May 2021 | BO1 & BO3 Tier List | Mystical Archives | Historic

Hello Planeswalkers, and welcome to this month’s Historic Tier List!

I am excited to be circling back with a fresh cut on the Historic format with the influx of new cards coming out of Mystical Archives.  Timing is great coming off the back of the Strixhaven MPL weekend, and fresh banning!  There have been some pivotal impacts I will cover, and some changes to this piece due to personal time crunches.

For May’s Historic Tier List I am combining a few things, whereas I generally offer separate pieces.  I am doing BOTH a BO1 & BO3 take, and adding in some flavor from a data snapshot.  This is most notable from my weekly Meta series, and only with a Historic spin..

Enjoy this month’s Tier List, and always feel free to let me know what you think!  Stay safe my friends. I cover: What it is, current meta observations, and deck overviews!  Additionally I love sharing the observations and recent changes we have faced in an ever evolving format.

Historic Tier List for both BO1 & BO3 Magic the Gathering

Past Tier Lists and Articles for additional context, trends, and observations.

Last Historic Tier Lists

April Articles: BO1 & BO3

April Video: BO1 & BO3

Mythic Qualifier April Gameplay

I pull these lists together to help give us an alternative competitive angle, as well as trends, with a nice little timestamp as I believe being competitive there is a long term knowledge angle we need to take as well 🙂

Additionally, I like to provide a competitive MTGA Landscape, those who like a visual or just to discuss! You can find the observations along with the tier list below.  Please share your thoughts as always, and feel free to comment on the new format or decks I should consider that I missed.

TLDR: Mystical Archives certainly warped the format, and has shifted a lot of the playstyle around.  Jesaki is in full control mode, and we are looking forward to what Anthology 5 may bring.

Meta Snapshot Highlights:


Since the last tier list BO1 has had some pretty decent shifts, and certainly has felt the impacts from the Mystical Archives release.  It isn’t as aggro dominated, and Elves plus Angels don’t take up more then 20% of the meta anymore.  On top of it it feels like the auras decks have practically disappeared.  To follow up even more from last time, I said keep an eye on the burn decks, and they are certainly a thing now.  The other thing is the dichotomy between BO1 & BO3 isn’t as big right now.  A lot of the deck archetypes are being played in both.


The lionshare of the META is made up of the Jeskai colors currently, and this trend in my opinion will probably most likely continue for a bit.  Things seem to be falling into place, and obviously we had the ban hammer on the oracle which I will touch on slightly. The top 8 most played decks make up about roughly 50% of the played archetypes.

Items of Interest & Considerations:

  • Mystical Archives This new release in parallel with Strixhaven has certainly been something else.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the impacts that Mystical Archives has had on the Historic Meta.  It has been one of the single most impactful blocks we have seen to ultimately warp the format into what it is now.  It has also led to a fairly big shift in the types of decks currently being played which I will talk a little bit about in more detail later.

    All in this has been one of my favorite sets, and has given us many enhancements to some pretty consistent archetypes.  The uptick in the Izzet colors has certainly been felt as well.  This was right on target with what was already being forecasted from the card previews.
  • Strixhaven League Weekend Ban Hammer – The MPL weekend had some pretty awesome decks as well as high level game play.  The biggest shakeup being the Pact combo decks.  It was enough to command a very fast ban from WoTC in order to curb a pretty nasty combo and not a so much fun deck to play against with taking out one of the key engines Thassa’s Oracle.  

It was a debate in discord that since Thassa was still in Standard would we get some craft? Note to future selves here the correct answer is yes!

  • Shift Right – The last few months of Historic have been very aggro favored.  Honestly since the Uro Ban.  Now, with this set release there is a little bit more fluidity between archetypes as well as the percent of those decks played.  Particularly in BO3 we have moved off a lot of the pure aggro with more spell based decks, and less creature based ones.  Tending to drive us towards the more midrange/late game decks, and playing much more control orientated magic.
  • Jeskai Thank You Very MuchIt’s safe to say that the Izzet colors found a nice pairing with white/plains coming out of this set.  In a very powerful way we have seen the rise of Jeskai in the format.  It was a top deck played in MPL Strixhaven weekend, commands high calibre win rates, and to top it off has several of the key most played decks currently in the Historic format.

    It makes sense given the love both Islands and Mountains received with some extremely cheap yet powerful spells.  Why not play them?
  • To Each is Their Own Despite the uptick in Jeskai it is also noteworthy to address that it also seems like most color pairings do have some pretty powerful top decks right now.  Even in the top 8 there seems to be a pretty decent balance between a lot of the different color pairings, and as you spread this between BO1 & BO3 a slightly more open field in terms of flavor.  This is always good news as it allows us to play around a bit more, and enjoy decks we may have a bias with or experiment with some new things.  Some decks have certainly surprised me like mono black snow aggro to name one.  This deck has held its own fairly well in BO3.
  • Combo LookoutTouching back on our Jeskai friends from above, the new Jeskai Turns deck is going to be one for us to watch.  Leveraging Indomitable Creativity there currently are a few flavors running out.  The two right now are both Locus God and Velomachus.  The idea is to cheat these baddies in by sacrificing another creature or artifact.  They both do well to shuffle through your deck, and or find the right answers to control your opponents decks.
  • Anthology 5Biggest things for this drop are the Praetors as well and the Dragon theme.  We are getting the Commands from Tarkir, and some of these may bring some interesting flavors.  I could see both Dromoka’s Command as well as Atarka’s Command getting some play in the current archetypes of Selesnya and Gruul.  Intangible virtue may also lift token decks.  All in all we will see very soon, if any of these new cards impact the format or slide into some of our current favorites.  Who knows maybe we will even get a full new competitive deck!

What goes into this list?

For returners or those that are new I have been asked before on how I pull these together as well.  BO1 is a slightly different beast vs. BO3.  Here I rely heavier on win rate stats at very competitive levels starting at Mythic then work my way backwards through the tiers if needed for additional POVs.  It is also based on gameplay – and I myself favor BO1 until I usually hit Top 1500 🙂 – I take into consideration untapped.ggs companion app stats as they tend to have a great amount of data, and a good ability to slice and dice decks.  One additional call out again is due to the vastness of decks or newest additions not all data is readily available so for the gaps I try to expand where I can via experience, tournaments, and other data driven sites available.

THANK YOU & Additional Info

I have produced this list from a culmination of a few things. I have reached this point by pulling together research data from multiple sources like untapped, MTGAzone, Aetherhub, twitter, personal gameplay, tournament matches, this reddit as well as others, personal stats, and consistently hitting Mythic over the last year and participation in the last Mythic Qualifier.

Again, Happy to discuss or talk about decks not included! Tier list below plus deck lists (shells – tweak to your heart’s content) if you are looking for some options most all top 1500 at some point many at the #1 Rank, and multiple top end tournament results!

One last thought I would like to share: If you have a competitive deck (different than one featured) I am always happy to do a piece on it time permitting. I have several folks that ask, and have done several player featured decks. I rather enjoy this so please don’t hesitate to reach out or ask. I always try to prioritize with the following and timing or relevance – MTGA Rank (1500s)/Top Tournaments down to Plat2Mythic Decks.

If you would like to do a collaboration feel free to reach out as well. Feel free to reach out or hang in the Multiverse Discord Server.

MTGA Historic BO1 May 2021 Tier List

Tier 1 (3)
Mono Green Elves (Deck Link)

Jesaki Control (Deck Link)

Izzet Phoenix (Deck Link)

Tier 2 (5)

Selesnya Company (Deck Link)

Selesnya Angels (Deck Link)

Jund Sacrifice (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

Gruul Aggro (Deck Link)

Rakdos Arcanist (Deck Link)

Tier 3 (3)

Boros Burn (Deck Link)

Mono Black Snow Aggro (Deck Link)

Dimir Rogues (New Deck Link) (Old YT Deck Link)

MTGA Historic BO3 May 2021 Tier List

Tier 1 (3)

Izzet Phoenix

Selesnya Company

Jesaki Control

Tier 2 (4)

Rakdos Arcanist

Mono Black Snow Aggro

Jund Sacrifice

Gruul Aggro

Tier 3 (4)

Mono Green Elves

Boros Burn

Selesnya Angels

Dimir Rogues


I hope you enjoyed this slice of competitive Magic the Gathering on Arena or if you are lucky right now in paper. Thank you for your time, and feedback is always welcome! As previously mentioned happy to discuss deck choices, decks, and lists as always!