The Magic: The Gathering Arena Worlds event had a reasonably solid metagame that featured five different decks, but the meta post-Worlds seemed to explode with a lot more experimentation and new decks. Let’s take a closer look at the viability of the five decks that were most popular in Worlds and what decks have risen in status since the spectacle has ended.
UW Control was definitely the dominant deck in the meta going into Worlds, but saw very little play during the event. PVVDR and Ondřej Stráský brought super tight lists that were built to beat this meta. While Stráský didn’t make the top 8, PVVDR went on to win the whole event in a very convincing upper bracket run.
Since Worlds, the meta has been targeted at playing against UW Control. With ramp decks, Temur Adventures, and Mono-Red running around, UW Control faces a lot of bad matchups, but it still has the capability to win almost every match thanks to its extensive set of tools. I’d say the deck is still bottom tier one, but there are better options to be playing. It could still see a resurgence in play, as it’s a deck that many players like to use and tinker with, but it has to be adapted well to the meta before it’ll be the best deck again.
Mono-Red is a staple wherever you go. It’s no surprise at all that the deck is good: it’s superb against UW, which again was the king of the meta going into Worlds. Mono-Red has a lot of powerful tools, mainly Embercleave and Anax, Hardened in the Forge, that allow it to stick to the board and deal a huge amount of burst damage. Post-Worlds, the deck is still very dominant. In a meta where there seems to still be a bit of uncertainty and experimentation happening, I think it’s a very solid option and is easily the number one deck in the meta.
After posting my Temur Reclamation article, I immediately saw the deck take a downturn. I think UW Control adapted to the meta really quickly, and unfortunately, Temur Reclamation just got hated out. I believe it was the best deck from the get-go, but it’s fallen off really quickly. TR has a pretty reasonable Mono-Red counter, as it has a lot of interaction and ways to get ahead of Mono-Red while gaining life, but it folds to UW Control. Aggro decks can sometimes be faster or just kill TR if it stumbles for even a second. Temur Reclamation is still a viable option, but you have to be able to predict what your opponent is playing. It’s a middle-of-tier-2 deck that is capable of some extremely polarizing matchups against top decks.
Speaking of meta calls, Jeskai Fires was absolutely a meta call going into Worlds. The deck had a strong showing, with Márcio Carvalho giving PVVDR a real fight in the finals even with the deck’s statistically bad matchup against UW Control. Jeskai Fires can just out-damage Mono-Red and Temur Reclamation much of the time; it can also abuse Kenrith, the Returned King and Dream Trawler in grindy matches. UW Control is a bad matchup for JF, but Legion Warboss out of the sideboard is a superb option against Mono White. Against Mono-Red, JR boasts Bonecrusher Giant and Deafening Clarion as great tools to win s match. Overall, the amount of Aether Gusts in the meta can really hurt the deck, as they don't function as well with its key card, Fires of Invention. I’d say it’s a rogue tier 2 deck, just barely above Temur Reclamation.
Piotr Glogowski aggressively brought Jund Sacrifice to Worlds, but unfortunately, it didn’t pay off. I believe his target was UW Control and his goal was having a decent matchup against Mono-Red, but his deck just didn’t look like it was well-suited to beat the Temur Reclamation matchup. His list had 3 Thrashing Brontodon, and he beat both Fires and Reclamation in his day 1 matchup, but he then lost to those same two decks in his day 2 matches.
Post-Worlds, the meta has gotten extremely grindy, with a lot of games not against aggro running long. There’s a lot of ramp, midrange, and control going around, and Jund Sacrifice can keep up with those decks by providing a lot of early game pressure as well as having a reasonable late game with Korvald, Fae Cursed King and Trail of Crumbs. Overall, I think there are still better options than Jund Sacrifice in the meta if you’re looking to grind and have options against Mono-Red. I put Jund Sacrifice solidly at the bottom of tier 2.
Aaron “littlebeep” Gertler brought what many believe to be the perfect 75 of Temur Adventures. He’s been perfecting the deck for months, and I think that his 75 is built extremely well for the meta. Every card in the sideboard has its place, and the deck can out-grind UW Control and even Ramp pretty efficiently. It has great tools against aggro and great value engines with Edgewall Innkeeper and Lucky Clover. Temur Adventures has tons of tools and options, and you can build your sideboard to have mainboard answers against anything. I think it’s an extremely solid Tier 2 deck. I put it right below Mono-Red because MR is very fast and can beat anything with a good hand, as well as prey on an opponent that strumbles even once. Temur Adventures started off super hot, but Bant and Sultai decks have come out to prey on it, using cards like Casualties of War and Knight of Autumn to hit the key artifacts out of the deck and outvalue it with Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and Hydroid Krasis.
Ramp decks are back in style as the meta gets more grind-y. This is honestly the answer to Temur Adventures, as it can run mainboard artifact hate in Knight of Autumn and Casualties of War and go bigger with Nissa, Who Shakes the World, Hydroid Krasis, and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. This also means it has a good matchup against UW Control if it can continuously slam threats that generate value over the course of multiple turns. I think we could see a meta similar to that of the very end of Throne of Eldraine, where decks like Sultai Ramp and Golgari Adventures looked to play Casualties of War as fast as possible and then take over the game from there. The deck can fold to Mono-Red if it doesn’t have any early pressure, but Uro can really be a beast in that matchup. Overall, I think this archetype is mid-to-top of tier 1.
These decks are really just a spinoff of the more popular Mono-Red decks. RB is a sacrifice deck similar to Jund Sacrifice, running the Witch’s Oven and Cauldron Familiar package alongside Mayhem Devil and Slaughter-Priest of Mogis, while RG gets Pelt Collector and Questing Beast. The splash allows you access to a different aggro gameplan, but I feel that just going straight Mono-Red gives you more burst damage when going pure aggro. These decks are aiming for games to go a little longer than Mono-Red and don’t fold as easily as Mono-Red when the opponent has a strong reactive start. Overall, I think Red-Green and Red-Black are solid, but they need some more testing and tinkering to be super good. Until then, I think the decks are a solid mid-tier 2, ranking above the likes of Temur Reclamation and Jund Sacrifice.
My ideal tier list is as follows:
I think the details for the Theros, Beyond Death meta are still being worked out, and I don’t think the meta will be “solved” at all in the end.
The viability of several different decks and builds means that the game is still evolving and is in a healthy place--after all, it would be boring if it was dominated by one particular playstyle! Keep an eye on our Magic: The Gathering Arena coverage to stay up-to-date on the game’s evolving meta, and watch it in action on our CSL Twitch channel Friday nights.