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MTG Arena Budget Historic Decks – November 2019


Historic is a MTG Arena format that allows you to play with all the cards in your collection, including ones rotated out of Standard. This is a great alternative if you wish to experience a different metagame environment. If you are new to MTG Arena, Historic may be out of reach and crafting older cards that you can only use in Historic may be counterproductive to your progression. In this guide, we will help you delve into Historic with our budget decks that are built around some powerful cards of the past and present, explain how they are played, upgraded with sideboard options. We will show you how you can create a variety of powerful decks without rares and mythic rares!

Looking for Budget Standard decks instead? Check them out here!

Historic Budget Deck Requirements and Goals

Our budget Historic decks will generally have the following requirements and aim to meet the following goals for players that play these decks:

  • As with all our budget decks, the base decks will have no rares or mythic rares to start off with. Hopefully, you will end up with a backlog of common and uncommon Wildcards you can spare for these decks.
  • These decks will aim to get you into at least Gold ranking on the ladder, and will have an sample sideboard. The Historic Ranked Queue only supports best-of-three matches whereas the casual play queue are best-of-one games but do not progress Daily Wins or Weekly Wins.
  • Since Historic Ranked Queue is a best-of-three mode, you will want to put together a decent sideboard for your deck. There is a wealth of options in Historic, where the card pool is significantly larger than Standard. We have included sample sideboards into each of the decks, that shores up their weaknesses in certain matchups.
  • Provide pathways to upgrade into more competitive decks, taking into account the cards that may be useful elsewhere as well. Our goal is to eventually have individual deck guides for these decks that go into further detail.
  • Make crafting the lands a high priority as you progress in game. These are cards such as Breeding Pool (currently in Standard) and Hinterland Harbor (Historic only). They will go every deck that can play those colors and even allow you to branch out into three-colored decks more easily as well.

Budget Historic Decks – November 2019

Click here to browse all Historic decks if you want to dive right in!

  • November 23, 2019: Guided added with five decks to start you off with.

Simic Merfolk – Budget Historic Deck

Before Standard rotation happened, Jungle Secrets was no doubt the best New Player Experience starter deck. It had been recommended along with Mono Red Aggro as one of the best decks to use to progress for new players. The best thing about Merfolk is that they each have great abilities that can snowball quickly if not dealt with on time by your opponents.

Our version here goes for a straight up aggressive build on the first game, using Incubation // Incongruity to find your best Merfolk (usually the Mistbinder). You will then be sideboarding into a wealth of counterspell disruptions to stop your opponents from resolving critical spells such as board wipes.

Your first upgrade option will be [c]Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca[/c] which is the best Merfolk in MTG Arena (so far), then [c]Deeproot Elite[/c] which is the second best addition. Once Upon a Time will be the top replacement for Incubation // Incongruity (if it does not become banned!) to add the consistency into the deck. After those, you can then adding your Breeding Pool and Hinterland Harbor. [c]Benthic Biomancer[/c] can also be considered.

Suggested Upgrades

Izzet Wizards – Budget Historic Deck

Wizards is also a great tribal deck that runs great on a budget and is comparable to other Izzet decks such as the ones running Arclight Phoenix. This is an aggressive build that has a combination of burn and creatures that can deal damage right out of the gate. Siren Stormtamer allows you to protect the best payoff card, Adeliz so you can alpha strike when required.

When you are upgrading the deck, the first card to consider is [c]Dreadhorde Arcanist[/c]. It allows you to recur your spells for even more damage. The manabase of the deck requires attention, so that you can cast all your spells without missing a beat – add Steam Vents and Sulfur Falls as soon as feasible. Also consider a more counterspell heavy version that can have other Wizards such as [c]Augur of Bolas[/c] and [c]God-Eternal Kefnet[/c].

Suggested Upgrades

Orzhov Vampires – Budget Historic Deck

Vampires were one of the top aggro tribal decks before Standard rotation. In this budget version we have Bloodthirsty Aerialist as our best payoff card, supported by cards like Cruel Celebrant, [c]Call to the Feast[/c] and Vampire of the Dire Moon to gain us life. Similar to the Merfolk deck, we have individually decent Vampires to swarm your opponent with. After sideboarding, Duress will be your most important card to deal with your opponent’s removal spells that this deck will be weak to, and Noxious Spark to deal with the big green creatures and planeswalkers that this deck may find hard to get past.

The first source of upgrade should be Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord, which was introduced in Core Set 2020 that tipped the Vampires deck to become one of the strongest aggro decks in the pre-rotation Standard season. Knight of the Ebon Legion is the next best card that is still used in current Standard, and is a perfect fit for this deck. Legion’s Landing is also a great card that can be used elsewhere, such as Mono White Aggro or Selesnya Tokens. Look to upgrade the mana with Godless Shrine and Isolated Chapel before attempting to include more Vampire specific cards like [c]Champion of Dusk[/c].

Suggested Upgrades

Boros Knights – Budget Historic Deck

Knights have become a mainstay in our budget builds since the release of Throne of Eldraine due to Inspiring Veteran. Another reason is [c]Heroic Reinforcements[/c] is one of the best cards you can include for this kind of deck type! Historic also gives us access to some nice non-rare Knights such as [c]Danitha Capashen, Paragon[/c] and [c]Dauntless Bodyguard[/c], but the real payoff starts when you can introduce cards such as [c]History of Benalia[/c], [c]Benalish Marshal[/c] and the new Kinsbaile Cavalier from Historic Anthology 1. Danitha also works really well with Embercleave and The Circle of Loyalty, and is definitely worth trying all in the same deck!

Suggested Upgrades

Golgari Food Midrange – Budget Historic Deck

This deck is a good start into Historic as it has the powerful Explore package of Wildgrowth Walker, Merfolk Branchwaler and Seekers’ Squire (that can later be upgraded to Jadelight Ranger) that can be used as a core in other Historic decks. You can upgrade the deck to add more premium removal such as Murderous Rider, finishers and planeswalkers such as Carnage Tyrant, Command the Dreadhorde and Nissa, Who Shakes the World.

In this budget deck, we have made it into a hybrid Golgari Sacrifice deck, mainly due to the lack of decent non-rare endgame options. The combination of Cauldron Familiar, Witch’s Oven, Trail of Crumbs and Savvy Hunter as the Food package should allow the deck to perform reasonably well as you attempt to outlast your opponent. Should you continue with this version, you can swap out Llanowar Elves for Gilded Goose and Ravenous Chupacabra for Wicked Wolf that have similar roles in the deck.

Suggested Upgrades

Azorius Flyers – Budget Historic Deck

Azorius Flyers is another aggressive deck that uses small flying creatures, with great payoff cards. Sephara, Sky’s Blade is a great addition to the deck that come out super early. This deck can easily turn into a spirit tribal deck as well, with the help of cards like [c]Supreme Phantom[/c] and [c]Hanged Executioner[/c].

Gruul Aggro – Budget Historic Deck

Gruul has access to a lot of great early plays, from Llanowar Elves that allows you to turbo out creatures, to Burning-Tree Emissary that can make more creatures on the same turn or combo with Domri’s Ambush, to Grumgully, the Generous that can make most of your creatures bigger.

Wrapping Up

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