Historic Shakeup Event Guide and Decklists


Tired of seeing the same old faces on ladder day-in day-out? Thought Historic was going to be completely different, but too many of Standard’s most miserable dominate the format? Wish you could wave your hands and make all those annoying cards go poof at once, so you can start again anew? Well, have I got news for you!

The first Historic Shakeup event ever has released in the wake of recent bans and the introduction of Historic Anthology 3, and it’s available until June 12th! We’ve seen Standard Shakeup several times now – these events ban the most played cards in their formats, in addition to those already on the suspended/banned lists. To play in a completely fresh unexplored metagame and get some free mastery xp, read on for our strategy guide and a variety of decklists that you can use, including budget options!

While you only get rewards for one win, frankly this format is an absolute blast to play, is very much uncharted territory, and feels really fresh compared to regular Historic, so I’d recommend you jam as many games as you can while it’s around – we’ll be adding a new deck or two each day to promote that plan, so check back in tomorrow!

Event Information

  • Duration: June 6, 2020 @ 8:00 AM PST – June 12, 2020 @ 8:00 AM PST
  • Format: Historic Shakeup
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Ends After: Unlimited games, but there are no rewards past the first win.
  • Match Structure: Best-of-one matches (BO1)

Event Rewards

  • 1 Win: 1000 Mastery XP

What is Historic Shakeup?

Historic Shakeup

Historic Shakeup does away with all the boring old faces to encourage players to brew and experiment with only the most interesting and fun off-meta decks! When Standard Shakeup was around for the Plane-cation Chronicles, it was emphasized that “this is not an indication of any pending banned or restricted announcement … we’ve decided to ban some of the current Standard staples for this event, and this event only“. These are the banned cards for the event this time around, in addition to the current Standard banned list:

Here’s the current Historic banned/suspended list; none of these cards are allowed in this event either:

Test out many different deck ideas this week without having to face the usual meta decks, catch up on some Mastery XP, and get a glimpse of what strange mutations the meta might’ve undergone if the recent banned announcement had had some other changes!

Our Top Historic Shakeup Decklists

Scroll down for descriptions of most of the decks! I’ve tried to include a good mix of powerful competitive decks and exciting jank. I encourage you to tweak and make adjustments to the deck, really get into the brewing spirit, and to report back here with any changes you make!

4C Humans

General Kudro of Drannith Art by Ryan Pancoast
General Kudro of Drannith Art by Ryan Pancoast

Here’s a deck I adapted for this event from one I theorycrafted on Historic Anthology 3’s release; check out the link for more info! Combining fantastic disruption with powerful buff effects, all in the form of cards that are threats on their own, is a great place to be, and I think with the format having weakened in power, this deck is ideally suited to do some crushing in this event!

Abzan Reanimator

What if we could combine all the game-ending potential of a Reanimator deck with a good anti-aggro plan, a two-card combo that really Obliterates them, incredible value to the point where they’re unlikely to grind you out of stuff, AND the potential to hardcast your threats so graveyard hate doesn’t hurt you that much (not that there’s a lot of it in this format anyway) asnd they aren’t stuck in your hand?

This is one of my favourite brews from the event, a solid midrange deck with a heavy synergistic reanimator package – against aggro, you have a ton of solid blockers and then against Control, you have Unburial Rites which is an incredibly easy 2 for 1, and you can start hardcasting your myriad threats! While this mana base isn’t perfect and requires quite a lot of taplands, you don’t have many 1 drops so it’s less painful, you’re over 90% to cast a t2 Paradise Druid or Skull Prophet, and every land in your deck produces Black so you can always cast Obliterator! All in all, I suspect this is one of the most fun decks you can play in this new format; it might not keep up with the best decks but you’ll have a blast anyway!

Esper Tezzerator

Thanks to Sidetrak for providing the core of this deck, which you can find here! This deck is a real blast, using the artifact cost reduction abilities of Ugin and Tezzeret with Mystic Forge to combo off hard – when most of your spells cost 0 or 1 and your Gilded Lotuses generate mana, you get to draw endless cards and assemble enormous boards at the drop of a hat! A a card that has revolutionised Modern, Karn the Great Creator is also practically guaranteed to be great somewhere in this event, since he lets you make exceptional use of an untapped resource in best-of-one in your sideboard, the advantages of which I explain this article here!

I adapted the core to add extra speed in the form of a couple of Renowned Weaponsmiths; these are additional bricks for Mystic Forge, which can be a problem when you’re comboing off and they do give you a weakness to removal, but I felt they would augment the aggro games enough to warrant inclusion. I’m not sure what the right number of those precisely is, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

Grixis Control

With the banning of 3-feri, Grixis re-emerges as a viable Control shard. While Thought Erasure is also banned, Agonising Remorse is a reasonable (but significantly worse) replacement, and with just the amount of discard this deck has access to, between that, Kroxa, and the Ravager himself, this deck should dominate Control mirrors. I’ve teched hard against aggro, since I suspect there will be Thalia decks everywhere and you’ll need good answers to them, but it’s of colossal importance that every Green deck is significantly slower without Llanowar Elves so those matchups should go much more smoothly. All in all, this seems like a solid way to attack the format!

High Huatli (budget)

Thanks to LegenVD for providing the core of this deck, which you can find here! The deck is a quick and cheap way to win a few games, putting immense pressure on your opponents with any of its 8 3 drops combined with all these high toughness units. I updated it with Aegis Turtle, its best 1-drop threat, and I felt that Aegis of the Heavens was a bit too cute, and preferred access to Swan Song to prevent sweepers/removal on the payoff cards.

Izzet Phoenix

Some of the Phoenix lists have begun to play Ox of Agonas, an inclusion I’m very excited about, since this is one of the best decks for filling your graveyard, and the Ox is a great way to refresh your hand after the opponent deals with your big Phoenix turns. The Bonecrusher Giant ban hurts, but the core of the deck is otherwise untouched. I considered having a couple of Sprite Dragons, but ultimately felt it would harm the spell base too much – still, that’s a really interesting direction to go in if you want to tweak this deck.

Lukka Ulamog Ramp

There are many builds of Ulamog Ramp running around, but I really wanted to optimise for consistency – and what better way to do that than by adding Lukka? Lukka cheating out Ulamog is less powerful than just casting him, since you don’t get the absurd cast trigger, but Lukka has the advantage of remaining on the board as a threat – if they deal with Ulamog, you can just go get another, and until then you can just + him and find more and more ramp creatures, rebuilding rapidly against sweepers. Karn, the Great Creator is busted in best-of-one, and a fantastic way to make immediate use of all this mana, so I included a couple of copies in the flex slots.

Mardu Knights

An aggressive deck that makes good use of the more varied options for Knights available in Historic, I teched this one against Control matchups – it dodges sweepers, is light on interaction, and is tailored for speed without sacrificing resiliency.

Mono Black Aggro

Rotting Regisaur (M20) Art by Randy Vargas

Mono Black loses Gray Merchant, but it still has a lot of solid midrange beaters available in Historic, and Phyrexian Obliterator is a huge trump card against aggro decks. Just watch out for those lone Justice Strikes! This is one of our top mythic lists, where this deck managed to make top 300 in regular Historic, so it’s likely to be a solid choice for this event too.

Mono Red Aggro

Mono Red loses Bonecrusher Giant, Embercleave, Goblin Chainwhirler, and Burning-Tree Emissary, enough that I suspect it won’t be top tier but plenty of other decks will be losing out a lot too, and this is a deck that many people will already have the cards for so I felt it warranted inclusion. The upside of not having Goblin Chainwhirler around is that other people won’t have it either, so all the x/1s in this deck get better as a result!

See below for a more budget-friendly version of this, in case you don’t have the cards!

Mono Red Cavalcade (budget)

This budget deck would’ve gotten absolutely obliterated by Goblin Chainwhirler, to the point where I would probably have considered it completely unviable, but rejoice, for that card is banned! Cry of the Carnarium is still really a card you don’t want to run into, but I suspect a lot of people won’t be as prepared as they should be for this sort of strategy. This deck will net you a win or two in very quick fashion and earn you your free Mastery XP, and you might well find it a good way to grind your quests in a format where Cavalcade is more viable!

Naya Feather

Feather the Redeemed War of the Spark Art by Wayne Reynolds

I have a lot of fond memories of the terrifying power of Feather + Reckless Rage from the tail-end of the pre-rotation Standard format, and here it is in all its glory with a mana base that can even support a third colour, from which you get a ton of upgrades in the form of Gruul Spellbreaker, Domri’s Ambush, and Season of Growth. Fight as One is a great new inclusion, allowing you to protect multiple creatures at once and deny sweepers. This deck is capable of some terrifyingly aggressive starts with its horde of efficient creatures, absolutely destroys midrange since recursive one-mana removal in Reckless Rage is so devastating in those matchups, and can easily outgrind Control by making removal and sweepers mostly useless. I suspect this is one of the best decks in the format, all in all: if not this version, then something very close!

Orzhov Vampires

A classic Vampires list, this is already a well-established archetype in Historic! I adapted this list from this high mythic entry, since there’s no need to tech against Field of the Dead zombies with Legion’s End, and I incorporated a 20th land since I felt 19 was too few. The core of the deck is as powerful as ever, with Sorin providing a level of mana cheating with any of the expensive Vampires that even Fires of Invention would envy, and making Adanto Vanguard all the more terrifying.


This is another deck I adapted from one of my Theorycrafts from when Historic Anthology 3 came out; the combination of Corpse Knight and Gempalm Polluter add up to a ton of drain, while Liliana and Cryptbreaker give you incredible grind potential. Check out my article on the deck for more info!

Wrapping Up

Thanks for reading! Find all my other articles at mtgazone.com/Drifter or follow me on Twitter/Reddit for regular updates!

Our site provides decks for almost every Arena event, so just check back whenever you need them (here’s the event schedule). I’ve had far more late-night brewing sessions at this point than I’d recommend to anyone sane… check out my decks for the old FNM at Home events for some inspirational jank!

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I'm MTGAZone's content manager! I'm an infinite drafter and offer draft coaching alongside my articles. Visit https://mtgazone.com/drifter/ or follow me on twitter to stay tuned!

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