MTGA | Friday Night Meta | May 2021 Week 3 | Gruul Smash

Hey Planeswalkers! 

Welcome to this week’s Friday Night Meta update! The goal is to equip you faster with information in a fast evolving game, and to get you the right information to help you make the decisions you need to make! This is intended to be a comprehensive view with a lens from Magic the Gathering Arena with impacts from the MTG gaming scene.

We had some pretty impactful announcements over the past week between the MPL & Ban List announcements – However, we will keep it simple here and focus on the data with this week’s weekly information!

I slice and dice weekly data using untapped.ggs companion app for BO1 & BO3 standard, cover a key deck for the week, and we talk about some key meta impacts!

You can check out the weekly coverage here for Friday Night Meta!

Last Week’s Episode

Last Week’s Piece

Strixhaven April Tier Lists:

Standard BO1 & BO3: Video & Piece

Week Highlights

Personally, I’m prepping today for Meniscus surgery next week. My wife kindly reminded me after I told all the Twitch folks see you Tuesday! Doh! My family is healthy, and we got to see the baby. (We say this as it’s a surprise gender)  To those unaware as a father in light of Covid this is a pretty big deal, and wasn’t always the case.

In Magic & Community News:  I hit 2K youtube subs, so thank you to everyone as I am eternally grateful for everyone’s support!  I will always be a happy supporter of the community Discord, andplayers carving a path.  This week TeamPainter immediately took the Gruul Aggro Top Deck to Mythic within a few hours of the showcase.  With that, keep an eye out for the deck on the daily Top Decks, and a friendly reminder to never hesitate to reach out, tweet me, or whatever to give me a heads up to showcase your deck! 

This week was a double whammy rare feat for me.  One thing I take extreme pride in is showcasing uncut real footage, the heart breaks, the pain, as well as the triumphs.  I am a strong believer in showing a deck as it is, and not just highlight clips or click bait this 100% win rate deck.  Just not my style.  Along these lines I run a 3 Match BO1 and one Game BO3 segment.  First, it’s rare to win out, and I happened to do this not only once, but twice! I did it with the Gruul Aggro Deck mentioned above, and also u/DellWar’s Historic Boros Burn deck! I have been doing more Historic content before the release of Anthology, and in order to get out another Historic Tier List take.


Mono White Lifegain continued to be minimized in  BO, and while Winota as well as other archetypes kept climbing.  Naya Adventures still has pull through, and Sultai Ultimatum continues its domination!


Mono White Lifegain has been flirting with Winota, and finally reached a critical inflection point taking back its top spot in BO1 as the highest win rate deck.  The top end is currently primarily made up of the aggro decks as well as those in the red and white color schema.

Mono Black Auras continues to hang in there while Izzet dragons continue to gain the most momentum in the format.  Overall the most interesting thing is that most archetypes are going sideways, and to note the win rates have actually mostly improved.


We see the pedal to the metal here for Izzet dragons or Izzet Midrange as becoming a force in the Meta this week.  We talk about some of the why, and how the event impacts this.  Along with its massive growth, mono red and Sultai Ultimatum continue to go up, but not as steady eddy anymore.

We do see a receding of Naya Adventures, Rogues, and a tad in Gruul adventure.  However in the short term Gruul adventure has definitely attempted to pop back up.  Overall here the biggest thing is win rates are starting to normalize and all trends together.  The spread is becoming slightly less, generally leading to a pretty balanced meta.  Some may find this boring.  I see it as an opportunity to try out new things!

Gruul Smash – Gruul Adventures/Aggro

Gruul continues to be a formidable challenger in both BO1 & BO3.  It never really got bad, and there have been a few variations and renditions now including Magda.

Deck List

Deck Video

Magda (List, Video)

The deck performs well against a plethora of decks including Winota and Sultai Ultimatum.  You can catch more gameplay footage here on Twitch.

Event Impacts

The biggest event of the Weekend was the MPL game play where we definitely saw some impacts from the likes of Izzet Dragons also called Izzet Midrange.  Seth Manfield performed brilliantly and made his way to the 3rd ranked spot below PVDDR.  This was one of the major highlights that certainly impacted the upward trend and surge of popularity in the deck among other things.

Some other key highlights were Insight Esports where the field was chalk full of top finishers in Mono White Aggro, and followed closely by a very interesting top end in the Big Magic Tournament.  There was an interesting showing by a top Simic deck that I look forward to covering!

What’s Next

We get a smattering of tournaments next week that I look forward to drilling into what could be next!

Feel free to join us in ongoing real-time discussion or to hang out on the  discord server.  You can also find this week’s article here.


I leverage multiple sources like untapped.ggs companion app stats, MTGAzone, Aetherhub, twitter, personal gameplay, tournament matches (mtg melee,, this reddit as well as others, MTGData,  personal stats, and consistently hitting Mythic and  Mythic Qualifiers.

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.

One other piece, I have recently started doing collaboration videos.  If you are interested please let me know, and I would love to partner!

I wholeheartedly welcome any feedback on how to meet your needs as well as improving your experience!  Additionally, for the near term my focus will be on Standard, and I hope to organically add in Historic in the future.

Thank you for your time, and hope you enjoyed this week’s piece!