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Metagame Monday – Top 6 Historic Deck Archetypes

The new ranked ladder season for December (Throne of Eldraine Season 3) is underway! Whether your goal is to reach the top of the Mythic leader board, exceed your previous season’s record or just meet your minimum reward needs, we now have a choice to play either Standard or the shiny new Historic format to climb the ladder.

Standard is settling in after the November 18 bans, and with Mythic Championship VII decklists due to be released on December 4, instead today we will focus on Historic. The key points to note so far from what we’ve seen so far:

  • The format is still relatively new and as there have been no other competitive outlets that players can refer to for more refined decklists, the ladder environment is a bit softer and may be easier to climb.
  • The reality is that we have added only Throne of Eldraine and Historic Anthology 1 to pre-rotation Standard. Throne of Eldraine adds a lot of power to green, and Historic Anthology gives some interesting choices but do not appear to be format changing.
  • There is no banlist yet (not including Nexus of Fate in best-of-one formats) and despite this, the format looks like it can handle all the powerful decks as they keep each other in check.

Today we will be exploring six Historic deck archetypes and sample decklists that we will be using as the base and refining in the coming weeks on the ladder going forward. In early formats, it is usually better to start with linear aggressive decks or a proactive deck that does its own thing. Midrange and control decks will be discussed in more detail at another time when the Historic metagame is more established and then we can tailor our card choices better. Without further ado, let’s start!

6. Mono Red Aggro (decklist)

Mono Red is always a good deck to gauge the metagame at large. Linear aggressive strategies also overperform in such cases as decks tend to be less refined and decks are often greedier and slower. The current version stays true to the Mono Red prior to rotation but includes Bonecrusher Giant as its Stomp ability can be a game changer against decks such as Simic Nexus where they can prevent your damage. For now we omit Tobran, Thane of Red Fell, as powerful it might be.

5. Simic Ramp (decklist)

Here is a Simic Ramp deck that took #1 Mythic within 24 hours of the new season that is built around Leyline of Abundance. This version leans towards the Food synergy of Oko, Thief of Crowns and Wicked Wolf but there is a few different directions you can take with the core. This Simic Ramp deck by butters was also one of the first decks to reach the Mythic ranks within a day of the new season, and uses Entrancing Melody and Mass Manipulation as the big mana payoffs. The deck can have some really explosive starts that no other decks can compete with.

4. Simic Nexus (decklist)

Simic Nexus is already a streamlined deck, but this version uses thew new Mind Stone as another way of accelerating your mana and being able to draw a card later on in the game as well. The introduction of Questing Beast and Bonecrusher Giant makes fog effects like Root Snare quite risky to play so Uncomfortable Chill is a great card that can be used instead that can also draw a card at the same time. Its biggest weakness is still Teferi, Time Raveler and the sideboard cards will need adequate ways to deal with it.

3. Kethis Combo (decklist)

Kethis Combo was one of the late breakouts of the last Standard season, and the addition of Emry, Lurker of the Loch gives the deck even more possibilities. The deck is complex yet very fun to play once you get your head around it, and here is a little primer by Andrea Mengucci you can read to get you started.

2. Gruul Aggro (decklist)

Gruul Aggro is one of the most represented decks in Historic queues at the moment, thanks to the explosive draws offered by the new Burning-Tree Emissary supported by Embercleave. The deck thrives even more with Once Upon a Time and Llanowar Elves and makes the other aggro decks look pale in comparison.

1. Bant Scapeshift (decklist)

Field of the Dead will be one of the most powerful cards to build around (as long as it remains unbanned) and we can start with the Bant Scapeshift version that is well streamlined from the last Standard season. We also have a deck guide you can check out if you are new to the deck and want to find out how it works.


Here are the decklists from above, all in one place. Remember you can check out our Historic deck database also.

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Honorable Mentions

  • Knights: Throne of Eldraine adds a lot of Knight tribal support, and History of Benalia is a very powerful card that deserves to be part of the metagame.
  • Esper Control: Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is another card that will need to find a home.
  • Dinosaurs: Once Upon a Time makes Dinosaurs even better, and we know how scary Rotting Regisaur is with Embercleave. Imagine Ghalta, Primal Hunger with it!
  • Command the Dreadhorde: Whatever flavor this card goes in, it will be good. The Sultai version that reanimates all the Explore cards (Wildgrowth Walker and his friends) and planeswalkers was a decent performer.
  • Oko Food: The Food shell is still decent enough to be part of a Midrange deck.

Wrapping Up

Last week we had some excellent discussions with the readers of all the potential answers to the Cat Oven combo that is dominating Standard at the moment. We hope this week we can also spark up a discussion on the different Historic decks out there that will play a role in the metagame, as obviously there are tonnes of other decks that we have not touched yet. Until next time!

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