Dimir Rogues Historic Deck Guide: Nobody Expects the Standard Deck in Historic

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Hello everyone! Today I’m going to talk about what happens when you accidentally click your Standard deck when going into the Historic ladder as apparently, it’s a lot of wins! Rogues has been a relatively dominant archetype in Standard since Zendikar Rising, and with the power level being so high and now that Uro is gone, I figured they may be able to tussle in Historic as well.

What I discovered is although this deck will likely not be taking down tournaments anytime soon, it’s a lot of fun to play and surprising opponents on the ladder has been extremely enjoyable for me. Let’s take a look at the list.

(H) Rogues

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Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creature (16)
4
Merfolk Windrobber
4
Ruin Crab
4
Soaring Thought-Thief
4
Thieves' Guild Enforcer
Sorcery (9)
2
Agadeem's Awakening/Agadeem, the Undercrypt
3
Chart a Course
4
Thoughtseize
Instant (13)
4
Drown in the Loch
4
Fatal Push
1
Heartless Act
4
Into the Story
Land (22)
4
Clearwater Pathway/Murkwater Pathway
4
Drowned Catacomb
2
Fabled Passage
5
Island
3
Swamp
4
Watery Grave
Cards 60
Sideboard (15)
2
Crippling Fear
2
Grafdigger's Cage
2
Lullmage's Domination
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
4
Mystical Dispute
2
Negate
2
Noxious Grasp

I wasn’t kidding when I called it a Standard deck. My build is extremely similar to the Standard version just with some minor upgrades from Historic in Thoughtseize, Fatal Push, Chart a Course, and better mana. I looked into a version with Curious Obsession, but I found it was too hard to protect your Rogues and Mono-Blue did the same thing but better, so I nixed that idea.

Secondly, a lot of people pushed me to play Oona's Blackguard, and although it feels great when it works, it’s so slow and requires you to have multiple creatures after it to do literally anything. Thus with those two concerns out of the way, we’re mostly just playing the Standard deck.

The Rogues gallery (get it?) feels quite good in Historic and Into the Story is just as strong as well. Luckily for Rogues, there aren’t too many decks that are extremely fast which is good for it’s validity. The downside with Rogues though, is that some of your bad matchups are really bad. If you’re willing to have your matchups be extremely swingy and you like the playstyle, I implore you to give Rogues a try. Your rank may not thank you, but your heart will.

In all seriousness, the deck is actually reasonably powerful and can put the hurt on the slow strategies in Historic. This is a definitive Tier 3 deck, but my win rate with it is surprisingly decent, 7-3 in Mythic ladder. I won’t guarantee you can replicate my results, but know if you’re playing this it’s for the experience, not the equity.

MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING

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SACRIFICE (MODERATELY UNFAVORED TO HEAVILY UNFAVORED)

INOUT
+2 Grafdigger’s Cage-4 Merfolk Windrobber
+2 Lullmage’s Domination-2 Chart a Course
+2 Crippling Fear

Unfortunately for Rogues, any matchup where milling them can be beneficial is extremely rough. Milling over Cauldron Familiar or Woe Strider can be extremely painful so ideally you draw a Grafdigger’s Cage or you manage to kill them quickly.

AURAS (EVEN)

INOUT
+2 Noxious Grasp-3 Merfolk Windrobber
+2 Lullmage’s Domination-3 Chart a Course
+2 Crippling Fear

This matchup is going to depend on how well you can disrupt their game plan in the early turns. If you have a few pieces of interaction backed up by a constant mill source (Ruin Crab or Soaring Thought-Thief) this matchup will feel like a joke. However, they play a good amount of interaction themselves, Hushbringer, recursion and so on, so it can be difficult depending on their draw.

ARCANIST (HEAVILY UNFAVORED TO CONCEDE TO SAVE TIME)

INOUT
+2 Grafdigger’s Cage-4 Ruin Crab
+2 Lullmage’s Domination

This matchup is horrendous and the main reason Rogues will likely never be a real deck to play on ladder. Their game plan is just perfect against you and Kroxa is a huge issue. You can win this matchup, but everything will have to go right for that to happen.

UW CONTROL (HEAVILY FAVORED)

INOUT
+2 Negate-1 Merfolk Windrobber
+4 Mystical Dispute-4 Fatal Push
-1 Heartless Act

On the other side of the spectrum, you have the UW matchup which is obscenely good for you. All my matches have gone one of two ways: either I just do my thing and they get annihilated or they draw the stones and still lose because they can’t kill me before they mill out. Your only real concerns in this matchup is Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Shark Typhoon, but as long as you can properly mitigate those, you shouldn’t have a problem.

ANGELS (SLIGHTLY FAVORED TO MODERATELY FAVORED)

INOUT
+2 Noxious Grasp-3 Merfolk Windrobber
+2 Lullmage’s Domination-3 Chart a Course
+2 Crippling Fear

Same boarding as Auras and the matchup goes similarly, but is generally easier for you. Do your Rogues thing, keep their board in check, and this matchup shouldn’t be too bad. Try not to keep interaction light hands as Angels can go nuts quickly if left unchecked.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Lurrus of the Dream-Den Art by Slawomir Maniak

Note: Since the Standard and Historic versions are so similar, all of these tips are from my Standard Rogues Guide. You play it the exact same way you would in Standard, just with a different card pool in mind!

  • If you have a choice between playing Merfolk Windrobber or Ruin Crab first, opt for Windrobber as it’ll get you the extra mill compared to Crab that you can deploy next anyway. If you have multiple Crabs in hand though, go for Crab.
  • Merfolk Windrobber is the best creature with Lurrus as you can chump block something and sacrifice it to draw a card in the late game, don’t forget this interaction.
  • Getting back Lurrus is generally the last thing you need to do, holding open interaction or casting more spells is generally better. However, I would not bluff interaction over getting back Lurrus 99% of the time.
  • Try to use your Drown in the Loch as late as possible as it’s your most versatile spell.
  • Into the Story gets its cost reduction when your opponent has 7 cards in the graveyard unlike the other payoffs that all trigger with 8. 
  • Keeping interaction heavy hands can be ok if you know what you’re facing, but in general hands that are split between interaction and creatures are the best. 
  • You can keep low land count hands if you have a lot of plays in it with the mana you already have. Rogues is very good at operating with a little and a lot of mana.
  • Crippling Fear will mostly be naming Rogue, so as a consequence, Ruin Crab may bite the dust. To play around that better, you can more aggressively block with it if you feel like you’re going to cast Crippling Fear soon.

That’s all that I have for today! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a great day!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is a streamer and high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and teaching!

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