Explorer Tier List Update – September 1, 2022

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

The Best-Of-Three Explorer Tier List

The Best-Of-One Explorer Tier List

Legend

  • S Tier: Decks in this tier are the most heavily played and format dominant. These decks are the core that the rest of the meta revolves around. Players should be prepared to face these decks multiple times throughout a given event.
  • A Tier: Decks in this tier are on generally on the same power level as those above it, and consistently post top results at events. However, due to certain factors like deck population or weakness in a key matchup they are not as format dominant.
  • B Tier: Decks in this tier are proven performers with strong finishes that will reward good player skill/dedicated play. However, they generally lack a certain level of power/consistency to take them to the winners podium on a regular basis.
  • C Tier: Decks in this tier are on an average power level for the format, or are heavily underrepresented. Like our B-tier these decks can reward dedication to the archetype, but they will require a more concerted effort. Players should be aware of these decks, but not over-tune for these matchups.
  • D Tier: Decks in this tier will find the current meta hostile to their overall game plan. These decks can find success in the right environment, but the winner’s podium will be few and far between.

Best-Of-Three

S  Tier

Rakdos Midrange (Down) – Though still a dominant force in the format, it has come time to eliminate Tier 0 and move Rakdos Midrange down to S Tier. Azorius Control has done a fair bit of catching up with Rakdos’ representation, and as the format is about to be shaken up with a new set and the end of the season, many people are trying new things and have diversified the meta this week. Rakdos Midrange is particularly good at dominating the meta it knows – in uncharted waters, its efficiency is watered down.

A Tier

UW Control (Down) – In a similar vein as Rakdos Midrange, a wider meta this weeks means that top tier decks and answer-heavy decks will take a downshift in ranking as they try to solve the rogue decks creeping their way into the end of season. With Rakdos moving down into S Tier, so too does the only deck that was in S Tier at the time, as Rakdos still justifies holding court above everything else.

Rakdos Sacrifice (Stable) – Conversely to Azorius and Rakdos Midrange, Rakdos Sacrifice doesn’t care what the opponent is doing and will do its thing every time regardless. This has seen better success this week as a result and remains stable in A Tier.

Abzan Greasefang (Up) – Abzan Greasefang preys on a meta that is trying new things. It will sit there and play solitaire all week while people try their end-of-season and new set brews. Greasefang doesn’t care what’s happening around it – as long as people aren’t playing mass graveyard hate, which the most recent two weeks of decklists have been lacking. The addition of Liliana of the Veil to this will likely make it a force to be reckoned with.

Mono-Blue Spirits (Stable) – Spirits has remained the third most-played deck in best-of-three since Mausoleum Wanderer was printed into the format – never higher and never lower. What has shifted throughout, though, is its winrate, and this week it climbed to a point where the removal of an entire tier above it did not affect its standing.

B Tier

Mono-Green Stompy (Down) – Stompy’s slide down has less to do with its representation or winrate as it does the shifting of the tier list itself in the removal of Tier 0. It remains one of the most-played decks on the best-of-three ladder and boasts a fairly strong winrate at 59%. Stompy decks tend to be strong choices going into a new meta, and we would expect this deck to improve – though, players might be more keen to try Gruul variants now that we have the red/green pain lands.

Jund Food (Stable) – Similarly to Rakdos Sacrifice, Jund Food represents a strong midrange strategy that can hold down aggressive decks and outgrind many midrange and even control matchups. We expect Jund Food to do well in the first few weeks of Dominaria United, despite not having any blatently obvious new cards to play with outside of Liliana of the Veil, which might end up seeing play in the sideboard of Food decks at least.

Abzan Humans (Stable) – As far as decks that got new toys to play with, Abzan Humans is certainly one of them. We kept the deck in B Tier this week but fully expect its playrate to increase with the new set and season. Check out Jaffer’s first crack at a build here!

C Tier 

Green Devotion (Down)- In true Green Devotion fashion, the deck put up an impressive winrate this week. Unfortunately, however, it held a much smaller metashare than last week or the week before and, therefore, drops to C Tier. 

Fight Rigging (Up)- Fight Rigging continues to push itself to the forefront of the meta by sneaking stronger and stronger finishes in the top-tiers of play and boasting a hugely  impressive 65% winrate. We have eschewed our strong consideration of playrate when it comes to this change this week (the deck is still seeing infrequent play) and moved it up the tier list due to its high winrate and matchups against some of the top-tier decks.

Mardu Greasefang (Down) – Abzan truly seems to be becoming the more consistent Greasefang deck of choice and continues to push Mardu further down the tier list this week. With the printing of Liliana of the Veil, Mardu Greasefang decks with a Kroxa/midrange backup plan might end up pushing the deck higher.

UR Creativity (Up from off-meta) – Creativity is a deck that continues to battle its way onto the tier list only to be knocked off soon after. This week, the deck was the eighth-highest played deck in the format and boasts an impressive 60% winrate.

D Tier 

Four-Color Elementals (Stable) – The various Omnath/Risen Reef decks barely hang onto their spot on the tier list this week, seeing drastically reduced playrate and only a fair winrate at 58%. Still, Rakdos Midrange players hate to see an Omnath, Locus of Creation on the other side of the board. Unfortunately, Spirits players don’t.

Keruga Fires (New)- Various builds of Keruga Fires of Invention decks have made a resurgence in the meta, punishing players who flock to Rakdos Midrange and other slower decks without countermagic. PlayingExplorer’s very own rose-emoji boasts an impressive 79% winrate after 38 best-of-three games with his Grixis list, and others have had great success with varying Grixis and even four-color variants.

Enigmatic Incarnation (Up)- 5C Enigmatic Fires is another deck that thrives against midrange decks without countermagic, and with the printing of Leyline Binding coming today, we saw an uptick in Enigmatic’s playrate as players gear up to cheat out Titan of Industry and Agent of Treachery.

Mono-Red (Stable) – Mono-Red’s outlook is improving, and going into a new meta is usually a good time to be playing aggro or burn decks. Mono-Red players also got a few new pieces in Dominaria United to test out, and we’ll keep an eye on the settled builds and the deck’s performance in the days and weeks to come.

Selesnya Angels (Stable) – Another deck that barely held onto its spot, CoCo Angels is a powerhouse in best-of-one, but has a hard time keeping angels on the board in the best-of-three meta. It’s very likely this deck slips off the tier list next week.

Vampires (Up)- Another old favorite returns to the tier list this week as, again, we believe people are trying some more fun strategies and different brews at the end of the season. Vampires is one we all know and love and it’s great to see it creeping its ugly head back into the tier list!

Best-Of-One

S  Tier

No Changes

A  Tier

No Changes

B  Tier

Temur Ignus Combo (Up from C Tier) – Ignus saw an uptick of play this last week while keeping a comparable winrate to the rest of B Tier. This archetype also has a chance of getting better with the printing of Defiler of Instinct in Dominaria United today. 

C  Tier

Esper Greasefang (Down from B Tier)- As we talked about a few weeks ago, Mardu/Abzan Greasefang taking over most of the play of this archetype has led to another downtick in play this week again. There is a chance that Greasefang decks as a whole see a power boost with the printing of Liliana of the Veil but we expect that to do more for the Mardu or Abzan variants than Esper.  

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.

  • Editor

    Tyler Hilton aka BiRDxC0Re, a proud magic player for over 22 years, his love for the game started during the Onslaught era of Magic. At a kitchen table with friends, some basic Mountains, and a pair of Raging Goblins going face – his adventure began, and he’s never looked back. Much has changed since then though, for both Tyler and Magic, and these days you can find him playing high-level Burn at many Canadian Modern events or grinding Mythic Rank on MTG Arena season after season. A canny Pioneer/Explorer brewer, young father, and KarnageKardsENT’s biggest fan – he joins our team to help the crew with whatever he can in the hopes of sharing his love for this game with the next generation!

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