The Strongest Decks in the MTG Arena Meta, Post Worlds 2020


by in Magic The Gatheting Arena | Mar, 6th 2020

Now that Magic World Championship 2020 is behind us, that can mean only one thing: the meta has changed for both tabletop and MTG Arena! That’s okay though, because Jason’s here to talk about the decks he runs into the most, and the ones he uses to stomp his way through the ranked ladder.

It’s not easy to figure out which MTG Arena deck is for you, though. Sometimes a player can’t get the hang of what they need to do in a deck, and there’s no shame in that. Just because I know a deck is good, and understand it, doesn’t mean it’s what I’m meant to play, if you are picking up what I’m putting down. So we’re going to look at some decks that either changed, or we’ve changed what we added in them. A great example of that is Jeskai Fires. That deck has as many variants as there are colors in a box of crayons. 

We’ve changed up what we were running in that deck, in a few ways. The addition of Dream Trawler really shakes up a lot of decks. We’re trying some new stuff this week, and we hope you’re on board for it. So let’s start with the first deck we mentioned!

Jeskai Fires (White/Blue/Red Mid-Range) 

I’ve been called any number of names for the Jeskai Fires decks I play. Usually, it’s “degenerate”, “I hate you”, or “God, why are you playing this, this isn’t fun at all”. The other stuff isn’t PG enough for this website. But I love it! It lets me play whatever nonsense I want, without paying the mana for it! What’s better than a Dream Trawler on turn 4? A Dream Trawler with haste, of course! With the right set up, you can declare one attack, and batter someone with the greatest of ease.

We’re still running 4x Fires of Invention though, and we’re still doing all the nonsense with playing spells without paying their mana cost. However, the last one we did here was a Superfriends deck (Planeswalkers ahoy). This time, it’s all creature-based. We’re going to batter people into bits with an army of high-cost jerks!

How It Works?

A lot of the old cards we used are getting shuffled out, for some new, exciting tech! The brunt of our damage comes from Dream Trawler though! The major combo I love in this deck is playing Cavalier of Flames, then the next turn, Dream Trawler, Cavalier of Gales, then activate Cavalier of Flames. Dream Trawler gains +1 for each card drawn, and Cavalier of Gales lets you draw 3 whenever you put it into play. So with that, the order of creatures is very important. The key though is to survive long enough to do that though. However, the minor wrinkle is that we’re lacking a lot of the control the earlier decks had. Instead, we rely on 3 Deafening Clarions, and a playset of Bonecrusher Giants. However, we do have Teferi, Time Raveler as our only planeswalker. The ability to stop people from countering you is too important to this deck. Because you must get Fires of Invention to make this deck fast enough. 

Can you win without it coming into play? Yeah, I guess, but it’s going to be a slog. So you run Bonecrusher Giant and Deafening Clarion to kill things, and Teferi to prevent counterplay. From there, you want Fires of Invention. This deck also has the all-star Kenrith, the Returned King! He has synergy with every single part of this deck. He can let you draw a card for Dream Trawler, gives haste, gives you life, whatever you need. 

Now, while Cavalier of Flames into Cavalier of Gales and Dream Trawler is the best combo, it’s not the only option. You can batter someone down with just Dream Trawler and some time after all. He brings lifelink, card draw, and can be given hexproof. But we also need to know what cards are coming next. That’s what Sphinx of Insight, and Castle Vantress for! They give you easy access to Scry, so you always know what’s next. You can play Sphinx of Foresight before Fires of Invention if you don’t have it. It is a 4-drop and lets you scry each turn.

Ultimately, our game-winner is to get creatures that are huge on the board and swing lethal as quick as possible. Dream Trawler is a 6-drop, so having at least 6 mana in play means you can play it easier if you have Teferi already out. If your opponent does have the ability to counter you, that can be a hard one. 

We have a pretty beefy sideboard too if you’re into those. If you’re playing one-of, then don’t worry about it! In the sideboard, we have Legion Warbosses to swing with tokens every turn, Devout Decree to synergize with that, and of course, the mighty white enchantment, Elspeth Conquers Death. Your creature die? It can come back slowly but surely. 

Key Cards

Somehow, Fires of Invention continues to be relevant. There’s no hope of it going away until it cycles out. Even then, I think it’ll stick around in Pioneer/Historic metas. But this is a beat-down version of the deck, so it feels more aggressive and satisfying. The downside? Whew, doctor is it expensive! Lots of Rares/Mythics. It starts very slow, but the longer the game goes on, I think the better it can go for you. You don’t really get going until turn 4 though. But we know Fires of Invention is the key card to win. But what else helps us do it?

Wildcards (including Sideboard)

Commons: 2

Uncommons: 9

Rares: 50

Mythic Rares: 9

Dream Trawler (Rare White/Blue Creature – Sphinx): Boy do I ever love Sphinx cards! They take me back to the days of Alara. We’re only running two Dream Trawlers, but it in no way makes it less useful. It’s a 6-drop with flying, lifelink, and whenever you draw a card, it gets +1/+0 until end of turn. When it attacks, you draw a card! So having both means you get +2/+0 for both, and they both draw cards. So you play it for 0 mana, activate Cavalier of Flames or Kenrith, and Pow! His ability to give life, card draw, and discarding to make it immune to spells is so powerful. 

Kenrith, the Returned King (Mythic Rare White Legendary Creature – Human Noble): Kenrith, the Returned King provides more benefit, the more color mana you have access to. Since this deck is Red/White/Blue. What does that give you in this instance? Red Mana: All creatures have Trample/Haste. White: Target player gains 5 life. Blue: Target player draws a card. Red costs 1, white costs 3, and blue costs 4 mana total. Plus he’s a 5/5! If you can cast him without paying the mana cost, you can immediately get benefit from him. If you give Dream Trawler haste, THEN draw a card, that’s 5 damage minimum (provided it gets through), which means 5 life. If you have enough mana, you can gain 5 more life. 

Teferi, Time Raveler (Rare White/Blue Planeswalker – Teferi): I think, by now, it’s not hard to see why Teferi is so strong. His passive makes it so enemies can only cast spells when they could cast a sorcery. So no Flash, no counterspells, even if it’s on their turn! That means any spell you play is going through. They might try to destroy it on their turn, but it’s going into play. One thing I believe you can do, is play your two spells a turn, bounce Fires out of play with Teferi, play something with mana, and then swing lethal with three creatures. It’s very easy to swing lethal with this deck. Teferi’s +1 is useless if you have Fires out though. With Fires of Invention in play, you can only play spells on your turn. But use it anyway to have +1 Loyalty.  When your opponent can’t counter you, you can play creatures with reckless impunity. 

Top MTG Arena Meta Decks | Jeskai Fires Decklist

2 Aether Gust (M20) 42

4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115

2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

4 Cavalier of Flame (M20) 125

2 Cavalier of Gales (M20) 52

3 Deafening Clarion (GRN) 165

2 Dream Trawler (THB) 214

3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

4 Fires of Invention (ELD) 125

4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251

2 Island (ANA) 62

3 Kenrith, the Returned King (ELD) 303

2 Mountain (ANA) 64

1 Plains (ANA) 61

3 Sacred Foundry (GRN) 254

1 Shimmer of Possibility (RNA) 51

4 Sphinx of Foresight (RNA) 55

4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257

4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221

3 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253

3 Temple of Triumph (M20) 257

1 Aether Gust (M20) 42

1 Deafening Clarion (GRN) 165

1 Devout Decree (M20) 13

1 Disenchant (M20) 14

1 Elspeth Conquers Death (THB) 13

1 Justice Strike (GRN) 182

3 Legion Warboss (GRN) 109

4 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

1 Shatter the Sky (THB) 37

1 Tithe Taker (RNA) 27

Final Thoughts

Fires of Invention is so darn good. The deck is pretty similar to how it used to be, only with the addition of Dream Trawler! We’re not really running counterspells, and only one Shimmer of Possibility to rummage on the top of our deck. Most of our sideboard is to counter things we might come across, like needing more creatures, or lifegain. There’s also a Disenchant to deal with Fires decks, or Wilderness (in Temur Reclamation). 

It’s a deck that can really come out of nowhere, and batter someone down with one bit of combat. If your creatures are flying and your opponent has none, just go for it. Cavalier of Flames really makes this deck incredible though. It can also give you card draw for the Trawler (if you discard cards). Both Cavaliers can give you card draw, and with the right set up, the Dream Trawler can simply gain you incredible amounts of life for no work. It’s easy to win with, as long as you get through the opponent’s early aggressive play.

It’s hard to deal with heavy counter though, and the Esper Danse decks. If plenty of Doom Foretolds come, you have no choice but to sacrifice your nonland, nontoken permanents. If you can’t get Fires of Invention out (due to counters, et cetera), the deck goes from doing 60 mph down to 15 mph.

Geijutsu wa Bakuhatsu da! (Temur Reclamation Combo/Mid-Range) 

Temur Reclamation is a really fascinating deck because you can build it so many different ways. So, I’m going to highlight one or two ways to run this deck. This may not even be the only Temur deck in this blog! But this deck is different from the other that might be posted. This one is built around a pair of cards in particular: Wilderness Reclamation and Expansion/Explosion. 

That’s right, Wilderness Reclamation, a card that was used in Simic to keep mana open for counters. Here though, we use it on the end of our turn to blast someone for lethal damage. There are a few ways to do it, too. 

One popular way is to put quite a few creatures in the deck for card draw. You would use Gadwick and the Hydroid Krasis to hold down the board until you’re ready to win, but this one does none of that nonsense! Our creatures are here to offer board control and mana ramp until the time is night. You have to be careful though since your win condition is reliant on very particular cards. You can’t let them be countered.

But if they go through, you end your turn, set a few pauses so you can tap mana, let cards trigger, tap more mana, and hit someone for 20+ and win! There are even other sneaky things you can do with this deck. If the game goes on too long, and they have more life than you can deal with, make them deck out instead! You. Have. Options. This is easily one of my favorite MTG Arena decks that I’ve been running in this particular meta. It’s not at the top of my list, but it’s darn close.

How It Works?

So, here’s our ideal world. We have at least one copy of Wilderness Reclamation out, but more is better. So ideally, we have, say 3 Wilderness Reclamations in play. What it does, at the end of your turn, you untap your lands. One of the things you can do in MTGA is pause during particular steps of a turn. So at your end step, you set a pause. 

At the start of your end step, you tap all your lands. Let Wilderness Reclamation trigger, tap your lands again, rinse, and repeat until you’ve tapped all the mana you can care to use. Then you cast Explosion! If you have enough mana to deal lethal damage, you do it.  This is dangerous though. A player draws as many cards as mana you tapped for damage. So you could deck yourself out. But, you can also use it to defeat someone, as I said.

This is a deck you take your time with, and wait for the perfect moment to strike with. We only run two creatures though: Brazen Borrower, and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. Brazen Borrower is your “bounce things back to your opponent’s hand”, and is also a great way to get rid of tokens. It’s what you use to slow down the pace of a game with. Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is your way to gain life and play extra lands! 

It’s slower to actually play the Titan though since we aren’t playing a lot of spells. Unless you do some early Growth Spiraling, you can get Uro back from the grave fast enough. Whenever he attacks, you get to trigger that +3 life, draw 1 card, play 1 more land too! We’re running a few counters too, like Mystical Dispute/Thassa’s Intervention, and Storm’s Wrath to wipe out low-cost jerks early (deal 4 damage to all creatures and planeswalkers). If you’re in a real bind and have lots of mana, you can use Expansion/Explosion’s “Expansion” spell instead. It lets you double-cast a spell that costs 4 or less, so it would deal 8 damage to all creatures and planeswalkers. 

We also need to cycle through the deck pretty hard to get our cards. That’s why we have Chemister’s Insight, Growth Spiral, and Opt! Thassa’s Intervention works here too. With enough mana, if you’re in a safe spot, you can use it to look through your deck. It’s a counterspell, or you can look through the top x cards of your deck and put one in your hand. 

Ultimately, you want Wilderness Reclamation and Explosion as your game-ender. If someone is making the game last forever. I described that above though. Explosion is the game-ender, it’s your one real way to win other than Uro. It’s a 4-cost spell + X. You can tap as much mana as you have for it. That’s why we cast the Instant at the very end of our turn. We let the Wilderness Reclamations proc over and over and tap all the mana we can. But, if you simply have enough mana, you can do it on their turn! 

You let your mana untap, and end your turn. Wait for the other player to do everything they can, hopefully tapping out. From there, you blast them! You don’t have to win with one Explosion either. If you need to, you can drop one, then wait for another to come along to capitalize on weakness. Or if you’re like me, you just beat them up with Uro until they’re low enough, and sneak an Explosion out of nowhere. It’s better if you can hold enough mana for a counterspell though. As long as they don’t have Dovin’s Veto, you can counter their counter, and laugh as they get exploded. 

So that’s the game plan. Mana Ramp with Uro/Growth Spiral, card draw, get your Wilderness Reclamations and find the perfect time to 360 No Scope someone with an Explosion. It’s perhaps the most satisfying on their turn, but doing it at the end of yours is just as well. Wait them out, and be like that Harry Potter dude, and go ZAP!

It can be a little tricky to use the pause breaks if you don’t do it often, but it’s clearly seen on the bottom right of your screen. Also, be careful not to accidentally deck yourself out with the card draw on big Explosions. It can definitely happen.

Key Cards

At the end of this, I’ll drop an alternate version of the deck, but the principle is the same: get to the point where you can win with Explosion. What makes this deck interesting to me, is how many lands we run. 27! That’s something I’ve been seeing in more pro decks for control options like this. It’s not a cheap deck, and it’s not always as fast as I’d like, but it’s so strong.

Wildcards

Commons: 16

Uncommons: 14

Rares: 33

Mythic Rares: 7

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (Mythic Rare Blue/Green Legendary Creature – Titan): Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is the better of the two Titans, in my opinion. He’s a 2-drop that gives you 3 life, a card draw, and can play an extra land that turn. Then, unless you paid the Escape Cost (2 Blue, 2 Green, exile 5 cards from the grave), he’s sacrificed. Since we aren’t running Hushbringer, he’s always going to die when cast from the hand. But he keeps you in the game as a defender, lets you heal/card draw when he attacks, and so much more. Uro is your way to making sure you get the cards you need to win. That’s why I love this card. Best case, you can attack with him and wear someone down, while also potentially getting the exact card you need to win. Worst case, you don’t!

Wilderness Reclamation (Uncommon Green Enchantment): As an Uncommon, this card is so ludicrous. It’s been used in quite a few decks, mostly to create near-infinite levels of control. After all, if your mana is untapped during your opponent’s turn, and you have cards in hand, it looks like you can counter everything they do (and you usually can). So with this deck though, you want to set a “Stop” before you get to your final step of a turn. You’ll also want to clear it out during your opponent’s turn by clicking it again, and resetting it during your turn. It can bug out, so I make sure it’s gone during their turn and bring it back. What this means, is you don’t immediately end your turn. You’ll be able to make sure you tap your lands before Wilderness Reclamation procs. This lets you get even more mana if you’re going to use the game-winning Explosion. Or you can simply let it go, so your opponent sees cards in hand and untapped lands. It’s a great psychological move.

Expansion/Explosion (Rare Blue/Red Instant): Expansion/Explosion is our big winner. Expansion on its own is neat because if you have enough mana and two copies of Expansion/Explosion in hand, you can use one to double the other! That’s not what we’re here to do though. Expansion can be used to copy spells your opponent plays too, to harm them. If they cast one of their discard cards/direct damage spells, etc, you can copy it and use it on them (for 4-cost sorceries/instants and below). But the money part for us is Explosion. Deal X damage to a target, and make Y player draw X cards. You can use it on planeswalkers and creatures in a pinch, but our main focus is to use it to defeat a player in as close to one shot as possible. But it can make you draw too many cards. Make sure you keep an eye on your deck! I know I’ve said that more than once, but I can’t stress it enough.

Top MTG Arena Meta Decks | Geijutsu wa Bakuhatsu da! Decklist

4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257

2 Sinister Sabotage (GRN) 54

1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169

2 Frilled Mystic (RNA) 174

3 Storm’s Wrath (THB) 157

2 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255

2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259

4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246

3 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (THB) 229

2 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183

3 Thassa’s Intervention (THB) 72

4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178

2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

4 Expansion // Explosion (GRN) 224

3 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39

2 Island (THB) 281

4 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253

2 Forest (THB) 287

2 Gadwick, the Wizened (ELD) 48

1 Mountain (THB) 285

4 Wilderness Reclamation (RNA) 149

2 Negate (RIX) 44

3 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

1 Frilled Mystic (RNA) 174

1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169

1 Niv-Mizzet, Parun (GRN) 192

2 Flame Sweep (M20) 139

2 Scorching Dragonfire (ELD) 139

3 Aether Gust (M20) 42

Final Thoughts

This is a deck that you run when you want to disrespect people as much as possible. Having untapped lands during your opponent’s turn gives a lot of psychological power over them. With smart use of the pause system, you can make your opponent think you have counters or other options to play with. The idea that you could drop something on them or counter any spell they play can really cause havoc, and help you turn the tide, even when you have nothing!

The major downside though is you really only have one reliable way to win. Sure, Uro is great, but he’s just one creature. It’s no Dream Trawler than can essentially win on its own for free. It can keep you in a losing game, but it lacks flying, lifelink, and other useful features. It’s there to get you life, card draw, and more mana ramp. Explosion decks tend to get control quickly, and hold the fort down until it’s time to win. It’s fun to blow someone up with one Explosion, but remember you can spread it out to get more card draw, to do it again another turn potentially.

But hyper aggro can blast you to bits before you get going. It’s fun to beat Red Deck Wins with this, but it can be very frustrating to lose control of a situation in. You do have Hydroid Krasis to get card draw and life gain with too, but it’s going to be an immediate target. It can do work, but you can expect it to be exiled or bounced out of play. It’s definitely going to happen. Just stay calm, and wait for them to realize that Art is an Explosion.

Geijutsu wa Bakuhatsu da! Alternate Decklist

This version of the deck is one I run more. Mostly because of Nissa, Who Shakes the World, and the Scorching Dragonfires. Nissa can really make this deck pop, and being able to tap your Mana/Creatures, then to untap them at the end of the turn is just brilliant. You have a lot of ability to dominate the game, while you wait for the inevitable Explosion.

Alternate Decklist

4 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39

4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246

2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

2 Chemister’s Insight (GRN) 32

4 Expansion // Explosion (GRN) 224

2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

2 Forest (THB) 254

4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178

2 Island (THB) 251

1 Mountain (THB) 253

1 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169

4 Opt (ELD) 59

2 Scorching Dragonfire (ELD) 139

4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257

4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259

2 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253

4 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255

1 Thassa’s Intervention (THB) 72

3 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (THB) 229

4 Wilderness Reclamation (RNA) 149

Sideboard

3 Aether Gust (M20) 42

2 Chandra’s Pyrohelix (WAR) 120

1 Commence the Endgame (WAR) 45

2 Fry (M20) 140

2 Legion Warboss (GRN) 109

1 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

2 Negate (M20) 69

2 Scorching Dragonfire (ELD) 139

Final Sacrifice (Red/Black/Green Sacrifice – Combo)

This is a deck that somehow, never gets old. It hasn’t changed a whole lot in the time since it’s first appearance in the MTG Arena meta, but it’s a deck that doesn’t need to. It holds a crazy amount of power and just watches as people die. You have so many ways to play this one deck, even with this one deck. You can win by making someone tap out, you can constantly sacrifice and ping them to death.

You can farm up tons of Food Tokens, and laugh as your Wicked Wolf stays invulnerable, and grows every single turn. You can decide to win via Korvold and make that dragon grow as much as possible. One of the best things about this deck though is even your opponent’s sacrifices can harm them. Saga’s, sacrifice lands, anything like that, can pay dividends for your deck with the right cards are in play. 

There was only one Jund Sacrifice deck in the top decks of MTG Worlds’ 2020, but it is still worth playing. It may not be a Dream Trawler or a Fires of Invention deck, but we love jank around here. This is a deck that is annoying, that even without the most ideal start, it can definitely come back. But what do we want, and what can it do?

How It Works?

What do we want to start with? Well, there are a few cards key to our early game success: Gilded Goose, and Witch’s Oven. Frankly, I’m shocked Gilded Goose didn’t get banned from all the other green cards we lost last year, but here we are. Having access to the Cauldron Familiar is really great too. 

But what I love about a turn 1 Gilded Goose, we can turn 2 Mayhem Devil, with the right lands in play. The faster we get Mayhem Devils in play, the sooner we can start mauling people. Having multiples of them is even better. Because they’re one of our biggest, most abusive ways to win. When a Mayhem Devil is in play, any sacrifice made by any player has the Mayhem Devil dealing 1 damage to any target. Planeswalkers, creatures, the opponent, you name it. 

So we want to do as much sacrificing as possible with them, and/or Korvold, Fae-Cursed King in play. With Korvold in play, it gains +1/+1 anytime a sacrifice is made by you. You also have to sacrifice a permanent whenever the dragon attacks. So you can drop Food Tokens to it, land, whatever you have to. If you have enough Food Tokens, you can sacrifice your Cauldron Familiars, and just bring them back with a Food Token Sacrifice (meaning Korvold gets yet another +1/+1).

But the most common way to win is Mayhem Devils and a constant flood of sacrificing your Cauldron Familiars. The more Witch’s Ovens you have in play really ramps this up too. Ideally, you’ll sacrifice them during your opponent’s turn. Each time a Cauldron Familiar comes into play, you gain a life and the other player loses a point of life. So you do it as many times as you can during their turn. With Mayhem Devil, it’s a steady flow of control too. You can kill any creatures your opponent has, with enough saccing, as well as their planeswalkers.

Speaking of planeswalkers, we’re only running one. I used to use Nissa in this deck, but I like Lilliana more. Lilliana summons 2 zombie tokens for you, and anytime a creature we control dies, we draw a card. Her -3 has both players sacrificing two creatures, so you can see where it’s going, I’m sure. We love her ultimate, that has your opponent sacrifice all their permanents, except one of each type. If you have the Devils in play, you can go for this, if it’s safe enough.

But we’re only running one Liliana, one Wicked Wolf, and one Massacre Girl! How do we get access to those beautiful control cards? Trailing Crumbs! We want that in play as early as possible. It’s a green enchantment that gives you a Food Token when cast. Anytime you sacrifice a Food Token, you can pay 1 mana to draw a card! So you sacrifice a Food Token to bring a cat back on your opponent’s turn (or sacrifice one in general to gain life), and draw a card! We can really ramp some incredible amounts of cards into our hand with some time and a solid start. 

We have a few cards that are simply here to answer threats. Massacre Girl comes into play and gives all creatures -1/-1 (but her). Anytime one of them dies as a result of these tokens, all creatures get another -1/-1 token. It’s a great answer to RDW, or Token flood when you need some time to recoup. It’s even better when your creatures are too big to die from it. 

Wicked Wolf is here to come into play, sacrifice some Food Tokens to it, and fight a creature to kill it. It’s great to deal with something exiling cards, or simply a really frustrating creature like Dream Trawler. Thrashing Brontodon’s here for Fires of Invention, mirror matches, or any problematic enchantments just in general. Did someone get exiled to an enchantment? Get them back with a Brontodon sacrifice! Except for Elspeth of course, because those exiles stay gone. 

For the cost of a little life, we can peek at their hand and get rid of a nonland there (or in their grave), with Agonizing Remorse. It’s a really undervalued card in my opinion. Are they running Titan Shenanigans? Not anymore! Put that thing out of your mind, and exile it from the game. There is a card I’d like to find room for in the mainboard though, and that’s Casualties of War. It’s ridiculously strong and lets you get rid of so many types of cards in one go. But it’s expensive, and we don’t want to turn one or two into it.  Maybe swap out one or two Korvold for them? There’s a thought.

Key Cards

This is a very, very simple deck to run in this meta. We run 4-ofs of most of the key cards in it. It’s not terrifyingly expensive on the Mythic Rare front, either. We only have 6 in the whole deck, including sideboard. It’s fun, and it’s very easy to pilot. You know exactly what cards you want at virtually any moment in time. You want Ovens, Cats, Geese, and Devils. From there, everything else is just a pleasant bonus.

Wildcards 

Commons: 13

Uncommons: 28

Rares: 28

Mythic Rares: 6

Witch’s Oven (Colorless Uncommon Artifact): Honestly, simply seeing this card played on turn one, or multiples on turns ⅔ is soul-crushing. When it happens, you know what’s on the way. A host of really frustrating turns where you wait on your opponent to sacrifice cats again, again, again, and spoiler warning: again. It’s a great way to keep yourself constantly sacrificing, and giving you Food Tokens. It’s an infinite sacrifice engine with Cauldron Familiars. Well, infinite in that you can do it every time the Ovens untap. It’s also a great way to prevent your opponents from killing creatures or exiling them. Simply sacrifice them to the oven, so you can get more Food Tokens. When you see these, you know Mayhem (Devils) is on the way. Your opponents don’t have a ton of ways to deal with them, typically. A few artifact destruction/exile cards are in the meta right now, but you have bigger threats than this. Right?

Korvold, Fae-Cursed King (Black/Red/Green Mythic Rare Legendary Creature – Dragon Noble): The power of Korvold comes at a price. You must sacrifice a permanent you control to attack with him. Of course, this is a gentleman, a noble. Korvold will give you something for nothing. Whenever you sacrifice a permanent, regardless of why he gains +1/+1. Plus it’s flying! A 4/4 base for 5, Korvold is incredibly powerful. You don’t really have to swing with him as soon as you can, either. You can give it time and build him up if you know your opponent can’t answer him. If they can’t exile/directly kill him, you’ve got time to play with. I see Korvold as a threat. You put him in play, and keep the sacrifice train going until it’s time to end it. Your opponent may not want to attack with him in play, so they don’t lose creatures to him. 

Mayhem Devil (Black/Red Uncommon Creature – Devil): Lord help me, I hate running into the Mayhem Devil. Worse when there are multiples of him, too! He’s a 3/3 for 3, with such an unreasonable amount of value in this deck. Whenever a player sacrifices a permanent, for any reason whatsoever, Mayhem Devil does 1 damage to any target. Did they go seeking a land with Fabled Passage? 1 damage. Did you do the same? 1 damage. Sacrificing 3 Cauldron Familiars and bringing them back? 6 damage right there (minimum). Do you see why this deck is so repulsive? He can be dropped as early as turn 2, and as long he’s there, every turn is a threat. You don’t have to attack with him, and frankly, I wouldn’t. This isn’t a deck built on attacking. 

Top MTG Arena Meta Decks | Final Sacrifice Decklist 

4 Forest (THB) 254

2 Murderous Rider (ELD) 97

4 Swamp (THB) 252

4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259

4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253

1 Mountain (THB) 253

4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245

4 Trail of Crumbs (ELD) 179

4 Witch’s Oven (ELD) 237

4 Agonizing Remorse (THB) 83

1 Wicked Wolf (ELD) 181

2 Thrashing Brontodon (M20) 197

1 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99

4 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King (ELD) 329

4 Gilded Goose (ELD) 160

4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81

1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General (WAR) 97

4 Mayhem Devil (WAR) 204

4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

Sideboard

2 Scorching Dragonfire (ELD) 139

2 Noxious Grasp (M20) 110

2 Epic Downfall (ELD) 85

2 Duress (M20) 97

2 Casualties of War (WAR) 187

1 Wicked Wolf (ELD) 181

2 Thrashing Brontodon (M20) 197

1 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99

1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General (WAR) 97

Final Thoughts

This is a deck I know we’ve talked about more than once, but there’s a reason: It’s so good! I still want to find a spot in it for Casualties of War in the main board, but I don’t know that it’s truly necessary. One of the major strengths of this deck is how great it is at controlling the state of the board. Remember that your Mayhem Devils let you target anything for a point of damage. You can use them to kill planeswalkers very easily. 

The longer the game goes on, and the more sacrifices/devils you have available, you can kill bigger planeswalkers and creatures. Dream Trawler can make itself immune, but that’s a positive too. By targeting it, the player will have to discard a card to save their poor ⅗. How can someone stop you though? By hard-countering you, or exiling or destroying your Witch’s Ovens. Sorcerous Spyglass can be bad for this deck too, as it can stop your activated abilities for several cards. Heavy control and very early aggro can get your dander up, but remember, it’s about the long con. You just have to wait for the cards to roll in, and begin your combo damage. Mayhem Devil, Witch’s Oven, Cauldron Familiar, profit.

Those Darn Dream Trawlers (Blue/White Control) 

Dream Trawler may be the MVP as far as creatures go for me, in 2020’s MTG Arena meta. It’s a ⅗, flying, lifelink, has card draw, and can have hexproof on command (provided you have a card to pitch). This is a deck that has a lot of different ways to play, which isn’t a shock. The Best of 3 version tends to run only one Dream Trawler and an Archon of Sun’s Grace in the main board, but we’re going to do it a little different. 

We’ll cover the other decklist too though, don’t worry, my friends. But this deck is all about playing incredibly low-cost enchantments and abusing the might of Dream Trawler. We lock down the board, laugh anyone who attempts to make moves. After all, UW Dream Trawler won Magic Worlds 2020, so there’s gotta be something to it. Can it beat out Red Deck Wins? Of course, it can! Board wipe them, exile their big creatures, and cackle madly as they fail to come back.

Worried about too many planeswalkers? Bounce Elspeth’s Saga back to your hand with Teferi, and do it again, to keep exiling cards. That way, they have no chance of getting them back. Esper Danse? Yes, we can beat that too, but it’s really frustrating. The point is, this deck has answers for almost every deck out there. This version is different from the one I typically run in ranked, but I’m really sold on this different approach.

After all, I’m a fool for not running Archon of Sun’s Grace. So let’s talk about UW Control!

How It Works?

This deck can still win even if it loses its two win conditions because you can lock down the board to the point where people just give up. Despite being a control deck, we do have some aggressive win conditions: Those are the Dream Trawler, and Archon of Sun’s Grace. Normally, Dream Trawler can get it done on its own, but there’s a drawback.

Your opponent can prevent it from blocking, by casting spells at it! You’ll of course, want to preserve it, by discarding a card and giving it hexproof. That also taps Dream Trawler, leaving you open to attack. So that’s what Archon of Sun’s Grace is for. They are a Flying/Lifelink Archon that gives all your Pegasus creatures lifelink. 

How do we get Pegasus creatures in this deck? You gain a 2/2 white Pegasus creature token with flying, anytime you play an Enchantment with Archon in play. We have 9 enchantments in this deck, and you can bounce them back to your hand with Teferi, Time Raveler. Archon of Sun’s Grace gives you plenty of defenders, to go alongside the The Birth of Meletis’ 0/4 Defenders it spawns. 

Our ultimate end-game is to get Dream Trawlers and Archons in play, and we have a few ways to cycle through our deck to do so. Omen of the Sea lets us Scry 2/Draw 1, and Scry 2 if we sac it and pay 3 mana. Narset, Parter of Veils lets us look at the top 4, which sadly doesn’t let us pick a creature. It’s only non-creature, non-land. Teferi can have us draw 1, and Elspeth Conquers Death lets us take a creature or planeswalker from the graveyard. 

If that’s not enough for you, Thirst for Meaning lets you draw 3, and then you discard 2 cards, unless you discard an enchantment. Bye, The Birth of Meletis! It lets us get a plains card, which is neat, but the longer the game goes on, the less useful it is. This deck also has a ton of ways to control the flow of the game.

Teferi, Time Raveler is certainly one of the most anti-fun cards in the standard meta. Your opponent’s can no longer cast spells at the instant speed, so no more counterspells! Glass Casket is your anti-Titan card, or any low-cost creature. It exiles a 3-or-less cost creature. So I find it’s most useful against Titans and Hydroid Krasis. You also have 4 Shatter the Sky cards to board wipe. Absorb and Dovin’s Veto are your counter spells too. So you have lots of options to slow things down.

You do not want your opponent to pick up steam, and that’s where Teferi and Narset come in. No counters, and no more than 1 card draw a turn, that’s beautiful. Make sure you can have some defenders though, because your opponent will definitely have a target if they’re in play. We can also exile their cards with a higher cost than 3, thanks to Elspeth Conquers Death. That’s how we deal with big planeswalkers and creatures. 

Take the time, figure out their deck, and stop them at all turns. Archon of Sun’s Grace is our way to keep creatures on the board, and Dream Trawler is the easiest way to get the win. You can combine it with Thirst for Meaning and Teferi to have 4 cards to draw in a turn, and more if you also Omen of the Sea. If you get someone low enough, draw as many cards as you can, and slap someone down with that evil white/blue Sphinx.

Key Cards

This is a deck that’s all about the long-con. You aren’t likely to win in the first few turns, unless you have a strong start, your opponent does not, and they just give up. I admit, that it’s fun to see someone take a very greedy start, stop it in its tracks, and watch as they surrender the game. You want to do the most work with the least amount of effort. That’s where UW Dream Trawler comes in.

Wildcards

Commons: 16

Uncommons: 11

Rares: 33

Mythic Rares: 0

Dovin’s Veto (Uncommon Blue/White Instant): Dovin’s Veto doesn’t get near the love it deserves. It can only counter noncreature spells, which sounds mediocre. But, It’s a two-cost, and cannot be countered. That’s right, you can stop any noncreature spell, except for ones that can’t be countered. Stop those Elspeth Conquers Death, planeswalkers, artifacts, and annoying miscellaneous enchantments that can stop you from winning.  There are so many cards that can really drive your ability to win to a halt, and for 1 White 1 Blue mana, you can tell them to just stop

Elspeth Conquers Death (Rare White Enchantment – Saga): Elspeth Conquers Death is a 5-drop saga that I’m sure we’ve discussed before. The best part of it perhaps, is its ability to exile a permanent with 3-cost or higher. That is great, because the card can’t come back if Elspeth Conquers Death goes away. So you can cast it, exile a planeswalker, use Teferi, bounce it back, and cast it again the same or next turn, and get even more value. The second ability is okay, making non-creature spells cost 2 mana more. Finally, it lets you bring back a planeswalker or creature from the grave, and give it +1/+1 or a Loyalty Counter. This, this right here is what makes it oh-so-good. Did you have to boardwipe and lose Dream Trawler? He’s coming back. Need a new Teferi? That’s right, he’s coming back! 

Teferi, Time Raveler (Rare White/Blue Legendary Planeswalker – Teferi):  If Teferi got banned, I wouldn’t be shocked, but I would be sad. Teferi, Time Raveler completely ruins the pace of the game for too many decks. The ability to no longer play instants kills UB Flash, any Control Deck, UR Card Draw, and so much more. The only negative is his 4 loyalty, and his only abilities are +1 and -3. Too many people make the mistake of immediately using the -3 when he comes into play on nothing, just for an extra card draw. I would avoid that if at all possible. It’s better to have the higher loyalty, and hold a Shatter the Sky for your opponent’s turn. That’s what the +1 does! You can cast Sorceries at Instant speed until your next turn. Let your opponent play a bunch of big creatures, and then wipe them without wasting mana on your own turn! He’s so disruptive.

Top MTG Arena Meta Decks | Darn Dream Trawlers Decklist

3 The Birth of Meletis (THB) 5

2 Omen of the Sea (THB) 58

3 Dovin’s Veto (WAR) 193

3 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61

2 Thirst for Meaning (THB) 74

3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

4 Temple of Enlightenment (THB) 246

4 Plains (ANA) 61

2 Archon of Sun’s Grace (THB) 3

2 Glass Casket (ELD) 15

4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251

2 Dream Trawler (THB) 214

3 Absorb (RNA) 151

4 Shatter the Sky (THB) 37

4 Elspeth Conquers Death (THB) 13

8 Island (ANA) 57

4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221

3 Castle Ardenvale (ELD) 238

Alternate Decklist

4 Absorb (RNA) 151

1 Archon of Sun’s Grace (THB) 3

2 Banishing Light (THB) 4

3 Castle Ardenvale (ELD) 238

1 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

3 Dovin’s Veto (WAR) 193

1 Dream Trawler (THB) 214

3 Elspeth Conquers Death (THB) 13

2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

1 Field of Ruin (THB) 242

4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251

7 Island (ANA) 62

2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

2 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61

4 Omen of the Sea (THB) 58

3 Plains (ANA) 61

3 Shatter the Sky (THB) 37

4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221

4 Temple of Enlightenment (THB) 246

3 The Birth of Meletis (THB) 5

3 Thirst for Meaning (THB) 74

4 Aether Gust (M20) 42

2 Archon of Sun’s Grace (THB) 3

2 Cerulean Drake (M20) 53

2 Commence the Endgame (WAR) 45

1 Dovin’s Veto (WAR) 193

1 Glass Casket (ELD) 15

2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

1 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61

Final Thoughts

This is the deck archetype I’ve had the most success with in this current meta, with the exception of Red Deck Wins. It’s slow, it’s frustrating to play against. I’ve had games where I was down to 2 life, no cards, and still pulled out a win. The hardest parts is learning what you have to stop in which decks. Reckless casting of counterspells, Glass Caskets, and Elspeth Conquers Deaths can leave you vulnerable to other attacks and combos. That’s the hardest part for me, at any rate. 

The hardest deck for me to play against is Red Deck Wins with a better start, or UB Flash/Mana Ramp. The hard part of any UB deck, is not knowing when it’s safe to cast spells. At least this version has Dovin’s Veto. If you try to always hold two mana (1 white, 1 blue), it becomes hard for your opponent to know if you’re holding a counter. Even better, if it’s 2 blue, 1 white. Decks that prevent you from slowing them is not a fun time to be in the game. The mirror match isn’t too bad, either. If you can, keep Teferi as high loyalty as possible, so you can bounce enchantments back, and put them back into play for more Pegasus stampede. UW Control is slow, deliberate, and it’s oh-so-fun to play it. Do you want people to be frustrated every time you play a land? If you have nothing to do, you can wait until the absolute end of their turn and make 1/1 tokens! There’s yet another way to defend and win!

If you want to make people as hair-pullingly, blood-boilingly mad as possible, here’s your in.

Agent of Thassery (Blue/White Blink Control)

This is a deck that has really come out of nowhere for me, and is, in a way, a combo I used in a different color palette. Blue/Green Thassa was a lot of fun, but of course, Blue/White is so much better. So the combo for this deck is far too obvious, I think. Thassa + Agent of Treachery = Tiduslaughter.avi. Of course, it’s not the only move we have, but it’s the easiest way to get someone to give up.

So this deck has a pretty high win rate with everyone I’ve talked to. White/Blue control is a lot of fun, but there has to be a more interactive, frustrating way to play it. Enter, UW Blink! I’ve been pondering a Blink deck since Theros was revealed, but most of the cards I wanted to use are not used in this deck, unfortunately. 

This is easily one of the most fun decks I’ve played in the MTG Arena meta, and it’s so filthy. You and only you control the flow of the game. You have plenty of blink options too. Bounce Charming Prince to constantly bounce other things, Scry, or merely gain more life. Fblthp, the Lost, for card draw. Elite Guardmage for. . . wait for it. . . card draw and life gain. Cavalier of Dawn to destroy problematic things. Agent of Treachery though just has that certain special something. The chef’s kiss of the deck, if you will. 

It is not a cheap deck to build, but it’s so strong and so satisfying to play. Want to deny every move your opponent makes with minimal effort? This is the deck you want. We aren’t running a ton of counterspells in the main board, just 4 Teferis, a pair of Mystic Disputes, and a whole lot of grit. 

This is a deck designed to permanently alter the blood pressure of your opponents.

How It Works?

Our end game is a pretty clear, easy one. By any means necessary, we need Thassa, Deep-Dwelling in play. She is the end-all, be-all for the deck. It doesn’t even matter if she becomes a creature, but it’s great if she does. At the beginning of your end-step, you can exile a creature you control, and bring it back under our control. 

That’s something very important to read. Agent of Treachery steals a permanent your opponent controls and puts it under your control. So if your opponent has a creature that has a great “enters-the-battlefield” triggers, you can feel comfortable in bouncing them. They will, of course, return to you! That’s what makes the combo so great. You can do this every single turn, too! She also allows you to tap a creature for 4 mana, even as an enchantment. If your opponent has something really powerful you don’t want to get through, just tap it, and next turn, steal it! 

But turn two almost has to be Fblthp, the Lost, and/or Charming Prince. Having them on turn ⅔ is incredible because it’s a lot of card draw. You want to use them to draw into Teferi and Thassa as soon as possible. Once you have both of those in play, you can start relaxing, just a tiny bit. You just keep bouncing Charming Prince and Fblthp to draw cards, gain life, scry, whatever you need. Then turn 7 happens.

Turn 7 happens, and Agent of Treachery hits the field. When you get one or two of those into play, that’s where most people just give up. Don’t just steal creatures, though. Consider the state of the board carefully. If your opponent is having a hard time getting land into play, just start stealing those. Do they have a game-winning card in play, like Witch’s Oven, Lucky Clover, or a planeswalker? Borrow those! Whatever your opponent uses to win can be yours, and that’s really hard to deal with. 

I love Charming Prince as an early game option, mostly thanks to mono-white lifegain. That deck showed me how good a Charming Prince is. Once Thassa is on the board, the world is your oyster. Every single card in this deck has value coming or going. Except maybe Brazen Borrower. They don’t really have an “enters-the-battlefield” trigger, but bouncing them back to your hand is fine. 

Now if only we could make Elspeth Conquers Death into a creature. If this were an Esper Danse deck, we could, in theory, do that with Danse of the Manse, and Thassa. That makes things too complicated though. Omen of the Sea is also here to give early card draw and scry, while Elspeth Conquers Death exiles cards, and brings your dead creature/planeswalker of choice back. We’ve talked about that already in this blog. You know how good it is by now. 

Key Cards

Oh goodness. This deck is so infuriating. I love it! Unlike Mono-Red, which we will get to, don’t you worry, this is a really fun deck. You can bounce your creatures over and over, to constantly gain card draw and life gain. It’s got to be frustrating to deal with. It’s important to get control early and keep it, but simply getting out Thassa, and using Elspeth to get a countered/killed Agent of Treachery back is just fine. You can also bounce Cavalier of Dawn to destroy the Agent of Treachery stolen creatures, so your opponent can’t just steal them away. But what are our best options for bouncing?

Wildcards

Commons: 2

Uncommons: 19

Rares: 33

Mythic Rare: 9

Agent of Treachery (Rare Blue Creature – Human Rogue): Why do I want to make a Red/Blue Rogue deck now? Hmm. Anyway, Agent of Treachery is so strong in decks that mana ramp, but even in decks without it, it will shine. You can steal anything with it. My personal favorite is, once I have my Thassa+Agent combo, is to steal all my opponent’s lands. Even if they have Nissa, steal the lands first, then at the last second, steal Nissa to have that power under my command. Creatures? Did they drop a Saga you don’t want to deal with? Take them under your wing! Sadly, it can’t steal Hexproof creatures, but you can also use it to bait your opponent to discard cards for Dream Trawler. Agent is a sound creature that I’m going to miss when it leaves the meta.

Elite Guardmage (Uncommon Blue/White Creature – Human Wizard): This here though, is the best card in the whole deck to bounce. Sure, Agent of Treachery lets you steal stuff and eventually draw cards, but Elite Guardmage gives you a card and 3 life every single time you bounce it. Plus against decks that have no flying, it’s also an attack option! It’s a ⅔ flyer for 4, that gives 3 life and a card draw. This lets you get to the important cards you need. Once you have the board, this is even better. But it frankly can put you back in the game. With a solid Time Wipe, followed by Elite Guardmage, you can put yourself easily back into the game. Then start Agenting up their lands. 

Charming Prince (Rare White Creature – Human Noble): This. Card. Is. So. Good. When it comes into play, it blinks one of your creatures out and back in. If you don’t need to do that, you can have them give you 3 life, or Scry 2. It’s a cheaper version of Elite Guardmage, as a 2/2 for 2. There is no point in the game where Charming Prince is bad or useless, but it has unreal power in the early game. You can use it to bounce a creature out, like your Agent, then Time Wipe. Bounce the Charming Prince back to your hand, and then at the end of your end step, Agent of Treachery comes back to steal something else! Brilliant.

MTG Arena Top Decks | Agent of Thassery Decklist

3 Agent of Treachery (M20) 43

3 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39

2 Castle Ardenvale (ELD) 238

2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

1 Cavalier of Dawn (M20) 10

4 Charming Prince (ELD) 8

4 Elite Guardmage (WAR) 195

2 Elspeth Conquers Death (THB) 13

2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

3 Fblthp, the Lost (WAR) 50

4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251

7 Island (ANA) 62

2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

2 Omen of the Sea (THB) 58

5 Plains (ANA) 61

4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221

4 Temple of Enlightenment (THB) 246

4 Thassa, Deep-Dwelling (THB) 71

2 Time Wipe (WAR) 223

3 Aether Gust (M20) 42

1 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39

4 Devout Decree (M20) 13

4 Dovin’s Veto (WAR) 193

1 Heliod’s Intervention (THB) 19

2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

Final Thoughts

Oh, this deck is positively brilliant. The only real downside is how expensive it is to put together. 4x Thassa is a major investment, in terms of Mythic Rares. Is she worth it? Absolutely. Thassa, Deep-Dwelling is useful in quite a few decks, so I can see it being worthwhile. We’ve got time with Agent of Treachery and the other rares too. Having a rough start and being out-aggroed may cause you to drop a Time Wipe early, which is less than ideal. You really really want your low-cost creatures in play early. The earlier, the better. 

It has a strong showing, this deck, against most other decks I’ve played against. The hardest one for me is the mighty Clover deck, but I can beat those too. Being able to steal their Clovers and things like that can keep you ahead of their nonsense. UW Blink is a really underrated deck, and is 100% worth playing. If you already have most of these cards, you owe it to yourself to give it a spin. Bounce, bounce, bounce. Steal everything, claim it for your own!

Stay tuned as we’ll have a devastating mono-red deck for you soon that is sure to perform in the current MTG Arena Meta!

Degeneration X (Mono-Red Aggro)

Last, and certainly least, is Mono-Red Aggro. It’s such a frustrating deck, and it’s one of the top decks right now. There are so many cards that just fit together nicely to make a very strong Mono-Red Aggro deck, post-Theros, and post Worlds. The decklist that was used at Worlds was very solid, and it’s the one that I run in my personal playtime.

Most people run just about the same thing, with a few changes here and there. Here’s something to consider that I saw in a deck that blew my mind with how strong it was. Risk Factor! Why would you play that three-drop rare though? There is cheaper, more reliable card draw. Because we’re running Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. So, he adds +2 to all red source damage. If someone chooses to not let you draw, they take 6 damage instead of 4. Then you do it again since it has Jump-Start!

It’s an interesting option and I think it might be something fun to put into this deck. Regardless, this is probably the easiest deck to pilot out of anything we’ve discussed. You have cheap, low-cost creatures, Thane to buff their damage power, Anax to have a near-endless supply of jerks to swing with, and of course, Embercleave.

So, without further ado, let’s talk about the Mountains!

How It Works?

“I remember you. . . out here, in the mountains,” not my words, the words of an NPC in World of Warcraft! But Mountains are the key here. We want a lot of them, or at least, enough to win the game with. At most, I tend to wind up with 4-5 lands at the most over the course of a game. This isn’t a deck that we want to have lots of sneaky counterplays in.

The sneakiest thing in it is “Haha, time for Embercleave!” while attacking. So, you can see how subtle it is, with all the subtlety and bluntness of a nuclear bomb. That’s a pretty solid way to describe the deck, we think. Out of all the decks in the current MTG Arena meta, this deck stands out as the easiest. The closest are Mono-Black and Mono-White respectively.

Mono-Red Aggro does have some tricks to slow down opponents though, so don’t fear. Bonecrusher Giant is here to deal a quick 2-damage that can’t be prevented, and if you have unblocked damage, casting Rimrock Knight grants +2/+0 until end of turn. Both are Adventure Spells, mind. Once damage has gone through, Light Up the Stage is here to give us some cards to play next turn. But what about the early game?

Ideally, we’ll have Fervent Champion and Robber of the Rich. In fact, if you have to mulligan, and wind up with a Robber there, that is one of the most ideal starts. You want your opponent to have fewer cards in hand than your opponent for Robber of the Rich. He exiles the top card of your opponent’s deck whenever he’s in play and you attack with a Rogue (him, basically). If it’s a land, it’s wasted (but prevents your foe from getting it). Otherwise, you can play that spell with any color mana.

It’s not our “must-do” for the win, but it can be hilariously fun to abuse another player with. We want to batter the other player quickly and wait for the Embercleave/Torbran swing. For me, the ideal turn list is:

  • Turn 1: Fervent Champion
  • Turn 2: Robber of the Rich
  • Turn 3: Anax, Hardened in the Forge
  • Turn 4: Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
  • Turn 5: Embercleave someone

And then you win! That’s the most ideal circumstances, mind. If you can Embercleave Anax while Torbran is in play, he’ll have at least 8 damage (16 with double strike), and that’s without Robber of the Rich, et cetera. Scorch Spitters are also a nice start, and when you have Torbran is in play, that guaranteed 1 damage is now 3 damage. So, he swings for a Lightning Bolt. That’s what we want. We want the Knights in the early game, and to swing for ridiculous numbers. If you can get someone unblocked, don’t hesitate to hit them off with one or two Rimrock Knights. That can go alongside your Embercleave/Torbran/Anax combo too!

The downside here is if you get board wiped or never get going. But you ought to have enough sneaky ways to get going. Plus, if you get an early Runaway Steam-Kin in play, you can cast your spells to buff him. Then, when you need a turn-3 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, that can happen. It’s slower overall, but surprising someone that way is so satisfying. You can sap their mana for Embercleave too on the attack, provided Runaway Steam-Kin has 3 +1/+1 counters on it.

Key Cards

Ugh. It’s such a boring deck! But it’s very strong. We have one more deck to add to this next week, that brings something fresh to the table, but for now, we’re talking about what’s established and what we know 100% works. That’s low-cost, high-damage red cards! We have that here without a doubt.

Wildcards

Commons: 8

Uncommons: 20

Rares: 22

Mythic Rares: 7

Embercleave (Mythic Rare Red Artifact – Equipment): Believe. In. The. Cleave. Embercleave may be the strongest red card right now. When you pair it with Anax and Torbran, it’s a game winner at any phase of the game. It’s normally a 6-cost, but when you Flash it in (because why wouldn’t it have Flash?!) it’s terrifying. It costs 1 colorless less for each attacker (making it cost as cheap as 2 mana) and equips to someone without paying the 3-mana equip cost! They only get +1/+1, but it gives Double Strike and Trample. On Anax, it makes him a bare minimum of 5 attack power, but it can go so much higher. There are no real bad points to Embercleave, and it can be slipped into any deck with red mana that has decent attackers. I’ve flashed it onto Robber of the Rich to prevent him from dying, Fervent CHampion, but Anax, Hardened in the Forge is the best target.

Light Up the Stage (Uncommon Red Sorcery): The best part about Light Up the Stage is that if your opponent has taken damage this turn, you can pay its Spectacle cost: 1 red mana! It’s your best way to get more cards in play. You exile the top two cards of your library, and until the end of next turn, you can play any of those cards. It’s a great way to find mana if you have not enough, or to winnow it out if you have too much. If you have Runaway Steam-Kins in play, it can help too, because they might let you pay their counters into mana and play even more cards. Getting Torbran from this in the same turn you cast it just can’t be beat.

Bonecrusher Giant (Rare Red Creature – Giant): Giants are great right now, thanks to Throne of Eldraine. This giant doubles as direct damage! If you cast Stomp (his adventure spell) as a spell, damage this turn can’t be prevented, and it deals 2 damage to any target. So, then you swing as hard as you can! That’s great to kill creatures early game, or to sneak a win out, but I love the Giant itself. It’s a 4/3 for 3, and whenever it’s targeted by a spell, the spell’s controller takes 2 damage. Unless it’s killed in battle, it’s a great way to punish someone for being greedy. It’s again, a great target for Embercleave, turning him into a 5/4 Double Strike/Trample, and that’s nothing to mess with. It’s at most 10 damage if unanswered.

Top MTG Arena Meta Decks | Degeneration X Decklist

4 Anax, Hardened in the Forge (THB) 125

4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115

4 Castle Embereth (ELD) 239

3 Embercleave (ELD) 120

4 Fervent Champion (ELD) 124

4 Light Up the Stage (RNA) 107

18 Mountain (ANA) 64

4 Rimrock Knight (ELD) 137

4 Robber of the Rich (ELD) 138

4 Runaway Steam-Kin (GRN) 115

4 Scorch Spitter (M20) 159

3 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell (ELD) 147

2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame (M20) 126

1 Experimental Frenzy (GRN) 99

4 Lava Coil (GRN) 108

3 Redcap Melee (ELD) 135

1 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator (WAR) 146

4 Unchained Berserker (M20) 164

Final Thoughts

What is the bane of this deck? How do you stop its unstoppable momentum? Board. Wipe. Life gain. These are the tools to stopping the tidal wave of the degenerate red army. Wait for them to get a lot of their cards in play, and just swipe them off the board! Having a Dream Trawler deck will feel terrifying until the Trawler’s right in play. As the red player, you don’t have a ton of creature removal at all! We do have Lava Coils in the sideboard, though.

The sideboard has a few cards to really turn around matchups in the best-of-three. Tibalt for life gain, Unchained Berserker for mono-white (to combine with Embercleave), Chandra for …well, for Chandra. She’s great! Never thought I’d say that in 2020. This is a deck that has a lot of tempo, until you grind them to a halt. If you stop the aggressive first wave of damage, it can be very hard to come back. I feel like Scorch Spitter and Fervent Champions are just a distraction until you can get the real winning tools in play (unless they win! Sometimes it’s just all it takes). Torbran, Anax, Embercleave, victory. Believe in the Cleave!

The Horrors of War (Blue/Black/Green Control/Mid-Range)

Sultai Ramp may have not cracked the top 16 of MTG Worlds 2020, but it is still an incredibly strong deck going into the month of March. It has all the tools to be overbearingly frustrating. You have all the stuff people hate in one place: Mana Ramp, tons of creatures, indestructibility, and really vexing win conditions. Flooding the board with Nissa land-creatures and popping Vraska’s ultimate ability can fill someone with a sense of doom.

However, for moments of danger, it also combines some of the best tools from other decks. Board wipe? Got a Massacre Girl. Card-draw/life gain? Hydroid Krasis. Need cards from the deck? Atrix, Oracle of Half-Truths. Mana ramp? Growth Spiral and Nissa. Creature removal that’s a bit more direct? Tyrant’s Scorn.

This deck literally seems to have all tools from the best control colors in one spot. You can win through aggression, but you don’t have to. Even in bad spots, you can come back. Don’t hesitate to use that Casualties of War as early as possible, either. Destroy annoying enchantments, lands, you name it! In the mid-late game though, you can get the “Rainbow” – all the options on Casualties of War being checked. But, let’s talk about this deck in a bit more detail.

How It Works?

This might be one of the most disrespectful decks I’ve seen. It’s popular with MTG players like Andrea Mengucci, and that’s all I need to know. One of the best parts about a control deck is having a variety of ways to shut someone down and steal the show. This deck has it all, even Dimir’s best/most annoying turn 2 move: Thought Erasure! So, what’s our ultimate endgame? Put the opponent in such a state of disrepair that there is no coming back. Nissa and Vraska are our planeswalkers of choice. Nissa gives ridiculous amounts of mana ramp, and plenty of 3/3 creatures.

Those are great, but can we do better than some annoying lands? Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths makes your opponent choose two piles of cards, into a face-up and face-down pile. You pick one to go to your hand, the other to your graveyard. I can’t really tell you what to pick because those are wild situations. You just must know what you need, and what you can risk going to the grave. He’s such a fun card though because players that don’t understand what he does will just feed you three cards that go right to your hand!

Speaking of cards going into your hand, Hydroid Krasis is great for that too. He’s also a remarkable win-con, whether combined with Vraska’s ultimate or not. Even if he’s countered, he can provide life and card draw too. That is really busted, if you ask me. This deck runs several spells to slow or stop people completely.

I’ve had players just give up completely after a Thought Erasure or two. You get to see their hand and put a nonland card in the graveyard. Hushbringer? More like “Get Hushed”! Nailed it. Their key card they kept an otherwise garbage hand for? Bye-bye! We can also pair that with an Eat to Exctinction. We’re only running one, but it lets you exile a creature or planeswalker, as well as look at your top card. You can then put that in the grave if you want. Excellent if you want to put Uro in play faster. No having to cast him, then recast him.

Speaking of Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, he’s another overwhelmingly good card in this deck! I don’t really mind putting him in the grave via Eat to Extinction or Thought Erasure. Only having to cast him once is rad, if you ask me. Finally, we have a Brazen Borrower to slow down someone’s aggressive impulses.

Tyrant’s Scorn is a fantastic answer to Tron decks too. If they can’t make it hexproof or prot blue/black, just pop that on the creature to bounce it away and send all those pesky enchantments to the grave! There are a ton of powerful 3-cost-or-less creatures in the meta right now that it’s ripe to destroy. Fun fact: That works on Titans that have Escaped the grave! Their base cost is still 2! The same goes for the enemy Hydroid Krasis. You can also bounce your Hydroid and cast it again, for even more life-gain and card draw.

So, our endgame is either battering people with a ton of indestructible lands or sneaking out Vraska’s ultimate. It gives you an emblem that reads: Whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game”. It just must be one point! To make sure that happens, we have all those fun instants and sorceries to utilize. Casualties of War kills one of each permanent, so use it liberally. I wish I had the room to put a Tamiyo, Collector of Tales in here. Being able to just pull that back from the grave and do it again and again? Love it.

Please be careful with Massacre Girl though. She does kill your creatures too. She’s a “Oh goodness, I have nothing out and I’m being aggroed down” card, hence only one of her. She gives all creatures in play but her -1/-1. Anything that dies as a result adds another -1/-1 to all creatures in play. But you can bring Uro who has gone away, so that’s a positive. If you do get Vraska’s ultimate, here’s another fun idea. Make sure there are no flyers, flash in Brazen Borrower at the end of their turn and just swing lethal! It’s so silly but so satisfying.

Key Cards

This deck has again, a very varied sideboard. Counters/instants (Aether Gust, Noxius Grasp, Agonizing Remorse, Return to Nature), but also fun here is Lovestruck Beast! Having a 5/5 on turn 3 can really stop aggressive red decks if they don’t have anything bigger (which they probably don’t). We also added Enter the God-Eternals for a way to pick off a 4-health or less creature, while also giving a fun zombie to defend/attack with. That’s what makes this deck so fun: so many frustrating options to put people down and out with. We want to slow them down until it’s time for us to win.

Wildcards

Commons: 6

Uncommons: 14

Rares: 39

Mythic Rares: 10

Thought Erasure (Uncommon Blue/Black Sorcery): Few cards make my blood boil like a turn-two Thought Erasure. The only way it’s worse is if turn three also has a Thought Erasure. This bone-achingly irritating card lets you look at your opponent’s hand. You can then pitch a nonland into the graveyard! One of the weaknesses players have (including myself) is to take a really crap hand, because of one or two cards in it. Planeswalkers, a counter, et cetera. This card lets you get rid of that Dovin’s Veto you know is coming. Another fun thing with Thought Erasure is it can be counter bait! If your opponent does counter it, odds are there is something there they desperately don’t want you to get rid of. It’s a brilliant turn-two, that could only be better if it were Instant speed.

Nissa, Who Shakes the World (Rare Green Legendary Planeswalker – Nissa): God bless America, Nissa is so strong. She makes all your Forests tap for an additional green mana. So, how many “Forest” cards are in this deck? 9 lands are official “Forests”. So that’s a lot of mana ramp. You also have the her mighty +1. It turns a land into a 3/3 Elemental that’s still a land. So how do you get the most bang for your buck? Tap a land for mana, turn it into a creature, then tap it for even more mana. This is a fantastic way to get Vraska or Uro out faster. She can make all your lands indestructible too. Laugh at the board wipe fools as your land army grows and cannot be killed! However, Massacre Girl can still kill them when they’re at 0/0 though, so bear that in mind.

Vraska, Golgari Queen (Mythic Rare Black/Green Legendary Planeswalker – Vraska): Vraska, Golgari Queen is likely to cycle out this year, but boy is she fun! She was created before planeswalkers had awesome passive abilities, but she brings a whole lot to the table. Her +2 lets you sacrifice a permanent, and if you do, you gain 1 life and draw a card. You don’t have to sacrifice stuff though. This is great for when you have a glut of lands that you don’t care about, or after Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths has served his purpose. You can also sacrifice Uro, and re-cast him for even more value. Vraska’s -3 destroys a non-land permanent with a converted mana cost of 3 or less. That is so many cards right now. Daxos? Gone. Enchants that exile cards? Gone! Teferi! See ya later, dork! And of course, her ultimate is that emblem that wins you the game if you deal any combat damage at all. Coming in with 4 loyalty, it can be a very quick ride. I’ve seen people run Proliferate in their decks just to make this pop faster.

Top MTG Arena Meta Decks | The Horrors of War Decklist

2 Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths (THB) 209

1 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39

4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246

2 Casualties of War (WAR) 187

1 Eat to Extinction (THB) 90

4 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

1 Forest (ANA) 65

4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178

4 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183

3 Island (ANA) 62

1 Massacre Girl (WAR) 99

4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169

4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253

2 Swamp (ANA) 63

3 Temple of Malady (M20) 254

3 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255

4 Thought Erasure (GRN) 206

4 Tyrant’s Scorn (WAR) 225

3 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (THB) 229

2 Vraska, Golgari Queen (GRN) 213

4 Watery Grave (GRN) 259

2 Aether Gust (M20) 42

2 Agonizing Remorse (THB) 83

3 Enter the God-Eternals (WAR) 196

3 Lovestruck Beast (ELD) 165

2 Noxious Grasp (M20) 110

2 Return to Nature (THB) 197

1 The Elderspell (WAR) 89

Final Thoughts

Try not to Growth Spiral on your turn. You can later in the game, but in the early going? Do it on theirs. That way you can play those lands that come into play tapped and lose nothing. In fact, on your turn, play something that comes in untapped, and you’re at a potential great land advantage. You can also use your Fabled Passages that way too. This is a deck that can be bested with a lot of control. Dream Trawler again can shine against this deck, but if you make a big enough Hydroid, you can make even the mighty Trawler halt before attacking.

This is a deck that isn’t always clear what it’s trying to do, as well. Being confusing is a great tactic. Since we aren’t running a ton of creatures, and almost no real boardwipe, aggro like Red Deck Wins and Mono-White can really be a problem to deal with. You must hope you can pick out their winning cards in the early going with Thought Erasure. What are our focuses on that card? Their game-winning cards, counterspells, or their ways to exile. Also, consider if they’re close to playing a god or a high-cost card. There are too many potential cards to suggest “get rid of this”, because it varies per situation and per deck/game. So, consider it carefully, and find what your opponent cannot win without, and send it away!

This is such a fun MTG Arena deck in this current meta. It may not have again, cracked top 16, but it in no way changes how fun and frustrating it can be. Make them feel the horrors of war!

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