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