Magic the Gathering Arena

April 2021 | BO1 & BO3 Tier List | Anthology 4 | Historic | 25 Decks

Hi friends it’s been a while since I have had time to devote to competitive Historic! Shame on me!

With that said coming out of this weekend’s Mythic Qualifier and the expected impacts on Strixhaven to the format I wanted to definitely drive full steam ahead into Historic.  There have been some pivotal impacts I will cover, and some changes to this piece due to personal time crunches.

For April’s Historic Tier List I am combining a few things, whereas I generally offer separate pieces.  I am doing BOTH a BO1 & BO3 take, and adding in some flavor from a data snapshot.  This is most notable from my weekly Meta series, and only with a Historic spin..

Enjoy this month’s Tier List, and always feel free to let me know what you think!  Stay safe my friends. I cover: What it is, current meta observations, and deck overviews!  Additionally I love sharing the observations and recent changes we have faced in an ever evolving format.

Past Tier Lists and Articles for additional context, trends, and observations.

Last Historic Tier Lists

December Articles: BO1 & BO3

December Videos: BO1 & BO3

Mythic Qualifier April Gameplay

I pull these lists together to help give us an alternative competitive angle, as well as trends, with a nice little timestamp as I believe being competitive there is a long term knowledge angle we need to take as well 🙂

Additionally, I like to provide a competitive MTGA Landscape, those who like a visual or just to discuss! You can find the observations along with the tier list below.  Please share your thoughts as always, and feel free to comment on the new format or decks I should consider that I missed.

TLDR: Aggro maintains but a new mono white is crowned king.  Lots of Tournaments impacting the meta, and giving us some pretty cool decks.  Meta remains healthy!  Starting to see shift in deck types and playing as well.

Meta Snapshot Highlights:

BO1

Dominated by Elves and Angels taking up almost 20%+ of the meta played.  Orzhov Auras has the best win rate at the moment.  One key deck to keep an eye on for this format is mono red burn.  While this format favors creature based spells, we now have a full blow mono red burn deck where almost every spell can be a spike to the face as well.  We also see the spread on the archetypes starting to close a bit more.

BO3

There is a huge upswing in Sultai Ultimatum which humorously the winrate isn’t that great and hovers close to 50%!  Jund Sacrifice is still heavily played although has fallen heavily, and the Arne effect on Orzhov Auras is starting to wear off even though it does have one of the better win rates.  Surprisingly Gruul aggro commands the best winrate but doesn’t land in the top 8 of percent played.

Items of Interest & Considerations:

  • New Guard Bare with me a second as I need to play a tad timeline catchup.  This by no means doesn’t mean that I haven’t played historic for this long! Since, I last released a tier list in December post Kaladesh a few more things have happened.  We got Kaldheim, and Anthology 4 making impacts to the set.  Lastly, that pesky escape artist Uro was banned mid February giving us about two months since then.  Providing some ample time for things to shakeup and move around.

The biggest gate keeper was certainly Uro, however Kaldheim certainly made its own impact and flavor on the set. I want to call this out because one thing for sure is each new set tends to give us an interesting new deck, or players gravitate towards what I call an “Historic entry point.”  This is key as we continue to progress in the Meta, and a key driver of this in my opinion is the standard folks wanting to transition to historic with their current collection.  This can be seen with rogues from ZNR, I would now add Sultai Ultimatum from Ikoria also as a cross over from current meta and Kaldheim.  Lastly, Kaldheim also brought us the lovely valkyries or should I say angels since that’s what we call it anyway.  This is probably one key thing that is very noteworthy to keep in mind.

  • Historic Tournaments – We are starting to see a little bit more of an uptick in Historic as a tournament format.  Obviously nowhere near what the Standard scene is.  However, recent focus on the format in particular with the Kaldheim Championship has created a splash in the ecosystem.  Even so, something I will touch on in a moment on Jund that the community may have overlooked, and now at the time may have come to a conclusion all too fast.  I will also chalk this up to said tunnel effects that content creators provide at times to fill an information gap…and no that said content creator was not me.  However, I am honored if that thought actually crossed your mind.
  • Aggro Auras – If we look at some of the recent tournament success, as well as key statistics we find both in BO1 & BO3 some similarities with some of the best decks.  That theme really revolves around both the aggro archetype, and auras.  Now don’t get me wrong, it was late game decks I was most concerned about playing auras, even so much as to tweak for it in the MQ, and it played out just fine for me.  In the end it was the matchups I was favored against that I fell flat…Minus the server hiccup mid match you can check out if you like.  For those that saw this, no WoTC hasn’t responded, I am still sitting in the queue…
  • Jund FlavorA deck that really isn’t bad, in fact is still very very good.  However, if you are not playing Jund you certainly need to have a good matchup against this deck.  This is what the community I would say is overlooked in their echo chamber.  Jund was soooo good, it couldn’t be beat, and then it got beat.  Arne broke the camel’s back with his Orzhov deck, and by the way he tweaked it for Jund!  The community was calling to ban cards because so many people played it and it was that good.  I’m only here to just say be careful, because part of these pieces are to help us evade our own personal biases as well as not get stuck in that chamber.  Hats off to Arne for reading the meta correctly not once but TWICE!  I like to win, and when I see 20%+ of the meta I either prepare for the mirror, but really I go what deck is favorable against this archetype kind of thing.

    In terms of the actual flavor, well we have a few types.  Jund Sacrifice, Jund Coco, and Jund food.  Pick your Jund poison like I said, it’s still good, not bad, just like icarus just got a little too close to the sun.
  • Deck Viability Personally, like standard we have cleared a few hurdles the last few months in terms of balance.  The removal of Uro opened up a lot for the Historic format.  I believe its pretty diverse, and healthy currently.  I am looking forward to it’s continuation as well.  Historic to me is a rather interesting magic case study, mainly because I feel like the cost to entry isn’t the best unlike modern.  Modern yes is expensive, and when you spend money you are committed, and hopefully the cards are still of value.  You waste a craft, and it hurts.  Most players honestly are forced into it like myself for competitive reasons by putting up great standard results, and having to play an MQ in Historic.  It is another reason like mentioned above you see these cross over standard decks in the format.
  • Combo Resurgence?One deck to keep an eye on I have seen a lot of talk about, as well as why is this not good in BO3?  Is Temur Neoform, also going to a 4C iteration.  The element of surprise is certainly the reason why it excels in BO1, and less of the direct kill interaction that used to be there with more sultai. I will hands down tell you this one gave me a nice gameloss in the MQ.  I think it just tends to be easier to interrupt in BO3, and may also lend itself to a more BO1 favorite/playstyle thing. 
  • Old School vs New School MagicThe final thing I do want to cover here is a nod to Strixhaven.  I think this idea or concept of the Mystical Archives being both old and new is more like it.  What I really wanted to ask is how many of you will use the school names vs. ravnica block.

    In all seriousness though we are going to get some pretty dang powerful stuff coming out of those archives with this set.  If you are unaware I believe some 7 of the cards are already prebanned in MTG Arena, while the rest are fair game.  So, my friendly spikes my advice here is to quickly run these cards into the ground before maybe we see some bans.  BTW did I mention I was a content creator?  All puns aside here are some key cards to keep and eye on in no particular order: Faithless Looting, Brainstorm, Inquisition of Kozilek, Time Warp, and Mind’s desire. Hmmm Grixis anyone?  We did get a lightning helix but still. Anyway enjoy Strixhaven my friends!

What goes into this list?

For returners or those that are new I have been asked before on how I pull these together as well.  BO1 is a slightly different beast vs. BO3.  Here I rely heavier on win rate stats at very competitive levels starting at Mythic then work my way backwards through the tiers if needed for additional POVs.  It is also based on gameplay – and I myself favor BO1 until I hit Top 1500 usually 🙂 – I take into consideration untapped.ggs companion app stats as they tend to have a great amount of data, and a good ability to slice and dice decks.  One additional call out again is due to the vastness of decks or newest additions not all data is readily available so for the gaps I try to expand where I can via experience, tournaments, and other data driven sites available.

THANK YOU & Additional Info

I have produced this list from a culmination of a few things. I have reached this point by pulling together research data from multiple sources like untapped, MTGAzone, Aetherhub, twitter, personal gameplay, tournament matches, this reddit as well as others, personal stats, and consistently hitting Mythic over the last year and participation in the last Mythic Qualifier.

Again, Happy to discuss or talk about decks not included! Tier list below plus deck lists (shells – tweak to your heart’s content) if you are looking for some options most all top 1500 at some point many at the #1 Rank, and multiple top end tournament results!

One last thought I would like to share: If you have a competitive deck (different than one featured) I am always happy to do a piece on it time permitting. I have several folks that ask, and have done several player featured decks. I rather enjoy this so please don’t hesitate to reach out or ask. I always try to prioritize with the following and timing or relevance – MTGA Rank (1500s)/Top Tournaments down to Plat2Mythic Decks.

If you would like to do a collaboration feel free to reach out as well. Feel free to reach out or hang in the Multiverse Discord Server.

Collabs:

Dafore

Charizard_James

*Please note that I was not able to do all new videos, there are versions here for reference, and I have included updated decklists for current meta!  Additionally, lists for BO1 & BO3 are the same as mentioned above “shells” to give you a start.  Normally a mainboard is sufficient for BO1 – However, not exact tweaks for that lineup.  Some decks are BO1 first and converted.

**BO3 is just the list as I will maybe try to update link, but they are the same as mentioned

MTGA Historic BO1 April 2021 Tier List

Tier 1 (3)

Mono Red Snow Aggro (New Deck Link) (Twitch Gameplay)

Temur Neoform (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

Mono Green Elves (New Deck Link)

Tier 2 (8)

Jund Sacrifice (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

Mono Red Aggro (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

4C Neostorm (New Deck Link

Azorius Auras (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

Rakdos Arcanist (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link) (New Deck Twitch Gameplay)

Jund Coco Sacrifice (Deck Link

Mono White Nine Lives (Deck Link

Selesnya Angels (Deck Link)

Azorius Control (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

Mono Red Burn (Deck Link

Dimir Rogues (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

Mono Red Goblins (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

Gruul Goblins (Deck Link

Orzhov Auras (Deck Link) (MQ YT & List)

Tier 3 (14)

Gruul Aggro (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

Mono Blue Snow Tempo (Deck Link)

Mono Blue Tempo (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

Selesnya Fauna Shaman (Deck Link

Mono Black Vampires (New Deck Link

Boros Cycling (New Deck Link

Mono Green Stompy (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

Sultai Ultimatum (New Deck Link

MTGA Historic BO3 April 2021 Tier List

Tier 1 (3)

Orzhov Auras

Mono Red Snow Aggro

Jund Sacrifice

Tier 2 (14)

Mono Red Goblins

Mono Red Aggro

Jund Coco Sacrifice

Gruul Aggro

Boros Cycling

Gruul Goblins

Azorius Auras

Selesnya Angels

Mono Green Elves

Rakdos Arcanist

Temur Neoform

Azorius Control

Mono Red Burn

Mono Blue Snow Tempo

Tier 3 (8)

4C Neostorm

Mono Black Vampires

Mono Blue Tempo

Selesnya Fauna Shaman

Mono Green Stompy

Sultai Ultimatum

Dimir Rogues

Mono White Nine Lives

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this slice of competitive Magic the Gathering on Arena or if you are lucky right now in paper. Thank you for your time, and feedback is always welcome! As previously mentioned happy to discuss deck choices, decks, and lists as always!