The Best MTG Arena Decks Post Oko Ban


by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Nov, 24th 2019

I for one do not miss our evil Elk overlord. Recently, we posted about the latest MTG Arena bans. With that in mind, I want to focus on some decks that can stand tall. Oko, Once Upon a Time and Veil of Summer has disappeared. So today’s focus is the best MTG Arena decks.

This is being written before the MTG Arena tournament on Twitch has begun. It will be interesting to see how the meta will ultimately shake out. Before that though, let’s hypothesize! Unlike my previous article on Starter Decks, there are no rules. As long as the deck is standard meta legal, that’s all that matters!

Best MTG Arena Decks: Gruul Embercleave (Red/Green)

Huge angry creatures is never a bad call in MTG Arena. I have a feeling that this one might be one of the best MTG Arena decks to shine now that Food Decks have disappeared. I’ve run various flavors of Gruul, but this one I’m still missing Mythic Rares for.

This is probably the easiest to run out of any of the decks I will discuss in this blog.

How It Works

If you want an expensive deck, but one that’s easy to run and satisfying to watch pop off, look no further than Gruul! This deck runs just one instant/sorcery with Domri’s Ambush, a planeswalker, and an artifact. Everything else? Big. Meaty. Angry. Jerks.

”MTG

You have a series of low-cost creatures with unreal utility, and the massive, bone smashing, heart-rending creatures. This deck takes great advantage of the “Riot” ability, which was exclusive to the Gruul colortype (Red and Green). When you cast a creature with “Riot” on it, you have two choices:

  • Give this creature haste
  • Give this creature a +1/+1 token

If your opponent has no creatures in play (or creatures that would not survive an attack), I go with haste. But otherwise, I stand by the +1/+1 token just for beefier creatures. Do you know what I’d like to have room for in this deck? Rhythm of the Wild. It’s a three-drop enchantment that makes your creatures unable to be countered.

It also gives all creatures you play “Riot”. Spoiler Warning: Riot stacks! I had a game where all of my creatures received 3 stacks of Riot when they hit the board. The downside is that this deck has no mana ramp, so it would potentially slow down the deck.

I’ll get into that later though. As this deck has several low-cost options, one of the best cards you could have in hand is Pelt Collector. This 1-drop Elf is a 1/1 that gains +1/+1 every time a creature bigger than it comes into play on your side or dies on your side. That’s right, he can become one beefy Elf in no time flat.

This is another reason you might want to consider playing some creatures with the +1/+1 side of Riot. This deck has changed a lot thanks to the Throne of Eldraine set, too. Originally, your turns were Pelt Collector, Zhur-Taa Goblin, Gruul Spellbreaker, and more often than not, the game was over shortly after.

Now you have the turn-2 option of Robber of the Rich, which is a new 1/1 red creature. This handy friend has Reach and Haste, so it can block flying creatures. Here’s what makes this card so very good:

“Whenever Robber of the Rich attacks, if defending player has more cards in hand than you, exile the top card of their library. During any turn you attacked with a Rogue, you may cast that card and you may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast this spell.”

Downside: He’s the only Rogue in the deck. Upside: You are running four of them. This might be best-served against control decks or incredibly slow decks. There’s a lot of fun to be had in stealing your opponent’s planeswalker and using them for your own evil ends.

Combat

”MTG

For the most part, you will only be playing creatures and smashing through your opponent’s defenses. Questing Beast will make almost any player pause and consider their blocking. It also can’t be blocked by power 2 or less creatures, has Vigilance, Deathtouch, and Haste. As a 4-drop, Questing Beast is absolutely insane.

Because there’s more! Combat damage you deal with creatures can’t be prevented, and when it does combat damage to an opponent, it also deals that much damage to one of their planeswalkers. Questing Beast + Embercleave is not a fair shout. It’s brutal and disgusting. So, what’s Embercleave?

Embercleave is an artifact weapon that has Flash, so you can play it during combat. It’s expensive (6-drop), but it costs 1 less for each attacking creature you control. You play Embercleave when you’re trying to end as fast as possible. Swing hard, wait until blockers are declared, then flash in Embercleave onto the biggest, baddest fool you have.

I also really like to play Embercleave on creatures that have a little-to-no chance of being blocked. If your opponent has no flyers, pop it on Skarrgan Hellkite. This will also offset his special ability. If Hellkite has a +1/+1 counter on it, you can tap 4 mana to deal 2 damage to 1 or 2 targets. That way you can haste it, attack, and then give it Embercleave to put a little special sauce on that punch to the mouth.

Does your opponent have a really annoying Mana Dork, or other low-cost creature that you need to have off the board? There’s where the only spell in this deck comes into play: Domri’s Ambush. Give one of your creatures +1/+1 and then fight a creature of your choice. Beat up that 2/1 Elf, without risking anything. Then declare attack!

You have a few other anti-creature options. Bonecrusher Giant has an Adventure Instant, Stomp. For 2 mana you can deal 2 damage to any target, and damage this turn can’t be prevented. The Giant itself is pretty grand too, as a 4/3 that deals 2 damage to an opponent that targets it with a spell.

Domri, Anarch of Bolas also gives your creatures a passive +1 Attack, can give you a little more mana, and also lets your creatures fight your opponent’s creatures. She’s not a game-breaker, but she’s very useful.

Ultimately, you can be pretty aggressive with this deck. There aren’t a lot of decks in the meta that run bigger, beefier creatures. They do exist, though so beware. This deck can fall to board-wipe though. That’s one of the major downsides for a deck that can be slow. Once you’ve been wiped, unless you have more stuff in hand, you’re out of luck. It’s not running any card draw, and with the lack of Once Upon a Time, you no longer have access to easy draw.

Gruul Embercleave Decklist

3 Questing Beast (ELD) 171

4 Pelt Collector (GRN) 141

3 Embercleave (ELD) 120

3 Skarrgan Hellkite (RNA) 114

4 Robber of the Rich (ELD) 138

2 Castle Embereth (ELD) 239

4 Gruul Spellbreaker (RNA) 179

3 Domri, Anarch of Bolas (WAR) 191

4 Zhur-Taa Goblin (RNA) 215

2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

7 Mountain (ANA) 64

9 Forest (ANA) 65

4 Domri’s Ambush (WAR) 192

4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259

4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115

2 Flame Sweep (M20) 139

2 Shifting Ceratops (M20) 194

2 Lava Coil (GRN) 108

2 Fry (M20) 140

3 Cindervines (RNA) 161

2 Collision // Colossus (RNA) 223

2 Grafdigger’s Cage (M20) 227

Final Thoughts

I would very much like to run Rhythm of the Wild in this deck. I do. It’s not in the decklist, but I want to find a place for it. I’d be willing to drop Domri for it, so as to not ruin the mana curve of this deck. I understand that it would not be ideal, but it works with this deck so well once you get moving. The knowledge that those control decks no longer have an answer with counterspells is satisfying.

Opponents that you know are running heavy counterplay, that might be a solution for your sideboard. If I were to replace anything, it would likely be Cindervines. Personally, though, I play best-of-one, way more exciting.

Best MTG Arena Decks: Jeskai Fires of Invention

If there’s a deck I hated more than Oko / Food, my blood boils at the thought of Fires of Invention. It’s not the first card that lets you cast spells for free, but this one’s pretty damn wild. This deck is sort of a one-trick pony because it’s really built around this one card, however it more than deserves its title as one of the best MTG Arena decks in the game.

Fires of Invention is a card that lets you play anything you want, regardless of mana. Depending on how you build the deck, you can do anything. Need to boardwipe? No problem. Need to get some card draw or life gain in a tight spot? You can make that happen. This version is built around punching people in the face though.

Part of me feels that Jeskai Fires is a sort of gambling deck. But it’s all about using what you have to make sure you get Fires out and do whatever is needed to stop your opponent in their tracks.

How It Works

”MTG

For a deck that relies on a card that lets you cast spells for free, it sure does run a lot of lands! You absolutely cannot afford to miss those first five or six land drops. The early game for you is very quiet, so you need to have the mana to answer any problems that come up. Fires of Invention lets you cast spells with converted mana cost less than or equal to your current land amount for free (though you can only cast two a turn). So you need lands.

The early game is focused on controlling the board. You have to slow down what your opponent’s doing. You don’t have any low-cost options, unfortunately. It’s more about what you can do starting on turn 3. Deafening Clarion can blow up most early game creatures at least.

Then there’s Teferi, Time Traveler to stop your opponent’s instants, and bounce permanents back to your opponent’s hand (while also giving you card draw). Prison Realm will be your answer to exiling planeswalkers or creatures as well.

A large part of the reason this is one of the best decks in MTG Arena is that if your opponent can’t beat you by turn 4, there’s not a real chance they’re going to succeed after. That’s provided you can cast Fires of Invention and follow it up with Drawn from Dreams. This is your big combo to start battering their face with a ton of damage. It’s not your only option, but boy is it a fun one!

Drawn from Dreams lets look at the top 7 cards of your deck, and put two of them in your hand. The rest go on the bottom. What do you want to pull there? Why, your Cavaliers! Cavalier of Gale sand Cavalier of Flame are the ideal cards to pull.

If you don’t miss a single land drop, you can play both Cavaliers on turn 5 for free. Do whatever discarding and drawing you care to do thanks to Cavalier of Flame, and then use its ability to give both of those creatures haste and +1/+0. Swing for tons of damage. This could be enough to win the game, depending on how things have gone so far. It won’t be lethal, but it may make them quit.

Cavaliers Tips

”MTG

When playing the two Cavaliers, you’ll want to play Cavalier of Gale first. It lets you draw three cards, and put two back on top of your deck. Keep anything you want to discard, and then cast Cavalier of Flame. They let you discard as many cards as you want, and then draw that many.

Don’t be afraid to drop a few lands in the graveyard too if you have enough. When Cavalier of Flame dies, it deals damage to your opponent and their planeswalkers, equal to the number of lands in the graveyard. If you have a pair of Deafening Clarions, you could follow up the next turn, blow them to kill your creatures (and theirs), while also dealing a deathblow.

This is of course, provided you have enough lands in the grave. But another thing to be careful of is the Cavalier of Gale. When it dies, it shuffles back into your deck. A player that knows what you’re doing may kill the Cavalier before you can cast Cavalier of Flame, so those important cards you put on your deck to draw again are now shuffled into oblivion.

Alternatively, don’t be afraid to cast Deafening Clarion to wipe their board, but also choose the lifesteal effect. You can pick both, never forget that. I also want to point out that you can use your Castle Vantress land to help nitpick what card you draw. If you’re looking for something special, set a stop on your turn order right before the Draw Step.

Scry away the stuff you don’t want, and keep whatever you may really want to draw for the start of your turn. This is something I occasionally forget, but I’d hate for someone else to make the same mistake.

Jeskai Fires of Invention Decklist

4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221

4 Temple of Triumph (M20) 257

4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257

3 Drawn from Dreams (M20) 56

4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115

4 Cavalier of Flame (M20) 125

2 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253

4 Cavalier of Gales (M20) 52

4 Fires of Invention (ELD) 125

2 Sacred Foundry (GRN) 254

3 Aether Gust (M20) 42

4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

4 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

2 Island (ELD) 255

2 Mountain (WAR) 260

4 Deafening Clarion (GRN) 165

4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251

1 Plains (RNA) 260

1 Niv-Mizzet, Parun (GRN) 192

Final Thoughts

A bad start can really ruin this deck, but don’t give up. There are also alternate ways to run this deck, where you rely on a sideboard with all sorts of nonsense in it. That version of the deck runs Fae of Wishes and Sarkhan to deal your damage.

If you’re more into the control, heavy-planeswalker version of the deck, I’ll post that below too. Fires of Invention is just such a powerful card, and can really be sunk into a variety of the best MTG Arena decks out there. Instead of relying on creatures, you dominate the board with planeswalkers and use Fae of Wishes’ adventure spell to pull cards from the sideboard.

Alternate Decklist

2 Island (ELD) 254

4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251

4 Fires of Invention (ELD) 125

4 Deafening Clarion (GRN) 165

3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

4 Interplanar Beacon (WAR) 247

4 Fae of Wishes (ELD) 44

1 Ugin, the Ineffable (WAR) 2

1 Mountain (ELD) 262

1 Time Wipe (WAR) 223

1 Temple of Triumph (M20) 257

2 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253

4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221

4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257

1 Sphinx of Foresight (RNA) 55

3 Sarkhan the Masterless (WAR) 143

3 Sacred Foundry (GRN) 254

1 Realm-Cloaked Giant (ELD) 26

3 Prison Realm (WAR) 26

2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

4 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61

1 Plains (ELD) 250

3 Drawn from Dreams (M20) 56

2 Time Wipe (WAR) 223

2 Casualties of War (WAR) 187

1 The Elderspell (WAR) 89

1 Command the Dreadhorde (WAR) 82

1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General (WAR) 97

1 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales (WAR) 220

1 Enter the God-Eternals (WAR) 196

1 Leyline of the Void (M20) 107

1 Sarkhan the Masterless (WAR) 143

1 Prison Realm (WAR) 26

1 Planewide Celebration (WAR) 172

1 Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God (WAR) 207

1 Ashiok, Dream Render (WAR) 228

Best MTG Arena Decks: Simic Flash

Now, onto the deck, I use the most: Simic Flash! This is a deck mildly tainted by the recent bans, but only mildly as it’s still dominating the meta as one of the best decks in MTG Arena. Personally, I only ran Once Upon a Time, and I replaced it with Opt for another style of card draw and scry.

It’s a deck that can feel very hit or miss, but it’s incredibly satisfying to play. There are times when I run Simic Flash and people give up without having to do much. They get tired of me playing spells on their turn or countering their big game winner turn after turn after turn.

To play Simic Flash, you must channel your inner scumbag. Nobody but you is allowed to have fun. You are the salt-bringer. The tear conjurer.

How It Works

”MTG

Simic Flash relies on you never playing cards on your turn. Every card in this deck is either an Instant or has “Flash”, which gives it Instant Speed. Sure, Teferi can grind that to a halt. But you have more than enough counterspells and creatures to deal with that jerk.

Why is it so important to not play spells on your turn? Nightpack Ambusher, the main damage source for this deck. It’s a 4/4 Wolf with Flash. Other wolves/werewolves you control gain +1/+1, and it stacks with multiple Nightpack Ambushers. If you did not cast a spell this turn, you create a 2/2 green Wolf token.

Now it’s probably all too clear what you do. You wait for your opponent’s turn, counter whatever nonsense they play if you can, and then play creatures like Spectral Sailor or the Ambusher. With mana on board, you can use Wildborn Preserver to inflate itself when a non-Human creature hits the battlefield under your control. For each point of mana you tap, it gains another +1/+1 counter.

This creature’s bane is Questing Beast due to a lack of trample, and the Beast’s Deathtouch. The other mega-star of this deck is the Brineborn Cutthroat. This 2-drop Merfolk gains a +1/+1 counter whenever you play a spell during your opponent’s turn. So around turn 4, you can flash him in, and counter whatever else they do that turn.

If you have one in hand and your opponent plays something you want to counter, remember to cast him first, so then you can gain the bonus stats for playing another spell. I only ran 2 Opts mainboard originally, but now I have the room to run 4. There’s never a bad time to play Opt, but remember: do it on their turn.

This deck even has card draw! Spectral Sailor, while a great chump blocker, can draw cards at a cost of 4 mana.

Situational Awareness

Once your opponent realizes what you’re doing, you have to be very aware of every turn. It’s a very real possibility they’ll cast something to bait your counters. Pay close attention, and remember that sometimes, you have to let something through.

That’s where Brazen Borrower comes into play. For 2 mana you can use its Petty Theft adventure, to return a non-land permanent they control back to their hand. This also works when your opponent tries to steal creatures from you. Bounce it back to your hand in a pinch.

This deck has five types of counterspells in it, too. Some people run Negate in the sideboard, but I run it mainboard. You never know what you’ll need when so situational awareness is key. You don’t even really have to attack very often with this deck.

More often than not I’ve had people just give up. But once you have a nice sized army of wolves, you can start bullying your opponent. I find myself ending turn immediately as soon as I draw to make my opponent think I have nothing. It doesn’t always work, but that’s half the fun.

Being out-controlled is hard for this deck to deal with, as is bigger, more aggressive decks. Hydra decks, Izzet Phoenixes, decks like that will probably outlast you. If you have no counters, and no creatures, any matchup can be hard though.

Simic Flash Decklist

4 Nightpack Ambusher (M20) 185

4 Brineborn Cutthroat (M20) 50

4 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39

4 Spectral Sailor (M20) 76

4 Sinister Sabotage (GRN) 54

4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246

6 Forest (ELD) 268

7 Island (XLN) 267

4 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255

4 Frilled Mystic (RNA) 174

1 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

4 Quench (RNA) 48

4 Opt (XLN) 65

2 Wildborn Preserver (ELD) 182

2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

2 Negate (M20) 69

Sideboard

2 Sorcerous Spyglass (ELD) 233

4 Unsummon (M20) 78

2 Negate (M20) 69

3 Aether Gust (M20) 42

4 Shifting Ceratops (M20) 194

Final Thoughts

Control is my favorite way to play Magic, and this is right up there as one of the best decks in the MTG Arena meta. The whole point of this deck is to make someone so angry they can’t function. With even a slightly decent hand of turn 1-3 options, you can batter down someone’s aggressive moves.

Knowing what your opponent’s deck is by turn 2 sure helps too. Knowing what cards are important and what isn’t can be the difference between victory and defeat. That’s why I like this deck in best-of-three play. I prefer best-of-one, but this deck shines when you can accurately guess what is coming.

Sometimes, you won’t know until it’s too late. This is a deck where I can just sit back, wait, and build up a really, truly annoying army that I don’t even have to use. The quote that I live by with this deck is:

“The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities…It is best to win without fighting.”

Best MTG Arena Decks: Rakdos Aggro

I was having a sort of a hard time grinding through Gold this season in MTG Arena, and Rakdos Aggro/Knights really put me back on track. My version of this deck is slightly different, but a popular version is certainly this one, with Drill Bit instead of Noxious Grasp. Personally, I run Noxious Grasp in the mainboard, even if it only destroys a green/white creature or planeswalker.

Why you might ask? Because almost every single deck I’ve faced was at least white or green in some capacity. If by some miracle my opponent isn’t running those colors, it’s a great bit of discard fodder for Rotting Regisaur or Rankle, Master of Pranks. There are other versions of this deck though. Another popular one runs 4 Embercleaves and 4 Murderous Riders, instead of 2 Embercleaves, and splashing in 4 Dreadhorde Butchers. I prefer my version if I’m honest. I replaced Fervent Champions with the Butchers, so I have an option for more creature removal.

When the Dreadhorde Butcher dies, it deals damage to a target equal to its Power. That combined with Judith, Scourge Diva applies a great deal of pressure. You either must block them, lose creatures (possibly two), or let a lot of damage through. I’ll also include the alternate decklist because they work similarly.

How It Works

MTG Arena Rotting Regisaur Card

The original version of this deck is all knights, all the time. You have a plethora of low-cost knights that aid each other, and you rush people down until you can sneak an Embercleave out onto the field for the win. Since all the creatures but Gutterbones and Rotting Regisaur are Knights, you can run Tournament Grounds to easily cast them.

Me, on the other hand, I went a different route. Dreadhorde Butcher inflates every time it deals damage to a player. So, a turn 1 Gutterbones, and turn 2 Dreadhorde Butcher is 4 damage right out of the gate. It’s even better on turn 3 if you can get Judith out. She adds +1 to all your creatures. Don’t be afraid to swing with Gutterbones, even if it could die. If it has a chance to kill a creature, use him. Whenever your opponent loses life on your turn, you can tap 2 mana to bring him back to your hand. Gutterbones is the gift that keeps on giving.

This deck has lots of fun synergy in it too. There are lots of ways to deal with creatures. Rankle can force players to sacrifice, Bonecrusher Giant can deal 2 damage to them, Dreadhorde can deal x to them. Murderous Rider outright kills them, and Noxious Grasp does too if they’re green or white. Plus, you can flash in Blacklance Paragon on defense to give a knight Deathtouch. No matter how big they are, provided it doesn’t have First Strike (assuming your creature doesn’t have it either), that creature will fall.

The idea behind Rakdos Aggro is you want to turn 1-3 answers every turn. Ideally, you turn 1 Gutterbones or Knight of the Ebon Legion. Turn 2, Dreadhorde Butcher or Stormfirst Crusader. The best part about Stormfist Crusader isn’t that he gives both players a card on your turn. It’s that he deals 1 damage. Why is that so great? Because of Spawn of Mayhem! That means on your turn, you can cast the 4/4 Flyer for 3, instead of 4! I’ve had many games where instead of rushing my opponent down, I play two or three Spawns of Mayhem, a pair of Stormfist Crusaders, and just wait my opponent down. This is of course, assuming I have a major life lead. Otherwise, I don’t do it. This is a deck where you force the opponent to react to you and put them on the defensive. You play low-cost creatures that can get bigger and punish your opponent with aggressive plays.

Save the Knight of the Ebon Legion’s buff until your opponent declares blockers too. This goes for defensive plays too. This gives it +3/+3 and Deathtouch, so make sure it’s going to be worth it. It’s even better if you can do this, and flash in Embercleave. This deck has so many great options for that card. Don’t forget about Rankle, Master of Pranks either. He’s great when your opponent has no flyers, and you’ve already put Spawn of Mayhem in play. This gives 7 minimum damage, before Embercleave or other attackers.

This is just an angry, bulldozer deck with plenty of options for making people as sad as you possibly can. With this, I climbed Gold without any problems. I only lost a handful of times total.

Key Cards

Rotting Regisaur: I was so sad when Jund Dinos stopped being legit in the meta. Rotting Regisaur is one of my favorite cards. Why? It’s a 7/6 for 3! That’s why! Sure, you must discard a card for it every turn. But in the best hands, you can drop Regisaur when you have no cards left in hand. Or you can throw your Gutterbones into the grave and bring him back. Getting more than one of these out is a serious threat and can make more players than not just surrender if they have no answers. A Rotting Regisaur with Embercleave is. . . it’s not very nice.

Blacklance Paragon/Noxious Grasp: This is how I deal with the early game annoyances. This doesn’t always work mind, because counterspells are a thing. But if your opponent is bluffing, it’s going to come as a shock. Flash it in during your opponent’s attacking phase, to give a creature deathtouch and lifelink (including itself). This is a 3/1, so it has a lot of early game stopping power. It’s even better if you do it on a buffed Knight of the Ebon Legion because it has a chance of not also dying.

This card was tied with Noxious Grasp because they can both do so much in the early parts of the game. Noxious Grasp deals with those annoying green and white creatures that show up at the beginning of the game. This ranges from Gilded Geese to a host of different Elementals. Plus, it gives you a point of life! It might not seem like much, but it could be the difference between life and death. Plus, fun fact, Noxious Grasp is the only non-rare/mythic rare in the whole deck, outside of basic lands.

Stormfist Crusader: A 2/2 for 2? That’s mediocre at best, right? Well, this 2/2 deals 1 damage to both players on your upkeep and gives you both a card. I don’t like that your opponent gets a card too, but it is a set-up for two cards in your deck: Gutterbones and Spawn of Mayhem. 3 if you need an extra point of damage for Knight of the Ebon Legion’s passive (gain +1/+1 if a player lost 4 life this turn). Having multiples on the board means lots of free damage, and more cards. You may have to discard for Regisaur, but by then, it’s likely to not matter.

Rakdos Aggro Decklist

8 Swamp (BFZ) 260

9 Mountain (BFZ) 265

4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245

2 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241

2 Embercleave (ELD) 120

4 Gutterbones (RNA) 76

4 Knight of the Ebon Legion (M20) 105

2 Blacklance Paragon (ELD) 79

4 Dreadhorde Butcher (WAR) 194

4 Stormfist Crusader (ELD) 203

2 Noxious Grasp (M20) 110

3 Rotting Regisaur (M20) 111

1 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97

4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115

2 Judith, the Scourge Diva (RNA) 185

2 Rankle, Master of Pranks (ELD) 101

3 Spawn of Mayhem (RNA) 85

Final Thoughts

Perhaps the biggest weakness for this deck is the cost. It’s almost entirely Rares and Mythic Rares. For people like me who have just been stocking up Wild Cards forever, it’s easy to make. It’s not something you can just leap into without spending money or grinding packs. There are optional, cheaper ways to make Rakdos though, but this is probably the most expensive version of it, in my estimation. It’s quick, it’s brutal, and it’s fun.

That said, it can be stopped hard with control. If your opponent’s running control, and they go first, things can go very bad. Don’t be afraid to bait out their counters with a creature that’s cheaper. If they don’t take the bait, hold the other creature and wait it out. It might seem like an easy deck: play creatures, swing. But against control decks, you often must wait a little longer and see just what they can do.

Alternate Decklist

This deck runs just about the same, but with Drill Bit as a end-step option to force discard on your opponent’s end. Most of the creatures are the same, and so are the strategies. They’re almost all knights though, except the Regisaur and Gutterbones. They are optional undead beatsticks.

2 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241

3 Mountain (WAR) 261

4 Swamp (M20) 269

4 Tournament Grounds (ELD) 248

4 Swamp (WAR) 258

3 Mountain (M20) 276

4 Embercleave (ELD) 120

4 Drill Bit (RNA) 73

4 Stormfist Crusader (ELD) 203

4 Rotting Regisaur (M20) 111

4 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97

4 Knight of the Ebon Legion (M20) 105

4 Gutterbones (RNA) 76

4 Fervent Champion (ELD) 124

4 Blacklance Paragon (ELD) 79

4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245

2 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99

3 Embereth Shieldbreaker (ELD) 122

2 Duress (M20) 97

3 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115

2 Noxious Grasp (M20) 110

3 Spawn of Mayhem (RNA) 85

Jund Food (Sacrifice – Green Red Black)

MTG Throne of Eldraine Gilded Goose Card

This is the other deck I have probably used the most this season (save the various Fires decks). It’s a three-color deck so it’s a bit more spread out. Thankfully, there are plenty of dual lands, and the Gilded Goose to help you out. You also run Beanstalk Giant to help with the mana ramping. The whole idea behind this deck is to sacrifice everything to punish your foe. The more Witch’s Ovens and Cauldron Familiars you can get out, the better.

These ties in neatly with Korvold, Fae-Cursed King. Whenever something is sacrificed for your use, he gains +1/+1 and you also draw a card. So, at the end of your opponent’s turn, you sac your Familiars over and over with Ovens. So, for each Familiar sacrificed and brought back (by saccing a Food Token), Korvold gains +2/+2. That really adds up. When you add Mayhem Devil to it, you sacrifice permanents and deal 1 damage (minimum) per thing sacrificed. This is how you deal with annoying creatures or planeswalkers if any survive.

This is a deck that deals with players in the “death by a thousand papercuts” style. You can deal direct damage with Korvold or the Beanstalk Giant. You don’t have to, but they sure are fun! If you have Witch’s Ovens or Food Tokens, you can keep bringing back Familiars, and have a near-endless supply of damage and lifegain. Plus, you also have a way or two to deal with virtually anything that offends you, thanks to Casualties of War. Between that, Thrashing Brontodon, and Murderous Rider, you have spot removal options galore. There are other things I’d like to squeeze in this deck though, like Judith, Scourge Diva. As I highlighted above, she deals 1 damage whenever a creature of yours dies. If I ran this in best-of-3, she’d be in the sideboard without a doubt.

This deck also has an “Oh Crap” button, with Massacre Girl. If your foe is running tons of cheap, annoying creatures, don’t be afraid to cast her, and watch as all other creatures get -1/-1. When something dies due to that, another -1/-1 goes on all creatures (but her). She can wipe an entire board clean and ruin your opponent’s strategy single-handedly.

How It Works

One of the best things about this deck is it’s almost never too late to come back. There’s always a chance of a back-to-back Casualties of War to show up, and you can use that to blast two lands, creatures, enchantments, artifacts, and planeswalkers off the board (1 per cast, mind). There’s always a chance to bring back that delightful Massacre Girl. But perhaps the most ideal hand is:

Turn 1: Gilded Goose. This gives you a Food Token. Turn 2: Witch’s Oven, sac the Food Token for Trail of Crumbs (using it for mana, thanks to Goose). This gives another Food Token. Now you can get those extra Ovens and Cauldron Familiars into play. Once you have that, you have reliable damage, thanks to sacrifice. Also! Bear in mind that you can use your familiars as blockers, and on the damage step, sacrifice them to the Oven. That will stop the attacking creatures, while also getting your damage and life engine rolling.

Trail of Crumbs is your card draw engine, too. You always need more cards in hand to keep playing annoying stuff, and that’s how you do it. We’ll talk about it in just a second, but the overall combo for the deck is Witch’s Oven + Cauldron Familiar + Trail of Crumbs. Mayhem Devil is great, but it’s not needed. Mayhem Devil just makes the combo faster, since each time a Cat dies, it deals 1 damage to a target (or when anything is sacrificed, honestly). You just pick and pick at your opponent until they give up, or until you finally whittle them down to 0 life.

So if you have a little mana untapped, Trail of Crumbs provides card draw. Here’s the flow of the combo:

  • Tap Witch’s Oven, target a Cauldron Familiar. Sacrifice that creature to create a Food Token (2 if over 4 toughness).
  • Sacrifice a Food Token: Bring Cauldron Familiar back. When it comes into play, it deals 1 damage and you gain 1 life. Repeat as often as you have Ovens in play.
  • When you sacrifice a Food Token, you can tap 2 mana with Trail of Crumbs in play. If you do, look at your top 2 cards, and reveal a permanent. Put it in your hand.

So, it’s not even “card draw”! That means Narset, Partner of Veils can’t stop it! Sure, your foe gets to see the card you pick, but it can be enough to play mind games with. They see Casualties of War; they know what’s coming.

Key Cards

MTG Arena Thrashing Brontodon Card Transparent

Thrashing Brontodon: Sure, the above combo is incredibly important for the deck, but let’s talk about some of the other options. Thrashing Brontodon is incredibly important. Often, I find this deck being played versus Red-Deck-Wins and other Sacrifice decks. It also sees a lot of Fires of Invention. That’s why Brontodon is here: to be sacrificed. You sacrifice him to destroy an enchantment or artifact. He’s how you deal with your opponent’s major win cons in those decks. Often, a player will get rid of their spare Fires, once they think the end is in sight. So, you blast it to bits, and solve that problem straight away.

Beanstalk Giant: For 3 mana, you can pluck a basic land from your deck and put it into play. This is 1. A terrific way to shuffle your deck, and 2. Mana ramp! Mana ramp is never going to be a bad thing for you. Plus, when you cast this 7-drop giant, he’s at least a 7/7. More than likely, he’ll be even bigger. He has no trample, but he’s still a great way to force your opponent to block. I tend to use him as a wall though. Just stand him there and suddenly, attacking’s not such a great idea in many scenarios.

Gilded Goose: Gilded Goose might be one of the best cards in this entire expansion. It’s a 0/2 green flyer for 1 green mana. You can use it to sacrifice a Food Token for 1 mana of any color or use it to create more Food Tokens. This can help bring cards out of nowhere! Even cards you don’t typically have the mana for, like sneaking Fires of Invention into a deck with no red mana. That’s a bit of a gamble sure, but it’s always a fun time. In this case, you use it to play creatures/spells early and crank out Food Tokens for sacrifice. If you have Mayhem Devil or Trail of Crumbs in play, sacrificing a Food Token for 3 life will offer further benefits.

Jund Food Decklist

Deck

2 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King (ELD) 329

4 Casualties of War (WAR) 187

2 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99

4 Witch’s Oven (ELD) 237

4 Trail of Crumbs (ELD) 179

4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245

4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253

4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259

2 Swamp (ELD) 258

1 Mountain (ELD) 262

5 Forest (ELD) 266

3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

2 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241

2 Thrashing Brontodon (RIX) 148

4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81

3 Beanstalk Giant (ELD) 149

2 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97

4 Mayhem Devil (WAR) 204

4 Gilded Goose (ELD) 160

Sideboard

1 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99

1 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King (ELD) 329

4 Duress (XLN) 105

2 Wicked Wolf (ELD) 181

1 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97

2 Deathless Knight (ELD) 208

1 Thrashing Brontodon (RIX) 148

3 Lovestruck Beast (ELD) 165

Final Thoughts

I love this deck. Kudos to my friend Kevin for enlightening me about how fun and satisfying it is. I wasn’t sold on Jund Food until I did it for myself. I was lacking the Korvolds, but I did fine without him at first. I seldom get to use that beefy dragon, because as soon as he hits the table, he becomes an immediate target. I like having him on the board though. This means the other player must divide their attention between the combo engine, or the slowly growing dragon. Neither is ideal for their ability to beat me.

There are other cards I really want to find a way to put into this deck. Garruk, Cursed Huntsman, and Vraska, Golgari Queen in particular. If I remove anything, it would be Massacre Girl and/or Thrashing Brontodon. Those two planeswalkers offer a lot of benefits, such as destroying permanents, and a steady flow of creatures. You can then sac the wolves to your Ovens to buff Garruk. From there, you can easily put his emblem into play. Even a Gilded Goose can be a threat if it’s a ¾ flyer with trample. It’s not the “ideal” way to win with this deck, but it sure is fun!

Boros Merriment (Red/White Mid-Range/Combo)

MTG Arena Outlaws' Merriment Card Transparent

It’s the holiday season, my friends! ‘Tis the season, et cetera et cetera. No matter if you’re lighting the candles of your menorah, setting up a Christmas Tree, or a Kwanzaa kinara, it’s an important time of the year. It’s time to be merry! So, why not round out this addition with “Boros Merriment”! It’s built around Outlaws’ Merriment, which creates a new, annoying Red/White creature token with haste every turn.

They aren’t powerful on their own, but there’s a way to make these tokens a real headache: Divine Visitation! This makes all your tokens into 4/4 Flying angels with Vigilance. If this were your only method of making tokens, it would be damn slow. But this deck runs Krenko, Tin-Street Kingpin, Legion Warboss, and Castle Ardenvale as options for these tokens. Truthfully, this is a deck that was absolutely battering me for about a week, until I figured out how to make it my own.

How It Works

It starts a little on the slow side, but you have answers for that too. Rule of Law makes players only able to cast one spell a turn, and that slows down Fires of Invention. Solar Blaze, Deafening Clarion, and Justice Strike are your major ways to deal with creatures that are flooding the board in the early game. If it absolutely comes down to it, Realm-Cloaked Giants’ Adventure kills all non-Giants on the board, so there’s that too.

This is a very enchantment-heavy deck, so you must go a little slow. Ideally, you’ll pop those Deafening Clarions to kill early creatures, but having one for Divine Visitation helps too. It deals 3 damage to all creatures, but it can also give your creatures lifelink until end of turn. Hitting an opponent with 4+ 4/4 Angels with lifelink may be just enough to stop a match dead.

You have two goblins that crank out tokens too, so while those are great for early game pressure, the mid-game, when they start evolving into angels is majestic. If you can hold a Response/Resurgence for the time when you want to win, you can attack with a host of Angels, cast Resurgence to give them First Strike / Vigilance, and offer a second combat phase. That means, if you attack with at least 4 angels, you gain 16 life minimum on that first combat phase, then a second 16!

Get an early Rule of Law on the board, so each player can only play one spell a turn. That way, you can halt their aggressive push and only counterplay. Once you get Outlaws’ Merriment in play, you can start really being a bully. Between that, and your Token Generators, you can do a lot, even without Divine Visitation. That is your main winning combo though. If your opponent has no trample or board wipe, you can simply build an army and wait until it’s time to win.

Key Cards

MTG Arena Divine Visitation Card Transparent

Outlaws’ Merriment: This card has single-handedly killed many of my matches. During each upkeep, this enchantment creates a random token creature out of 3 possibilities: 3/1 Human Warrior (Trample Haste), 2/1 Human Cleric (Lifelink Haste) and ½ Human Rogue (Haste, deals 1 damage to any target when it comes into play). You don’t control this, but when they’re all being churned out as 4/4 Angels, it’s not an issue. These creatures are great to defend with, or just force your opponent to block. Having multiple copies of this enchantment in play really burns my biscuits when playing against it. It’s a 5-drop enchantment, but boy is it worth it. It’s the reason this deck works.

Divine Visitation: Any time you create a creature token, instead, it’s a 4/4 Flying Vigilance Angel. This is another 5-cost enchantment, so it’s not going to happen right away. But once you have it in play, anything you do is a threat. Your white land, Castle Ardenvale? For 4 mana, you get an Angel. Krenko? Every time he attacks, he creates more and more Angels. Legion Warboss makes a 4/4 Angel every single turn! Now they don’t have to attack right away since it’s not a 1/1 Goblin token. This is a very costly combo, but if you can play these back to back, it can be the end of an aggressive move your opponent has. If you have a token generator, you can come back.

Dawn of Hope: Whenever you gain life, you can tap 2 to draw a card. But you can also tap 4 to create a 1/1 Soldier Token (but see the above card). Unlike Castle Ardenvale, you don’t have to tap this. You can simply wait for the end of your opponent’s turn and tap out to create tokens. If you have multiple “Divine Visitations” in play somehow, you get more than one angel at a time! Thankfully, Dawn of Hope is only a 2-drop, so you can start making chump blockers early. TOKENS FOREVER.

Boros Merriment Decklist

4 Realm-Cloaked Giant (ELD) 26

4 Wind-Scarred Crag (M20) 260

2 Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin (WAR) 137

1 Kenrith, the Returned King (ELD) 303

2 Gateway Plaza (WAR) 246

2 Legion Warboss (GRN) 109

3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

2 Castle Ardenvale (ELD) 238

3 Conclave Tribunal (GRN) 6

2 Divine Visitation (GRN) 10

1 Solar Blaze (WAR) 216

3 Dawn of Hope (GRN) 8

3 Justice Strike (GRN) 182

3 Deafening Clarion (GRN) 165

4 Outlaws’ Merriment (ELD) 198

4 Mountain (BFZ) 265

4 Plains (BFZ) 250

2 Response // Resurgence (GRN) 229

4 Sacred Foundry (GRN) 254

4 Temple of Triumph (M20) 257

3 Rule of Law (M20) 35

Final Thoughts

Do you know what this deck is missing somehow? Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice. I’m deeply considering swapping Kenrith for her, and maybe a Conclave Tribunal. Kenrith is great for life gain, and giving creatures haste, sure. But Aurelia makes one of your creatures a bigger threat when it attacks. I’m not 100% on Aurelia, but I think she’d be a fun sideboard if nothing else.

This is not the fastest deck and can be countered with heavy spot removal. But when it finally starts moving, and you see the combo working, it’s a sight to behold. Since you have a few options to make tokens during your opponent’s turn, you have blockers almost anytime you need them. It’s fun, and great for a mid-game aggressive deck to try out. Nothing says “Get dunked” like a choir of Angels descending from the heavens to batter whoever is unfortunate enough to let you get off the ground. Don’t be shy about using those early-game wipes/damage dealers to slow the game down to your pace. This one takes some luck and practice, but if you carefully consider that starting hand, you might be pleasantly surprised by how it all comes together.

Another potential card to add to this deck is Finale of Glory. It’s not necessary, mind. But if you tap 10+ mana, you create X 2/2 White Soldiers, as well as that many 4/4 Flying Angels. With Divine Visitation in play, those 2/2s are also White Soldiers! Is it necessary? Absolutely not. Is it hilarious and disrespectful? You better believe it.

Thanks for joining us for a look at some of the best MTG arena decks and stay tuned for more decklists and guides!

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