With Throne of Eldraine 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.
Last updated on 1/6/2020 following card bans. (R.I.P. Oko, Thief of Crowns)
The new all-star in Standard, Jeski Fires is all about removing threats while keeping a few of your big Cavaliers alive. 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.
With Oko, Thief of Crowns banned in Standard, the Food decks have shifted away from Blue in favor of adding some Red. Instead of simply trying to control the tempo of a match, the Jund Food deck now focuses on pinging foes with Mayhem Devil and gaining insane card advantage with Korvold, Fae-Cursed King. Make no mistake, Korvold is both an engine and a powerful finisher that’s capable of taking over the entire game. Supporting this strategy is Witch’s Oven, which gives us a steady stream of Food and Midnight Reaper for more card draw. While understanding when and what to sacrifice is tricky, Jund Food is a remarkably easy deck to pilot.
If you’ve been following this list then you know I love me some Simic Flash. After months of crawling its way from tier two and tier three status, this tempo deck has finally emerged as one of the top lists in Standard. Revolving around responding to threats at the end of your opponent’s turn, Simic Flash can be a nightmare to deal with. Cards such as Brazen Borrower, Frilled Mystic, and Nightpack Ambusher make this deck wildly unpredictable. Backed by a flurry of counterspells, it’s very easy to gain complete control over the board and deploy a big Hydroid Krasis to finish the game. It may not stick around for long, but damn is it great to finally see this deck get the recognition it deserves.
If you’re looking for a fast, hard-hitting deck then Mono-Red is the one for you. Even though there are numerous variations of this deck, our favorite focuses on deploying tons of one-drop creatures and Cavalcade of Calamity. While the deck struggles in the mid to late game, its ability to pour on damage can quickly swing the game in your favor. Chandra’s Spitfire serves as the big finisher, as its power increases for each Cavalcade of Calamity trigger. This allows it to hit foes for upwards of 15+ damage in a single attack.
Another aggressive deck, Radkos knights is a fast and terrifying deck that be extremely difficult to keep up with. There are 29 creatures in this deck, almost all of which cost between 1-2 mana. This “low to the ground” design allows players to dump their hand and quickly overwhelm opponents before they can establish a board. However, unlike Mono-Red, there’s also a decent mid-game thanks to Embercleave and Spawn of Mayhem. Drillbit and Murderous Rider are your main removal spells, while Stormfist Crusader helps keep your hand filled with cards. While it may not be the most elegant strategy, it certainly is an effective one.
The last entry on our list, Simic Ramp does exactly what you’d expect this type of deck to do. Build up a ton of mana and then start dropping huge threats like Hydroid Krasis, Cavalier of Thorns, Agent of Trechary, and End-Raze Forerunners. It’s a simple strategy that’s both highly effective and incredibly easy to execute. With 18 different ramp cards, you’ll have no trouble casting your big, flashy spells. Plus you get to play Quasiduplicate and isn’t that a good enough reason to try this deck? If you’re new to MTG Arena or don’t want a terribly complex deck, then Simic Ramp should be your first choice.
With the death of land decks and now Oko, the meta is rapidly shifting and multiple tier-one decks have faded into obscurity. Unsurprisingly, there have been some serious shifts in the tier two decklists. While Mono-Blue has fallen out of favor, a new White Weenie deck shows promise. However, we suspect this deck will only have a real chance once Theros: Beyond Death releases and reintroduces the Devotion mechanic. Golgari Food and Adventure decks have rapidly plummeted in popularity, largely due to the effectiveness of Jund Food.
Rakdos Aristocrats is one deck that has the potential to rise in popularity thanks to its impressive killing power. Simply put, this deck wants to sacrifice creatures and gain an overwhelming advantage from it. This lets you grind a game out while denying your opponent resources to keep pace. The last deck on our list is Azorious Control, which will remain as a tier-two deck due to the sheer amount of amazing aggro and midrange decks. However, this doesn’t make Azorious Control a bad deck, just difficult to play at higher ranks.