With Theros: Beyond Death 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 dominant 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.
Last updated on 4/1/2020 following card bans.
Surprising literally no one, it turns out that Sultai Midrange is very, very good. Built on a foundation of big value cards like Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, Cavalier of Thorns, and Casualties of War, this deck can quickly speed ahead of its opponent. The sheer card advantage this deck has over others makes it a force to be reckoned with. It even runs some solid disruption in the form of Thought Erasure and Aether Gust which lets you clear your opponent’s hand and board of threats. All of this builds to deploying either large Hyrdoird Krasis or Polukranos Unchained to devastate your foe’s life total.
Despite no longer being the most popular deck in Standard, Blue/White control is tremendously strong. With a simple game plan of stalling your opponent until your Dream Trawlers can beat your foe into submission, this is for those who like to play the long game. Every other card in this deck for either disrupting your foe or drawing into your threats. It’s a simple deck, but one that’s ruthlessly efficient against most decks in the current meta.
The deck also runs Teferi and Narset, because of course it does. There’s also a healthy amount of board and single-target removal, with my personal favorite being Elspeth Conquers Death. Not only does this card get rid of problematic permanents, but it can revive your Dream Trawler and make your opponent’s turn more taxing. This is not a deck for those who like to make friends!
Despite all the new Theros: Beyond Death cards, Jeski Fires is still an insanely potent deck. Boasting 11 removal spells, this deck is capable of handling any threat it comes across. This gives Jeski Fires an insane amount of board control, making it quite difficult to play against if you are mainly focused on resolving big, powerful creatures. Cavalier of Flames and Cavalier of Gales are your primary finishers. Fires of Invention will be your main engine since it lets you drop your expensive triple-mana symbol spells without having the actual colors. Protecting this card should be your absolute priority, otherwise, you’ll have trouble casting your spells.
Kenrith, the Returned King may seem like an odd inclusion, but the ability to draw a card, gain health, or giving your creatures trample and haste until end of turn cannot be underestimated. If you’re playing this deck, wait on dropping Kenrith until you’re sure you can protect him, as his abilities can easily secure a win for you.
I’m still blown away this deck has survived rotation and the Standard bannings.
Morphed from its original interpretation, Temur Reclamation is no longer about taking extra turns, but always having mana open to control the board. Now a control deck, cards such as Negate, Scorching Dragonfire, Mystical Duplicate, and Thassa’s Intervention keep the board empty. Nightpack Ambusher provides a steady stream of blockers, while Uro and Growth Spiral give us some much-needed ramp.
While you can beat your foe senseless with Wolf Tokens, the core finisher is casting a huge Expansion//Explosion after accruing a ton of mana via multiple Wilderness Reclamations. This makes it a solid option for those who aren’t a fan of traditional control decks but still want to cripple their foe’s field.
Unsurprisingly, Bant Midrange has quickly risen to prominence thanks to multiple cards from Theros: Beyond Death. The gameplan is all about ramping out big, fearsome creatures and Planeswalkers. Arboreal Grazer, Uro, Nissa, Who Shakes the World, and Growth Spiral are the backbone of the deck since you’ll need all the lands you can get. Dream Trawler and Hydroid Krasis are the main threats, while Teferi, Time Raveler allows you to remove any problematic cards.
Check out a Bant Midrange decklist here.
Mono-Red, despite still being very strong, has fallen into the tier two category. This is mainly due to the large push for control/midrange strategies which make applying early game pressure exceptionally difficult. While you can certainly win with this deck, it’s not as consistent as other tier one decks. Rakdos Aristocrats is still kicking around, but we don’t suspect it will ever reach tier one again until the next set.
Orzhov Control is also quite popular on MTG Arena since you can play a lot of big flashy spells like Liliana, Dreadhorde General. The main issue is that most decks aren’t running an excessive amount of creature, which makes some of the removal cards awkward to draw.
There’s also a Jund Mid-Range deck that has potential, but we feel needs more fine-tuning if it wants to reach tier one. Temur Adventures takes the place of its Jund counterpart, providing solid utility and advantage. But the deck is still quite tricky to pilot, so this isn’t a great starting point for most players. Inversely, Mono-White may not be the best deck around, but it’s a terrific entry point for new players – especially if you’re low on Wild Cards.