15 New Historic Brews with Strixhaven: School of Mages and Mystical Archive

15 New Historic Brews with Strixhaven: School of Mages and Mystical Archive
Time Warp Art by Dominik Mayer

With Strixhaven out, Historic is in for a shakeup! There a few exciting cards from the main set, but the real changes come from Strixhaven’s Mystical Archive. Some of the cards (like Faithless Looting, Brainstorm, and Inquisition of Kozilek) will have immediate, lasting impacts on the format. Others may have archetypes that start to take shape, but still need a card or two to reach competitive viability (think Ephemerate, and possibly the Storm cards).

With that in mind, here are some new, or revitalized archetypes using Strixhaven and the Mystical Archive, along with their commentary below the list.


Izzet Phoenix

 

Creatures
4
Arclight Phoenix
1
Crackling Drake
4
Stormwing Entity
Spells
2
Spikefield Hazard
4
Brainstorm
4
Faithless Looting
3
Lightning Axe
1
Maximize Velocity
4
Opt
2
Pillar of Flame
2
Shock
3
Chart a Course
3
Finale of Promise
4
Strategic Planning
Lands
3
Island
2
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
4
Spirebluff Canal
4
Steam Vents
2
Sulfur Falls
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Stern Dismissal
3
Abrade
2
Anger of the Gods
3
Mystical Dispute
2
Narset, Parter of Veils
3
Crackling Drake

The Mystical Archive turbocharges this archetype. With access to Faithless Looting and Brainstorm, not only will it be easier to return Arclight Phoenix from the graveyard, but it will also be easier to put them there. I expect Phoenix to be one of the new decks that gains recognition in a post-Strixhaven Historic format. The added card selection means that we can afford to run some 1-ofs, like maindeck Abrade or other versatile answers.

Golgari Citadel

 

Creatures
4
Tangled Florahedron
4
Gilded Goose
4
Llanowar Elves
4
Paradise Druid
Spells
4
Scheming Symmetry
4
Explore
4
Weather the Storm
4
Tendrils of Agony
Artifacts
4
Wishclaw Talisman
4
Bolas's Citadel
Lands
4
Blooming Marsh
4
Darkbore Pathway
3
Forest
4
Overgrown Tomb
3
Phyrexian Tower
2
Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
4
Thoughtseize
2
Noxious Grasp
2
Wilt
3
Binding the Old Gods
2
Languish

This deck used to rely on Wildgrowth Walker and the Explore mechanic, but with the introduction of Weather the Storm and Tendrils of Agony into Historic, we can focus on a more streamlined gameplan: Ramp as quickly as possible to Citadel and kill the opponent (preferably in one turn). Scheming Symmetry is a card that is fantastic for both setting up Citadel and tutoring for a storm card mid-combo.

Izzet Storm

 

Creatures
4
Baral, Chief of Compliance
4
Goblin Electromancer
Spells
2
Silundi Vision
2
Valakut Awakening
4
Brainstorm
2
Faithless Looting
4
Opt
2
Finale of Promise
4
Grapeshot
2
Solve the Equation
4
Pirate's Pillage
4
Mind's Desire
Lands
5
Island
5
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
4
Spirebluff Canal
4
Steam Vents
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Rowan, Scholar of Sparks
2
The Biblioplex
3
Abrade
2
Anger of the Gods
3
Mystical Dispute
2
Narset, Parter of Veils

This build of Storm relies heavily on having multiple cost reducers in play. Finale of Promise is an interesting way to add to the storm count and kill using grapeshot with far fewer spells for a low cost.

Izzet Amber Storm

 

Planeswalkers
3
Rowan, Scholar of Sparks
Creatures
3
Birgi, God of Storytelling
4
Baral, Chief of Compliance
Spells
4
Brainstorm
4
Opt
3
Rescue
4
Grapeshot
4
Solve the Equation
4
Mind's Desire
Artifacts
4
Mox Amber
Lands
6
Island
5
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
4
Spirebluff Canal
4
Steam Vents
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Rowan, Scholar of Sparks
3
Abrade
2
Negate
2
Anger of the Gods
2
Brazen Borrower
3
Mystical Dispute
2
Narset, Parter of Veils

This version of storm has access to Mox Amber as an actual source of free storm/mana. It still needs a legendary permanent in play to function, so it leans on Rowan and Birgi as engines instead of Goblin Electromancer. Rowan/Will and Birgi are great hits off Mind’s Desire as well, because both sides can be cast. Rescue is a cute way to generate free storm count with Mox Amber.

Lotus Field Storm

 

Creatures
2
Fae of Wishes
4
Rosethorn Acolyte
4
Vizier of Tumbling Sands
Spells
3
Bala Ged Recovery
4
Abundant Harvest
4
Brainstorm
4
Opt
4
Stony Strength
2
Sudden Spinnerets
4
Elemental Uprising
2
See the Truth
4
Mind's Desire
Lands
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Botanical Sanctum
4
Breeding Pool
4
Lotus Field
3
Temple of Mystery
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Pact of Negation
1
Ornamental Courage
1
Negate
1
Regrowth
1
Wilt
3
Mystical Dispute
1
Nissa's Zendikon
1
Tendrils of Agony
1
Time Warp
1
Niv-Mizzet, Parun
1
Thought Distortion
1
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Lotus Field is still far from its Pioneer equivalent (we are still waiting for Thespian Stage and Hidden Strings), but if we work a little harder, it is possible to build our own tap/untap engine to storm out in Historic. The idea with this deck is to animate Lotus Field via Elemental Uprising, then use cards like Stony Strength and Sudden Spinnerets as rituals.

An interaction worth noting here is Mind’s Desire casting See the Truth from outside of your hand, allowing you to refill your hand. There are definitely some other versions of this deck that could be close to playability. Quandrix Apprentice is a very good way to enable Lotus Field as well as dig through your deck for it.

Mono Black Discard

 

Planeswalkers
4
Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage
Creatures
4
Acquisitions Expert
4
Elderfang Disciple
4
Tinybones, Trinket Thief
3
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Spells
3
Pelakka Predation
2
Duress
4
Inquisition of Kozilek
4
Thoughtseize
2
Inscription of Ruin
Enchantments
4
Waste Not
Lands
4
Castle Locthwain
3
Faceless Haven
15
Snow-Covered Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Cling to Dust
3
Legion's End
2
Drill Bit
2
Elspeth's Nightmare
4
Nyxathid
2
Languish

With the introduction of another 1 mana discard spell in the form of Inquisition of Kozilek, Tinybones gets another chance to shine. Inquisition is a huge upgrade over cards like Liliana's Steward, but the competition in Historic has gotten much harder since Jumpstart was introduced to the format.

Esper Humans

 

Creatures
2
Glasspool Mimic
4
Dauntless Bodyguard
1
Giant Killer
4
Thraben Inspector
4
Charming Prince
4
Kitesail Freebooter
4
Meddling Mage
4
Silverquill Silencer
4
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4
Elite Spellbinder
3
General Kudro of Drannith
Lands
4
Brightclimb Pathway
4
Concealed Courtyard
4
Godless Shrine
4
Hallowed Fountain
4
Hengegate Pathway
2
Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Bloodchief's Thirst
3
Giant Killer
2
Apostle of Purifying Light
2
Containment Priest
2
Kambal, Consul of Allocation
1
Lavabrink Venturer
2
Hostage Taker

With the introduction of Thraben Inspector in Historic Anthology IV and Strixhaven’s contribution of Silverquill Silencer and Elite Spellbinder, there are finally enough playable humans to consider playing this style of deck. The lack of Aether Vial or a similar effect will likely keep humans from being truly competitive, but it is still an interesting aggressive-style deck to consider. 

Azorius Ephemerate

 

Creatures
4
Glasspool Mimic
4
Thraben Inspector
4
Charming Prince
2
Niambi, Esteemed Speaker
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Militia Bugler
4
Skyclave Apparition
2
Salvager of Secrets
Spells
4
Ephemerate
4
Time Warp
Lands
4
Glacial Fortress
4
Hallowed Fountain
4
Hengegate Pathway
5
Island
7
Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Grafdigger's Cage
3
Declaration in Stone
3
Dovin's Veto
3
Exclusion Mage
2
Mystical Dispute
2
Semester's End

The Mystical Archive gave us Time Warp and Ephemerate, which are both big players in this deck. Ephemeral lets you accrue value of Skyclave Apparition, Thraben Inspector, and Militia Bugler to continue playing into the late game. Once you are there, Ephemeral + Salvager of Secrets + Time Warp = Infinite turns!

Dimir Tainted Pact

 

Companion
1
Lutri, the Spellchaser
Planeswalkers
1
Narset, Parter of Veils
1
Jace, Wielder of Mysteries
Creatures
1
Baral, Chief of Compliance
1
Fae of Wishes
1
Sea Gate Stormcaller
1
Thassa's Oracle
1
God-Eternal Kefnet
Spells
1
Hagra Mauling
1
Jwari Disruption
1
Pact of Negation
1
Sea Gate Restoration
1
Silundi Vision
1
Bloodchief's Thirst
1
Brainstorm
1
Inquisition of Kozilek
1
Opt
1
Scheming Symmetry
1
Spell Pierce
1
Thoughtseize
1
Agonizing Remorse
1
Anticipate
1
Blink of an Eye
1
Censor
1
Curate
1
Deliberate
1
Drown in the Loch
1
Heartless Act
1
Into the Roil
1
Mission Briefing
1
Shimmer of Possibility
1
Tainted Pact
1
Teach by Example
1
Grim Tutor
1
Solve the Equation
1
Supreme Will
1
Mastermind's Acquisition
1
Time Warp
Artifacts
1
Coldsteel Heart
1
Mind Stone
Lands
1
Barren Moor
1
Blightstep Pathway
1
Bojuka Bog
1
Castle Locthwain
1
Castle Vantress
1
Clearwater Pathway
1
Drowned Catacomb
1
Fabled Passage
1
Fetid Pools
1
Hengegate Pathway
1
Ice Tunnel
1
Island
1
Lonely Sandbar
1
Riverglide Pathway
1
Snow-Covered Island
1
Snow-Covered Swamp
1
Swamp
1
Temple of Deceit
1
The Biblioplex
1
Watery Grave
1
Zagoth Triome
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Cling to Dust
1
Duress
1
Soul-Guide Lantern
1
Negate
1
Sorcerous Spyglass
1
Tainted Pact
1
Brazen Borrower
1
Lutri, the Spellchaser
1
Mystical Dispute
1
Necromentia
1
Saw It Coming
1
Unmoored Ego
1
Languish
1
Shadows' Verdict
1
Thought Distortion

Yes, that is a Lutri companion. If you can copy a Tainted Pact with 2 mana available, you can win the game by first finding Thassa’s Oracle and then exiling your entire library. There are a lot of hoops to jump through, namely the fact that in order for Tainted Pact to exile your entire library.

Since the deck is completely 1-ofs, most of the deck is filled with ways to dig for Pact. If you have Thassa’s Oracle or Jace in hand, you can also cast Tainted Pact from your hand in the end step of your opponent’s turn to bring your library down to 1 card and win on your turn.

The hardest part of this deck to build is the manabase because we don’t have access to any number of basic lands like other decks. I suspect some of the tapped lands should be replaced by Shocklands/Pathways. This deck will likely feel closer to Historic Brawl than Historic gameplay, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Boros Prowess

 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures
3
Clever Lumimancer
4
Soul-Scar Mage
4
Dreadhorde Arcanist
4
Tenth District Legionnaire
Spells
4
Defiant Strike
4
Gods Willing
4
Guiding Voice
4
Reckless Rage
3
Shock
2
Lightning Helix
3
Show of Confidence
Lands
3
Clifftop Retreat
4
Inspiring Vantage
3
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
3
Plains
4
Sacred Foundry
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Fight as One
2
Redcap Melee
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
1
Academic Probation
1
Lightning Helix
1
Rip Apart
1
Expanded Anatomy
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1
Reduce to Memory
1
Spirit Summoning
1
Start from Scratch
1
Introduction to Annihilation

The first build with Clever Lumimancer. I’m not sure whether Feather, the Redeemed is better than having access to Lurrus, but Feather also gained Mavinda, Student’s Advocate and Clever Lumimancer. Guiding Voice helps setup the lategame and lets you flashback Lightning Helix with Dreadhorde Arcanist.

Boros Burn

 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures
4
Clever Lumimancer
4
Ghitu Lavarunner
1
Grim Lavamancer
4
Soul-Scar Mage
Spells
4
Pillar of Flame
4
Shock
4
Lightning Helix
4
Light Up the Stage
4
Skewer the Critics
4
Wizard's Lightning
Lands
4
Inspiring Vantage
7
Mountain
4
Needleverge Pathway
4
Ramunap Ruins
4
Sacred Foundry
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
4
Bomat Courier
1
Abrade
4
Lightning Strike
2
Rest in Peace
3
Roiling Vortex
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

A different take on a Lumimancer build, this time, focusing on burn-heavy spells.

Simic Turboland

 

Planeswalkers
2
Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
4
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Creatures
2
Hydroid Krasis
4
Oracle of Mul Daya
Spells
4
Abundant Harvest
4
Brainstorm
4
Explore
4
Growth Spiral
4
Regrowth
4
Time Warp
Lands
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Breeding Pool
2
Crawling Barrens
4
Fabled Passage
5
Forest
3
Island
2
Zagoth Triome
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Grafdigger's Cage
2
Aether Gust
4
Wall of Blossoms
3
Mystical Dispute
3
Narset, Parter of Veils

Simic Turns is always a fun strategy, but with the introduction of Brainstorm and Abundant Harvest into Historic, Oracle of Mul Daya receives a significant power up. Regrowth effectively makes this deck have access to extra Time Warp, so all you have to do is hit the required number of lands and start comboing off!

Orzhov Shadow

 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures
4
Death's Shadow
4
Knight of the Ebon Legion
4
Adanto Vanguard
4
Scourge of the Skyclaves
Spells
4
Agadeem's Awakening
4
Bloodchief's Thirst
3
Gods Willing
4
Inquisition of Kozilek
4
Thoughtseize
2
Dire Tactics
4
Sign in Blood
2
Silverquill Command
Lands
4
Brightclimb Pathway
4
Concealed Courtyard
4
Godless Shrine
3
Ifnir Deadlands
2
Shefet Dunes
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
2
Village Rites
2
Fracture
2
Legion's End
3
Skyclave Shade
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1
Necromentia
2
Silverquill Command

Again, with access to the Mystical Archive, Death’s Shadow decks gain 2 new tools: Inquisition of Kozilek and Sign in Blood. Silverquill Command is a nice way to top off the curve while still having access to Lurrus.

Izzet Conjuring

 

Companion
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
Spells
2
Valakut Awakening
4
Brainstorm
3
Pillar of Flame
4
Cleansing Wildfire
4
See the Truth
2
Clear the Mind
3
Crush the Weak
4
Igneous Inspiration
4
Solve the Equation
4
Stone Rain
4
Collected Conjuring
Lands
4
Cascading Cataracts
4
Fabled Passage
4
Island
2
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
4
Steam Vents
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Environmental Sciences
1
Fractal Summoning
2
Anger of the Gods
2
Narset, Parter of Veils
1
Spirit Summoning
1
Start from Scratch
1
Teachings of the Archaics
2
Crackling Drake
1
Illuminate History
1
Introduction to Annihilation
1
Jegantha, the Wellspring
1
Mascot Exhibition

Historic Anthology IV contained Collected Conjuring, and while it is significantly worse than Collected Company in terms of options, Stone Rain has finally come to the format. Along with Cleansing Wildfire, this deck can attempt to cut your opponent’s resources off at the source by destroying their lands. Once you have control, you can win by recycling clear the minds or grabbing lessons from your sideboard.

Velomachus Rites

 

Creatures
4
Arclight Phoenix
1
Crackling Drake
4
Stormwing Entity
Spells
2
Spikefield Hazard
4
Brainstorm
4
Faithless Looting
3
Lightning Axe
1
Maximize Velocity
4
Opt
2
Pillar of Flame
2
Shock
3
Chart a Course
3
Finale of Promise
4
Strategic Planning
Lands
3
Island
2
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
4
Spirebluff Canal
4
Steam Vents
2
Sulfur Falls
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Stern Dismissal
3
Abrade
2
Anger of the Gods
3
Mystical Dispute
2
Narset, Parter of Veils
3
Crackling Drake

Time Warp + Velomachus is a powerful interaction, and cheating it into play with Unburial Rites is a solid game plan. It is possible that a similar deck that foregoes blue for green could be better suited, but Time Warp is the best payoff for Velomachus.

1 Response

  1. MondSemmel says:

    FYI, your Velomachus Rites deck is correct when following the link, but in this article it’s a copy of the Izzet Phoenix deck.

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