Mystical Archive Historic Set Review and Top 10 Most Impactful Cards
Hello my friends, today I will rate every card from the Mystical Archive for Historic, except for the reprints or cards pre-emptively banned. In case you didn’t know, Strixhaven will have a special card as the 15th slot in every booster (which is usually a land) and they are not Standard legal (unless they are reprints). Most of them will be legal in Historic though, so I’m here evaluating these cards for you!
This is the list of the seven cards, that will be banned in Historic (for now) and thus not be further talked about here:
- Dark Ritual
- Demonic Tutor
- Lightning Bolt
- Natural Order
- Swords to Plowshares
I’m excited for them, as some of the legal cards can be absolutely meta changing. At the end of this article I will also include a top 10 list. Without further ado, let’s begin!
If you play a deck with only 1 copy of each card (which also enables Lutri, the Spellchaser) you essentially get Demonic Tutor, but you only play a deck with a bunch of 1-ofs just for 2 cards. I really don’t like the cost for this; and if you play this in a normal deck, this is just a bit too wonky and inconsistent to make work for my taste.
Paying 3 mana to draw 2 cards seems sweet and I wouldn’t mind paying 2 life for it. The real cost is this being a Sorcery, and this is just a deal breaker for me. I could see this in some Grixis Shadow lists as a form of card advantage that also reduces your life total, so I want to be a bit easier on the rating here.
This is definitely a card that deserves the 3 stars just because of the potential. I don’t have a brew lying around (this is something that DoggertQBones will probably cover in an article), but if we get a deck that can play tons of spells in the same turn, it could become a premier combo deck.
Remember though that this card is much weaker than in the other eternal formats. You don’t have “free” spells like Manamorphose, Desperate Ritual or Pyretic Ritual. Sure, we have cards like Goblin Electromancer, Runaway Steam-Kin, Birgi, God of Storytelling and maybe Burning-Tree Emissary, but all of these cards are easily answered by removal, so I can’t really see this strategy being broken. I know that some of you folk might be traumatized by the keyword Storm, but honestly, I think it’s okay – and there is a good chance that it’s not even playable (yet).
The first thing that comes into my mind: Incredibly expensive and sorcery speed. On further thoughts: What if you put some strong sorceries into your graveyard? What if you get to play turn 4 Rise of the Dark Realms, Overflowing Insight, or Emergent Ultimatum?
Look, I can’t tell you that this will be a good strategy, but it definitely seems powerful enough to not overlook this card. As it stands, it seems a bit easier to pull off than Grapeshot Storm – but likewise, I am not sure if this will see play at all, especially in a format with Thoughtseize. I’ll just give it a 3.5 because of the potential, because if it sees play, it will be incredible.
Just a very solid card for most midrangey decks, but also some combo decks might want some form of cheap recursion for their pieces. I’m thinking of the Neoform decks in Historic right now, but it can certainly fit other places. This effect seems kind of generic, but it’s essentially Recollect for 1 mana less and that can already make a huge difference. I don’t expect this to be the most popular card but it can be a good roleplayer for decks that want it.
I’ve been scratching my head while evaluating this card: I can’t decide if this card will be good, and if it will be good, if it’s going to be a win-more card. Let’s take this scenario: turn 3 you attack with Dreadhorde Arcanist, return Thoughtseize, play Increasing Vengeance, and suddenly you made them discard 3 cards. That seems pretty strong, but I just can’t wrap my mind around it if it’s going to be necessary because your position is usually good enough already when you get to attack with Dreadhorde Arcanist. I don’t think this card is good enough without the graveyard bonus and overall I think that this card might just be a little bit too cute.
This card is amazing. This might honestly be one of the reasons to try Jeskai Control out more (this deck is already decent), but even if you’re playing an aggressive deck, this will help you race your opponent. Look, we have Lightning Strike as the best burn spell in this format and this is clearly better (albeit being more narrow because of the mana cost). I expect this card to see play and I will not be surprised if this opens up additional archetypes.
This card is mostly going to be worse than Thirst for Meaning or Thirst for Knowledge. Yes, discarding a land is easier, but doing so at sorcery speed is a huge downside. If you’re a combo deck and want to find pieces, maybe this is passable, but you still only see 3 cards for 3 mana either way, and that just seems a bit underpowered.
This card is probably the best in the whole set. Seriously, nothing is as efficient as this card is and it enables tons of synergies, while doing it twice. I am most excited for Arclight Phoenix decks for this one, but Dreadhorde Arcanist decks also rub their fingers. This card can be an essential cog in the machine for decks and I expect this card to see play, for sure.
Gift of Estates
I can’t see this being worth it to put into your deck, even if you can get the Triomes with it. If you were to put them onto the battlefield then we would be talking (although it would be too strong). As it stands, this effect is probably just too weak.
Classic trap card for me, I’ll pass and you should probably too. Unless you feel like RNGesus blessed you and you get to put Omniscience onto the battlefield.
I’m only giving this 4 stars because we already have a lot of very good black removal spells. My problem is that the best Historic decks right now all play black, so it’s still a bit too unsafe to play this in your main deck. It’s still great to have in a format and is very likely to see play as well.
Rock-solid (get it?). This is at least a decent sideboard piece, but you can also just play some land destruction deck. I don’t think the meta for this card is there yet, but there might be in the future.
Tendrils of Agony
I’ll give this the same rating as Grapeshot because of the potential of this card. Yes, it’s more expensive, but you also only need to play half of the spells to kill your opponent in one turn. I don’t think that the fundamentals for this type of deck are there yet though, as mentioned above, but it’s clear that it’s a powerful card.
This can be a good card if the meta is a lot about cheap spells. You can’t Censor a Kor Spiritdancer on the draw, but you can do it on the play. I am not certain that the lack of Cycling on this card is compensated by the cheaper mana cost. Yes, 1 mana less on a counterspell is a big deal, but it gets outscaled rather quickly and it’s easy to play around. I don’t want to sleep on this card but I also don’t believe that it’s going to have a huge impact on the format.
This card seems like a sweet control card and it can be a decent value and removal spell for sure.
Every 2 modes you choose is just too weak for the amount of mana that you pay. I’ll pass.
Crux of Fate
Unless you’re playing a Dragon deck, this is just worse than the premier other sweepers in the format.
This card seems amazing to me. A 2 mana counterspell for everything is just awesome, especially after playing Teferi, Hero of Dominaria on turn 5. You might say now that they get the card back the next turn, but that’s a fine price to pay for the flexibility. Remember, it’s still a 1 for 1 trade, as they don’t get the card back into their hand.
It’s insane that this card will be in Historic soon. Sure, we don’t have a lot of Fetchlands, but Fabled Passage is already a card that most decks can play. If you’re unfamiliar with this card and what I mean, you’re essentially drawing 3 cards and putting 2 cards back. You then shuffle your deck and voila! your useless cards are not there anymore. This is especially nice for control decks because they will always have some dead cards in game 1 as they cannot prepare for every archetype. Even without a reliable Fetchland, you still get to see 3 cards for 1 mana and that’s just powerful.
I’m going to be honest with you, it’s incredibly tough for me to evaluate this card. I asked some Commander players and they said that this card is insane there, but other rules apply there obviously. This can be good in control decks with a lot of planeswalkers, where you just want to protect all of them. It could also be good in wonky combo decks that want to protect all of their pieces. However as I already stated, I don’t have a strong opinion for this card so I’ll just give it the solid 3 stars, but you can leave a comment down below and tell me why that card could see play, and where.
Day of Judgment
Yes, this is just a functional copy of Wrath of God. I still think that it can be a nice 5th or 6th sweeper if you don’t like Doomskar too much (I think Wrath of God is better than Doomskar). You can also run a 2/2 split of Wrath of God and Day of Judgment to play around Meddling Mage a bit better.
Blue Sun’s Zenith
This is just worse than Sphinx's Revelation and that card already sees little to no play. Sure, you can play it in any blue deck, but it’s still tough to play expensive card draw without impacting the board.
I’ll give this a bit of a higher rating because this card is certainly powerful, but I don’t think we have the tools necessary to make it work yet. Getting 2 flicker triggers on one cheap card is extremely efficient.
This card is just unplayable. You can never pay 4 mana sorcery speed draw 3, that’s just too bad.
Good flexible removal spell. This is a bit like Abrade, hits more, costs more, so it’s a fair trade off.
This is also a payoff for the “Storm” decks that want to play a lot of cheap spells in the same turn. This is the most expensive payoff and as such will be the hardest to make work. The power is there; but as already stated above, the setup probably isn’t.
Inquisition of Kozilek
This is worse than Thoughtseize, but that doesn’t say much. It still hits a lot of relevant targets without costing you life, which makes it an awesome second choice. Cheap discard spells are always amazing, and it’s great that we have it now. It also slots perfectly into the Dreadhorde Arcanist deck, which should make this deck a lot more consistent now!
Weather the Storm
I don’t think that this card will be very good. At the very least it can help you survive your opponent’s Tendrils of Agony, but since it’s not even clear that it’s going to be a thing, I don’t think that this will be either.
Spells that just gain life have historically been bad, and I don’t expect this card to change this.
Sign in Blood
The rate is pretty good here: 2 mana for 2 cards is pretty good. I wonder if a deck like Vampires can utilize this card well, as it’s just lacking raw card advantage sometimes if you don’t have Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord and Champion of Dusk. It’s also a card that the Arcanist decks can utilize well, albeit costing 2 mana.
This card is just way too expensive to be good enough for Historic.
I don’t think that the fact that this can’t get countered is worth costing 1 more mana (over Wilt for example). Reclamation Sage overall is also better, because it’s a body on the battlefield and it’s possible to get Sage out by casting Collected Company.
Classic midrange decks could be interested in this, as they want to keep hitting their lands, but also don’t want to flood out too much. It reminds me a bit of Traverse the Ulvenwald in that sense, although it’s worse overall.
Only 5 mana to take another turn is pretty cheap – just think about Alrund's Epiphany and how much play that card sees at 7 mana. Naturally this goes well with Nissa decks and I would not be surprised if there is an old archetype coming back with this: Turbo Fog! Take infinite turns with Tamiyo, Collector of Tales and just win by boring your opponent to death – we all remember the Nexus of Fate days. Even outside of infinite turn decks though, this is just a pretty strong rate overall.
From worst to best:
- Mizzix’s Mastery
- Time Warp
- Lightning Helix
- Memory Lapse
- Inquisition of Kozilek
- Faithless Looting
Thank you as always for reading – in the next week, I will give a whole constructed set review for the “normal” set cards, as Strixhaven seems to be incredibly sweet. Also keep an eye out for DoggertQBones in the next few days, as he will put some of the sick brews together with these new cards.
As always, stay safe, and see you next time!