Traditional Standard (BO3) Metagame Tier List and Rankings – Kaldheim – February 2021

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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 List

  • February 10, 2021: Kaldheim has been out for a couple of weeks and there have been huge developments in the metagame. Despite fears that the meta would remain stale and dominated by Throne of Eldraine, a lot of new archetypes have pushed themselves into prominence forming new experiences that I can’t wait to explore more of! I was good and ready to make this Tier list on Saturday, until I was introduced to the brand new deck that won the SCG $5k Kaldheim qualifier. With that, I hope you’re ready for a Hot Take.
  • December 10, 2020: The Zendikar Rising Championship (click on the link for the matchup analysis) has come and gone and every player had to come equipped with a great Standard and Historic deck to have a chance of doing well. Now that a lot of work has gone into Standard, it’s time to revisit it to see how the metagame panned out and how the metagame looks moving forward. For this metagame update, it’s interesting that the more things change, the more things stay the same.
  • November 24, 2020: Historic has been the talk of the town with Kaladesh Remastered, but that doesn’t mean Standard is not being played! There are still plenty of people on ladder jamming what is turning into a GOAT Standard format and there are still tournaments to be played as well! It’s been a few weeks since the last update and as further proof for how good this format is, a lot has changed, a new deck reigns supreme, and there’s a few new decks to keep your eyes on. Let’s take a look at the new 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.

TIER ONE

1. SULTAI ULTIMATUM

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon!

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Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Creature (5)
2
Tangled Florahedron/Tangled Vale
2
Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor
1
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Sorcery (18)
2
Alrund's Epiphany
1
Bala Ged Recovery/Bala Ged Sanctuary
4
Cultivate
4
Emergent Ultimatum
2
Extinction Event
2
Sea Gate Restoration/Sea Gate, Reborn
3
Shadows' Verdict
Instant (9)
3
Eliminate
4
Heartless Act
2
Jwari Disruption/Jwari Ruins
Artifact (4)
2
Esika's Chariot
2
Mazemind Tome
Enchantment (14)
4
Binding the Old Gods
3
Elspeth's Nightmare
1
Kiora Bests the Sea God
4
Omen of the Sea
2
Shark Typhoon
Land (30)
4
Barkchannel Pathway/Tidechannel Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway/Murkwater Pathway
4
Darkbore Pathway/Slitherbore Pathway
3
Fabled Passage
4
Forest
2
Island
1
Ketria Triome
4
Swamp
4
Zagoth Triome
Cards 80
Sideboard (15)
1
Cling to Dust
2
Duress
1
Eliminate
2
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
2
Mystical Dispute
3
Negate
1
Shadows' Verdict
2
Toski, Bearer of Secrets
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad

This is definitely an ambitious stance to take and I know the deck is very new, but I think Sultai Ultimatum is the best deck. Sultai Ultimatum goes over the top of every other midrange deck, is resilient against grindy decks, and has a lot of interaction against the fast decks. The meta is going to quickly warp around this deck, whether you’re playing it or playing to beat it. Do I think this deck is unbeatable? I don’t think so, but it’s not going to be easy either especially as Sultai gets more refined. If you want to grind up quickly while the metagame is unprepared, play this deck before decks start to adjust.

2. RAKDOS

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1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
Creature (22)
3
Bonecrusher Giant
2
Egon, God of Death/Throne of Death
3
Immersturm Predator
4
Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger
3
Mire Triton
3
Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor
4
Woe Strider
Sorcery (4)
4
Claim the Firstborn
Instant (4)
4
Village Rites
Enchantment (6)
3
The Akroan War
3
Tymaret Calls the Dead
Land (24)
4
Blightstep Pathway/Searstep Pathway
2
Castle Locthwain
4
Fabled Passage
5
Mountain
7
Swamp
2
Temple of Malice
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
1
Agonizing Remorse
3
Duress
1
Elspeth's Nightmare
2
Heartless Act
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
1
Pharika's Libation
2
Shredded Sails
3
Skyclave Shade
1
The Akroan War

I slated Rakdos as one of the major winners of Kaldheim and it took a week or so to prove my prediction right! Rakdos can be built in many different ways, but every build focuses around the extremely powerful Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger. Depending on the metagame, you can build your version of Rakdos to combat it and it’s particularly strong against the creature strategies. Furthermore, Rakdos has had the highest play rate and one of the highest win rates through all of last weekend’s SCG events. The only thing barring Rakdos from taking the number one spot is Sultai Ultimatum which is a very difficult matchup for Rakdos in all of it’s forms. In fairness to Rakdos, it hasn’t had significant time to adjust and it’s definitely possible it can find the right configuration to start beating Sultai.

3. SULTAI YORION

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon!
  • Win Rate: 55.8%

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Companion
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Planeswalker (2)
2
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Creature (15)
2
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
4
Llanowar Visionary
2
Polukranos, Unchained
4
Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor
3
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Sorcery (4)
4
Extinction Event
Instant (12)
2
Cling to Dust
2
Eliminate
4
Heartless Act
4
Negate
Enchantment (12)
4
Binding the Old Gods
4
Elspeth's Nightmare
4
Omen of the Sea
Land (35)
4
Barkchannel Pathway/Tidechannel Pathway
1
Blightstep Pathway/Searstep Pathway
4
Clearwater Pathway/Murkwater Pathway
1
Cragcrown Pathway/Timbercrown Pathway
4
Darkbore Pathway/Slitherbore Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
2
Island
2
Ketria Triome
1
Riverglide Pathway/Lavaglide Pathway
2
Swamp
4
Temple of Deceit
4
Zagoth Triome
Cards 80
Sideboard (15)
4
Disdainful Stroke
2
Elder Gargaroth
4
Mystical Dispute
2
Shadows' Verdict
2
Shark Typhoon
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad

A more proactive spin off of Dimir Yorion, Sultai utilizes more midrange options like Llanowar Visionary and Valki over more counterspells to play a quicker and more value oriented game. With a motley of strong plays and access to great interaction, Sultai Yorion is an extremely malleable archetype that can be adjusted to beat whatever you need.

4. ROGUES

  • Deck Guide Being Updated Soon!
  • Win Rate: 58.2%

833243
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1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creature (15)
3
Merfolk Windrobber
4
Ruin Crab
4
Soaring Thought-Thief
4
Thieves' Guild Enforcer
Sorcery (11)
3
Agadeem's Awakening/Agadeem, the Undercrypt
2
Bloodchief's Thirst
3
Lullmage's Domination
3
Of One Mind
Instant (12)
1
Didn't Say Please
4
Drown in the Loch
1
Essence Scatter
2
Heartless Act
4
Into the Story
Land (22)
4
Clearwater Pathway/Murkwater Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
5
Island
3
Swamp
4
Temple of Deceit
2
Zagoth Triome
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
2
Bloodchief's Thirst
2
Cling to Dust
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
3
Mystical Dispute
3
Negate
4
Skyclave Shade

Rogues have been a staple in the Standard meta for a long while, and it’s not going anywhere soon. Right as it seemed like Rogues was going to be pushed out by Rakdos, Sultai Ultimatum comes around and gives Rogues a great, popular matchup. Rogues is always going to be a powerful deck, but how well positioned it is will wax and wane dependent on how much the rest of the metagame cares about it and how many slow decks there are.

5. NAYA ADVENTURES

Naya Adventures v2

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Creature (26)
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Giant Killer
4
Kazandu Mammoth/Kazandu Valley
4
Lovestruck Beast
2
Scavenging Ooze
4
Shepherd of the Flock
Sorcery (3)
3
Shatterskull Smashing/Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass
Artifact (4)
1
Embercleave
3
The Great Henge
Enchantment (5)
4
Showdown of the Skalds
1
The Akroan War
Land (22)
4
Branchloft Pathway/Boulderloft Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway/Timbercrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
2
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway/Pillarverge Pathway
2
Plains
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
3
Glass Casket
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
2
Masked Vandal
4
Ox of Agonas
1
The Akroan War
2
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
1
Embereth Shieldbreaker

Naya is the evolution of the Gruul Adventures archetype and is the quintessential midrange deck of Standard. You have the powerful Adventures package, Showdown of the Skalds, The Great Henge, and so one. You can be fast, grindy, or any variation in between to tailor your needs to the metagame. Right now with Sultai Ultimatum on it’s meteoric rise, I would opt for a faster variant of Naya.

TIER TWO

6. MONO WHITE AGGRO

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Creature (31)
3
Clarion Spirit
3
Faerie Guidemother
4
Giant Killer
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Seasoned Hallowblade
4
Selfless Savior
2
Skyclave Apparition
4
Usher of the Fallen
3
Venerable Knight
Artifact (4)
4
Maul of the Skyclaves
Enchantment (4)
4
Glorious Anthem
Land (21)
4
Faceless Haven
17
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
4
Drannith Magistrate
1
Fight as One
4
Glass Casket
3
Reidane, God of the Worthy/Valkmira, Protector's Shield
1
Sigrid, God-Favored
2
Skyclave Apparition

I put Monowhite Aggro at the very top of Tier 2 and there’s a great argument to put it into Tier 1 as well. Monowhite Aggro boasts the highest win rate on Plat-Mythic Bo3 ladder and has performed relatively well in the SCG tournaments as well. Pretty much the only reason I don’t put this into Tier 1 is the lists are still in the process of being refined are there are so many variants it’s hard to say where the deck will settle, and when it does, what the meta will look like. Keep an eye on this deck though, it certainly could be Monowhite’s time to shine.

7. IZZET TEMPO

Izzet Snow v2

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Creature (15)
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brazen Borrower
3
Gadwick, the Wizened
4
Goldspan Dragon
Sorcery (3)
3
Shatterskull Smashing/Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass
Instant (17)
3
Behold the Multiverse
1
Disdainful Stroke
2
Essence Scatter
4
Frost Bite
2
Negate
2
Opt
3
Saw It Coming
Enchantment (4)
4
Shark Typhoon
Land (23)
4
Fabled Passage
1
Faceless Haven
4
Riverglide Pathway/Lavaglide Pathway
8
Snow-Covered Island
4
Snow-Covered Mountain
2
Volatile Fjord
Cards 62
Sideboard (15)
1
Disdainful Stroke
4
Mystical Dispute
1
Negate
4
Ox of Agonas
2
Ashiok's Erasure
3
Scorching Dragonfire

Izzet Snow has been a mainstay in Standard since Day 1, and is constantly evolving by the day. I wasn’t a fan of the original lists which had an overreliance on Goldspan Dragon, but newer evolutions are diversifying their threats making it harder to shut them down. Furthermore, Izzet naturally boasts a strong win rate against slow decks and can easily be tailored to beat up on Aggro decks as well. If slow decks begin to take over the format, which I believe they will, Izzet Snow can act as a great foil to them.

8. GRUUL ADVENTURES

  • Deck Guide Being Updated Soon!
  • Win Rate: 58.6%

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Creature (28)
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Brushfire Elemental
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
2
Goldspan Dragon
4
Kazandu Mammoth/Kazandu Valley
1
Klothys, God of Destiny
4
Lovestruck Beast
2
Questing Beast
2
Scavenging Ooze
1
Tangled Florahedron/Tangled Vale
Sorcery (4)
4
Shatterskull Smashing/Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass
Instant (1)
1
Scorching Dragonfire
Artifact (6)
3
Embercleave
3
The Great Henge
Enchantment (1)
1
The Akroan War
Land (20)
4
Cragcrown Pathway/Timbercrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
8
Forest
4
Mountain
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
2
Arasta of the Endless Web
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
3
Ox of Agonas
2
Scorching Dragonfire
2
Soul Sear
1
The Akroan War
1
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
2
Wilt

Good old Gruul hasn’t fallen from grace so much as it’s now just another reasonable choice in a very open metagame. Gruul was struggling a bit with the prominence of Rakdos and Naya, but did well against other aggressive decks and was fast against the slow decks. Like Izzet, if the metagame moves towards slower decks, Gruul can become the defacto aggro deck of choice.

9. MONO GREEN FOOD

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Creature (26)
4
Feasting Troll King
4
Gilded Goose
4
Kazandu Mammoth/Kazandu Valley
4
Lovestruck Beast
4
Tangled Florahedron/Tangled Vale
2
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
4
Wicked Wolf
Sorcery (3)
3
Blessing of Frost
Artifact (5)
3
The Great Henge
2
Witch's Oven
Enchantment (3)
3
Trail of Crumbs
Land (23)
4
Castle Garenbrig
19
Snow-Covered Forest
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
4
Chainweb Aracnir
1
Primal Might
2
Questing Beast
2
Scavenging Ooze
3
Thrashing Brontodon
2
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
1
Wilt

I’m going to be a bit of a contrarian on this one. Despite Monogreen Food having the second highest win rate on Plat-Mythic ladder, I’m not the biggest fan of the deck. This deck definitely crushes Aggro decks like no other, but there’s a lot going against Food now. All of their good matchups have become more difficult, Adventures went from a good matchup (Gruul) to an even one (Naya), and a lot of decks that are trying to go over the top of each other are seeing play. Similar to Rogues, Food is never a bad deck, but it can be a poorly positioned one. Right now, I think it’s poorly positioned as it’s too bad against the slow decks and not even good against the decks that counter the slow decks (Rogues and Izzet).

10. MONO RED AGGRO

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Creature (28)
4
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
4
Bonecrusher Giant
4
Fervent Champion
3
Fireblade Charger
3
Goldspan Dragon
2
Magda, Brazen Outlaw
4
Rimrock Knight
4
Robber of the Rich
Instant (4)
4
Frost Bite
Artifact (4)
4
Embercleave
Land (24)
3
Faceless Haven
18
Snow-Covered Mountain
3
Castle Embereth
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
3
Ox of Agonas
3
Phoenix of Ash
3
The Akroan War
2
Fire Prophecy
2
Shredded Sails
2
Soul Sear

In every Standard metagame, there will be die hard Monored fans. I love Monored myself and it has some powerful cards, but unfortunately, there are generally better options for your aggressive decks. Monored can find its niche when it’s the fastest aggressive deck, but it’s fragility hurts it in matchups that can present tough roadblocks (Bonecrusher Giant and Lovestruck Beast) or cheap interaction (Frost Bite, Heartless Act, Eliminate). If the metagame slows down so much to the point it’s all slow decks trying to one up each other, Monored could definitely find its footing. To sum up, I don’t think Monored is bad, even now, but there are generally stronger options.

TIER THREE

11. TEMUR ADVENTURES

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Planeswalker (2)
2
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Creature (23)
3
Beanstalk Giant
4
Bonecrusher Giant
2
Brazen Borrower
2
Cosima, God of the Voyage/The Omenkeel
4
Edgewall Innkeeper
4
Goldspan Dragon
4
Lovestruck Beast
Sorcery (7)
3
Genesis Ultimatum
4
Shatterskull Smashing/Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass
Instant (4)
4
Frost Bite
Land (24)
2
Barkchannel Pathway/Tidechannel Pathway
2
Cragcrown Pathway/Timbercrown Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
2
Ketria Triome
2
Riverglide Pathway/Lavaglide Pathway
5
Snow-Covered Forest
4
Snow-Covered Island
3
Snow-Covered Mountain
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
2
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
4
Mystical Dispute
2
Negate
2
Ox of Agonas
3
Soul Sear
1
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
1
Wilt

Temur is a deck that relies on having a good metagame for it to flourish, and this is not one of those times. It’s weird when Genesis Ultimatum isn’t the most powerful thing you can be doing, but here we are. Furthermore, with a lot of Aggro decks seeing a lot of play and putting up good results, it’s a bad time to be a Temur player. You really would need a lot to change in the meta for Temur to be a strong option again, because as is, there’s not a compelling reason to play it.

12. ABZAN YORION

  • Deck Guide Coming Soon
  • Win Rate: 52.2%

Big Abzan Yorion

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1
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Planeswalker (1)
1
Kaya the Inexorable
Creature (18)
1
Acolyte of Affliction
2
Acquisitions Expert
1
Burning-Rune Demon
1
Charming Prince
2
Llanowar Visionary
1
Polukranos, Unchained
4
Tangled Florahedron/Tangled Vale
3
Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor
3
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Sorcery (2)
2
Eerie Ultimatum
Instant (4)
1
Eliminate
3
Heartless Act
Artifact (3)
1
Esika's Chariot
2
Golden Egg
Enchantment (21)
4
Binding the Old Gods
4
Doom Foretold
3
Elspeth Conquers Death
3
Elspeth's Nightmare
1
Omen of the Dead
1
Omen of the Sun
1
The Birth of Meletis
4
Treacherous Blessing
Land (31)
4
Branchloft Pathway/Boulderloft Pathway
4
Brightclimb Pathway/Grimclimb Pathway
4
Darkbore Pathway/Slitherbore Pathway
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
4
Indatha Triome
1
Ketria Triome
3
Plains
2
Swamp
3
Temple of Silence
Cards 80
Sideboard (15)
1
Agonizing Remorse
1
Chainweb Aracnir
1
Cling to Dust
1
Destiny Spinner
2
Duress
2
Eliminate
1
Elspeth Conquers Death
1
Elspeth's Nightmare
1
Heartless Act
1
Omen of the Sun
1
Polukranos, Unchained
1
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
1
Yorion, Sky Nomad

Right now Abzan has one major thing going for it and against it.. What’s going against it, is that it can’t really hope to outgrind the more powerful slow decks of the format, especially without counterspells. Blinking a few permanents with Yorion looks pretty silly compared to an Emergent Ultimatum or a Genesis Ultimatum. The upside however, is that you can build your deck to absolutely demolish creature decks should they become really popular. If creature decks begin to rise to prominence, I could see Abzan Yorion rallying back.

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, has 3-0d 3 professional draft pods, and loves writing and teaching!

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