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 3/4/2020 following card bans.
The new top dog in Standard, Blue/White control is a tremendously strong deck. 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.
With the reprinting of Gray, Merchant of Asphodel, Mono-Black Devotion has rocketed to the top of the tier list. All about denying your opponent’s resources via cards like Rankle, Master of Pranks, Yarok’s Fenlurker, and Ayara, First of Locthwain, it’s easy to get out of control. Nightmare Shepard offers superb recursion that can lead to some nutty combos and Bolas’s Citadel can just end games. Mastering this deck comes down to understanding all the small, unique synergies the various creatures have with one another. This is a complicated deck, one that can be difficult to pilot, so we only recommend experienced players use it.
Just when you think Mono-Red is gone it comes roaring back to life. Despite the control-focused meta, Mono-Red has found itself dominating in Standard. Revolving around deploying a bunch of cheap, powerful threats, this deck can apply pressure to your opponent. Scorch Spitter and Fervent Champion, both come out early, while Robber of the Rich can start stealing cards off the top of your opponent’s library. Runaway Steam-Kin acts as ramp and Torbran piles on additional damage to help you secure a win. This is a ruthlessly efficient deck that can quickly dismantle a foe’s life before they can even establish a board presence.
Check out a Mono-Red decklist here.
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.
Don’t mind me, just crying because Simic Flash’s moment in the sun is over.
Of course, new cards mean a bunch of intriguing brews desperately trying to make a name for themselves. Temur Adventures is a controlling version of the popular Jund Adventures, favoring tempo cards like Brazen Borrower. Rakdos Aristocrats is still kicking around, but we don’t suspect it will ever reach tier one again until the next set. For those still wanting to build a Throne of Eldraine-themed deck, Jund Food is still quite good.
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. Finally, Esper Heroes returns after a three-month hiatus thanks to all the gold cards in Theros. Despite not being as intimidating as it once was, this is still a solid tempo deck. Finally, Mono-White has fallen from tier one, despite being a surprisingly strong deck. We still highly recommend this list for anyone who is new to MTG Arena.