Hello everyone! I’ll just jump right into it, I believe I have found the best deck in Historic after the Time Warp ban. With a clean 15-1 run into Mythic and how powerful the deck inherently felt, I’m very confident that this deck is minimum going to be a Tier 1 moving forward.
So what is this magical deck? I actually wrote a whole article on this topic for the Premium section on Friday linked here, but I’ll share.
The Jeskai Turns deck was definitely too strong for Historic with the ability to win out of nowhere with Indomitable Creativity, the ability to grind any deck out, to have multiple alternate win cons, and so on. Combo-Control decks are seldom fair and this situation was no different so I’m happy Wizards took action.
That being said, I think they really missed the mark on the banning. Sure, banning Time Warp likely killed it as an archetype, but I don’t believe that’s what made it broken. What made the deck so powerful was all the other elements I just discussed, and although Time Warp did play a role in that, it wasn’t the star of the show. I purported that as long as you keep the same elements in the deck, if you Creativity into any powerful creature the deck should still be powerful.
How bad could a Control deck be when you can randomly generate a huge creature out of nowhere while functionally giving up no resources to do so, even if it doesn’t win instantly? With that, my most promising version of the deck was Jeskai with Dream Trawler as the top end. Let’s take a look.
So this wasn’t necessarily groundbreaking, but I’m surprised that the meta hasn’t caught on yet. With functionally all the same elements as the old Turns deck in their post board configuration where they gave up velocity with Velomachus Lorehold for one turn kills for the resilience of Nezahal, Primal Tide, I purported that this deck would feel nearly as powerful. Well, I’m happy and somewhat disappointed to say that I was correct. I played a few matches with this version of the deck and was definitely getting convinced that this shell was still excellent.
I postulated this deck idea to a friend and he asked if Dream Trawler was better than Koma, Cosmos Serpent. I honestly forgot that Koma was even an option and knew I had to try it in this shell. From my record, I’m sure you can tell how that went. Let’s take a look at this shell with Koma in it, the current list I’m using.
I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but the deck performs extremely well, feeling almost as good as the Turns deck. It’s not too surprising considering most of the cards are the same, but losing a crucial component would generally vastly change the dynamics of the deck. Since we lost Time Warp, I figured the
With that, I had 6 slots I had to fill since I continued to use the groundwork that Jeskai Turns laid for me. I decided to go up to a full 4 Shark Typhoon as it’s great early to create a token and good late as a wincon. Next, I added another Expressive Iteration to help me grind against Control decks and be reasonable in faster matchups, but it has been mostly underperforming for me unfortunately. I’m not sure what I’d replace it with right now, but it’s probably still better than our other options thus worth keeping for now unless you want to put the fourth Anger of the Gods main to free up a board slot.
Speaking of which, I fill out the rest of the deck with 3 copies of Anger of the Gods as a hedge for the Phoenix and aggressive matchups. Even in matchups where they aren’t good, it’s not too difficult to get rid of them using either Brainstorm or Prismari Command. Beyond the modest changes, this still feels like the Turns deck we all know and certainly love (or something). If you need additional proof, both me and a friend got 7-0 runs in the Historic metagame challenge as well.
I’m still not positive if the Temur iteration of this deck is better than Jeskai with Dream Trawler, but I’m pretty sure that it is. If you want to try both versions, I’ll provide the updated version of the Jeskai deck as well. With that, I’ll even talk about the pros and cons of each strategy and I’ll leave that determination ultimately up to you.
PROS OF JESKAI:
- The ability to get multiple Dream Trawlers is extremely powerful
- Dream Trawler is a better blocker against Fliers which is relevant with the prevalence of Phoenix
- As long as you have a card in hand, Dream Trawler is immune to all removal which is extremely important against decks that have instant speed removal
- Although it’s minor, being a mana cheaper than Koma does make it more feasible to cast
- Lifelink can get you out of tricky spots and Trawler can generate card advantage to push you further ahead
PROS OF TEMUR:
- Although it’s marginal, the mana is a bit cleaner
- A creativity for 1 is more likely to win when getting a Koma compared to one Dream Trawler
- Koma stabilizes better against nearly every deck compared to Dream Trawler
- Koma can become indestructible which allows it to dodge Wraths where Dream Trawler only gains hexproof
- You get to play one fewer top end creatures to Creativity into compared to Jeskai
- You free up board slots as Nezahal is not necessary when you have Koma (although I did consider having a copy or two in the board)
- Koma can pull you out of games that Dream Trawler never could, especially when you’re very behind. Many of my wins came from getting a Koma where even multiple Trawlers would not have been enough
- Koma being uncounterable makes casting it extremely feasible against Blue decks when the games go late enough, a play that I’ve stolen multiple games with.
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING
|+2 Aether Gust||-3 Anger of the Gods|
|+1 Narset’s Reversal||-2 Mizzix’s Mastery|
|+4 Mystical Dispute||-4 Magma Opus|
|+3 Commence the Endgame||-1 Expressive Iteration|
Since this matchup is becoming more popular, makes sense to add in the sideboarding for it! This matchup is going to mostly be fought over Koma game 1 then tokens in game 2. You still want to have enough Koma answers as an early Indomitable Creativity with counter backup is still a very easy way to win in this matchup. Like other Control matchups, the Mastery/Magma Opus package is too slow for my liking so we just shove in a bunch of interaction and Commence the End Game. Play this matchup very patiently as you don’t want to get blown out first.
|+1 Aether Gust||-4 Memory Lapse|
|+4 Scorching Dragonfire||-2 Mizzix’s Mastery|
|+1 Anger of the Gods||-4 Magma Opus|
|+4 Mystical Dispute|
If Phoenix thought Nezahal was hard to beat, they won’t be able to contain their excitement when they see a Koma! I heavily tailored my sideboard for the Phoenix matchup since I believed it was going to be extremely popular, but have only faced it twice. Nevertheless, I destroyed it both times as picking apart their threats into landing a Koma isn’t a plan they can reliably beat.
Focus on controlling their threats in the early game as once you get a Koma on the board, you can easily win in a few turns. Phoenix doesn’t have many counterspells to efficiently deal with your Creativities so you can generally safely jam into open mana if you feel the need to.
|+1 Narset’s Reversal||-3 Anger of the Gods|
|+4 Mystical Dispute||-1 Mizzix’s Mastery|
|+3 Commence the Endgame||-4 Magma Opus|
Control has definitely felt a bit challenging as our main game plan of cheating in a Koma isn’t really tenable when they have counterspells like
Instead of trying to turbo out a Koma, we look to establish a large token either through Shark Typhoon or
The main issue with this matchup is that you have no means to bounce tokens so if they establish a large token threat first and you can’t respond in kind, you really don’t have a chance of winning. It’s possible that this list should include some bounce spell or something, but I feel like that plan is less powerful than trying to establish a good threat of our own hence the 3
|+4 Scorching Dragonfire||-3 Expressive Iteration|
|+1 Anger of the Gods||-2 Shark Typhoon|
I have yet to face this matchup, but I believe you’d want relatively light boarding as you would for most of the aggro matchups. Expressive Iteration is generally too slow against decks that are trying to kill you ASAP so I board it out quite often. The last two slots are harder to pin down, but I believe you’d want to trim the Shark Typhoons. You’ll rarely have the ability to meaningfully block something so it’s mostly a tool to make a token and draw a card, an effect we don’t need many of.
You really want to try and so something high impact early before they can get too set up with a clock and disruption like Elite Spellbinder, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, or Archon of Emeria. That being said, Scorching Dragonfire and Anger of the Gods are excellent against them so if you have lands, some interaction, and anything to do, this matchup shouldn’t be too problematic.
|+1 Aether Gust||-3 Anger of the Gods|
|+2 Scorching Dragonfire|
Similar to Jeskai Turns versus Jund Food before, this matchup is generally pretty good for you. The main issue is that Noxious Grasp can take out Koma before the upkeep trigger resolves, but they likely only run a few so that shouldn’t be a huge concern. The main issue is if you can get something going before they resolve a Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, but they don’t have a good way to win beyond Korvold so they generally give you a lot of time to find something to do. This is a matchup where it’s common to overload Mizzix’s Mastery for the win, something I’ve done far more than I thought I would.
MONO BLACK AGGRO
|+4 Scorching Dragonfire||-4 Memory Lapse|
|+1 Anger of the Gods||-1 Expressive Iteration|
Unfortunately for this deck, this matchup is definitely challenging. Between a lot of Thoughtseize effects, a fast curve, and a resilience to Anger of the Gods (although it is still great against them), it can be hard to get a Koma onto the board and make it stick. I only faced this once, but was able to win by slowing them down enough with my interaction to start just hard casting my Magma Opus and eventually overloaded a
|+4 Scorching Dragonfire||-3 Expressive Iteration|
|+1 Anger of the Gods||-2 Memory Lapse|
Both the Orzhov and Azorius version of this deck can be challenging as meaningful interaction and pressure is a tough recipe to beat, but they really struggle to beat a Koma unless they have
|+1 Aether Gust||-3 Expressive Iteration|
|+4 Scorching Dragonfire||-3 Memory Lapse|
|+1 Anger of the Gods|
Unlike the other aggressive decks on this list, Gruul doesn’t really have interaction to stop you from comboing off, so your main objective is to stall long enough that you can get a Koma on board. Thankfully, they also have no real way to beat a Koma so just a piece or two of interaction into Koma will functionally always win. Don’t keep durdly hands as they can kill on turn 4 uninterrupted.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Ideally you want to Brainstorm with a way to clear the top of your library. The best way to do that is with Fabled Passage, but
can also function in a similar way. You could also use Prismari Command to achieve this, but that’s not the best use of the looting. Indomitable Creativity is also a great way to clear the top of the library as that forces you to shuffle.
- You will generally cycle your Magma Opus aggressively, but don’t discount the ability to cast it either. With excess Treasure from Prismari Command, hitting a lot of land drops, and interacting with the opponent, it’s not that unreasonable to cast this at some point.
- A common way opponents will try to interact with you is by killing your token in response to Indomitable Creativity with something like an Abrade or Prismari Command. If you’re confident that you can win as long as Creativity resolves, you can consider increasing the X value of Creativity to play around a single removal spell. You will lose the other Koma, but if you know you can win from that spot it hardly matters.
- Mizzix’s Mastery is generally bringing back a Magma Opus, but don’t be afraid to flash back something that’s lower impact like an Anger of the Gods or Prismari Command if it makes sense to do so. On the flip side, also consider holding this with the potential of Overloading it later in the game. You win a lot more games than you’d think over flashing back a bunch of Prismari Commands and draw spells.
- Try to play out your tapped lands first, even useful ones like Fabled Passage and Dwarven Mine if it means your curve is better around turn 3 or 4. Not being able to operate in the mid game is a recipe for disaster with this deck.
- Although I like keeping Treasure tokens around over small creature tokens, targeting Treasures with Indomitable Creativity is generally much safer.
- Even if it feels worthless at the time, don’t underestimate the chip damage you can accumulate with stuff like Prismari Command and small tokens, I’ve won a lot of games hitting opponents for exact lethal because I was cognizant of not playing too defensively.
- Grafdigger's Cage doesn’t do anything against this deck, both Indomitable Creativity and Mizzix's Mastery exile the spells first
- Although it’s niche, you can also kill opponent’s creatures/artifacts with Indomitable Creativity
- As a note, I expect this deck to become very popular so you should consider which top end creature you want to Creativity into. Nezahal, Primal Tide or Dream Trawler can be better targets than Koma, Cosmos Serpent depending on how the meta shakes up.
- Do NOT put artifacts in your sideboard that you can hit into with your Indomitable Creativity such as the Soul-Guide Lantern that was previously in the sideboard. Reading is power!
Thank you for reading!