In Magic: The Gathering Arena, you have a bunch of different formats. From Alchemy, to Historic, to Historic Brawl, to drafting, there are a lot of ways to play. But Standard ranked is still the most popular format. If you want to climb that ranked ladder you are going to need a good deck. But good decks often require a lot of resources to build, and since resources are scarce in MTGA, you want to make sure your standard deck is up to the challenge. To that end, this guide will go over ten of the best MTG Arena standard decks, what’s in them, and what makes them strong. Let’s get deck building.
Mono Red BO1
There are multiple variations on mono red in most any meta. From burn, to dragons, to goblins etc. But one of the strongest and most consistent mono red builds is aggro, pure and simple. And this deck is one of the best standard mono red aggro decks.
Mono Red BO1 – Deck List
|Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance||1|
|Kumano, Faces of Kazan||4|
|Monastery Swift Spear||4|
|Squee, Dubious Monarch||2|
|Play with Fire||4|
|Stoke the Flames||1|
|Invasion of Regatha||4|
Mono Red BO1 – Deck Strategy
This is a very straightforward deck. You hit your opponent hard, and you hit them fast. This is a true embodiment of what aggro is in Magic. What makes this version of aggro a top deck is that it is very fast, with a good combination of aggressive creatures, and burn. The deck doesn’t really run much gas at all, but it really doesn’t need it. This deck can bring opponents to within a few burn spells of lethal in three to four turns, and then a few good top decks will finish it.
The trick with an aggro deck is that you want to kill your opponent with cheap and efficient cards before they can play enough cards to defend against you. But this leads to one of the biggest weaknesses an aggro deck can have. If an opponent can stabilize, they can run you out of a hand, and then you can be dead in the water, unable to get past their blockers to force lethal. But with this deck, you have a strong out that many aggro decks in recent standard blocks have been missing, and that is solid burn.
For this mono red deck you want to prioritize getting your creatures out early to put the pressure on your opponent. You run a lot of good one, two, and three drops that can hit as soon as they come down. You ideally want to save your burn spells for later in the game, but what is most important is to play on curve. Tempo is essential for aggro decks, so you want to make sure you use your mana as efficiently as possible on the first few turns. But if your opponent does manage to stabilize and stop your creatures, it is good to have the option to finish them with direct damage, either from your hand, or a lucky top deck if you are out of gas. That is what puts this aggro deck over the top and gives it an edge.
Let’s move on from a hyper focused red aggro deck to a three color brew that is also quite nasty. The name says it all.
Esper Legends – Deck List
|Caves of Koilos||4|
|Plaza of Heroes||4|
|Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire||3|
|Otowara, Soaring City||3|
|Takenuma, Abandonded Mire||1|
|Skrelv, Defector Mite||3|
|Dennick, Pious, Apprentice||4|
|The Raven Man||1|
|Rona, Herald of Invasion||4|
|Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor||1|
|Raffine, Scheming Seer||4|
|Sheoldred, The Apocalypse||4|
|Go for the Throat||3|
Esper Legends – Deck Strategy
This is a very nicely balanced deck, that, while slower than our mono red friend, makes up for it with more powerful creatures and control spells. There is some nice evasion and value generation that makes this a solid brew.
This esper build falls more into the mid range category. A lot of players may not be familiar with mid range or think it simply means playing good stuff. In actuality, it is a bit trickier than that. You sacrifice the pure tempo of aggro in order to gain some power and advantage.
The key here is playing cards that either pose an imminent threat, or give you some value as soon as they enter the battlefield. But this deck is not a pure mid range build in that sense. It does not run strong ETB effects to immediately impact the board. However, because of the three colors it has access to, this deck gets to run some strong protection in the form of counterspells, as well as Skrelv, Defector Mite. Skrelv makes our creatures hard to remove and pairs nicely with big threats like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse.
With Raffine and Gix for card draw, we get value out of our attacks and are able to keep up the pressure. We even get to run Go for the Throat and Cut Down as some main board tech for nasty situations we might find ourselves in. This deck really does make use of all three of its colors to great effect.
This is a version of an aggressive deck that has been around for a few sets now. It’s Azorious soldiers. This deck loves going wide.
Soldados – Deck List
|Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire||1|
|Otowara, Soaring City||1|
|Knight-Errant of Eos||2|
|Skrelv, Defector Mite||2|
|Harbin, Vanguard Aviator||3|
|Protect the Negotiators||2|
|Invasion of Gobakhan||3|
Soldados – Deck Strategy
This deck has a lot of token generation. It also runs protection and evasion to make its wide board hard to deal with. There is a fair bit of card advantage and value generation as well, letting you rebuild your board. This deck is fast and resilient, making it quite deadly.
Simply put, this white blue soldier deck is another aggro deck. But it kills quickly by flooding the board with tokens. This is a sheer numbers strategy. It can be quite effective, but with a couple weaknesses. First off, Harbin, Vanguard Aviator is one of the key finishers for the deck, so protecting them is crucial. Skrelv, Defector Mite is great in that regard. Counter spells like Make Disappear and Protect the Negotiators also help us avoid our key cards getting removed.
More than targeted removal. In this deck we want to have answers for board wipes. They way we handle this is with the ability to rebuild our boardstate. With Knight Errant of Eos and Recruitment Officer we are able to recover from a wipe fairly effectively. We can also save some counters to stop the wipes in the first place. These tactics allow us to always have a massive board, and that is how we win.
Next up we have a Selesnya Enchantment deck. If you’ve noticed a theme that most of these decks are fairly aggressive, that’s no coincidence. Standard has been a fairly aggressive format for several years now. The ranked ladder format of MTGA also lends itself well to aggro.
Enchanted – Deck List
|Skrelv, Defector Mite||2|
|Kami of Transience||4|
|Michiko’s Reign of Truth||4|
|Weaver of Harmony||4|
|Calix, Guided by Fate||4|
|Katilda, Dawnhart Martyr||1|
|Commune with Spirits||1|
Enchanted – Deck Strategy
This deck has a strong +1/+1 counter theme that lets you play a couple 1/1 or 2/2 creatures and start swinging with 5/5s a few turns later. This deck also has resilience with Kami of Transience coming back to your hand when your enchantments die. Add on to that a well-timed Ossification and you can devastate your opponents (Ossification has definitely killed me many a time anyway).
This enchantment build is another good example of the subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) variations you can have in aggro. Since we are white/green, we don’t have access to the haste or burn that mono red has, nor the sheer advantage or evasion of the white/blue soldiers. The advantage that we have as white/green enchantments is power and resilience. We play out our cards early and buff them with +1/+1 counters. So while we cannot burn out our enemies to get around their blockers, we have the distinct advantage of making our threats much bigger. We can simply overwhelm blockers with 5/5 and 6/6 creatures on early turns.
As mentioned above, one of our key cards also has great resilience. Kami of Transience gets buffed whenever we play an enchantment, making it one of our main beaters. This also makes it a prime target for removal. But luckily for us, it comes back to our hand whenever an enchantment hits our graveyard from the battlefield. This means that when our opponent removes one threat, they give us another one back.
The real key here is to keep the attack going from the get go. We start buffing and attacking turn two, not giving our opponent’s a chance to stabilize, let alone counterattack. And a key card here is Ossification. As mentioned above, Ossification will win us a lot of games. Now, at first glance, it might look like a defensive card, odd in an aggro build. However, it is run because it lets us easily remove a key blocker so that we don’t have to let up our assault. Just when your opponent thinks they have a chance to stabilize, they die to Ossification.
Generous Visitor and Kami of Transience are must-haves in our opening hands. Either one lets us get the ball rolling buffs from the get go. We won’t of course always have them at the start, but they are our priority. As mentioned above, we want to be hitting our opponent’s hard from the start. If we can buff our units turn two or three we can have some insanely explosive plays. The way this deck competes with other aggro decks is by swinging in with a few 6/6s turn four or five and simply overwhelming the enemy with raw power. That is why the first couple of turns are crucial.
This is a classic archetype in Magic. There is a strong version in the current standard meta.
White Weenie – Deck List
|Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire||1|
|Plaza of Heroes||2|
|Guardian of New Benalia||4|
|Thalia, Guardian of Threben||4|
|Myrel, Shield of Agrive||4|
|Lay Down Arms||4|
White Weenie – Deck Strategy
Between Thalia making your opponent’s non-creature spells cost one more, and Myrel, preventing your opponent from casting spells or activating abilities of artifacts, creatures, and enchantments on your turn, this deck is very hard to disrupt with control pieces. This allows you to put the pressure on early and keep the pressure on. For those like me who are primarily control players, this deck can be the bane of our existence.
The white weenie deck looks similar to the white/blue soldiers above. And it is. But as mentioned above, what makes this specific deck so strong is its anti-disruption pieces. Probably aggro’s biggest weakness is control. Now don’t get me wrong, aggro decks with really good starts can bulldoze control decks (its happened to me many-a-time let me tell you). However, if control is able to weather that initial assault and stabilize, most aggro decks will be dead in the water, long before they even realize it.
Key counterspells, kill spells, and that clutch board wipe can either spell the end for an aggro deck outright, or give the control player the chance they need to survive. This deck makes that very hard, by either denying the removal outright or simply delaying it a turn or too, which is all aggro needs. For this reason, Thalia, Guardian of Threben, and Myrel, Shield of Agrive are the MVPs of this deck hands down. We want to prioritize playing them on curve so our beatdown can proceed uninterrupted.
Four Color Ramp Atraxa
Here’s a refreshing change of pace. A four-color deck is actually a top standard deck. Just when you thought standard was getting a bit stale.
Four Color Ramp Atraxa – Deck List
|Boeseiju Who Endures||1|
|Ziatorra’s Proving Grounds||4|
|Archangel of Wrath||4|
|Atraxa, Grand Unifier||4|
|Etali, Primal Conqueror||2|
|Invasion of Zendikar||4|
Four Color Ramp Atraxa – Deck Strategy
This deck has enough ramp and card advantage to lay down some big threats before the faster, more aggressive decks can kill you. This allows you to stabilize and put on the pressure. Do not underestimate this deck.
Four color decks can be very tricky to pull off. We have the advantage of solid ramp to get us our colors and Atraxa the Unifier to refill our hand. Since standard is so aggro heavy, we want to prioritize early Topiary Stompers and Ossifications to ensure we can make it to mid game. At that point we can lay down our big threats and most decks will have a hard time dealing with us. Control decks can pose a problem, but we have enough threat and value generation with our cards to make that much less of an issue. Watch out for the aggro decks primarily. If you can play around them you’ll be fine.
Mono Blue Tempo
Here’s another interesting deck to shake things up. It’s not quite aggro, not quite control, but definitely strong.
Mono Blue Tempo – Deck List
|March of Swirling Mist||2|
|Thirst for Discovery||4|
|Flow of Knowledge||3|
Mono Blue Tempo – Deck Strategy
You may have noticed that this sixty card deck has exactly eight creatures in it. The deck plan is simple, run out cheap instants and sorceries, play early Tolarian Terrors and Haughty Djinns and the protect them. Simple, yet devastatingly effective if pulled off right. Once set up the Terror and Djinn are nigh-on impossible to deal with and that’s all she wrote.
This mono blue tempo build is incredibly deadly when played correctly, but can be kind of weak if played poorly. That’s probably true of most any deck, but this one can be a bit deceptive to play. You might think with this deck that you want to play Tolarian Terror and Haughty Djinn as early as possible and just smash face. But if that were true, you’d be better off just playing a normal aggro deck. What makes this deck so strong is two-fold. First, Tolarian Terror and Haughty Djinn are much stronger than your average aggro cards, both in terms of raw power and toughness, but also the Tolarian Terror having built in protection, and the Haughty Djinn having built in evasion. The second thing that makes this deck so strong is the protection you run.
In order to play this deck properly, you want to make use of both the power of your creatures, and your protection. If you are playing against an aggressive deck you want to run out your threats as early as possible to overpower them. However, in other scenarios you want to wait to play a threat until you ideally have enough open mana to protect them from an answer. Since only eight out of sixty cards are able to win you the game, you don’t want to be careless with them. Make sure you’re ready with a counter spell, March of Swirling Mist or a Fading Hope so your threats go unanswered.
Green Creature Deck
Green Creature – Deck List
|Boseiju Who Endures||1|
|Azusa’s Many Journeys||3|
|Defiler of Vigor||3|
|Thrun, Breaker of Silence||2|
|Wrenn and Seven||2|
Green Creature – Deck Strategy
This is a classic Midrange Deck. You run hard to deal with threats such as Thrun, Breaker of Silence, and cards that have immediate impacts on the board such as Silverback Elder. Since we are mono green, we can run strong ramp to get us to those key cards earlier, making this deck a nasty threat.
This mono green deck is fairly straightforward. Obviously we want that early ramp. That is the key to our deck. Again, aggro is quite popular in standard and that is what we need to worry about most. With good early ramp we can stabilize. Once we get a few big creatures out for blockers, aggro deck will have a hard time. We can out power most other decks and with cards like Thrun, Breaker of Silence we are hard to control. With this setup we basically have all of our bases covered and are ready for most anything.
Who’s happy they brought back infect (sort of)? I’m not particularly, but it does make for a very strong deck.
Selesnya Toxic – Deck List
|Boseiju Who Endures||1|
|Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire||1|
|Skrelv, Defector Mite||4|
|Tribute to the World Tree||1|
Selesnya Toxic – Deck Strategy
Toxic is a nasty mechanic. When the toxic creature hits a player, they get poison counters equal to that creature’s toxic value. Ten poison counters and you die. That’s it. There is no way to remove them once you have them. This is an aggro deck that essentially starts your opponent at half their starting life total and prevents any life gain. Nasty stuff.
Toxic is a nasty mechanic for sure that leads to a very aggressive deck. Our key cards in this deck are Skrelv, Defector Mite, and Venerated Rotpriest. Skrelv lets us protect our creatures quite effectively. It also gives us additional toxic to hit our opponent’s with. Venerated Rotpriest can really put on the poison counters though. Whether our creatures are being removed, or we are protecting them, Venerated Rotpriest will give our opponents more poison counters. And we don’t even need to attack, making this the toxic equivalent of burn.
This is a deck that can really push the aggro. It is great for racing other decks, since toxic basically means our opponent is at half their starting life total. It also runs some solid protection effects as well. We also have token generation that makes us more resilient. All in all this allows us to go all out on the attack with little fear or reprisal. Few decks can go quite this aggressive. And thanks to our Venerated Rotpriest and the fact that poison counters are hard impossible to remove, you can almost never truly stabilize against this deck.
Next up, we have a blue white control deck! Name says it all.
Azrious Control – Deck List
|Field of Ruin||1|
|Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire||1|
|Otowara, Soaring City||1|
|March of Otherworldly Light||1|
|Union of the Third Path||1|
|Witness the Future||1|
|Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset||1|
|The Wandering Emperor||4|
Azrious Control – Deck Strategy
This has everything I’m looking for in a control deck. It has removal, it has counters, it has card draw/card advantage, it has win cons. Some of its win cons are removal (I’m talking about Sunfall). This is just all around a great control deck. And the best part is, most of the deck plays at instant speed. Control fans will not be disappointed with this brew or one similar.
This Azorius deck is your textbook control deck. This means you should play it like one. The key to playing control is knowing when not to play cards. This may sound strange, but it is true. You want to make sure you are always keeping up mana for interaction so you can react to what your opponent does. But you also want to play your own win cons and value generating spells, right? Yes, but you need to be patient.
In my humble opinion as a dedicated control player, Silver Scrutiny and Memory Deluge are the MVPs of this deck. What I prioritize most in control decks is instant speed card draw. I just said above you need to be patient. During most of your turns, you will untap, you will upkeep, you will draw, you will play a land, and you will pass. That is because your actual turn isn’t on your turn, it’s on your opponent’s end phase. You save up your mana on your opponent’s turn to react to any threats that need reacting to. Then, at the end of their turn, you can draw cards with Silver Scrutiny or add cards to your hand with Memory Deluge. This lets you keep up mana for interaction without sacrificing card advantage. This is the backbone of the control strategy.
The other part of not playing cards you need to master is knowing what to counter or remove and what not to counter or remove. When people complain about control decks they often gripe that they get all their spells countered. If you counter every single spell you can, you will lose, all but guaranteed. This deck doesn’t just run counters, it also runes board wipes and some targeted removal. So don’t waste counterspells on cards you can deal with using removal spells/wipes. Save the counters for threats with nasty ETBs or planeswalkers and the like if you can.
Finally, keep track of your opponent’s hand size. That is a more important resource than their life total. If you can run them out of cards while keeping your own full, then you have most-likely won. These are (in my opinion) the keys to proper control gameplay.
Now we have a mono black deck to add to the list. This one boasts hard to remove threats and removal of its own.
Mono Black – Deck List
|Takenuma, Abandoned Mire||1|
|Go for the Throat||4|
|Liliana of the Veil||4|
|Sheoldred, the Apocalypse||4|
Mono Black – Deck Strategy
This deck is solid against most archetypes. The key cards here that really let it shine are Sheoldred, the Apocalypse and Phyrexian Fleshgorger. Both cards are significant threats that are hard to deal with, as well as being good anti aggro pieces. Phyrexian Fleshgorger specifically is really nice here. It can be played turn three as a 3/3 with lifelink and menace. The life gain is huge and makes this a great blocker or attacker. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is a turn slower, but can also gain you a lot of life and works as a good blocker as well. Add onto these cards the good pieces of early removal we run in Go for the Throat and Cut Down, and we can make aggro decks very unhappy.
The Phyrexian Fleshgorger is hard to remove because of its ward ability, and for similar reasons Graveyard Trespasser is nasty. Tenacious Uderdog comes back from the graveyard on its own and Gix’s command can bring cards back to our hand. This gives control a hard time. And Liliana of the Veil’s discard is rough for any opponent.
Our deck also runs a very nice curve that lets us efficiently use our mana. All these factors come together to make our deck very strong and hard to deal with.
Dimir Mid Range
Now we add some blue into the mix for a variant on the mono black build. This gives us some more control and token generation.
Dimir Mid Range – Deck List
|Otawara, Soaring City||1|
|Takenuma, Abandoned Mire||1|
|Realmbreaker, the Invasion Tree||1|
|Go for the Throat||3|
|Liliana of the Veil||2|
|Kaito, Dancing Shadow||1|
|Chrome Host Seedshark||2|
|Sheoldred, the Apocalypse||3|
Dimir Mid Range – Deck Strategy
This deck has a few key differences to its counterpart above. This deck adds more removal and some planeswalkers into the mix. But Sharknado Two (Chrome Host Seedshark to some) is perhaps the biggest addition. This lets you get incubate tokens every time you cast a noncreature spell. This allows our deck to run the extra removal and planeswalkers. This makes a bit slower than the mono black version, but gives us arguably more resiliency. We now have more ways to generate threats, as well as the ability to better disrupt enemy threats. We can also run counterspells which the black deck cannot.
The addition of blue also gives us one other big advantage, value. The Kaito planeswalkers let us draw cards, turning our aggression into value.
But of course, this version of the deck comes at some costs. We are not running Phyrexian Fleshgorger for example. This is a shame, but ultimately shows the differences between the decks. We are a bit slower, but a bit more resilient. The added removal can help us deal with aggro, as can our planeswalkers. This deck definitely has a place in the standard meta.
Join the High Ground
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best standard decks for MTG Arena. Each one is super solid, and a good investment for your digital Magic journey. Have fun playing lands and casting spells! Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on your favorite social. Happy gaming!