Explorer Tier List Update – September 8, 2022

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

Abzan Greasefang (Up from A Tier) – With the release of Liliana of the Veil into the format, Abzan Greasefang has skyrocketed in power level and winrate in Explorer. Being the perfect shell for the reprinted planeswalker, this already competitive deck became an easy target to upgrade and get good wins fast. In the first week of the new format, the deck boasted a 69% winrate. Even amongst a slightly lower than average playrate, the power level of the deck in its new form is undeniable.

A Tier

Rakdos Midrange (Down from S Tier) – Rakdos Midrange is also a good list for an easy Liliana of the Veil include, and the archetype saw a lot of play in the top rung of the best-of-three ladder. That said, the deck’s winrate has actually decreased since Liliana of the Veil was reprinted, likely as players are settling in on the optimal number of copies and what to swap it in for. Some decks have pivoted almost completely from the traditional Rakdos Midrange deck you would have seen two weeks ago, leaning into the Liliana discard strategy – perhaps a little too much. These decks were some of the variants that brought the archetype’s winrate down on the average. It should be noted that this is the first week that Rakdos Midrange has been below S Tier since Explorer launched.

Azorius Control (Stable) – Perhaps for not getting new toys to experiment with, or for its decent matchup against some of the over-the-top decks that have been on the ladder since Dominaria United launched, Azorius Control holds onto its spot in A Tier this week, maintaining a 65% winrate and average representation.

B Tier

Rakdos Sacrifice (Down from A Tier) – Rakdos Sac has seen some new tech in Weatherlight Compleated and Sulfuric Springs, and people are excited to be brewing within this archetype to see what they can do differently. However, the deck has not been perfected yet and in the wake of Abzan Greasefang’s rise and the new form of Rakdos Midrange it just didn’t stack up this week.

Mono-Red (Up From D Tier) – In an unprecedented show of play, Mono-Red Cleave has been all over competitive play this week. There has been a massive uptick in games played in the best-of-three format, and  we feel that players might have been trying to steal games on others who were trying “new things” with the ol’ fun police that is Red Deck Wins. Mono-Red represented the second most-played deck on the best-of-three ladder this week, holding up a 66% winrate. It will be interesting to see how much further into the new set this revival lasts.

Mono-Blue Spirits (Down From A Tier) – Spirits didn’t gain many new tools from Dominaria United, and fewer people are queuing with the deck this week than they have been. It might well be in a great spot in the meta, but it seems players are wanting to play new cards. Mono-Reds uptick in play puts the deck in rough spot as well, and it finally drops down to B Tier.

Mono-Green Devotion (Stable) – Mono-Green Devotion ended up representing the third most-played deck since Dominaria United launched – a huge increase in play despite seemingly getting few new tools from the set outside of Karn’s Sylex and Defiler of Vigor, which doesn’t see play in many lists. This is certainly a deck to watch, even without Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.

C Tier

Jund Food (Down from B Tier) – A few decks this week were knocked down the tier list more as a result of the blank S Tier above them than as an indication of their power level or viability decreasing. Jund Food is one of those decks. Jund’s playrate and winrate did not decrease this week, but a lack of new tech from Dominaria and possibly stronger sacrifice strategies available now brings the deck down to C Tier this week. 

Abzan Humans (Down from B Tier) – Abzan Humans is another deck that moved down the tier list mostly as a result of the movement of the decks above it, and it is yet to be determined whether Dominaria United brought the goods to this archetype with its smattering of new humans in Abzan colors. 

Jeskai Agent (Stable) – Agent of Treachery/Transmogrify decks jumped up to represent the fourth most-played deck this week, again without many new cards from the new set. With a 61% winrate and an increase in play, Agent likely would have moved into B Tier if not for the movements above it.

Izzet Creativity (Up from D Tier) – Following largely the same line of play as Jeskai Agent, Creativity has the advantage of using harder-to-interact-with artifact tokens to target for transforming rather than creature tokens. Despite not having much representation in our data set, our competitive team included the deck in C Tier this week.

D Tier

5C Elementals (Stable) 

Jeskai/Izzet Agent (Stable) 

Selesnya Angels (Stable) 

Enigmatic Incarnation (Stable)

Boros Heroic (Up From Off-Meta) – Similar to Mono-Red, Boros Heroic is looking to take advantage of the unstable “new set” environment, and put up a fair fight this week on the best-of-three ladder, moving it back up into D Tier after a few weeks off the tier list.

Dimir Control (New) – Dimir Control surprised everyone on the competitive team here when it put up numbers that represented the fifth most-played deck in the format. Its winrate was rather low, at 57%, but we felt it necessary to debut in D Tier this week.

Best of One 

S Tier

No Changes

A Tier

No Changes

B Tier

Rakdos Midrange(Up from C) – While Rakdos Midrange maintained about the same winrate of most of the best-of-one format, it has seen another increase in playrate in best-of-one that is likely due to the printing of Liliana of the Veil in DMU. While midrange decks have struggled somewhat in the best-of-one format, this is certainly a deck to watch over the next few weeks.

C Tier

No Changes

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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