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Historic Challenge Event Guide and Decklists


Historic Challenge is coming to MTG Arena for the next two days, an event with a high entry fee and huge rewards to match! Players will test their mettle in competitive Historic best-of-three matches, as we temporarily say farewell to the ranked queue and welcome the release of Theros: Beyond Death in just a few days.

For this event, we are excited to be partnering with Untapped.gg to delve even further into the current Historic metagame and share with you a variety of sample decks you can use for this event, should you choose to participate. Read on to find out more!

Table of Contents

Event Details

  • Duration: January 11, 2020 @ 8:00 AM PST – January 13, 2020 @ 1:00 PM PST
  • Format: Historic
  • Entry Fee: 10000 Gold or 2000 Gems
  • Ends After: 8 wins or 3 losses (whichever comes first)
  • Match Structure: Best-of-three matches (BO3)

Event Rewards

  • 0 Wins: 4 Historic ICRs, and Treasure Hunt Card Sleeve
  • 1 Win: 1,000 gold, 4 Historic ICRs (individual card rewards), and Treasure Hunt Card Sleeve
  • 2 Wins: 2,000 gold, 4 Historic ICRs (individual card rewards), and Treasure Hunt Card Sleeve
  • 3 Wins: 3,000 gold, 4 Historic ICRS, and Treasure Hunt Card Sleeve
  • 4 Wins: 4,000 gold, 4 Historic ICRs (individual card rewards), and Treasure Hunt Card Sleeve
  • 5 Wins: 6,000 gold, 8 Historic boosters, Treasure Hunt, and Gaea’s Cradle Card Sleeve
  • 6 Wins: 8,000 gold, 12 Historic boosters, Treasure Hunt, and Gaea’s Cradle Card Sleeve
  • 7 Wins: 10,000 gold, 20 Historic boosters, Treasure Hunt, and Gaea’s Cradle Card Sleeve
  • 8 Wins: 15,000 gold, 40 Historic boosters, Treasure Hunt, and Gaea’s Cradle Card Sleeve

Historic Individual Card Rewards (ICRs) grant cards from previous Standard sets on MTG Arena. They do not include cards that were never considered Standard legal on MTG Arena (e.g. cards from Historic Anthologies). Historic rare ICRs may upgrade to a mythic rare (1:8).

The Historic boosters will be evenly divided between the four non-Standard sets currently in MTG Arena – Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria and Core Set 2019.

What is Historic Challenge?


The Historic Challenge event marks the conclusion of MTG Arena’s first Historic season since its initial rollout on November last year. The format will be transitioning to the off season with the release of Theros: Beyond Death, as it phases out the best-of-three ranked queue and bringing in the evergreen Historic constructed event until March 2020.

This event is a high risk, high reward event comparable to the Competitive Metagame Challenge (here we have a bit more leeway since we can have up to three losses), which usually takes place a week after a new set is released in an unsolved metagame. This is somewhat true for Historic as well – which we will discuss below!

If you are interested in the expected value (EV) for this event, u/SmartyCat12 from reddit has done the maths on the subject. Since the rewards are based around Historic cards (though you can still open Wildcards from booster packs), newer players will want to focus on spending their resources on Standard sets especially with Theros Beyond Death on the horizon.

The Historic Metagame

We’ve had an interesting experience with Historic so far, with the introduction of 20 curated Historic Anthology 1 cards and the suspensions of four cards on December 12 (you can read the full story behind it here). Before the suspensions, we attempted to breakdown the metagame and since then we have been sporadically posting decks that high ranked players have been sharing on social media to our Historic deck page.

In general, it appears that green-based aggro strategies such as Gruul Aggro are faring especially well. The combination of Questing Beast, Bonecrusher Giant and Embercleave are enough to combat the other powerhouse deck of Historic based around Nexus of Fate. The speed and strength is rivalled next to Mono Green and Mono Red, which are both strong and consistent in their own right as well. Compared to these decks, it has become hard for other control or even midrange strategies to catch up.

Another point to keep in mind is that Standard is a much more widely supported and played format, where many players derive their decks from tournaments. These are the result of hours of testing and refining by professional players competing for much higher stakes. Historic being a new digital format, there have been no high profile tournaments or events until now. The only competitive outlet at the moment is the Historic ranked queue, where players are likely to face a larger variety of decks – good or bad. Therefore for this event, we are partnering with Untapped.gg to share with you the top performing decks of the Historic metagame, curated using the power of data!

What is Untapped.gg?

Untapped.gg is one of the most popular third party companion app for MTG Arena that currently features:

  • An in-game overlay to keep track of the cards you and your opponents play
  • An overlay that shows you how many cards you own and card ratings from LSV’s set reviews during your draft session
  • Personal statistics that you can share, showing your match history, win rates, deck changelog and even how you sideboarded during a match
  • To top it off – a slick, professional interface!

Eventually with all the cold hard data being collected from players using the software, we will be able to access global statistics for MTG Arena similar to HSReplay.net – also from the same development team. Until then, we will be relying on snapshots of the data provided by them, such as the BO1 Standard data we used a few weeks ago to back up our metagame tier list and these Historic decks we are about to present to you now!

The Best Historic Challenge Decklists

8 Win Decklists

Here are some decks that players have used to conquer the event itself! We’ll try post them as soon as they are submitted to us so you don’t miss out!


Historic Gruul Aggro by Yugen – Historic Challenge Event – 8-2 Record

As expected, Gruul Aggro decks achieving 8 wins in this event are the first ones being shared to the public being one of the strongest archetypes in Historic so far. This version includes Shock in the main deck for early interaction and a tweaked sideboard good against the recently rising Witch's Oven sacrifice decks.


Five-Color Fires by bunnyfluff12 – Historic Challenge Event – 8-1 Record

Historic is diverse and knowledge about your deck will be a large contributing factor to its performance. u/bunnyfluff12 from reddit posted his record winning screenshot, and stated that the deck is a slightly modified version of AliEldrazi's recent deck on his stream.

Source: reddit


Golgari Midrange by Little Mooonkey – Historic Challenge Event – 8-1 Record

Golgari Midrange includes the Explore package of creatures for value and more land destruction to disrupt your opponents, good against three color decks. The deck is fairly consistent and you generally know what you are going to get. Wildgrowth Walker is very good against the aggro decks dominating the format.

Source: Twitter

Untapped.gg Decklists

Here are the top performing Historic decks according to the Untapped.gg data sorted by their respective win rates, and generated with the following parameters:

  • Players in rank Platinum or higher
  • Played between December 11, 2019 to January 7, 2020
  • Decks with multiple unique pilots, played over several days and with 300 or more games

You can use these decks as a starting point for your own build and modify them as necessary.

Recent Mythic Decklists

As we said above, we have been sharing decklists from players reaching the Mythic rankings in the recent times.


Historic Bant Arkbow by Traxym – #37 Mythic – January 2020 Season

This is a sweet midrange creature-based deck built around Vivien's Arkbow and a few other creatures with Flash such as Nightpack Ambusher and Frilled Mystic. With access to mana acceleration, the deck can search your library for the silver bullet creature you need at the right time! Source: Twitter

Historic Mono Red Aggro by battaile – #148 Mythic – January 2020 Season

Mono Red Aggro is still a great deck to climb the ladder, especially after the Historic suspensions. Check out the reddit post by the deck's pilot for insights and sideboard guide! Source: Twitter

Historic Sultai Dreadhorde by Andrea Mengucci – #80 Mythic – January 2020 Season

This is the deck that took Magic Pro League member Andrea Mengucci took to Mythic this season. This deck combines the explore and ramp package, and tops it off with Command the Dreadhorde to bring them all back. Source: Twitch

Wrapping Up

We wish all the players the best of luck in this event – whether you find success using the decks presented here or have your own secret weapon you are bringing to catch everybody off guard. We can’t wait to see all the top performing decks from the event being shared! For those sitting out this event, remember there is a lot going on at the moment:

Remember, you can always engage in our growing MTG Arena Zone community:

  • Discuss everything and ask quests about MTG Arena in our Discord server
  • Follow our Twitter to keep up to date on our latest decks and guides
  • Leave a comment below if you have any feedback or just want to let us know how the decks went!


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1 Response

  1. Maxime Hoube says:

    the 5c fires list is a fucking lie.