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Jace, the Mind Sculptor Art by Jason Chan

Historic Anthology 6 Wishlist – The Best Cards They Can Bring In for Historic

Hello everyone! With the next Historic Anthology 6 coming soon I figured it would be prudent to talk about what cards would be cool to be included!

Now that it has been announced that the set will contain cards exclusively for Historic, we’ve updated the wishlist and created a separate one for Explorer Anthology 1, which will contain cards specifically for Explorer and thus bring it closer to Pioneer (but will subsequently be legal for Historic anyway).

How did I decide on these cards?

The way I went about picking these cards was quite different from how I picked out Explorer’s cards. For Explorer I cared about the proverbial rule of cool and then heavily emphasized how they would impact the metagame. I wanted cards that could really shake up the format, but in a good way as depending on the order cards get added to Explorer, it can easily make or break the format in the short term.

For Historic though, I have a much different philosophy. Yes, card balancing is important and I don’t want them to introduce a card that’s going to irreparably warp the format. Something like Lightning Bolt definitely flirts with this as it would just became an instant 4 of in every Red deck and is something I’d like to avoid. However, I want Historic to really push the card power level to it’s limits. Since Historic is a digital only format that can be changed as necessary, adding in cards that are pushing it power level wise, but also can’t be played ubiquitously seems like the perfect spot for me. If the card is extremely powerful and can slot into a few decks, that’s great.

With the recent rebalancing hitting Phoenix and Food, Historic is much weaker than it used to be. While I definitely like that the top two decks were hit, I don’t like how the power level of the format is now super low, pretty comparable to Explorer. Historic should be a high powered format, let’s make it happen!

As a final note, these aren’t in a particular order.

Geist of Saint Traft

Kicking off this list I have a bit of a sketchy pick, but we have to start off with a bang! Geist of Saint Traft was a staple back in it’s heyday and saw plenty of Modern play as well. It can punish strategies that are solely looking to be reactive with it being Hexproof and it’s ability to clock the opponent for 6 a turn if uninterrupted.

Why do I want this in Historic? Although I’m likely in the minority, I think this card is actually quite interesting! Would this be used offensively in Azorius Auras as a great creature to hold Auras? Will this be in Azorius Control’s sideboard for other slow decks in order to punk them out? Can a new archetype be spawned by its presence? There’s a lot of possibilities with Geist of Saint Traft and I think Historic is definitely strong enough to safely house it.

Snapcaster Mage

Coming up next is what would likely have the biggest delta between how good people think it would be to how good it actually is. Snapcaster Mage was a staple in every format it was legal in for a long while, but in recent times, has actually been supplanted by more powerful options. Since it was such an iconic card for a long time, I would love to have it in Historic.

Now to speak to the first statement I made, although Snapcaster would definitely see play and likely be solid, I don’t even think it would be that strong. Snapcaster is only as good as the spells it’s flashing back, and while we have some decent cheap spells in Historic, we’re missing the heavy hitters like Path to Exile or Lightning Bolt that really push the power level of Snapcaster. Obviously you can flash back more expensive spells, but between incidental graveyard hate and powerful permission spells, I highly doubt this would ever be broken.

I think the most natural home for Snapcaster would be some Jeskai Control deck as flashing back Lightning Helix or Archmage's Charm seems like a real treat, but again, I really doubt that would feel particularly overbearing. Maybe I’m disrespecting Snapcaster a little too much, but the only way to find out is if it’s on Arena!

Bloodbraid Elf

I’m a simple man who likes good threats. The four mana spot is always one of the most contested in Constructed as that’s where we start to see huge jumps in power level. This is apparent as many decks end the curve at 4 mana, so there has to be something good going on there!

Similar to Snapcaster Mage, Bloodbraid Elf is another extremely iconic card in Magic’s history. Also like Snapcaster, despite it being powerful, I think it would be completely safe to add into Historic. It was on Moderns ban list for quite awhile and when it was finally released, it only saw modest play. The card is obviously good as a 3/2 Haste that nets a presumably decent spell is good value, but that seems far from broken in modern Constructed. Even compared to Collected Company, it really doesn’t seem that much better, if it even is better!

Never the less, what I like about Bloodbraid Elf is that a lot of decks can play it and be happy with it. Whether you’re playing Gruul Aggro, Jund Midrange, or even a Ponza deck, all of them can make use of Bloodbraid Elf to increase the power of their deck!

Liliana of the Veil

It may be a little obvious that I seriously started getting into Magic back in original Innistrad, but it had so many bangers! Liliana of the Veil was yet another Standard and Modern staple off of it’s ability to grind like no other. Pressuring the opponent’s resources in different ways and then threatening to have a debilitating ultimate all on three mana is quite the package.

Unlike my previous three entries, I’ll admit that this one may actually be a bit strong for Historic. It does a whole lot for not too much and certain decks will fold like origami in the face of it on curve. That said, I still think it wouldn’t be broken as both Arclight Phoenix and Cauldron Familiar, two of the most popular threats in Historic, are absolutely bananas against Liliana which makes me think that would make it safe inherently. Furthermore, if you’re just playing an aggressive deck, Liliana isn’t that much of a threat to you so the only real concern is if it’s too good against the Control decks.

I don’t want a card that just bodies one archetype, but as long as Control is built with Liliana’s presence in mind, I feel it would be a fine and fun addition to Historic.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

“Alright, Bob has really gone off the rocker this time! You’re telling me that Jace, the Mind Sculptor should be in Historic?” – Some Magic Player, probably

I do, and I don’t think it would be that much of an issue! Like Bloodbraid Elf in Modern, Jace was falsely imprisoned for far too long, and when released, proceeded to only see a bit of play. It probably saw more play than Bloodbraid Elf, but this isn’t 2011 anymore, Magic cards have become way more powerful and decks way more cohesive. I’ll admit that even more so than Liliana, I could see Jace being a bit overbearing if the power level isn’t quite where I think it is, but here’s the thing – it can be rebalanced!

Although the source of a lot of ire, I think digitally rebalanced cards are an extremely interesting tool to have for our digital only formats. Why not push the limit of what is generally a casual format, and if there is really a problem, just fix it retroactively? Even though Jace is a very powerful card, if it turns out to be too good, it can easily lose a loyalty, gain a mana, need an additional Blue to cast, whatever it needs to get it to where it should be! Honestly I think it would probably be fine, although one of the better things you could be doing, I think that’s no problem for a 4 mana planeswalker. Against multiple creatures Jace is pretty bad, it’ll die to Unholy Heat most of the time, it gets hit by Mystical Dispute, so it’s not like there aren’t foils to it.

The four mana cards that see play in Historic are already very powerful, but quite limited. I think we should up the number of playable ones!

Phantasmal Image

This is likely the simplest addition on my list. I love creature decks, Image is good in a lot of creature decks, we should have it in Historic!

Whether you play it in Spirits, Humans, or a value Company deck, this card is the furthest thing from overbearing and would be a nice addition to the decks that could use it.

Archon of Cruelty

For our first Historic only entry, I’m looking for a sweet card to grace the format. Archon of Cruelty does a lot and is a super cool creature to cheat into play. Whether we’re looking to do it with Transmogrify, Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast, Indomitable Creativity, or even some reanimation, this is a cool bomb to play with.

Right now the only card players are interested in cheating in is Serra's Emissary, but that’s lame! I want a cool splashy card, not a prison card that locks some decks out and is near useless against others! Furthermore, I would love if Reanimator became a stronger archetype in Historic and this would definitely help make that happen.

Ice-Fang Coatl

I’ve been saying that aggro decks have been having a difficult time in Historic, but want to know what other archetype isn’t making much headway? Midrange. Gone are the days are people playing simple value cards and seeing if that’s good enough, right now, Historic is all about synergy. Whether you’re trying to cheat in Arclight Phoenix, draw a million cards off of Trail of Crumbs, or slap a bunch of Auras onto creatures, most decks aren’t interested in playing fair.

While Ice-Fang Coatl wouldn’t solve this problem inherently, having a very powerful midrange threat that’s also a small build around seems like a nice addition to Historic.

Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

Now let’s start getting into some hot takes! Field of the Dead was rightfully banned in Historic (although it’s nebulous whether it needs to stay banned), but we could get something a bit more interesting. Valakut is a deck all its own in Modern and requires specific deck building to make work unlike Field of the Dead.

Valakut would work really well in conjunction with Scapeshift as a new combo deck to help pressure the durdly decks in Historic like Phoenix and Golgari Food. Furthermore, could be some cool Creativity decks that can play Dwarven Mine and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle as a secondary win condition. I’ll admit that, like Field of the Dead, I could see this also being too strong for Historic, but I think it would hit the sweet spot for how strong a deck should be in Historic while presenting an interesting new direction to attack the format with.

Aether Vial

I know I said in the beginning I wasn’t putting these in any particular order, but you should now I am a humongous fibber. Aether Vial is one of my favorite cards ever and I think it easily deserves a slot in Historic. Creature decks are already very weak in Historic in general and this would be a huge upgrade to decks looking to play a fairer game. With just Llanowar Elves in Historic, there aren’t many ways for creature decks to get ahead on advantage while the other best decks of the format have a lot of power cards to give them insane advantages compared to other strategies.

Let me put it to you this way, if Arclight Phoenix gets A-Unholy Heat you better believe we can get an Aether Vial for some poor creature decks!

What cards are you looking for in the next Anthology? Let me know in the Discord!

Thank you for reading!

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Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a 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 coaching! Join our community on
Twitch and Discord.

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