Historic Best of One Meta Snapshot – November 2021
Hello everyone! Today I’m going over the meta snapshot for Best of One Historic. If you want to know what the top decks are, where the meta is going, and how to successfully navigate it, you came to the right article!
THE RISE OF SELESNYA
Are you a Selesnya stan like me? Well Best of One Historic is for you! Green and White were never particularly dominant colors in Historic, but recently, it’s taken not just the top spot but top placements in Tier 2 as well!
For starters, we (unsurprisingly) have Selesnya Humans leading the pack in Bo1. Monowhite Humans was the deck to beat for awhile back when Memory Lapse was legal, but with Lapse’s banning, decks could afford to be more midrangey as they weren’t getting their 4+ mana spell countered every single time. Initially, that seemed like a solid development for Monowhite Humans as, contrary to popular belief, the Jeskai matchup wasn’t that amazing for Humans and we’d prefer the meta to be slower in theory. I thought Monowhite would be even better with the ban, however, it actually made the deck worse as midrange decks that were good against creatures but bad against Jeskai could thrive again.
Since going straight aggro wasn’t going to get the job done anymore, splashing Green to get access to Collected Company is the next best course of action. The deck is still the same at it’s core, but with Company to help push your board states over the top in the mid game, it’s still a really powerful deck. Unlike Monowhite Humans positioning though, I don’t think the deck is so good that it can’t be usurped. I actually find it pretty likely it will be replaced sooner than later, but remain a top option for the duration of the format. We’ll just have to see how the meta develops.
The real shocker to suddenly come out in force is Selesnya Enchantress which has exploded in popularity. Now I’m not saying we knew about it first, but…
I digress and mostly kid. This deck was solid before, but Jeskai was a really tough matchup. However, with Lapse’s banning and Jeskai’s popularity waning, Enchantress can really shine as it falls into the aforementioned midrange decks that are good against creatures, but bad against Control. The deck has an amazing ability to grind against any deck in the format, but also includes a prison combo with Solemnity and Nine Lives that most decks in Historic can’t beat, especially not in Best of One.
Furthermore since most of the Bo1 decks are proactive, you can run a bunch of removal, a bunch of card draw, and the combo to have a really powerful strategy that circumvents the normal rules of engagement of the format. Since it’s still a budding strategy in Bo1, it’s “only” at the top of tier 2, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a Tier 1 strategy very soon as you can’t really build your deck to beat it in Bo1.
The final Selesnya deck for the list is Heliod Combo, which isn’t a new deck, but has been given new life from the Innistrad sets. Heliod Combo always worked the same way, get a Soul Warden creature down, play Scurry Oak, play Heliod, Sun-Crowned, and profit. However, it was widely debated on what the best plan B for the deck was. Some went more interactive with Elite Spellbinder and Skyclave Apparition. Some went more down the lifegain route with Ajani's Pridemate and Trelasarra, Moon Dancer.
However, with both Innistrad sets out, it seems clear that the life gain route is the way to go. Lunarch Veteran adds another Soul Warden to the squad while Voice of the Blessed adds a better Ajani's Pridemate into the mix. Now the deck can still focus completely on comboing, but has a really strong Plan B of just beat the opponent to death with beefy creatures. A list very similar to this one hit rank 1 on Bo3 ladder, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it may creep up into Tier 1 as well. We very well may have multiple Selesnya decks in Tier 1 soon, and personally, I’m all for it since they’re all quite distinct.
Izzet was a functionally unplayed color combination in Bo1 for awhile beyond Jeskai (similar deal in Bo3), but recently not one, but two Izzet decks are picking up a lot of steam.
First is the old classic in Izzet Phoenix. Phoenix is a strong deck, but was struggling for a long time to find it’s bearings in Historic. With so many directions to take the deck, everyone more or less had suboptimal lists which greatly hurt the deck’s performance. It was discovered pretty quickly that the deck wanted to include the Delirium package, but it was unclear beyond that how to go about construction.
However, it seems that settling on Smoldering Egg and Archmage's Charm was the ticket. Smoldering Egg is no Thing in the Ice, but it’s the closest thing we have so it’s no surprise it made it’s way into the deck. It can be a bit hard to flip as all the spells you play are cheap (beyond Charm), but it still doesn’t take too long. Archmage's Charm was an inclusion I wasn’t expecting and something you’d typically see in a Control deck. Phoenix is generally all about casting as many cheap spells as possible, but when you have a card as strong as Archmage's Charm, it seems that it’s still worth the inclusion.
The second surprise is a functional port from Standard and is now a solid Tier 1 option, Izzet Turns. Similar to Standard, the deck is excellent at going over the slower decks of the format while still being reasonable against the fast decks as you have an excess of interaction to help stall for time. Considering the lack of Thoughtseize in Bo1, it’s no shock that this deck is performing well here.
SACRIFICE GAINING GROUND
Sacrifice was always a relatively prominent strategy in Historic, but recently it’s been gaining some real traction with lists new and old.
The most promising of the Sacrifice lists is actually the new kid on the block, Golgari Food. Rather than leveraging Mayhem Devil which seemed like a staple in the Sacrifice strategies, the deck leaned way down to get access to Lurrus of the Dream-Den. How does it win it’s games? Between the Cat/Oven loop, Ravenous Squirrel, Trail of Crumbs, and Deadly Dispute, the deck has a million value engines that it can use to tear through the deck. What are you looking for? Mostly Squirrels, Cats/Ovens, and The Meathook Massacre to start pinging the opponent every time a creature on your side dies. This deck has an unbelievable ability to grind and isn’t restricted to expensive permanents to get the job done.
Beyond Squirrel, we have to go back to an old Historic favorite: Jund Food. Jund is as it always is, a very solid deck that rides the middle of the pack in Tier 2. It does a good deal well but nothing so extraordinarily well that it’s really ever in contention for the best deck. It has solid matchups across the board, but considering it’s almost the same deck as it’s been since it’s been created, it’s slowly getting worse in relation to the metagame which is not a great place to be. Ravenous Squirrel was a nice pickup for the deck and definitely made it better, but not so much that it’s going to break it into Tier 1. All that said, I’m sure even just one really good card can easily change Jund’s fate, so although I’m not the biggest fan right now, I don’t think that’ll always be the case.
Finally, a deck that’s been on and off popular in Historic, Jund Citadel. Citadel hasn’t seen the light of day in quite some time as Blue was simply too good for this deck to be a real contender. 6 drop permanents are a bit embarrassing when the opponent can pay 2 mana to put it on top of your library. However, with Historic’s counterspell suite now nerfed, the deck can be a strong choice again.
Between the combo kill and the grindy game plan with Mayhem Devil, Woe Strider, and the newish Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, the deck has a good deal going for it. My main contention with Citadel is that it’s specifically not the best in Bo1 as your life total tends to be pressured more heavily which can give more weight for going the Korvold, Fae-Cursed King direction, but the deck is still solid.
THE MOST PROMISING DECKS TO GAIN TRACTION
Now for the fun part of the article, the predictions! There’s a few more decks I wanted to highlight that aren’t considered high tier, but I think could be really strong choices moving forward.
The first is a bit of a hot take, but I love Aaron Gertler so I have to pay my respects. This deck looked super weird on paper, but seeing it in action I was quite impressed. The deck has this weird ability to be fast and grindy at the same time which gives the deck a lot of range in what decks it can beat. It’s definitely a difficult deck to play on top of it not being budget friendly (many of the cards don’t go into other decks) so it’s likely never going to be a popular option, but on strength alone, the deck seemed very promising. If you’re flush with wildcards, I’d give this a try.
Neostorm has been a known quantity since Sea Gate Stormcaller has been printed, but this may be a really nice time to play it. There’s not much in terms of interaction going on in Bo1, and the interaction that is present is limited to some creature removal. Creature removal can be good against Neostorm, but if you know what to play around it’s really not a problem. Secondly, most decks aren’t that fast right now so the risk of you getting killed before you can execute your combo is significantly lower. Lastly, as I said before, Thoughtseize and similar effects are at an all time low which was always this deck’s bane. So with not much interaction, few Thoughtseizes, and not too many fast decks, it’s hard to find a better metagame for Neostorm to thrive.
Speaking of a slower meta, if any deck can capitalize on that it’s Goblins. Goblins hasn’t been a popular option in awhile, especially in Bo1, but with Munitions Expert to help slow down the faster decks, it seems like a promising option. The deck can be fast and it can be grindy which is the one, two punch many decks in Bo1 need to clear. Goblin Grandee”] is still a messed up card and will likely destroy any opponent when it resolves which just makes it a game of stalling until you can resolve one which is much easier when there’s not much hand disruption nor very speedy decks.
Overall, there’s a huge amount of play and variety in Historic right now and doubly so in Bo1. If you’re a fan of the format, give it a go!
Thank you for reading!