Explorer Tier List Update – August 4, 2022

An explanation of the movements and placements in this week’s Explorer tier list.

The Best-Of-Three Explorer Tier List

The Best-Of-One Explorer Tier List

Best-of-Three

Tier 0

Rakdos Midrange (Stable) – Explorer Anthology 1 was very kind to Rakdos Midrange, providing it with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet when many would argue it didn’t need the help. Rakdos has been in S Tier since the first week of the format’s existence. The increased playrate and winrate since EA1 has finally prompted the inclusion of a Tier 0 in this week’s tier list. The entire best-of-three field is shaped and determined by Rakdos’ high playrate. In the first week of the post-anthology meta, Rakdos holds a 65% winrate, which, in any best-of-three format, is problematic. There are very few decks in the format that can go “under” Rakdos Midrange’s plethora of removal spells, and decks that try to go over it are being pushed out of the format by Mono-Blue Spirits. This is an example of the “rock-paper-scissors” meta we discussed in our Explorer Anthology article (with Rakdos being Rock, Azorius Control being paper and Mono-Blue Spirits being scissors), and Explorer best-of-three remains firmly in the rock part of the cycle right now and likely will until Spirits sees a downtick in play. 

S Tier

Azorius Control (Up from A Tier) – The printing of Supreme Verdict in EA1 certainly helped Azorius Control, but Mono-Blue Spirits continues to keep it from taking control of the format away from Rakdos Midrange. While control can always adapt to the meta it lives in, the deck has yet to find the perfect balance of cards that will help its Rakdos matchup and its Spirits matchup simultaneously.

Mono-Blue Spirits (Up from A Tier) – Another EA1 winner, Spirits players were ready to go on day one, representing the second most-played deck on the best-of-three ladder in week one while maintaining a whopping 63% winrate. Having a fairly even Rakdos matchup while also punishing the decks that try to go bigger than Rakdos is a powerful combination in the current meta, where the decks that prey on Spirits (Mono-Red, Boros Heroic, Izzet Prowess, Izzet Phoenix) are not well-represented at the moment. 

A Tier

Abzan Humans (Stable)

GBx Fight Rigging (Stable)

Rakdos Sacrifice (Stable)

All three of the A-Tier decks remain stable as the war wages on above them. Each deck is powerful and viable in its own right, but has glaring weaknesses against the most frequently-played decks.

B Tier

Mono-Red (Down from A Tier) – Mono-Red’s tier list drop has been a long time coming, losing representation on the best-of-three ladder as Rakdos Midrange gains in popularity and access to a 3/4 lifelink creature in Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Still, the deck is strong into Spirits and can be strong against UW Control depending on the Mono-Red build, and as the meta shifts, Mono-Red could easily move back up.

Mardu Greasefang (Stable) – While the Abzan variant is catching up, Mardu maintains the higher winrate one week into the Explorer Anthology meta. Though, its playrate is slipping and may be overtaken as early as next week. 

Mono-Green Stompy (Up from C Tier) – With access to Elvish Mystic now, Mono-Green is kind of an unspoken winner of the first Explorer Anthology, with a good matchup against Rakdos Midrange and an even matchup against UW Control and Spirits depending on the build. 

C Tier

Selesnya Angels (Stable)

Four-Color Elementals (Stable)

Abzan Greasefang (Tier List Premier) – Another clear indication that Explorer players are paying attention to Pioneer, Abzan Greasefang had a strong showing this week, boasting a 62% winrate but from a relatively small sample size.

Mono-Green Devotion (Up from Off-Meta) – Another green deck that benefited from the printing of Elvish Mystic, Mono-Green Devotion in Explorer is really a Storm the Festival ramp deck, but has underpinnings of the Pioneer version powered by Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, including Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner, Karn, the Great Creator and, sometimes, even a Nyx Lotus to replace the devotion land.

Jund Food (Down from B Tier) – The original home for every Arena player’s favorite play pattern, Cauldron Familiar/Witch’s Oven, did not put up any meaningful results on the Platinum+ ladder in the first week since the season reset. Still, the deck has shown tremendous strength very recently and can have a strong Rakdos Midrange and Mono-Blue Spirits Matchup.

D Tier

Four-Color Adventures (Stable)

Vampires (Stable)

Gruul Transmogrify (Stable)

Esper Greasefang (Stable)

Best-of-One

S Tier

No Changes

A Tier

Rakdos Sacrifice (Up from B Tier) – With the ability to steal, swing with and then sacrifice giant angels with Claim the Firstborn, gain life and infinitely block Mono-Red and Heroic and deal with a resolved Greasefang, Rakdos Sacrifice is well-positioned to take on the decks above and below it on the tier list, bringing it to A Tier this week.

B Tier

Mardu Greasefang (Down from A Tier) – While its small sample size leads it to having a great winrate, it is believed that due to the playrate being almost nonexistent over this last week that it should be moved down. This could be due to people testing out the new Explorer cards or that the increase of one-mana removal from Heroic and Rakdos Sacrifice’s increased playrate forced the swap of the new and old guard. 

C Tier

Abzan Greasefang (Tier List Premier) – Similarly to best-of-three, Bo1 Abzan Greasefang didn’t get any new tech from the Explorer Anthology but has seen an uptick in play alongside the Pioneer version of the deck. Like in best-of-three, it enters the tier list skipping right over D Tier.

Boros Heroic (Up from Off-Meta) – Favored Hoplite’s recent legality was a big deal for Boros Heroic, and it skips over D Tier on its entrance back into the tier list largely thanks to this change.

D Tier

No Changes

  • Publisher

    rose-emoji started playing Magic: The Gathering during Battle for Zendikar, then took a break from the game until Throne of Eldraine. Pioneer got him back into Magic full-force, and the launch of Arena on mobile hooked him in forever. Now that his favorite format is working its way onto Arena, he can be found grinding the format to death, mostly in Grixis colors, mono-colors or tribal decks.

  • Publicist

    Tyrant has been playing Magic in events since his first prerelease in Ixalan. Most of the time, he can be found in the various Pioneer Discord channels talking about anything Pioneer, from various meta decks to whatever new combo deck he has brewed up. When not playing Magic, he is getting cards in his collection signed by their artists or producing the occasional video for his YouTube channel.

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