’t be able to beat. Couple that with having some of the best flexible cards in the format, this is a force to be reckoned with.

3. NAYA ADVENTURES

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 58.0% (1300 matches)
  • Change: 4 -> 3

Naya Adventures by Logan Nettles 

Companion
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
Creatures (31)
3
Tangled Florahedron
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Giant Killer
4
Jaspera Sentinel
2
Clarion Spirit
2
Drannith Magistrate
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Lovestruck Beast
Enchantments (6)
4
Showdown of the Skalds
2
The Akroan War
Lands (23)
4
Branchloft Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
3
Forest
1
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
3
Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Reidane, God of the Worthy
1
Redcap Melee
1
Run Afoul
2
Fire Prophecy
3
Glass Casket
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
3
Ox of Agonas

Once again we have a discrepancy between ladder win rate and Tier list placement. According to untapped this isn’t even in top 10 of played decks, but Naya has been a consistent performer both in tournaments and ladder so not placing it in tier 1 wouldn’t make sense.

Naya has really evolved with the times and has become a deck that every other matchup is starting to fear, including Sultai Ultimatum which was initially thought to be a bye for Sultai.

The deck is extremely powerful when piloted well, but piloting it well is no small ask. I believe the small sequencing decisions may partly be the barrier that’s suppressing the win rate on ladder play.

4. MONO GREEN AGGRO

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon
  • Win Rate: 63.4% (5500 matches)
  • Change: Unlisted -> 4

Monogreen Aggro 

Creatures (23)
4
Kazandu Mammoth
4
Swarm Shambler
2
Scavenging Ooze
2
Werewolf Pack Leader
4
Lovestruck Beast
4
Gemrazer
3
Questing Beast
Spells (6)
2
Blizzard Brawl
2
Primal Might
2
Ram Through
Artifacts (6)
4
Stonecoil Serpent
2
The Great Henge
Enchantments (2)
2
Ranger Class
Lands (23)
3
Faceless Haven
20
Snow-Covered Forest
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Chainweb Aracnir
2
Shadowspear
2
Snakeskin Veil
1
Ram Through
2
Scavenging Ooze
3
Garruk's Harbinger
3
Garruk, Unleashed

Well Rumti, you finally did it. He’s been on a crusade for over a year preaching the good word of Monogreen, and now the general population believes him. I generally don’t like putting newly represented decks high on the tier list as a good portion of the time they’re flashes in the pan, but look at that win rate and sample size. Monogreen is simply dominating Standard right now. This deck has the second highest win rate and far and away the highest play rate. If that doesn’t make a deck Tier 1, I don’t know what would.

5. GRUUL ADVENTURES

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 62.2% (790 matches)
  • Change: 3 -> 5

AFR Magda Gruul 

Creatures (27)
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Magda, Brazen Outlaw
4
Rimrock Knight
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Lovestruck Beast
3
Goldspan Dragon
Spells (5)
4
Shatterskull Smashing
1
Song-Mad Treachery
Artifacts (8)
4
Esika's Chariot
3
Embercleave
1
The Great Henge
Lands (20)
4
Cragcrown Pathway
1
Fabled Passage
10
Forest
5
Mountain
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Purphoros's Intervention
1
Redcap Melee
1
Burning Hands
2
Roiling Vortex
1
Scorching Dragonfire
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
3
The Akroan War
2
Elder Gargaroth
2
Ox of Agonas

Aside from Temur Lukka, Gruul is one of my other favorite decks and it has been performing consistently well for quite awhile, although the popularity isn’t quite matching up to it’s power.

The deck is extremely fast, grindy, and interactive which makes it’s a potent threat in any matchup it comes across. It can struggle against the other Adventure variants like Temur or Naya, but the game plan of a good curve into Goldspan Dragon and/or Embercleave can overcome functionally any obstacle.

TIER TWO DECK ARCHETYPES

6. CYCLING

AFR Cycling 

Creatures (18)
4
Flourishing Fox
4
Drannith Stinger
4
Valiant Rescuer
4
Irencrag Pyromancer
2
Rielle, the Everwise
Spells (18)
2
Go for Blood
4
Startling Development
4
Memory Leak
4
Zenith Flare
4
Boon of the Wish-Giver
Enchantments (4)
4
Improbable Alliance
Lands (20)
1
Blightstep Pathway
1
Brightclimb Pathway
1
Clearwater Pathway
4
Hengegate Pathway
4
Needleverge Pathway
4
Raugrin Triome
4
Riverglide Pathway
1
Savai Triome
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Redcap Melee
2
Disdainful Stroke
3
Negate
1
Shredded Sails
1
Test of Talents
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
2
Mystical Dispute
2
Prismari Command

Although Cycling is not the most popular option as it doesn’t even have enough matches for Win rate data, the deck is very powerful. With a fast and grindy game plan that’s hard to interact with, the deck is very much a force to be reckoned with and would always be one of the best choices if it didn’t have it’s consistency issues. Most players avoid playing it on ladder since the play patterns aren’t very interesting, but this has been a mainstay in tournaments for quite a bit now and is constantly putting up results.

7. JESKAI MUTATE

Jeskai Mutate by tangrams + Matti Kuisma 

Creatures (12)
4
Lore Drakkis
4
Vadrok, Apex of Thunder
4
Goldspan Dragon
Spells (26)
1
Sejiri Shelter
4
Spikefield Hazard
1
Essence Scatter
4
Expressive Iteration
2
Fire Prophecy
2
Negate
1
Scorching Dragonfire
4
Unsubstantiate
1
Mystical Dispute
3
Prismari Command
3
Seize the Spoils
Lands (22)
4
Hengegate Pathway
4
Island
2
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
4
Raugrin Triome
4
Riverglide Pathway
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Light of Hope
3
Redcap Melee
2
Cinderclasm
1
Essence Scatter
1
Glass Casket
3
Mazemind Tome
2
Mystical Dispute
2
Phoenix of Ash

Jeskai Mutate is so interesting as it’s so alike and dissimilar to Cycling. Both are pretty unpopular strategies because of their play patterns, but both have high win rates. However, unlike Cycling, this deck’s play patterns are super intricate which scares a lot of players away.

The deck is very powerful as it can play out as a weird midrange deck or randomly combo people out adding an interesting dynamic in all of it’s matches unlike Cycling which is really just cycling towards a Zenith Flare. Although this probably has Tier 1 potential, I think it’s lack of popularity and difficulty of play bars it for now.

8. DIMIR ROGUES

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 56.5% (1400 matches)
  • Change: 6 -> 8

AFR 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 (20)
2
Agadeem's Awakening
1
Disdainful Stroke
4
Drown in the Loch
2
Eliminate
2
Heartless Act
1
Didn't Say Please
2
Mystical Dispute
2
Of One Mind
4
Into the Story
Lands (24)
1
Castle Locthwain
4
Clearwater Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
6
Island
3
Swamp
3
Temple of Deceit
3
Zagoth Triome
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Cling to Dust
2
Dead Weight
1
Negate
3
Skyclave Shade
2
Test of Talents
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1
Mystical Dispute
3
Crippling Fear

Rogues is such a weird case for a Standard deck as the deck is absurdly powerful, easily Tier 1, but will live and die by it’s matchups and how much the format respects it. Right now, I would say the format is still respecting Rogues pretty highly as Sultai has multiple Polukranos Unchained main deck, every red deck has Phoenix of Ash and/or Ox of Agonas, Cycling is really popular, Monored is really popular, and so on.

Despite all these problems, Rogues is still one of the most powerful strategies in Standard and it’s hard to justify putting it any lower thantier 2 as it’ll have no presence for a few weeks then suddenly dominate a tournament.

9. MONO RED AGGRO

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 60.1% (2200 matches)
  • Change: 4 -> 9

Mono Red Aggro 

Creatures (24)
4
Fervent Champion
1
Fireblade Charger
4
Hall Monitor
4
Rimrock Knight
4
Robber of the Rich
4
Bonecrusher Giant
1
Phoenix of Ash
2
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Spells (3)
3
Frost Bite
Artifacts (4)
4
Embercleave
Enchantments (5)
4
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
1
The Akroan War
Lands (24)
1
Castle Embereth
4
Faceless Haven
19
Snow-Covered Mountain
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Frost Bite
4
Redcap Melee
2
Roiling Vortex
3
Scorching Dragonfire
1
Phoenix of Ash
2
The Akroan War
2
Ox of Agonas

Per usual, Monored’s play rate and win rate generally don’t have a great bearing on it’s Tier positioning. Despite is having a strong representation and win rate on ladder, Monored is noticeable absent from the top levels of play, and when it is there, it very rarely performs well.

I think the deck is simply outclassed by better options, but putting a 60% win rate deck in Tier 3 wouldn’t make much sense either. I know I’m biased as I haven’t liked Monored since Goblin Rabblemaster was legal, but I truly think it just doesn’t have the power to compete.

10. MONO WHITE AGGRO

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 61.4% (1200 matches)
  • Change: 10 -> 10

AFR Monowhite Aggro 

Creatures (33)
2
Reidane, God of the Worthy
4
Giant Killer
4
Selfless Savior
3
Drannith Magistrate
1
Loyal Warhound
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Seasoned Hallowblade
4
Elite Spellbinder
2
Guardian of Faith
3
Skyclave Apparition
1
Icingdeath, Frost Tyrant
1
Legion Angel
Artifacts (1)
1
Maul of the Skyclaves
Enchantments (3)
3
Paladin Class
Lands (23)
1
Cave of the Frost Dragon
4
Faceless Haven
18
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Reidane, God of the Worthy
2
Portable Hole
1
Shadowspear
1
Drannith Magistrate
3
Glass Casket
1
Heliod's Intervention
2
Archon of Emeria
1
Guardian of Faith
2
Legion Angel

Similar to Monored, I think the deck’s play and win rate don’t really translate with their ladder positioning. Although I like this deck quite a bit more than Monored, it still struggles to contend with the power level that Eldraine and Ikoria brought to the table.

Unlike Monored, I would be way less surprised if Monowhite continues to trend up and improves it’s position on ladder, so we’ll see over the coming weeks if it’s able to cement itself in a higher spot.

TIER THREE DECK ARCHETYPES

11. IZZET DRAGONS

  • Deck Guide
  • Win Rate: 52.7% (2400 matches)
  • Change: 2 -> 11

Izzet Dragons by Seth Manfield 

Creatures (15)
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brazen Borrower
3
Galazeth Prismari
4
Goldspan Dragon
Spells (17)
3
Frost Bite
1
Disdainful Stroke
4
Expressive Iteration
3
Mystical Dispute
3
Saw It Coming
3
Alrund's Epiphany
Artifacts (3)
3
Mazemind Tome
Lands (25)
4
Fabled Passage
3
Faceless Haven
4
Riverglide Pathway
6
Snow-Covered Island
4
Snow-Covered Mountain
4
Volatile Fjord
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Frost Bite
2
Redcap Melee
1
Cinderclasm
1
Disdainful Stroke
3
Fire Prophecy
1
Negate
1
Soul Sear
2
The Akroan War
2
Ox of Agonas
1
Shark Typhoon

I feel a bit vindicated being able to put Dragons in Tier 3. I didn’t have anything against the deck, I just didn’t think it was a particularly good strategy. Despite a solid play rate, Izzet has been failing to perform well either on ladder or tournaments earning it’s place in Tier 3.

Realistically speaking, Izzet isn’t even the best strategy in Standard 2022 where it got to keep most of it’s cards, so imagine trying to compete in a Standard with Eldraine and Ikoria legal.

Goldspan Dragon is an amazing card as is Alrund's Epiphany, but it’s hard to compete with the ridiculousness that is Adventures and Emergent Ultimatum.

12. NAYA WINOTA

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon
  • Win Rate: 61.8% (1700 matches)
  • Change: Unlisted -> 12

 

Planeswalkers (2)
2
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
Creatures (28)
1
Tangled Florahedron
4
Jaspera Sentinel
1
Charming Prince
3
Magda, Brazen Outlaw
4
Prosperous Innkeeper
1
Bonecrusher Giant
3
Elite Spellbinder
1
Minsc, Beloved Ranger
3
Blade Historian
4
Winota, Joiner of Forces
1
Drizzt Do'Urden
2
Kenrith, the Returned King
Spells (2)
1
Shatterskull Smashing
1
Turntimber Symbiosis
Artifacts (4)
4
Esika's Chariot
Enchantments (1)
1
Ranger Class
Lands (23)
4
Branchloft Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
1
Den of the Bugbear
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
1
Lair of the Hydra
1
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
2
Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Reidane, God of the Worthy
3
Redcap Melee
1
Burning Hands
1
Fire Prophecy
2
Roiling Vortex
1
Elite Spellbinder
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
2
The Akroan War
2
Ox of Agonas

I have a very strong love for Winota and it has been performing very well recently, but I’ve been burned too many times by Winota’s reemergence, me placing the deck highly, then it going nowhere. I’ll temper my expectations once again as this could be another case of Winota showing up for the first few weeks of a format then never to be seen again.

Nevertheless, Winota, Joiner of Forces is a disgustingly powerful card and I wouldn’t be surprised if a Winota deck even became Tier 1, but I’ve been waiting awhile now and it doesn’t seem to be happening. Fingers crossed.

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.

16 Responses

  1. samuel_the_elder says:

    Is temur lukka the same tier as temur obosh?

    • DoggertQBones says:

      I would place them the same yes. I talked about it in the Temur Lukka guide that I think Lukka is better, but think they’re just as good as each other with different strengths

    • Papa Nurgle says:

      I would put Lukka ahead on Bo1 and behind in Bo3. It isn’t as reslient to sideboarding as Obosh – Test of Talents your lukka, elite spellbinders, a lot of interesting things can really screw up the luka deck’s day. And then you are stalled out playing an adventures deck with a mediocre top end.

      • samuel_the_elder says:

        Nice idea on Elite Spellbinder. Its impossible to hit Lukka with test of Talents and doesn’t work well with adventures. But yeah I think its true the deck is fragile post sb compared to the obosh version.

  2. Aelnor says:

    What’s the sideboard plan for this version of ult?

  3. Dominic Paquin says:

    Sideboard is not legal for tha Temur Obosh deck. Scorching Dragonfire is an even CMC.

  4. Alex Matos says:

    Where is the Izzet Midrange? The deck has shown great results in tournaments and also in ranked.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      When written a week and a half ago Izzet was still fringe, but I’m happy to see it making it’s way into Standard! It’ll definitely be on the next version of the Tier List but I generally avoid ranking decks that don’t have a following at that moment unless they show an insane amount of promise like Sultai Ultimatum which was clearly nuts or something like Monogreen which has seen sustained, yet suppressed success so it’s relegated to the bottom of the list.

  5. Sasha says:

    Naya Winota showed up to the party! I was about to start hmmm’ing with Rumti.

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