Going into this weekend, there is one deck on my mind as Historic’s top strategy, and that’s Temur Reclamation: Long dominant in Standard, so why not Historic as well, right? Many of the cards are the same when moving from Standard to Historic, but there are a few spots where some clear upgrades can be made. When looking over recent results, and based off experience playing on the ladder, I would expect this to be one of the most played decks at the Arena Open, so you’ll need to be prepared for it at the very least.
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Best of One
Before we get into the 75 card list, I’m going to talk about the 60 card one. This version is not the same maindeck as the other list, because best-of-one is a completely different beast. Temur Reclamation has a lot of sideboard options, which make it tougher to build for best of one. My version makes the assumption that decks like Temur Reclamation won’t be as popular here, and aggressive decks will be more heavily played. Hence, this is what I’m recommending:
30 Lands is pretty typical for this deck, but at the same time it increases the importance of your spell choices – you need to have ways to utilize your lands, so that flooding isn’t that bad, and this deck is certainly able to do that. The Field of the Dead package sets this deck apart from the Standard variant, but the Fields aren’t going to be as strong here as in a dedicated ramp strategy, since that might play Golos or Scapeshift to fetch them out of your library.
Field of the Dead is another win condition, and a way to grind out longer games; it’s another tool the deck has access to, which plays offense and defense alike spectacularly. The tricky part is how many Fields you actually want to play, and in this list I’m playing three. Don’t be fooled into thinking there need to be four or zero copies, since you do really want to have colored mana to be able to cast turn two Growth Spirals, and double red for Magmaquake.
We’re playing the full four copies of Magmaquake. This is the card we are heavily leaning on to beat aggro decks, and a necessary inclusion because aggro is generally more popular in best of one. If you try to play a typical Temur Reclamation maindeck in BO1, you won’t do well, since these decks are usually built to be unfavored against aggro in game one. Obviously here we need to change that, because we only have one game to play. Magmaquake is a new card from Jumpstart that really helps against Goblins, another heavily played deck.
Best of Three
Temur Reclamation really shines in best of three. The deck is able to manuever itself to have favorable matchups across the board, if you are careful, and pick the right sideboard cards. The maindeck as you can see is more geared towards the mirror and control decks, since they will be more popular in best of three:
The first major difference is with the mana base. I’m playing 29 lands here, but there is only one Field of the Dead, compared to three in the other list. Here, sometimes games go long and you draw the one Field, and it’s a sweet value land. There isn’t much downside to playing a bunch of one and two-of lands, since there are a ton of good ones that make two of your colors. I have been happy with the one Field of the Dead, but there is a reasonable argument for having more.
Even in a version with the full four Field of the Dead, I have found that you win the majority of games off Reclamation plus Expansion//Explosion. Field of the Dead isn’t going to make your Reclamation better; it’s just a good land that is almost a freeroll to play, unless you cut too many colored mana sources – the priority still needs to be on casting your spells. I have actually found the one Field of Ruin to be just as valuable here because of Search for Azcanta, a card that sees more play in BO3.
Moving past the manabase, there are more counters and Shark Typhoons here, to be best prepared for the mirror game one, since we can shore up aggressive matchups with our sideboard. The deck is going to become a more interactive deck after sideboard, so there are less Explores compared to the other version. I also find myself wanting to sideboard out Uro a surprising amount, so there are only two copies to begin with.
Let’s break down the sideboard, card by card:
Aether Gust: This is an extension of the maindeck. I have never been the biggest fan of maindecking Aether Gust, because it can do nothing in the wrong match-up. However, there are enough decks where you want it, that after sideboard having four copies is going to be extremely valuable. Against aggro decks, you don’t want counterspells in your deck, but having a card that can stop a spell before it enters the battlefield is huge; this is especially true against Goblins, when they try to accelerate into a quick Muxus. There are enough decks with red and green card I find myself playing four copies of this card quite often after sideboard.
Negate: This really is the best card you can have in the mirror, as it keeps a Reclamation from coming down, but also helps you resolve your own spells. While you do have to keep in mind that an opposing Expansion can always counter your Negate, this card really is irreplaceable. I kind of want access to the fourth copy, but you don’t need to take out that many cards against control and the mirror, the way the deck is built.
Bonecrusher Giant: Notice the trend of having additional copies of cards in the maindeck, in the sideboard. Bonecrusher is a weird card for this deck. It is fine as a Shock, and you need the Stomp part of the card to kill a creature for it to be at its best. Then the question becomes whether the creature body of Bonecrusher Giant is relevant, and it tends to be when boarded in against the creature-based match-ups. Sometimes you can actually just kill your opponent with it, and it’s a great blocker against green decks. The only frustrating thing about adventure cards is they aren’t quick fuel for getting Uro into play.
Spectral Sailor: This can be a mirror breaker, because people generally go with the strategy of taking out their removal spells. In a close game against control or the mirror, this can get you ahead on resources. Sometimes you need to chump a shark or trade with an opposing Brazen Borrower. Spectral Sailor is really at its best if you can get a Wilderness Reclamation into play to go along with it.
Elder Gargaroth- This is an alternative win condition, and generally extremely powerful creature when the opponent doesn’t immediately kill it. Since players tend to sideboard out their removal spells against you, Elder Gargaroth can be the perfect trump card in the aggressive match-ups. I have found that, regardless of whether I choose to draw a card, gain 3 life, or make a beast with it, it usually doesn’t matter because I’m already winning at that point.
Wilt: Flexible removal option that can come in against the sacrifice decks, but also the mirror. There are a lot of really good artifacts and enchantments in the format. It should be fairly apparent when you want this, but the fact that it cycles means bringing it in is never a catastrophic decision.
Magmaquake: Right now I’m going with Magmaquake over Flame Sweep or Storm’s Wrath, though there are arguments that can be made for each. The reason I have Magmaquakes though is due to its flexibility. Alongside a Reclamation in play, you can cast this for a ton, and answer whatever you want to. Having this card in your deck also means that you incidentally have an answer to planeswalkers, if an opposing aggro deck is playing them. I don’t board this in unless my opponent is playing mostly creatures.
Shifting Ceratops: I have been seeing a lot of Mono Blue lately, so these are a recent addition to the sideboard. They are insane against that deck because you can block a flyer with a Curious Obsession on it, and they can’t interact with it. Shifting Ceratops is also a reasonable Plan B against control decks or the mirror, as a way to win the game without Reclamation.
Entrancing Melody: I haven’t seen too many people playing this, but it is a really nice flexible card – great against small creatures, but it can also scale up to grab something like a Phyrexian Obliterator. Having a variety of different removal options is great against creature based strategies, because different situations and match-ups may require different tools.
Fry: Speaking of having a variety of removal spells, this is the last one! Another really good card against Mono Blue Tempo, while also being useful against white creature decks, and the White-Blue control strategies. Many of these sideboard cards aren’t mandatory additions to the deck, but are here as a way to attack the current metagame.
General Sideboarding Rules
I’m not going to be going over sideboarding match-up by match-up, because of how huge the Historic format is. However, based on my card breakdowns, I think for the most part it will be clear when to bring in certain cards. As far as what to take out though, I have some tips. Sideboarding out the right cards is usually more challenging than knowing what to bring in.
- On the draw, you can cut a land sometimes, but you don’t want it to be a colored source. For instance, against a Goblins deck, your Field of Ruin is your worst land.
- Search for Azcanta is not as good on the draw, especially when the opponent is playing aggressive creatures. Even in the mirror, it is very likely to get countered by Negate or Mystical Dispute.
- Uro is not a good turn three play against blue decks with Teferi or Aether Gust, generally speaking. Against other blue decks, I’m often cutting these so that I can always hold up a counter for my opponents turn.
- Don’t play counters against aggressive decks. The first cards out should be your one Negate, and the Disputes normally follow unless they are playing blue.
- I almost never cut Wilderness Reclamation. Sometimes you can cut one Expansion/Explosion against aggro, but I usually would rather cut a Shark Typhoon instead, unless it is Mono Blue Tempo. The core of this deck is the two card combo of Wilderness Reclamation and Expansion/Explosion, don’t forget that!
- I wouldn’t recommend having Magmaquake in your deck just because you know the opponent has planeswalkers. You really are playing Magmaquake primarily as an answer to creatures.
That’s all I’ve got. Good luck to everyone playing in the Arena Open, or other events this weekend!
Thanks for reading,