I must say this has been a pretty interesting set (competitive, non & health wise), and for the most part as expected things really stuck in place last month. We have seen a few decks pop in like whack a mole over the course of the Zendikar Season, and many were yet to solidify against the top stack. I have several thoughts on this and some ideas below as well. One last thing I would like to note is this is the most robust tier list I have procured to date! (70+ decks all unique) I look forward to doing one more round in January, and plan to continue the unique deck trend as best as I can into our final month of Zendikar’s Rising.
Previous Informative Tiers for Reference on Zendikar’s Rising Seasons
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.
Note: In the Tier list of 70+ decks certainly T1 is a sheer function of the breadth of decks, if you just held T1 as the top decks give or take a few others in the list you could probably split some into T2. Wanted to note before I get a host of comments 🙂 Also for a good laugh – when Hushbringers Back Fire.
TLDR: The healthy meta remains intact. Yorion has been knocked down a few, and esper doom more of a thang. Ugin creeping back in as predicted. Some surprise sleepers, and probably more. Don’t be surprised to see more competitive decks that make you go oooo.
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 fast paced format.
Items of Interest & Considerations:
Stuck in a rut – Depending on how you particular look at the meta, competitive landscape, or the pursuit of MTGA happiness (I call it this because I always see the good old top decks in play discussions) we have clear winners that have evolved throughout the life of Zendikar’s Rising. To no real surprises I would say we haven’t really seen any influx of Meta shifting decks in the BO3 landscape in terms of T1/Upper T2 play. We will certainly notice lifts and shifts of a few cards in the decks. An example being the Akroan war – generally even daringly mainboarded in Gruul Aggro. The decks have certainly evolved over time being optimized across the competitive scene for the flavor of the week in terms of T1 choice of play.
Winter is coming – Winter is here, it’s dark, and the solstice has occurred…the days will only get longer as we approach the new year and Kaldheim. One thought I had that may merit discussion, may have already would be what I would call “soft bans”. Since the great rotation, this is the longest session we get of a release in the competitive scene. We have clearly found MTGA Meta Code Crackers work swift and fast. Plus this makes sense given the at bats these days and the state of the world. I think WOTC could ensure some monthly change. I dare say it keeps things interesting. I would be a supporter of these so-called soft bans on a monthly basis to shake up the format. Then you would reinstate the soft banned cards either the following month or at the time of the next set release. Anyway something to think on – WOTC
An Apple A Day – As mentioned above I have covered some 70+ odd decks since the release of Zendikar’s Rising. The continuation minus my comment above on the soft bans is still extremely healthy. What I have found covering all of the decks is there is definitely an ability to play decent archetypes relatively untouched at large within the meta competitively and I would say again just given the sheer breadth of the decks in a mid level T2 competitive state. What this means is you can definitely and most certainly grind out mythic with some of these decks in a more unique fashion vs. only playing a T1 or hit your much needed dailies to be well prepared for what F2P spending may ensue. Some of my favorite decks to name a few since the last tier list in Nov are the following: Abzan Midrange, Mono Blue & Black Devotion, as well as Selesnya 4PWR Aggro, plus Sultai Yorion Fae. These decks are all very fun, have many different win conditions, and still maintain a lot of competitive value from my experience.
Top 1500 – One thing for certain over this past month was for as long as I have been covering different Top Decks Daily with a bias towards top 1500 this month had the least amount of unique Top 1500 decks. Hence, the first observation in this list. Now, what I have come to learn as I continue my daily top deck path there are some pretty interesting platinum to mythic 6+ win deck lists. As you continue to explore your own competitive nature I would implore you to check out some of these other decks. It has most definitely made me a much better player over the last year, and something I have come to appreciate much more. I would like to call out one other deck here for those real competitive players which is Rakdos Escape. This deck hit #1 was a 75% win rate, and definitely the TOP DECK of December in my opinion. It could “maybe” be called a midrange deck but it doesn’t fully play like one. This is something worth keeping an eye on.
Happy New Year – Last but not least, I hope everyone had a happy holidays. I would also like to wish each and every one of you a safe, loved, and happy new year. I look forward to continuing these into the next year. As always – Appreciate any constructive feedback as well.
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!
4 Opt (XLN) 65
4 Crash Through (M19) 133
4 Shock (M19) 156
2 The Royal Scions (ELD) 199
2 Shark Typhoon (IKO) 67
4 Sprite Dragon (IKO) 211
3 Vadrok, Apex of Thunder (IKO) 214
4 Raugrin Triome (IKO) 251
3 See the Truth (M21) 69
4 Stormwing Entity (M21) 73
1 Jace, Mirror Mage (ZNR) 63
1 Sea Gate Restoration (ZNR) 76
2 Sea Gate Stormcaller (ZNR) 77
2 Magmatic Channeler (ZNR) 148
2 Shatterskull Smashing (ZNR) 161
3 Spikefield Hazard (ZNR) 166
4 Needleverge Pathway (ZNR) 263
4 Riverglide Pathway (ZNR) 264
7 Island (KLR) 290
2 Redcap Melee (ELD) 135
1 Ox of Agonas (THB) 147
1 Shark Typhoon (IKO) 67
2 Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor (IKO) 109
1 Mythos of Vadrok (IKO) 127
1 Teferi, Master of Time (M21) 75
2 Confounding Conundrum (ZNR) 53
1 Into the Roil (ZNR) 62
4 Thundering Rebuke (ZNR) 170
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!