30 New Historic Brews with Zendikar Rising
While Historic probably won’t end up getting as much of a shakeup with Zendikar Rising, there are still many cards that will have applications in current archetypes or contribute to new ones. One thing that is very apparent in this format is that there are some decks that greatly benefit from better mana with the introduction of the Pathway lands. Decks that have access to only one or even no (RIP Rakdos Arcanist) copies of the Pathways will still have awkward mana, and that is the thing that will cause them to stumble the most.
Castles are a lot less free because decks will be running the modal spell lands and Pathways that don’t have Basic Land types. This is basically my roundabout way of saying that mana bases are hard to build when we haven’t had a chance to play the modal double-faced cards yet. I’ll stop talking about mana and just show you the decklists (with sideboards for Historic, because we no we need to be able to beat Goblins, Jund, and Sultai). Without further ado, here they all are. You can also see all the decklists in one place here.
Please note: The decklists are currently in raw export format so that we can push them out before the Early Access Streamer Event. It will be updated to the proper format very soon!
Ardent Electromancer is not Burning-Tree Emissary, but if you can cast an extra spell off of it, it can have a similar effect on the game. In Historic, we have access to Pelt Collector, which is a much better 1 drop warrior than anything legal in standard. Ahn-Crop Crasher is a nice spell to cast off a 3 party Electromancer, and gaining access to Turntimber Symbiosis for the late game is enough to make this deck interesting. It’s possible that the creatures are just slightly below the curve, but it’s certainly worth testing.
This deck gained access to Tangled Florahedron and Glasspool Mimic, which help ensure you don’t miss on your Collected Companies while still ensuring you can reliably get to 4 mana. Another card that is exciting is Skyclave Apparition. It reminds me of Reflector Mage, albeit more vulnerable but certainly has its upsides. Only having access to Branchloft Pathway might mean we have to wait until Kaldheim to have good enough mana for turn 1 mana dork, turn 2 3 drop with 2 pips of blue or white into turn 3 Collected Company, but this deck is starting to take shape.
When Collected Company came out, Spirits was the first deck I tried to put it in. I think again, the Bant mana was the main issue. This version of the deck does not run mana dorks and as a result the mana is less awful. Gains for this deck are Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate, who does her best impression of Selfless Spirit, and Skyclave Apparition, which is currently in the sideboard because it does not fly.
No Pathway for UW, but it’s less necessary because Irrigated Farmland is actually good for the deck. Jwari Disruption and Emeria’s Call Let this deck continue to hit land drops, which is realistically the main issue the deck suffers from. If you can manage to land a Teferi on a relatively clean board, UW will turn the tide. Having a land as a possible win condition is very powerful for this type of deck, and it may be correct to have 4 Emeria’s Call in the future.
You can’t really get around playing Teferi these days, and I’m not complaining. This deck runs 4 Silundi Vision to dig for specific answers and ensure it hits its land drops. With more land drops, I’m more excited to try out 4 copies of Sphinx’s Revelation. Deliberate over Omen of the Sea because it can be found with Vision and it contributes to Search for Azcanta graveyard count earlier.
I’ve seen this type of deck in Eternal Formats, and Lurrus + Aether Spellbomb is already something that we have seen. This deck gained Sea Gate Stormcaller and Bloodchief’s Thirst from Zendikar Rising, and those 2 cards alone give the deck potential. Copying Thoughtseize or Thirst can be potentially devastating at many different points in the game.
I’m still a little sad that we don’t have Satyr Wayfinder in the format, because that would really tie this type of deck together. Agadeem’s Awakening and the Pathways are huge boons for this deck. Skyclave Shade also tries its best to impersonate Bloodghast here.
This is where not having 4 card self-mill effects really hurts. Driven // Despair is a very potent payoff, but you need to be able to consistently put 8+ cards into your graveyard each game.
This deck was an experiment to see if I could make a single color achieve party. Turns out it’s pretty hard in black. Thwart the grave is fine even if it costs 2BB, but it might just be a worse payoff than God-Pharoah’s Gift.
Better mana and Magmatic Channeler are the gains for popular Arclight Phoenix decks, and it also doubles as a discard outlet, which should not be underestimated. Spikefield Hazard doubles as both a land and a spell, which I think the Phoenix decks absolutely needed.
Updated BR Arcanist with Bloodchief’s Thirst. Feed the Swarm in the sideboard is also big game; the deck can now deal with Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace. Not getting a BR Pathway is what I think is holding back this deck. It can obviously do well (as we’ve seen in the Mythic Invitational), but mana problems are its biggest issue.
This deck lost its way to create a game-ending board state on the end step when Teferi, Time Raveler got the banhammer, but I think it’s possible to rebuild it with the help of Shatterskull Minotaur and Double Face Lands. Ensuring you hit your land drops is basically the only thing this deck is trying to do until it puts a bunch of minotaur onto the battlefield.
Wizards is a supported tribe from Zendikar Rising, and Magmatic Channeler appears to be a grown up version of Ghitu Lavarunner, complete with a card advantage engine. This could be a deck for Sea Gate Stormcaller, but It doesn’t work with Wizard’s Lightning, so I have left it out of the initial build. I’m not sure Adeliz is better than just running straight up burn, but multiple global pumps in one turn is certainly worth considering.
Zagras, Nighthawk, and Nullpriest of Oblivion are all very powerful vampires, and Sagras can be cheated into play with Sorin, so it only made sense to try to get this build to work. I fear the mana might still be lacking without access to the BR Flipland.
Fear not people who thought I wouldn’t recognize that we can now consistently cast a 4 CMC dragon on turn 3 with this deck! Now all we need is Thunderbreak Regent to make its way to Arena and we can truly rule the skies. The Double Face Lands also help this deck.
My last build of Merfolk had Collected Company, but I think this deck might want to try and leverage Merrow Reejerey and Deeproot Waters with Kumena. Zendikar Rising delivered an easier to cast 1 drop with evasion (important for putting +1/+1 counters on) in Merfolk Windrobber. Glasspool Mimic is no Phantasmal Image, but we will make due with what we can. Copying a Deeproote Elite or Merrow Rejeery can lead to some very silly draws.
Rogues is my favorite Morningtide sub-tribe, so I was ecstatic when Oona’s Blackguard was introduced with Jumpstart, and simultaneously disappointed that the deck wasn’t good enough. It is possible that Zendikar Rising fixes that. We now have a high density of one drops, which is what Oona’s Blackguard and Soaring Thought-Thief require in order to be good. I look forward to poking people to death with Nightshade Stingers and Slither Blades.
This deck attempts to abuse Scourge of Skyclaves by running a very painful manabase and Thoughtseize. If you and your opponent maintain similar life totals through the game, Scourge will end up being good enough.
Here is a different build of Scourge that attempts to abuse the synergies between Spawn of Mayhem, Scourge of the Skyclaves, and Demonic Embrace. This version looks very similar to Mono Black Aggro from last season, so it seems like it could be the way to build this deck.
This is just a regular build of party that attempts to assemble reasonable creatures that happen to be part of your party and use Spoils of Adventure to refuel.
Venerated Loxodon is a Cleric, who knew? Obsession works really well with Mist-Cloaked Herald and Slither Blade, and with a high density of one drops that contribute to party, Spoils of Adventure and Loxodon are sure to be cheap to cast!
This deck attempts to utilize Ardent Electromancer to its full potential without having to play bad creatures like the standard version. Free mana is very powerful, so this build warrants testing.
I’ve been a fan of burn with The Flame of Keld for since Soul-Scar Mage came out, but I have never been a fan of Viashino Pyromancer either. Magmatic Channeler offers a solution to many of this decks problems, as a beefy beater, a wizard, and a potential way to turn bad late game draws into burn spells.
Aggroshift was once a deck in Modern’s past, and we see Steppe Lynx (Akoum Hound) and Lotus Cobra returning to the format, so it’s worth exploring. The Valakut Exploration + Scapeshift interaction is also a way to potentially end a game.
Excavator + Lithomancy/Scapeshift + Lotus Cobra + Valakut Exploration seem powerful enough together to exploit. This deck reminds me of Modern Scapeshift a bit, but no Primeval Titan or Valakut make a huge difference.
This is the deck that I am most excited to try with the new format. Many people talked about Thieving Skydiver along with Colossus Hammer, but what we have failed to discuss is the fact that Mist-Cloaked Herald and River Sneak are both unblockable warriors that we can use Resolute Strike to equip Hammer to. Kor Blademaster rounds out the creature suite, allowing the deck to kill very quickly. You may be wondering why you would play this deck over UW Auras (other than memes). I think this deck can put on a very quick clock like Auras, and Colossus Hammer stays on the field for future creatures instead of dying with the creature. I look forward to smashing people with Colossus Hammer Merfolk!
Tinybones got some exciting upgrades: Acquisitions Expert for more actual discard, Bloodcheif’s Thirst for unconditional removal, Crawling Barrens as an actual mana sink and finisher, and then THE BEST MIND ROT EVER PRINTED in Inscription of Ruin. I think what excites me about the Inscription is that it’s not a dead card when your opponent is on 0 cards, which is one of the main issues with the deck.
First, I want to apologize for my previous iteration of Death and Taxes, which included Swallow Whole. Apparently I did not read the card, and it requires the creature it is targeting to be tapped…That being said, I think this deck received some significant upgrades in Zendikar Rising. Not only do we replace Swallow Whole with a slightly better removal spell in Kabira Takedown, but Archon of Emeria and Skyclave Apparition are big in the Death and Taxes world. Emeria’s Call also lets you try and win games that stall and go long.
With Monument, I think Mystic Forge is worth testing again. Notably, this deck can now gain infinite life with Monument by looping Ancestral Statues out of the karn wishboard. This deck might need some Kaladesh cards to truly be playable, but it’s starting to shape up!
That’s all I have for now! Let me know what brews you enjoy the most!