The Best Decks in MTG Arena – August 2019 Meta

With Core Set 2020 released, the meta has drastically changed on MTG Arena. Three of the biggest decks have vanished from the Tier One list and aggro/tempo strategies have overtaken control as the dominate archetype. Looking through statistics on MTGGoldfish for both the Standard format and MTG Arena format, four decks stand above others.

Remember, just because a deck is labeled as Tier One or Two doesn’t mean that’s all you should play. Some of the best matches come from wild, unorthodox decks. These are simply what a lot of people are playing and subsequently winning with.

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Tier One

Esper Tempo

The bane of many player’s MTG Arena experience, Esper Tempo has been a comically dominant force since the printing of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Unlike the control variant which heavily relied on planeswalkers, Esper Tempo focuses on deploying potent creatures such as Hero of Precinct One and Elite Guardmage. Both Teferi’s make an appearance in this deck, serving as a solid backbone for the token engine. Instead of board wipes, most tempo lists focus on creature removal to keep the board clear of the threats.

Check out a decklist for Esper Tempo here

Bant Scapeshift

A deck that will not survive rotation, Bant Scapeshift is for those who love using unique land cards. The core combo revolves around using a variety of different land cards to trigger Field of the Dead and obtain a massive army of Zombie Tokens. While the deck may seem janky at first glance, it’s surprisingly consistent thanks to cards like Scapeshift, Grow from the Ashes, Circuitous Route. Hydroid Krasis proves needed life gain and card draw, while Teferi, Time Raveler bounces potential threats. Keep in mind if you want to build this, some key components will be rotating out of Standard this fall.

Check out a decklist for Bant Scapeshift here

Orzhov Vampires

It has become virtually impossible to escape the utter dominance of Orzhov Vampires on MTG Arena. This underwhelming deck got a huge boost with the printing of Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord and Knight of the Ebon Legion. Boasting 14 one mana creatures, this deck can quickly assume control of the board and even muscle out mono-red aggro. Cards such as Champion of Dusk refill your hand while Sanctum Seeker pads our life total. The sheer amount of utility available in this deck is what makes it so dangerous. You never know what the vampire player is going to do, making it difficult to play against.

Check out a decklist for Orshov Vampires here.

Jund Dinosaurs

Another newcomer on our list, Jund Dinosaurs is an especially strong deck once it gets going. Thanks to the printing of Rotting Regisaur, Marauding Raptor, and Shifting Ceratops, this tribal deck has become a force to be reckoned with. Capable of pumping out a variety of superb creatures early on, Jund Dinosaurs can completely take over a game. Unless your opponent is running a lot of removal spells, this deck can be difficult to stop. Plus, you get to run a 12/12 dinosaur and who doesn’t want that?

Check out a decklist for Jund Dinosaurs here.

Boros Feather

Soaring to the top of the tier list is the insanely resilient Boros Feather deck. Built on squeezing a ton of value from cheap cards, this deck can get out of hand very fast. Tenth District Legionnaire and Feather, the Redeemed serve as the backbone, allowing players to quickly filter through their deck. Dreadhorde Arcanist offers a ton of recursion while Gods Willing stops most of the popular removal spells. Fantastic against control decks. Boros Feather is quickly making a name for itself on MTG Arena.

Check out a decklist for Boros Feather here. 

Tier Two

Since the release of Core 2020, the Tier Two list has completely shifted with popular decks such as Grixis Control vanishing from sight. Temur Elementals has quickly become one of the most potent brews in the Standard format. Boasting some superbly aggressive creatures, Temur Elementals is poised to crack the Tier One list in the coming months. Mono-Red is no longer a Tier One deck due to the prevalence of aggro strategies and Simic Nexus is still kicking around despite the core of the deck vanishing this fall.

Simic Flash, a personal favorite, is fantastic for players who hate control and enjoy being unpredictable. Bant Ramp/Midrange has risen in popularity, though it has failed to crack the tier one bracket. Finally, Mono-Blue Tempo is still a decent deck, but its time in the spotlight is over thanks to decks such as Orzhov Vampires and Jund Dinosaurs. Its evasion just isn’t enough to get the job done since there are a lot more removal spells and bigger creatures that can easily out damage this deck.

Predictions Until Rotation

With Throne of Eldraine announced for October, we don’t expect a ton of meta changes until the spoiler season begins in September. Temur Elementals will probably rise to become a Tier One level deck. There are a lot of lists floating around, but the one mixing elemental tribal with the likes of Hydroid Krasis has proven to be the most reliable. Orzhov Vampires has a very high chance of becoming the best deck in Standard with Esper Control/Tempo following closely behind.

We also suspect there’s a very solid Sultai Reanimator deck that has yet to be polished. Bond of Revival is a fantastic reanimation spell that works wonders with Ghalta, Multani, and Drakuseth. Sticher’s Supplier, Tamiyo,  Ashiok, and Wall of Lost Thoughts help us dump cards into the graveyard. Plus we have Narcomoeba and Creeping Chill, both of which have exquisite graveyard synergy. The only major issue is the deck’s reliance on getting Bond of Revival. As the only solid reanimator spell in Standard, the deck desperately hinges on it resolving.


Collin MacGregor

Collin MacGregor is a freelance writer from New Jersey and the one person who enjoys playing the support class.

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