Arena Championship 3 - Standard Metagame Analysis

Genoslugcs May 28, 2023 5 min
Arena Championship 3 - Standard Metagame Analysis

Arena Championship 3 started today, with day one of three. We watched as 32 of the best Arena players competed against one another in March of the Machine Draft and Standard constructed. By day three, we'll have crowned a champion, distributed $200,000 in prizes, and two Magic World Championship XXIX invitations.

Rakdos Midrange had the highest win rates from Pro Tour March of the Machine and will certainly be the deck to beat for this event. That said, in this Arena Championship 3 - Standard metagame analysis, we'll take a look at what decks people brought, how many players are on each, and some of the key cards.


Most Played Decks

Full Decklists are found here.

Deck Archetype Number Of Players Percentage Of Field Key Cards
Rakdos Midrange 9 28.1% Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jikiimage, Invoke Despairimage
Jeskai Dragons 5 15.6%  Zurgo and Ojutaiimage, The Wandering Emperorimage
Five-color Ramp 4 12.5%  Topiary Stomperimage, Atraxa, Grand Unifierimage
Grixis Reanimator 3 9.4%  Corpse Appraiserimage, The Cruelty of Giximage
Selesnya Enchantments 2 6.3%  Jukai Naturalistimage, Hallowed Hauntingimage
Rakdos Breach 2 6.3%  Big Scoreimage, Breach the Multiverseimage
Boros Midrange 2 6.3%  Bloodtithe Harvesterimage, Go for the Throatimage
Grixis Midrange 2 6.3%  Lay Down Armsimage, Etali, Primal Conqueror // Etali, Primal Sicknessimage
Orzhov Midrange 1 3.1%  Wedding Announcement // Wedding Festivityimage, Duressimage
Mono-White Aggro 1 3.1%  Zephyr Sentinelimage, Knight-Errant of Eosimage
Azorius Soldiers 1 3.1%  Progenitor Exarchimage, Norn's Inquisitorimage

Most Played Cards

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The same "black/red core" present in the last major event again makes up a good portion of the meta here. However, the decks not playing these cards seem more well-prepared to deal with it this time. That said, here's a list of the most played cards, which make up exactly 50% of the meta.

Arena Championship 3 - Standard Deck Summaries

zurgo and Ojutai

I'll briefly go over each archetype listed above and what it wants to do.

Rakdos Midrange (9 players):

Rakdos Midrange has been the deck to beat for quite a while now. The deck mixes the best value-based spells like Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jikiimage and Chandra, Hope's Beaconimage with a premium suite of interaction like Duressimage, Go for the Throatimage, and Cut Downimage.

Jeskai Dragons (5 players):

This deck also plays a midrange strategy with cards like Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jikiimage, Make Disappearimage, Invasion of Gobakhan // Lightshield Arrayimage, and The Wandering Emperorimage to control the game. Zurgo and Ojutaiimage is how the deck closes out games and can generate some insane card advantage.

Five-Color Ramp (DinoMite) (4 players):

DinoMite is, at heart, an Atraxa, Grand Unifierimage deck. With ramp spells like Topiary Stomperimage and Invasion of Zendikar // Awakened Skyclaveimage, Atraxa can be on board as early as turn five. The deck also plays a plethora of tri-lands to turn on domain for Herd Migrationimage and Leyline Bindingimage.

Grixis Reanimator (3 players):

Grixis Reanimator is also an Atraxa, Grand Unifierimage deck. However, instead of ramping into it, it wants to reanimate it with The Cruelty of Giximage. Bloodtithe Harvesterimage and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jikiimage are also present here - Not only as solid value-based spells like usual but as ways to get Atraxa into the graveyard as well.

Rakdos Breach (2 players):

Rakdos Breach is looking to get Etali, Primal Conqueror // Etali, Primal Sicknessimage in play early as the primary gameplan. The deck wants to cast Breach the Multiverseimage on turn five (thanks to mana produced by Big Scoreimage), mill, and return an Etali, Primal Conqueror from their graveyard. The best-case scenario to get from an opposing graveyard is Atraxa, Grand Unifierimage, and given how many decks are playing it, it's possible.

Boros Midrange (2 players):

This deck has many elements of a Mono-White midrange build. However, adding red gives the deck access to, you guessed it, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jikiimage. The deck also plays Etali, Primal Conqueror // Etali, Primal Sicknessimage alongside Guardian of Ghirapurimage, which is used to blink Etali and double up on the enter the battlefield triggers.

Grixis Midrange (2 players):

The Grixis version of the top deck (Rakdos Midrange) plays the "red/black core" cards, which can be found in the "most played cards" section above but swaps a few lands around to support countermagic in Make Disappearimage, and some value-driven create cards like Halo Foragerimage, and Corpse Appraiserimage.

Orzhov Midrange (1 player):

A single player (Autumn Burchett) played Orzhov Midrange in Pro Tour March of the Machine, and it had the highest win rate of any single deck. It seems to have the black/red/x deck's number. It plays a ton of interaction - Duressimage, Lay Down Armsimage, Ossificationimage, and Sunfallimage to deal with opposing threats. Then deploys its own in the form of Steel Seraphimage, Serra Paragonimage, and Wedding Announcement // Wedding Festivityimage.

Mono-White Aggro (1 player):

This Mono-White aggro deck wants to quickly assemble a large board of Incubator tokens to turn sideways using Progenitor Exarchimage and Norn's Inquisitorimage. There's also an aggressive vehicle package that uses Hotshot Mechanicimage to crew Reckoner Bankbusterimage quickly. It's also worth mentioning that Hotshot Mechanic enables Roadside Reliquaryimage early and often, which gives the deck access to some card draw.

Azorius Soldiers (1 player):

Azorious Soldiers builds an army of Soldiers with Resolute Reinforcementsimage, Skystrike Officerimage, Valiant Veteranimage, and Harbin, Vanguard Aviatorimage while simultaneously being disruptive to opposing strategies. Protect the Negotiatorsimage is a perfect example of this aggro/disruption style, and Make Disapear plays a similar role.

The last piece of the puzzle is the cards that help keep the threats coming, and they are: Recruitment Officerimage and Knight-Errant of Eosimage, which can be bounced with Zephyr Sentinelimage for some extra value.

March Of The Machine: The Aftermath Cards

Overall, very few cards from March of the Machine: The Aftermath showed up in Arena Championship 3 decks. There were:

  • Three copies of Calix, Guided by Fateimage (In a Selesnya Enchantments deck)
  • Three copies of Blot Outimage (In the sideboard of a few Rakdos Midrange decks)

You May Also Like: The Most Expensive Cards From March of the Machine: The Aftermath


The meta is still primarily comprised of red/black decks, but things are shaking up. Orzhov Midrange's return and the Jeskai Dragons' emergence are exciting. We'll see how things go as we move into day two. You can find day two event coverage starting at 9 am tomorrow by following the link here. Let's see if Nathan Steuer can pull out yet another victory.


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