Hello everyone! Historic has been my format of choice this month so it’s exciting to see a lot of brand new additions to spice up the format with Historic Anthology 4! Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and what we can use out of the new Historic Anthology. At the end, I’ll also give my opinion on whether it’s worth purchasing the Anthology or not! Before we dive in, let’s take a look at how my personal rating system works.
- 0/5 – Unplayable in every sense.
- 1/5 – Extremely niche play or very unlikely to see play.
- 2/5 – Niche to no play, maybe playable in certain conditions.
- 3/5 – Reasonable playable. Not format breaking, but has the power level to see play in some strategy (or strategies).
- 4/5 – Very strong card, but not the best the format has to offer. Has the power level to see a lot of play.
- 5/5 – The very top of the format. This card will create a huge impact going forward on the format.
ADORNED POUNCER (0/5)
This simply isn’t a playable card in Historic. Hard pass.
DECLARATION IN STONE (2.5/5)
Declaration in Stone is an interesting addition to the small suite of white removal we had available in Historic. Unlike cards like Glass Casket or Baffling End, Declaration in Stone can hit creatures of any size and all other creatures of the same name under the opponents control! The downside however, is that they get a Clue token per non token creature exiled. As it stands, most of the threats in Historic are already 3 CMC or lower so Declaration doesn’t really have an advantage over Glass Casket or Baffling End, but if larger threats become more prevalent, tokens become more prevalent, or you really don’t want to have your removal exiled by Skyclave Apparition, this could see play.
THRABEN INSPECTOR (2.5/5)
Thraben Inspector was a surprisingly powerful 1 drop during its time in Standard and I like that we have access to it now, but I don’t think this is the format to see it shine. Historic can be very fast and brutal, rarely coming down to attrition where Thraben Inspector can shine. On the flip side, it could be used as a curve starter in aggressive decks, but aggressive decks in Historic generally have to be playing rather unfair to justify their existence with decks like Sacrifice and Arcanist around. I think it’s unlikely this sees play, but not impossible.
TRIUMPHANT RECKONING (1/5)
Simply put, there are better payoffs that are cheaper and much easier to enable. Cards this expensive need a combo associated with them and ever if there was one, paying 9 mana to win is too tall a price in Historic, especially since instantly winning with this card would also be difficult.
ICEBERG CANCRIX (1.5/5)
Maybe there’s a Mill deck that could be viable so I don’t want to rule ol’ Cancrix out, but I really have my doubts. Even if there were, only milling 2 cards per snow permanent is a bit low considering there aren’t too many playable Snow cards yet. I wouldn’t say this could never see play, but it seems unlikely.
MARIT LAGE’S SLUMBER (2/5)
This is actually a decent payoff for Snow unlike Cancrix, but like Cancrix, this doesn’t seem good enough. Ten snow permanents after casting this is a long process, but in fairness, a good amount of decks can’t beat a 20/20 Flying Indestructible creature, so there may be some weird deck that can utilize this.
THINK TWICE (3/5)
Think Twice may look unassuming, but it’s actually quite good. Control can live or die by having enough stuff to do when the opponent casts spells that aren’t worth countering, and Think Twice is about as good at durdling as you can get. It’s a slow Divination that’s more expensive, but when you get to sneak it in early or cast it after untapping your lands with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, the value adds up.
AMMIT ETERNAL (1/5)
This could only see play in 2 strategies, Black based aggro or Henge decks. I think we have better options for Black based Aggro and a functional 3 mana 4/4 or 3/3 just doesn’t help to cast The Great Henge. This isn’t as bad as Adorned Pouncer, but it’s certainly close.
DEATH’S SHADOW (3.5/5)
Easily one of the most exciting cards coming out of the Anthology, Death’s Shadow is a card beloved by many Magic boomers for it’s unique play style. With Scourge of the Skyclaves, it seems likely that some sort of aggressive life loss deck can come from it (unlike the more tempo versions we’ve seen in Modern). I’m not positive that the deck will be good enough to wade through the harsh Historic metagame, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Shadow finds it’s way onto my Tier list.
FAITH OF THE DEVOTED (0.5/5)
This is not the payoff either Cycling or a Discard deck wanted. It’s expensive, slow, and not very impactful. Pass.
TORMENT OF SCARABS (0/5)
Don’t know why they bothered to print this in an Anthology if it didn’t make the cut in Amonkhet Remastered. In fairness, this card was pretty miserable in Limited, but still don’t understand the inclusion when Tergrid, God of Fright exists.
FLAMEBLADE ADEPT (3/5)
Flameblade Adept seems innocuous, but it’s a uniquely powerful card that helped put Hollow One on the map in Modern. We don’t have a lot of the same tools we have in Modern, but we’re inching closer to a really strong Hollow One strategy in Historic as well. Furthermore, Flameblade Adept can have applications in Cycling in conjunction with Flourishing Fox to give the deck better starts. This may be the card I’m most excited to try out from the Anthology.
GOBLIN GAVELEER (1.5/5)
Maybe some weird equipment aggro deck can use this, but that seems doubtful. For what it’s worth, Gaveleer can chunk people quickly if left unattended, but that’s asking a lot.
HARMLESS OFFERING (1.5/5)
You play this for one reason and one reason only, Demonic Pact. Gifting your opponent a game losing Demonic Pact is fun, but Demonic Pact wasn’t really good in Historic before and I don’t believe this is going to change it. That being said, I don’t think there’s a 0% chance this card could see play.
LYS ALANA HUNTMASTER (0.5/5)
This is not the payoff Elves was looking for and the only consideration is that there’s some weird synergy or combo with this like Intruder Alarm. Even if there were, it would have to be obscenely powerful to justify playing such a weak card.
SAWTUSK DEMOLISHER (1/5)
I don’t get it. Maybe there’s some random deck that can use this? No idea, but it doesn’t seem good.
SPIDER SPAWNING (0/5)
Just don’t even try. How hard can you work for a 5 mana card that doesn’t even remotely win you the game.
ABOMINATION OF LLANOWAR (1.5/5)
Elves could use this as an interesting tool for creature matchups, but it seems worse than most other things they could put in that spot.
COLLECTED CONJURING (2/5)
I was ready to give Collected Conjuring a much higher rating until I realized it only hit Sorceries, not Instants and Sorceries. My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined. If this is going to see play, it’s going to be with Arclight Phoenix and See the Truth or be part of a weird combo deck. That being said, the deck building restrictions to make this card good seem too high.
HAMZA, GUARDIAN OF ARASHIN (0.5/5)
This could only be playable if there’s a weird combo deck revolving around this, but that seems clunky and unlikely.
I may get flack for this rating, but Bonesplitter is better than most people give it credit for. No, it’s probably not at Historic power level, but it’s a cheap equipment that can make any creature relatively threatening for a very low cost. It’s unlikely this sees play, but I wouldn’t rule it out.
COLDSTEEL HEART (2.5/5)
Niche playable in decks that want more Mind Stones. Guardian Idol already exists, but Coldsteel taps for colors where Idol can turn into a creature. If the color is relevant, Coldsteel can see play. In that vein, this and the next previewed card may make an old Standard favorite port into Historic.
INSPIRING STATUARY (2.5/5)
This card is super narrow and really only works in one deck, but it works wonders in Paradoxical Outcome Storm. Making your Outcomes one mana can help you quickly combo off and accrue a lot of value in a hurry. I played Monoblue Storm to death when it was Standard legal, and it gets some very reasonable upgrades from Historic. That being said, I don’t know if this is more powerful than Paradox Combo, but I’m willing to find out the fun way.
SWORD OF BODY AND MIND (2.5/5)
What a weird inclusion to put into a Anthology. Unfortunately, Body and Mind is one of the worst Swords in the cycle which likely renders it unplayable, but there could be a metagame where it can see play. More importantly, I think this is really just a prelude to potentially more Swords in the future. If this one doesn’t see play, that means they could try a more powerful Sword, and that I would be excited for. Sword of Feast and Famine one time!
BLINKMOTH NEXUS (3/5)
Blinkmoth Nexus is a weird one as the power level is definitely there, I just can’t think of how to use it. Faceless Haven fulfills a very similar role, but a 1 mana activation versus 3 and snow is a cavernous difference in terms of value. I wouldn’t be surprised if this saw play in a good deck nor would I be surprised if it never sees the light of day.
SHOULD YOU BUY THE ANTHOLOGY?
Definitely not. The value of this set seems significantly lower than a lot of the previous sets due to how few cards most decks would actively want to have. Most of the rares are pretty weak so the ones that are the most compelling (Death’s Shadow, Declaration in Stone, Inspiring Statuary) can easily be picked up piecemeal. I say save your money, wait until the next Historic set to see if it’s worth the plunge.
That’s my set review and decklists! Do you think I’m sleeping on any of these cards? Let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading!