Jumpstart: Historic Horizons Set Review & Decklists Part 2 – Blue

Kiora, the Tide's Fury Art by Magali Villeneuve
Kiora, the Tide's Fury Art by Magali Villeneuve
Jumpstart: Historic Horizons

Hello everyone! I’m working with Chris this spoiler season to bring you accurate reviews and cool decklists for Historic. There’s a lot of new and powerful cards entering the format so this is an extremely exciting time for anyone who is entrenched in Historic! Before I continue, here’s the rating scale I will be using.

  • 0/5 – Unplayable in every sense.
  • 1/5 – Extremely niche play or very unlikely to see play.
  • 2/5 – Niche to no play, maybe playable in certain conditions.
  • 3/5 – Reasonable playable. Not format breaking, but has the power level to see play in some strategy (or strategies).
  • 4/5 – Very strong card, but not the best the format has to offer. Has the power level to see a lot of play.
  • 5/5 – The very top of the format. This card will create a huge impact going forward on the format.

As a quick note, I’m only reviewing the new to Arena cards that might have any potential impact on Historic and ignoring cards that are clearly just for Limited.

BOUNTY OF THE DEEP (1/5)

Divination was never really a Historic power level card (much less a Standard one), but what if it could hypothetically ignore a permanent type you didn’t want?

Although this is interesting, I think the bar on 3 drops is way too high in Historic for what may not even be a better version of Divination.

KIORA, THE TIDE’S FURY (1.5/5)

Kiora is a really hard card to evaluate as she does a lot of different things. Against aggressive decks she seems quite strong as both her +1 abilities protect her by either conjuring a Kraken Hatchling or preventing damage to be dealt to and by a permanent.

She doesn’t have an Ultimate, but making an 8/8 after one turn against an aggro deck could be a pretty hard blocker to overcome.

All that being said, these are all the best case scenarios and even Aggro would have way to circumvent these with Bonecrusher Giant and Questing Beast rendering the second +1 useless and Embercleave to just muscle through her.

SHORELINE SCOUT (3/5)

This doesn’t look particularly powerful, but I’m actually reasonable impressed by Shoreline Scout. First off, you can upgrade a land in your hand or turn another Merfolk into a land if you’re in a pinch which is quite the powerful effect for a 1 drop.

Scout wouldn’t be playable if that’s all it did, but it also functions as a better Foundry Street Denizen in Merfolk that will trigger off your land drop and any additional Merfolk! I may be overrating this a bit as it’s only playable in one deck (Merfolk), but it’s an extremely good card for the archetype.

Here’s what Merfolk could look like with this and the other great Merfolk entering Historic.

Historic Merfolk 

Creatures (32)
4
Benthic Biomancer
4
Kumena's Speaker
2
Mistcaller
4
Master of the Pearl Trident
4
Merfolk Mistbinder
4
Silvergill Adept
2
Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca
4
Merrow Reejerey
4
Svyelun of Sea and Sky
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Lands (24)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Botanical Sanctum
4
Breeding Pool
4
Hinterland Harbor
8
Island
Cards (60)

In this case, the Benthic Biomancer is the placeholder for Shoreline Scout, but wouldn’t be that unreasonable either!

TOME OF THE INFINITE (2/5)

Tome of the Infinite conjures the following cards:

Tome is a super weird card, bar none. On one hand, getting a random card can be a huge detriment as you could hypothetically keep getting cards you can’t meaningfully use. On the other hand, this does draw a card every turn for a single Blue investment and that card could be excellent a decent portion of the time.

I’m going to assume this is too random to make an impact in Historic, but you better believe a lot of players are going to play this just because the design is so cool.

ARCHMAGE’S CHARM (3/5)

Although Archmage's Charm is better in Modern, it is still quite the potent spell in Historic as well. The biggest inhibitor for it is going to be it’s mana cost, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some existing deck can shift it’s mana to play this, a Mostly Blue tempo deck helps get spawned from this, or just good old Monoblue picks it up.

BAZAAR TRADEMAGE (1.5/5)

Bazaar Trademage is…bizarre. I know it’s ETB is a trigger of Bazaar of Baghdad, but Bazaar only sees play in Dredge and nothing else. That being said, I don’t really see what this is supposed to do, but this is a very effective discard outlet attached to a solid body, so maybe someone more creative than me will find a use for it.

FAERIE SEER (2/5)

A staple in Pauper, Faerie Seer likely lacks the chops to make it in Historic, but I wouldn’t count it out. It works really well with Ninjutsu cards and can help smooth your draws early in the game which is a solid ability. Furthermore, it can hold a Curiosity effect quite well so it may see play in Monoblue Tempo (more on this later).

MIST-SYNDICATE NAGA (1.5/5)

On one hand, Naga can get out of hand very quickly if uninterrupted. On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to disrupt this. This is a cool card and it will feel amazing if the opponent can’t interact with it in any capacity for even 2 turns, but it seems relatively unlikely that would be the case often.

Furthermore, this card lines up so poorly against Mayhem Devil that even if there was a chance that the power level was there, it’s likely not going to get there.

HARD EVIDENCE (3/5)

If you don’t know where I’m going with this, this must be a hilariously weird rating. This isn’t exactly a good card, but it works insanely well with Indomitable Creativity, like way better than any other token producer to date. Making an early blocker and a Clue that can smooth your draws or used as Creativity fodder is amazing for those strategies.

Here’s what one of those decks would look like.

Historic Temur Koma 

Creatures (2)
2
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Spells (28)
4
Hard Evidence
2
Expressive Iteration
4
Fire Prophecy
4
Memory Lapse
4
Indomitable Creativity
4
Prismari Command
2
Mizzix's Mastery
4
Magma Opus
Enchantments (4)
4
Shark Typhoon
Lands (26)
4
Dwarven Mine
4
Fabled Passage
2
Island
4
Ketria Triome
5
Mountain
4
Steam Vents
2
Stomping Ground
1
Sulfur Falls
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
4
Lava Coil
1
Mystic Subdual
2
Perilous Voyage
4
Mystical Dispute
3
Commence the Endgame
1
Nezahal, Primal Tide

RISE AND SHINE (1.5/5)

A slightly worse Ensoul Artifact (but with Overload), between this, The Blackstaff of Waterdeep, The Antiquities War, and the new Thought Monitor you could hypothetically be getting close to a good Monoblue artifact deck. Making a 4/4 out of your 1 drop artifact is decent, but having the ability to permanently awaken your team for 6 mana is also enticing.

Realistically, this type of strategy is likely too weak for Historic, but a man can dream.

SVYELUN OF SEA AND SKY (3.5/5)

Svyelun is in the same boat as a few other cards on this list, only playable in one deck, but really powerful there. This God is just chock full of text and all of it is really good for Merfolk. Between Svyelun, Shoreline Scout, and Master of the Pearl Trident, I would be really surprised if Merfolk wasn’t at least a Tier 2 strategy.

THOUGHT MONITOR (2.5/5)

Thought Monitor is in such a weird position as this card is very strong, but I think it lacks the support it would need in Historic. We don’t have a plethora of good, cheap artifacts like we do in Modern so it may end up being too clunky in the decks looking to abuse it’s ability.

However, if it turns out there is enough support for it to be cast early on, this will be an extremely potent card in those strategies.

WONDER (1.5/5)

Anyway, here’s WonderWall. Wonder likely isn’t a Historic playable card if you’re looking for it to do anything fair. However, I will acknowledge that there is a chance that it could be good in some sort of deck that’s looking to discard or mill it over to give their team Flying for free. I have no idea what deck would want that, but maybe there is one.

BREACHING HIPPOCAMP (1.5/5)

Is this card good? No. Is it really good with Prime Speaker Vannifar? Yes. Is the deck going to be good? No probably not. However, you now have a longer untap chain with Corridor Monitor, Hyrax Tower Scout, and now this so you could ramp up to 5 in one turn with a mana dork out.

I definitely have my doubts, but maybe Reckless Ringleader can make Vannifar into a Tier 3 thing.

DISMISS (2/5)

Although the bar for 4 drops is high, the best two modes on Cryptic Command could still be solid in some number in Control decks.

Admittedly, what makes Cryptic Command so good is that it has those other modes as well, but I don’t think this card is out of the range of playability.

MANIC SCRIBE (0.5/5)

Every time a new Mill card is released a lot of people get really excited by the prospect of Mill. Best case scenario this is a Ruin Crab, but that’s going to be next to impossible to meaningfully achieve Delirium in a mostly Blue deck. This card just isn’t good.

MASTER OF THE PEARL TRIDENT (3/5)

Once again, another Merfolk graces our shores. Master of the Pearl Trident is an iconic card in Magic’s history and it’s cool to have it in Historic. It’s one of the stronger 2 mana lords any deck has gotten access to and with it and the other new cards, Merfolk is looking to make a splash.

MULLDRIFTER (2/5)

Alright, maybe I’m a Mulldrifter junkie, what do you want from me? Although it’s unlikely it has the power level to compete, an evoked Mulldrifter into an Ephemerate is a 2 card, 4 mana DRAW 6. Maybe that’s too cute, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that could be a reasonable archetype to work towards in Historic, even if it’s a bit gimmicky.

Here’s what I’m thinking it would look like.

Historic Azorius Ephemerate 

Creatures (34)
4
Glasspool Mimic
4
Thraben Inspector
4
Charming Prince
2
Meddling Mage
4
Blade Splicer
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Skyclave Apparition
4
Restoration Angel
4
Mulldrifter
Spells (4)
4
Ephemerate
Lands (22)
2
Fabled Passage
4
Glacial Fortress
4
Hallowed Fountain
4
Hengegate Pathway
1
Irrigated Farmland
1
Island
6
Plains
Cards (60)

NINJA OF THE DEEP HOURS (2/5)

I love Ninja of Deep Hours a lot and was the all star in one of my first Modern decks: Monoblue Tempo. That being said, I think Ninja has likely been outclassed in a format as strong as Historic, but a Scroll Thief that can start drawing as early as turn 2 is not to be underestimated. However, this likely also just loses out against cheaper options like Curiosity or better yet Curious Obsession, but maybe it doesn’t have to fight them and could join them.

Here’s a potential build of what that would look like.

Historic Monoblue Tempo 

Creatures (18)
4
Faerie Seer
4
Siren Stormtamer
4
Spectral Sailor
4
Brazen Borrower
2
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Spells (14)
2
Spell Pierce
2
Essence Capture
4
Lofty Denial
2
Archmage's Charm
4
Lookout's Dispersal
Enchantments (8)
4
Curiosity
4
Curious Obsession
Lands (20)
20
Island
Cards (60)

Overall, I think Blue got a lot of new tools to work with, especially in the Merfolk department. Beyond those, there are other great cards that will definitely make the cut in Historic making it an exciting time to be a Blue mage!

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

6 Responses

  1. Locuseth, Law of Trains says:

    “There is nothing you can do that I cannot simply deny.” MTG in a sentence

  2. mike says:

    When you add a card that conjures to your collection, do you also get the card(s) that it can conjure? Or do you have to already have the card(s) in your collection for it/ them to be conjured? Or do the conjured cards just show up when conjure is triggered?

  3. Rui says:

    Great analysis.

    On the merfolk deck, did you meant to include Master of the Pearl Trident instead of Merfolk of The Pearl Trident?

    Cheers