Historic has been a very unexplored format so far. From Winota to Field of the Dead, the format has been always dominated by a single strategy – too strong for any other decks to interact favorably. With the latest ban of Field of the Dead, control strategies have been unleashed and the metagame has been much healthier in the first week post-ban. Control strategies like Bant, Azorius and Sultai have posted good results, and aggro decks like Mono Red and Mono Green have enjoyed the goods that Amonkhet Remastered brought to them. Combo-ish decks like Citadel, Goblins and Auras have adapted to interact a bit more with the opponent, and midrange decks like Sacrifice and Ramp are still being championed by top players across the ladder.
With the upcoming Mythic Invitational and Qualifier Weekend both being Historic, all eyes have been placed into which are the real tier one decks in the format to start defining the metagame. After some constant checking of MTG Twitter to unsuccessfully try and find some unexplored ideas for new possible archetypes to rise to the top, I decided to try and tune a few ideas. Spoiler: Some were unsuccessful (sorry Mr. Bolas), while some others performed pretty well in the sea that is numbered Mythic.
Today, I would like to share three decklists that performed really well for me and that I believe could be contenders in the open Historic metagame.
Simic Leyline Ramp
I’ve been championing this deck since before Amonkhet Remastered arrived, but it now feels stronger than ever. The problem with this deck always was that on turn 4 you were usually dropping either a bunch of mana creatures or an early Elder Gargaroth, only to get everything destroyed. The addition of Pact of Negation off the board has been huge to combat the multiple board wipes that decks like Azorius, Sultai or Bant pack. The deck revolves around making a ton of mana fast and dropping a huge game ending threats like Ugin or Ulamog. Kinnan is your best card as it can easily get you to 7 mana to use its ability to find your threats and even without the it is still super strong. Usually you want to use his ability over playing stuff from your hand, but make sure to check your options.
I tried using Collected Company in the deck but felt pretty underwhelming. Mostly because the deck changes a lot post board and it felt like the worst card after sideboarding. As a heads up on how to play the deck, be wary of the opponent’s mass removal, and try to not overextend too hard into it. Focus on your ramping game one, where we’re mostly doing busted stuff. Sideboard is pretty easy, you take out the Leylines to account for opponents packing up removal, and maybe a couple mana dorks in order to play more of a midrange deck. Make sure to not cut more than 2-3 mana dorks and the Leylines or your deck won’t ramp enough. I usually only side out some Ulamogs against heavy aggro. I promise it is more resilient than it looks.
Auras has been a steady competitor in the Historic metagame since the last Arena Open where both Mono White and Azorius Auras posted great results. Selesnya however, has been non-existent and I wondered – why?
Selesnya sacrifices some cheap Auras, but gains a ton of consistency in the form of Enchantress’s Presence and Season of Growth. Those plus Kor Spiritdancer means you have access to more than 10 draw engines that don’t rely on the target hitting your opponent, as opposed to cards like Staggering Insight and Curious Obsession. The drawback is that neither of them are Auras (unless you want Sixth Sense as a replacement), so we’re forced to play a couple less creatures.
The other really important piece of the Selesnya puzzle is Ancestral Mask. Ancestral Mask is usually an All That Glitters on steroids and can end games even faster. It won’t count itself but does count enchantments that your opponent controls as well. Another card that can be included in the deck is Setessan Tactics over Angelic Gift, but it is still useful as it replaces itself and also gives evasion. Overall, the green enchantments are strong enough and lets you go long in a ton of matches and overwhelm your opponents in card advantage. Be aware however of Priest of Forgotten Gods as it is a nightmare for this deck. The deck plays similar to the normal auras deck, but if you’ve played with it you may know how explosive the Kor Spiritdancer hands are. Well… We now get a lot more of those! Deck still mulligans a ton when you don’t get at least one creature in hand, but with so much card draw, a good five card hand can certainly get there.
Don’t be afraid to throw big auras into an unprotected creature if you can draw off the cast. You want to force out removal, and once you’re drawing cards with every aura cast, you’ll probably end up with bigger hands than the opponent. Remember to play around wraths as much as possible and also around the Extinction Event.
My last recommendation for today is an old favorite, Merfolk. Here, Collected Company fits like a glove and gives the deck a ton of explosiveness and resilience to removal.
This deck is pretty linear and aggressive and if you enjoy aggro-tempo decks (similar to the popular Mono Blue Tempo), this one should absolutely hit home. To be fair, of the 3 decks, this was the one I tested the least but it served me well giving me a 7-1 run ending at #200-ish in the Mythic ladder.
Brazen Borrower and Merrow Reejerey are great at clearing up blockers. Kira is also a nightmare for many decks that rely on targeted removal on your key creatures. With a whopping 33 targets in the maindeck for Collected Company, it should almost never fail, and it even lets you side out some cards to bring in counterspells or Deeproot Waters for those removal heavy games. Just don’t get too crazy with sideboarding and don’t cut the 1 drops as they’re really important at applying pressure. Try to not go under 25 creatures!
These three decks were just a quick example of how unexplored Historic can be. Many more strategies are still out there to be discovered – which decks or cards are you willing to try next? Let me know in the comments!