As with paper Magic: the Gathering, on MTG Arena, there are a lot of formats for players to enjoy. Each of these formats can, of course, be played casually with friends and niche pet decks. For those looking for something a little bit more competitive, however, MTG Arena also has a ranked ladder.
Through this ranked ladder, MTG Arena players can compete to become the best of the best. Beyond doing this for bragging rights, achieving a high enough rank will also qualify players to compete in events! With cash prizes eventually on the line, it’s no wonder that MTG Arena players want to have the best decks!
If you’re looking to join that upper echelon of competitive play yourself, we’ve got you covered! Throughout this list, we’ll be giving a quick rundown on some of the best decks in each format on MTG Arena. Using these, hopefully, you can start or accelerate your competitive journey up the ranks!
As an important note before we get into the list properly, today, we’ll only be looking at the best-of-one variant of each format. While best-of-three (also known as Traditional), is available for most formats, best-of-one is played significantly more on MTG Arena. Subsequently, for this list, best-of-one feels like the appropriate choice.
Now, with that quite aside out of the way, let’s get into all the best decks on MTG Arena right now!
Since the game’s release, Standard has been the go-to format on MTG Arena. Even after the format faded in popularity on paper, Arena has kept Standard alive. Despite this constant digital presence, recently Wizards of the Coast set about trying to save Standard. To do this, major changes have been made to rotation, and the format’s ban list.
As a result of these changes, with the release of Wilds of Eldraine, Standard did not rotate. Instead, the format has moved to a three-year rotation which keeps old cards around for longer. On paper, this is designed to entice more players to the format. Unfortunately, however, digital players get the short end of the stick as things simply aren’t changing.
Thankfully, with recent bans, and a few powerhouse new cards, Standard is seeing at least a little bit of a shakeup. Subsequently, now may be a better time than ever before to play! Currently, thanks to the moderate freshness of the format, a lot of decks are fairly competitive in Standard right now. If you want to read about all of these, check out our dedicated tier list of the top 10 best decks in Standard.
If you’re just after the top two decks, however, you’re exactly where you need to be.
Having been dominant before the release of Wilds of Eldraine, unsurprisingly, Mono-Red Aggro is still a force to be reckoned with. Alongside being strong, this deck is also the most popular Standard deck on MTG Arena at the moment. The reason for this, however, is predominantly due to the deck’s speed.
By typically ending games incredibly quickly Mono-Red Aggro decks are amazing for grinding through the competitive ladder. Subsequently, many MTG players are keen to do exactly that, bumping up play numbers. Don’t let this detail fool you, however, this deck is still incredibly strong and not to be taken lightly.
Utilizing Mono-Red staples such as Monastery Swiftspear and Bloodthirsty Adversary, this deck has recently gotten even better. With the additions of Charming Scoundrel and Goddric, Cloaked Reveler Mono-Red Aggro is as strong as ever!
Five Color Cascade
Currently, one of the best decks in Standard is also undoubtedly one of the most unique. Utilizing Invasion of Alara, this deck is all about casting Bramble Familiar. Or rather, it’s about casting the Adventure portion of this card, which lets you mill seven, and cast something for free.
Thanks to the Cascade-esque shenanigans of Invasion of Alara this seven mana adventure can become practically free itself. To facilitate this, you only have to cast Invasion of Alara since deck construction guarantees it hits Bramble Familiar. Once this happens, the Adventure can be cast for nothing at all.
After hitting this effectively one-card combo, Bramble Familiar can near enough win you the game. This is thanks to the rest of the deck being loaded with high-power spells that’ll either turn the game around or make your opponent concede. While we’re still early into the new Standard meta, this deck is already proving itself to be seriously strong.
If you want to read more about this unique deck, we have an article dedicated to it here.
While it doesn’t have 30 years of sets to pull from, Historic is MTG Arena’s answer to an eternal format. Allowing the use of most cards on the platform, including digital ones, Historic has an incredibly diverse card pool. This makes it one of the most interesting MTG formats for players to brew and build their own decks in.
For those who aren’t looking to express their creativity so much, Historic also has a highly competitive metagame. If you’re looking to come out on top in this MTG Arena meta, here are two of the best decks to do just that!
Mono Green Elves
Much to my delight since it’s my own favorite deck, right now Mono Green Elves is, by volume, the most popular deck in best-of-one Historic. This fact is rather fitting when you consider the strategy of this deck is all about building up a massive board! Through Lords and the occasional Craterhoof Behemoth, this board can quickly be turned into a devastating game-ending treat.
Interestingly, while it is the most popular Historic deck for best-of-one, in Traditional Historic, Mono Green Elves is absolutely nowhere. In this variant of the format, you’d be much better off playing a more traditional and versatile mono-green deck. While this is worth keeping in mind if you want to jump to best-of-three, Mono Green Elves is still a tremendous amount of fun.
Over the last few months, Rakdos decks have been consistently high performers in a variety of formats. On MTG Arena, however, these decks are even stronger than they once were in Standard. In Historic, for instance, not only do players have access to Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth cards, but also Alchemy-exclusive powerhouses.
Using these cards, such as Crucias, Titan of the Waves this deck is incredibly consistent. Capable of constantly using Seek effects to find what’s needed, this Rakdos deck rarely ever runs out of gas. Even after being nerfed recently, this core card still carries the deck to many successful victories.
Alongside the Alchemy cards, as we alluded to before, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth also introduced new core cards. Between Orcish Bowmasters and The One Ring this deck now has it all. Unsurprisingly, this has skyrocketed the power and popularity of this deck to new levels.
Alchemy is like the Marmite of Magic: the Gathering formats. Some players, such as myself, absolutely love it thanks to its diverse and shake-up-prone metagame. Other players, however, loathe this format for introducing digital-exclusive cards and economic troubles. Whatever your stance on Alchemy, one thing’s for certain sure: It can be a lot of fun.
As much as there are mixed opinions, recently, the format got a whole lot more interesting. This is thanks to it being the only format that actually rotated with Wilds of Eldraine’s release. Following rotation, the Alchemy format has unsurprisingly been in a state of massive flux as players race to determine the best deck.
Thanks to how recent rotation was, the format is still being solved somewhat. That being said, however, already there are two clear front-runner decks that are stealing the show. In theory, thanks to rebalancing, these decks may not be dominant for too long. Unfortunately, however, according to Wizards, these decks’ best bits won’t be being rebalanced.
Despite our doubts about the format’s strength right now, there’s still the opportunity to have a lot of fun with Alchemy. So, whether you’re looking to climb up the Alchemy ladder or just have some fun, Alchemy may well be the format for you.
Following rotation, Mono-Black is currently the most dominant deck in the Alchemy meta. This is largely thanks to The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. Initially designed for Modern, this set has myriad powerful cards that are capable of truly dominating games. The One Ring and Orcish Bowmasters are two cards that do exactly that.
Providing punishing removal and consistent card draw, these two cards carry the new Mono-Black deck. That said, however, the rest of this deck’s cards are still seriously strong. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse and Phyrexian Fleshgorger for instance, provide an oppressive amount of pressure.
As if having strong creatures and draw wasn’t enough, this Mono-Black deck also has plenty of removal spells. Alongside this, there’s now also Beseech the Mirror that allows players to Tutor and find what they need. Giving the deck added consistency that it really didn’t need, Mono Black is practically unbeatable right now.
Five Color Legends
While Mono-Black may be the undisputed king of Alchemy right now, it’s not the only interesting and powerful deck. Five Color Legends, for example, is also having a strong post-rotation showing.
As the name suggests, the Five Color Legends deck is built, almost entirely, around legendary creatures. Propped up by the immensely powerful Delighted Halfling this deck manages to be surprisingly consistent. Considering the deck doesn’t have anything other than creatures and land, this is certainly quite a surprise.
Thankfully, due to the prevalence of powerful Commander-focused legendary creatures, this deck can still do it all. Crucias, Titan of the Waves for instance, provides plenty of card draw to keep things moving. Boromir, Warden of the Tower meanwhile, offers the deck some much-needed protection. There’s also Jodah, the Unifier who can buff your creatures with up to +13/+13!
For better or worse, it’s unclear how long this legends soup is going to stick around in the meta. Considering the deck looks like a ton of silly fun, however, we certainly hope it doesn’t go anywhere.
Created for MTG Arena in April of 2022, Explorer is one of the newest formats in MTG. Curiously, this format will also be one of the most short-lived, as Explorer isn’t sticking around forever. Instead, thanks to it being MTG Arena’s answer to Pioneer, this format will eventually cease to exist. This will gradually happen over time as Wizards releases more Remastered sets and Anthologies.
For the time being, Explorer isn’t quite one-to-one with Pioneer on paper. This means that Explorer still has its own metagame with plenty of unique interactions. If you want to master this unique metagame, here are a few of the best decks to do just that!
While this archetype is technically Selesnya, for the most part, it’s basically just mono-white. The only thing stopping this from being its official designation is a playset of Collected Company. Considering this card heavily synergizes with all the low-cost angels, it’s definitely worth splashing for.
Topping out at four mana, this deck is definitely on the aggressive side, however, that’s not its only strength. Thanks to cards like Bishop of Wings and Righteous Valkyrie, this deck excels at gaining life before devastating your opponent. As a themed and deeply synergistic deck, Selesnya Angels is very fun to play so it’s no wonder it’s so popular on MTG Arena.
While definitely a powerful deck in Pioneer, in Explorer, Abzan Greasefang is even more extraordinarily powerful in the meta. In case you’re unfamiliar with this deck, it all revolves around getting Parhelion II into the graveyard and then cheating it into play. To do this, we have the namesake of the deck, Greasefang, Okiba Boss.
Thanks to Greasefang, Okiba Boss’ minimal mana cost, this combo can happen incredibly quickly. In fact, when everything goes to plan, you can be attacking with thirteen Flying power on just turn three! While this swing won’t win you the game on its own, further synergy with Esika’s Chariot makes this deck utterly devastating.
Available both on paper and MTG Arena, Brawl is effectively a diet version of Commander. Both formats, for instance, have Commanders heling helming the singleton deck, however, there are many points of difference. Decks in Brawl, for instance, only use 60 cards, rather than the 100 of Commander and Historic Brawl. Alongside this, Brawl has a rotation and only uses Standard legal cards.
Without a ranked queue to grind through, Brawl is an inherently casual format. Despite this, however, if you’re looking to bring the best deck possible, then we’re able to help! Below are a few of the best and most popular choices in the format right now!
Etali, Primal Conqueror
While this Brawl Commander is Red, the core of this deck is a bundle of big green stompy cards. Utilizing potent mana generators like Armored Scrapgorger and Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea, this deck is all about getting massive threats down early. One of the best of these, as the deck’s name gives away, is Etali, Primal Conqueror.
Able to eliminate your opponent in just two attacks, after being flipped, Etali, Primal Conqueror is obviously a major threat. The same is true for Titan of Industry and Kogla and Yidaro who are also found within the 59.
Toxrill, the Corrosive
While Etali, Primal Conqueror is a fairly new entrant into the Brawl metagame, Toxrill, the Corrosive has seen play for years. In fact, as soon as it was printed in Innistrad: Crimson Vow, it has been a mainstay in the Brawl format. Thanks to the recent changes to Standard rotation, it won’t be going anywhere soon either!
For many players, the fact Toxrill, the Corrosive is sticking around is very bad news. This is thanks to them being utterly oppressive to play against. Not only does the Commander kill your creatures over time with -1/-1 counters, but the deck is absolutely loaded with Dimir removal. With Phyrexian Obliterator, The Meathook Massacre, and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, this deck has myriad ways to shut opponent’s down.
As the name suggests, Historic Brawl is a fusion of both the Historic and Brawl formats. Allowing almost every card on MTG Arena to be used, this format is most similar to Commander. Unfortunately for Commander fans, Historic Brawl is only a 1v1 format so there are no multiplayer shenanigans. According to Hasbro, however, it does appear there are plans to change that in the future.
Similarly to Commander, one of the main draws of Historic Brawl is its creativity and freedom. If there is a Legendary creature you like, in this format, you should be able to build around them. Currently, Historic Brawl does not have a ranked queue for players to grind through. Nevertheless, if you want to play with some of the best decks, here are some great options.
Atraxa, Grand Unifier
Considering they’re seeing play in most MTG formats, it’s safe to say that Atraxa, Grand Unifier is a very good MTG card. So much so, in fact, that they’re a great choice to helm a Historic Brawl deck. Offering access to almost all colors, as well as bountiful card draw, Atraxa, Grand Unifier decks are exceptionally versatile.
Whether you want ramp, draw, counterspells, or removal, Atraxa, Grand Unifier decks do it all. Most of the time, hitting all of these points can lead to your opponent simply conceding before too long. Should you need something bigger, however, the top end of this deck features game-ending spells such as Omniscience, Alrund’s Epiphany, and Emergent Ultimatum.
To put it bluntly, Rusko, Clockmaker is an absolute menace on MTG Arena. For the longest time, this card was absolutely everywhere, thanks to the matchmaking system being rather wonky. Thankfully, this frustrating issue has since been fixed. Now Rusko, Clockmaker is part of what’s known as the ‘hell queue’. Here, Rusko, Clockmaker faces off against only the best and most competitive decks in Historic Brawl.
While it may seem harsh, hell queue is absolutely where Rusko, Clockmaker belongs. When combined with plentiful flicker abilities, Rusko, Clockmaker provides unrivaled draw thanks to, well, making clocks. Putting a Midnight Clock into turn each time they hit the battlefield, this mighty clockmaker offers Commander decks exactly what they need to be successful.
After gaining access to more cards than you’d ever know what to do with, Rusko, Clockmaker decks finish opponents off with colossal threats such as Hullbreaker Horror. Alongside this and a few other powerhouse cards, Rusko, Clockmaker decks are typically loaded with removal to keep opponents in check. Even if MTG Arena gets true multiplayer formats, this digital exclusive Commander will forever be a devastating Commander.
The Best of the Rest
To conclude, we felt it prudent to talk about how you don’t need the best deck on MTG Arena. Sure, it is always nice to win games, and especially qualify for events, however, that’s not the only way to have fun. Thanks to casual play queues, not every game of MTG Arena needn’t be so ultra-competitive. In fact, within these play queues, you don’t even need to bring a meta-breaking deck.
Outside of MTG Arena’s ranked ladder of all the best decks, casual play queues have their own matchmaking system. This allows appropriately powered decks to be paired up with one another so games are kept interesting. Thanks to this, if you’re playing an underpowered pet deck, you should face opponents who are doing the same thing. Subsequently, don’t think you need to be playing the most powerful deck in existence just to have a good time.