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MTG Arena – 10 Best Explorer Decks

Not that long ago, Pioneer was introduced as a format for the TCG Magic: The Gathering. Mainly billed as an alternative to the Modern format, which many critiqued for being too high-powered and too competitive, Pioneer took off and was introduced to the online version too. However, in MTG Arena, the format is known as Explorer, and we’ll be covering some of the best decks for it here!

The MTG Arena Explorer format is a great alternative to Standard and Historic. But, as always on Arena, you want to be judicious with your wild cards, as they are a scare commodity. This is especially true when building a deck for a new format like Explorer. That’s why we’ll focus on giving you a rundown of ten of the top Explorer decks in MTG Arena!

10 Best Explorer Decks in MTG Arena, Ranked

While all of these decks perform well in the Explorer format of MTG Arena, we’ll still be ranking them from good to overall best. That being said, you might enjoy the playstyle of a lower ranking one more, so pick whichever one resonates with you the most (or have the cards for)!

Rakdos Sacrifice

Rakdos Sacrifice - Best Explorer Decks in MTG Arena
Image: Hasbro

Let’s start off our list of best MTG Arena Explorer decks with a popular archetype across most formats – a black/red deck with a sacrifice theme. There are some powerful cards for this brew.

Here’s the deck list:

  • 3  Cauldron Familiar                
  • 4  Mayhem Devil                     
  • 4  Unlucky Witness                  
  • 4  Bloodtithe Harvester                        
  • 4  Fable of the Mirror-Breaker              
  • 1  Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger                     
  • 4  Witch’s Oven           
  • 3  Fatal Push                
  • 4  Deadly Dispute                    
  • 3  Claim the Firstborn              
  • 3  Thoughtseize                       
  • 1  Furnace Reins                      
  • 2  Hive of the Eye Tyrant                      
  • 1  Ramunap Ruins                    
  • 4  Blightstep Pathway  //
  • 1  Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance                    
  • 2  Den of the Bugbear              
  • 4  Blood Crypt             
  • 1  Castle Locthwain                 
  • 2  Sulfurous Springs                 
  • 2  Blackcleave Cliffs                
  • 2  Swamp                    
  • 1  Mountain 

Anyone who played Standard during Eldraine will remember the Cauldron Familiar/Witch’s Oven combo, and it makes a triumphant return in this deck. Not only can you constantly sac and resummon Cauldron Familiar to drain your opponent, but you can combine it with Mayhem Devil to further bring the pain. Add Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger on top of that, and you have a truly nasty Rakdos aristocrats deck.

Rakdos Midrange

Rakdos Midrange Deck
Image: Hasbro

Let’s keep the love for black/red decks coming with this Rakdos Midrange brew.

Here’s the deck list:

  • 4  Bloodtithe Harvester                       
  • 1  Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger                   
  • 2  Misery’s Shadow                
  • 4  Bonecrusher Giant              
  • 4  Fable of the Mirror-Breaker                        
  • 2  Graveyard Trespasser                     
  • 3  Sheoldred, the Apocalypse              
  • 1  Reckoner Bankbuster                      
  • 4  Fatal Push              
  • 1  Heartless Act                      
  • 1  Power Word Kill                 
  • 1  Duress                   
  • 4  Thoughtseize                      
  • 1  The Meathook Massacre                 
  • 1  Liliana of the Veil               
  • 2  Swamp                  
  • 3  Mutavault              
  • 2  Sulfurous Springs               
  • 4  Blood Crypt                       
  • 4  Blackcleave Cliffs              
  • 2  Blightstep Pathway  //         
  • 1  Den of the Bugbear                         
  • 2  Hive of the Eye Tyrant                    
  • 4  Haunted Ridge                   
  • 1  Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance                   
  • 1  Takenuma, Abandoned Mire

Speaking of Eldraine classics, we’re bringing back Bonecrusher Giant! But now we get to pair them with cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse and “Graveyard Trespasser to really lay the pressure on our opponents.

White Weenie

White Weenie - Best Explorer Decks in MTG Arena
Image: Hasbro

Third on our list of top MTG Arena Explorer decks is one of Magic’s most classic archetypes. Enjoy pumping out more humans than your average farm family.

Here’s the deck list:

  • 4  Dauntless Bodyguard                      
  • 4  Hopeful Initiate                   
  • 4  Recruitment Officer                         
  • 4  Coppercoat Vanguard                      
  • 4  Luminarch Aspirant             
  • 4  Thalia, Guardian of Thraben                        
  • 4  Thalia’s Lieutenant              
  • 4  Adeline, Resplendent Cathar                        
  • 4  Brutal Cathar                      
  • 2  Brave the Elements             
  • 14  Plains                   
  • 4  Mutavault               
  • 2  Castle Ardenvale     
  • 2  Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

This aggressive mono white deck can be quite tough to beat. You’ll get a lot of creatures out early and with cards like Dauntless Bodyguard, Coppercoat Vanguard, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, your opponent will have a hell of a time answering them.

Boros Convoke

Boros Convoke
Image: Hasbro

Let’s add some red into the mix for another token generating brew that will lay the smackdown on your opponent’s.

Here’s the deck list:

  • 4  Ornithopter                        
  • 2  Giant Killer                        
  • 4  Thraben Inspector               
  • 4  Voldaren Epicure                
  • 4  Regal Leosaur                    
  • 4  Resolute Reinforcements                
  • 4  Knight-Errant of Eos                      
  • 4  Venerated Loxodon                         
  • 1  You See a Pair of Goblins               
  • 4  Gleeful Demolition             
  • 1  Forbidden Friendship                      
  • 1  Light Up the Stage 
  • 1  Invasion of Gobakhan                     
  • 1  Wedding Announcement                 
  • 4  Mountain               
  • 3  Battlefield Forge                
  • 4  Sacred Foundry                  
  • 4  Inspiring Vantage               
  • 2  Castle Embereth                 
  • 4  Needleverge Pathway

The strategy here is simple – play a bunch of creatures and then buff them. Simple, yet very effective. This deck will swarm right over you if you’re not careful (and sometimes even if you are).

Abzan Greasefang

Abzan Greasefang - Best Explorer Decks in MTG Arena
Image: Hasbro

For our fifth entry, we have a white/black/green deck with strong vehicle synergies. Enjoy running over your opponents with this brew.

Here’s the deck list:

  • 4  Raffine’s Informant              
  • 4  Graveyard Trespasser                      
  • 4  Greasefang, Okiba Boss                   
  • 4  Esika’s Chariot                    
  • 2  Skysovereign, Consul Flagship        
  • 4  Parhelion II             
  • 4  Fatal Push               
  • 4  Grisly Salvage                    
  • 4  Thoughtseize                      
  • 4  Liliana of the Veil    
  • 1  Swamp                   
  • 2  Brushland               
  • 2  Godless Shrine                    
  • 2  Overgrown Tomb                
  • 3  Temple Garden                    
  • 2  Razorverge Thicket             
  • 2  Mana Confluence                
  • 1  Blooming Marsh                 
  • 3  Concealed Courtyard                       
  • 1  Darkbore Pathway    //         
  • 1  Hive of the Eye Tyrant                     
  • 1  Boseiju, Who Endures                     
  • 1  Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire              
  • 1  Takenuma, Abandoned Mire 

With this deck, the threats keep coming and don’t stop coming. So if you want to hit the ground (and your opponent) running, then this is the brew for you. It also has access to some nice pieces of removal/disruption to deal with any nasty surprises your opponents might have.

Azorious Control

Azorious Control Deck
Image: Hasbro

Number six on our list is a white/blue control brew that is as frustrating as it is deadly.

Here’s the deck list:

  • 2  March of Otherworldly Light            
  • 3  Dovin’s Veto                        
  • 2  Jwari Disruption                   
  • 3  Make Disappear                   
  • 2  Absorb                     
  • 4  Memory Deluge                   
  • 2  Rewind                    
  • 3  Supreme Verdict                   
  • 4  Omen of the Sea                   
  • 4  Temporary Lockdown                       
  • 4  Leyline Binding                   
  • 4  Shark Typhoon                     
  • 4  The Wandering Emperor                   
  • 4  Teferi, Hero of Dominaria                 
  • 3  Plains                      
  • 3  Island                      
  • 4  Hallowed Fountain               
  • 4  Glacial Fortress                    
  • 4  Field of Ruin                        
  • 2  Castle Ardenvale                  
  • 1  Castle Vantress                     
  • 2  Raugrin Triome                    
  • 2  Hall of Storm Giants                        
  • 4  Deserted Beach                    
  • 1  Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire               
  • 1  Otawara, Soaring City                      
  • 2  Raffine’s Tower                    
  • 2  Spara’s Headquarters 

You may notice that this deck doesn’t run any creatures. Well, it doesn’t need to. Between Sharknado (which some may refer to as Shark Typhoon) and The Wandering Emperor, you can still swing for lethal, despite not running a single creature spell. All the while, you can keep up interaction to slow your opponents so you can get the win. This is a true control deck and a force to be reckoned with.

Blue Spirits

Blue Spirits - Best Explorer Decks in MTG Arena
Image: Hasbro

Let’s get into the spirit of Explorer with this mono blue tempo deck.

Here’s the deck list:

  • 4  Ascendant Spirit                   
  • 4  Mausoleum Wanderer           
  • 4  Spectral Sailor                     
  • 4  Rattlechains             
  • 4  Shacklegeist                         
  • 4  Supreme Phantom                
  • 2  Nebelgast Herald                  
  • 2  Slip Out the Back                 
  • 2  Lofty Denial                        
  • 4  Geistlight Snare                   
  • 4  Curious Obsession               
  • 19  Snow-Covered Island                     
  • 3  Faceless Haven

This deck makes use of cheap evasive creatures, protection, and soft counters to command the flow of the game from the get go. If you play this deck well, it will not only be a very rewarding experience, but it will likely result in a devastating win against your opponent.   

Mono Green

Mono Green Deck
Image: Hasbro

Our next selection for Explorer decks is a mono green brew that charges out of the gate and overwhelms you with the raw power of its creatures. This is green at its most green.

Here’s the deck list:

  • 4  Elvish Mystic                       
  • 4  Llanowar Elves                    
  • 4  Old-Growth Troll                 
  • 2  Polukranos Reborn               
  • 4  Cavalier of Thorns               
  • 1  Cityscape Leveler                 
  • 4  Storm the Festival                
  • 4  Wolfwillow Haven               
  • 3  Invasion of Ixalan                
  • 4  Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner               
  • 4  Karn, the Great Creator                    
  • 14  Forest                    
  • 4  Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx                    
  • 2  Lair of the Hydra                  
  • 2  Boseiju, Who Endures 

Most decks on this list are two or three colors. However, this brew takes full advantage of being a mono color deck. Drop a mana dork turn one, and on turn two, you’re bringing out 4/4 or 4/5 creatures that can just stomp your opponents into the ground.

Because they require such a heavy investment in green mana, these creatures can be over-statted for their cost. Luckily, the color requirement is not a downside for us, since we are mono green. Plus, we even get big threats to follow up late game. Watch out.

Izzet Control

Izzet Control - Best Explorer Decks in MTG Arena
Image: Hasbro

I think Magma Opus is a fitting representative for this deck. That’s right, the penultimate deck on our list is not only a control deck but a great value engine brew as well. Enjoy playing some archetypal blue/red.

Here’s the deck list:

  • 4  Fable of the Mirror-Breaker             
  • 4  Torrential Gearhulk             
  • 2  Fading Hope                       
  • 4  Fiery Impulse                      
  • 2  Spell Pierce                         
  • 3  Spikefield Hazard                
  • 3  Impulse                  
  • 3  Make Disappear                  
  • 1  Prismari Command              
  • 4  Stern Lesson                       
  • 4  Magma Opus                      
  • 3  Indomitable Creativity                     
  • 1  Island                     
  • 1  Mountain                
  • 1  Mutavault               
  • 2  Shivan Reef                        
  • 4  Steam Vents                        
  • 2  Spirebluff Canal                  
  • 4  Riverglide Pathway  //         
  • 1  Den of the Bugbear             
  • 1  Hall of Storm Giants                       
  • 4  Stormcarved Coast              
  • 1  Otawara, Soaring City                     
  • 1  Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance 

This is a classic control deck. You get to draw cards and disrupt your opponent’s tempo, building up to some big late game plays. Resolving Torrential Gearhulk and Magnum Opus is definitely satisfying. Plus, flashing in the Torrential Gearhulk can lead to great plays that are not only fun, but will make you want to push up your glasses (even if you don’t wear any).

Five Color

Five Color - Best Explorer Decks in MTG Arena
Image: Hasbro

Let’s finish off with a bang with a full WUBRG brew that runs some real powerhouses.

Here’s the deck list:

  • 2  Bonecrusher Giant                
  • 2  Skyclave Apparition             
  • 1  Heliod, the Radiant Dawn                 
  • 1  Omnath, Locus of Creation               
  • 1  Cavalier of Dawn                 
  • 1  Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines                   
  • 1  Kenrith, the Returned King               
  • 1  Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves                
  • 1  Agent of Treachery               
  • 1  Atraxa, Grand Unifier                       
  • 2  Into the Fire             
  • 4  Temporary Lockdown                       
  • 2  Touch the Spirit Realm                     
  • 4  Enigmatic Incarnation                      
  • 4  Fires of Invention                 
  • 4  Leyline Binding                   
  • 1  Chandra, Awakened Inferno              
  • 1  Forest                      
  • 3  Plains                      
  • 1  Island                      
  • 1  Swamp                    
  • 2  Mountain                 
  • 4  Sacred Foundry                    
  • 4  Fabled Passage                     
  • 2  Indatha Triome                     
  • 2  Raugrin Triome                    
  • 2  Savai Triome                       
  • 2  Jetmir’s Garden                    
  • 2  Raffine’s Tower                    
  • 2  Spara’s Headquarters 

With oppressive cards like Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines and Agent of Treachery, your opponents will be hard pressed to stop you running away with the game. You also have answers to most of their threats, making this deck a challenging foe to face.

Join the High Ground

This list should get you started charting the undiscovered territory that is the Explorer format. Pretty soon you will be crafting your own lethal decks and blazing a trail to victory.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more gaming content!

Happy pioneering explorer! Wait, no. Happy exploring pioneer! No… hmmm… Enjoy the format!

 

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