Sultai Flash Historic Deck Guide: For Both Bo1 and Bo3

Sultai Flash Historic Deck Guide
Nightpack Ambusher Art by Dan Scott

Welcome to our Sultai Flash deck guide for the Magic: The Gathering Arena Historic format, updated for Strixhaven: School of Mages! Here, you will learn how to play this black-green-blue tempo deck for both best of one (bo1) and best of three (bo3) modes from explanation of card choices to a complete matchups and sideboard guide.

Historic Sultai Flash Decklist

Arena (Bo1)

 

Creatures (4)
4
Nightpack Ambusher
Spells (27)
3
Abundant Harvest
3
Brainstorm
4
Fatal Push
2
Inquisition of Kozilek
4
Growth Spiral
4
Heartless Act
4
Memory Lapse
2
Sinister Sabotage
1
Sublime Epiphany
Artifacts (4)
4
Torrential Gearhulk
Lands (25)
4
Breeding Pool
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
3
Hinterland Harbor
2
Island
4
Overgrown Tomb
2
Swamp
4
Watery Grave
Cards (60)

Traditional (Bo3)

 

Creatures (4)
4
Nightpack Ambusher
Spells (27)
4
Abundant Harvest
4
Brainstorm
3
Fatal Push
4
Growth Spiral
3
Heartless Act
4
Memory Lapse
1
Negate
3
Sinister Sabotage
1
Sublime Epiphany
Artifacts (4)
4
Torrential Gearhulk
Lands (25)
4
Breeding Pool
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forest
3
Hinterland Harbor
2
Island
4
Overgrown Tomb
2
Swamp
4
Watery Grave
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Fatal Push
4
Thoughtseize
1
Doom Blade
1
Negate
2
Test of Talents
3
Mystical Dispute
3
Languish

Overview

The Sultai Flash archetype is a tempo deck. You want to play a few powerful threats and ride them to victory, while interacting with your opponent to buy yourself some time. We don’t have a lot of win conditions, but luckily, Nightpack Ambusher and Torrential Gearhulk are so good that it’s usually enough.

This archetype is a bit of a blast from the past, but that deck had a fundamental problem: It needed to hit all the lands in the early game, but it’s also the kind of deck that could easily flood out. Because of this, the Flash archetype was always good in certain metagames, but it was also fairly inconsistent.

This changed with Strixhaven. Abundant Harvest clears both of your problems: It will hit your land drop in the early game and find you action later. The Brainstorm and Fabled Passage combo makes sure that you don’t have too many dead cards in game one.

The combination of cheap removal, counterspells and some strong standalone threats makes sure that you have game against everything. This might also be one of the decks to make good use of Brainstorm and Abundant Harvest, as both of these cards are already good, but they are even stronger together.

I will show you guys my idea, but feel free to adapt as the meta game changes – be fluid, like water. Or something like that. I really wanted to explore the best Abundant Harvest + Brainstorm decks (that don’t rely on the graveyard too much) and I think that this is a good start.

Card Choices

Main Deck

Growth-Spiral Art by Seb McKinnon
Growth-Spiral Art by Seb McKinnon

Brainstorm: Incredible card and works nicely with Fabled Passage and Abundant Harvest. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you put the 2 cards back on top and shuffle them away. The same works with Abundant Harvest, albeit a bit more situational, as you can put 2 lands back on top and name “nonland”. Paired with the fact that Thoughtseize is incredibly popular right now and that Brainstorm allows you to “hide” your cards, we play this for sure. After all, it’s one of the reasons why I am picking this deck up again.

Fatal Push: This is the kind of card where the main deck number varies from 0-4, depending on the meta game. Right now, there are so many creatures played that need to be answered quickly (Llanowar Elves, Dreadhorde Arcanist, Sprite Dragon) and tempo decks like flash need some cheap, efficient ways to deal with such things.

Abundant Harvest: Second reason on why I’m picking up this deck again. This card is amazing and I heavily misjudged this card in my Strixhaven set review. I do think that this card is actually a bit overrated, as every deck that plays green kind of tries to fit this into their deck right now. I don’t think that this is correct, but I do believe that it’s amazing here, because of the reasons stated above.

Memory Lapse: Third reason on why I’m picking up this deck! Memory Lapse is the perfect card for tempo decks: it’s cheap and delays the game so that you can win with Nightpack Ambusher. This deck and Rogues might be the best decks to utilize Memory Lapse. You don’t really want to play this in a control deck. Control decks want to get the game to a point where the opponent is out of resources – that’s going to be really hard to do, when the best spell is still coming next turn. You have to utilize Memory Lapse only as a means to delay the game – which is exactly what a tempo card is.

Negate: I like having just 1 right now. Most noncreature spells are cheap and Negate usually shines against expensive spells. Most decks still have a good amount of expensive noncreature spells though (like Collected Company or Embercleave) so I like this. Use this card aggressively in creature matchups and conservatively in combo or control matchups.

Heartless Act: Just like with Fatal Push, you can play from 0-4 copies of this. As already stated, creature removal is important right now so I like this number.

Growth Spiral: This will help you to get some traction early and allows turn 3 Nightpack Ambusher for example. Never less than 4!

Sinister Sabotage: You need some hard counters and I like this more than Saw It Coming in this deck. You have other things to do in the early game and the Surveil will help against late game flood and it can fuel your graveyard for Torrential Gearhulk (although you usually want to draw the spell that you want to recast with Gearhulk). By the way, if the metagame becomes more blue centric, it’s perfectly reasonable to main deck Mystical Dispute. The reason for that is that this card is actually good in almost every matchup, since it’s just a turn 3 counter at worst.

Nightpack Ambusher: You need win conditions and this is an incredible one. Ambusher is very hard to beat for most decks and it’s one of the best stabilizers against aggressive decks, too.

Sublime Epiphany: I like to have one more expensive spell (and you can probably even play 2 copies) and this is astounding with Nightpack Ambusher or Torrential Gearhulk.

Torrential Gearhulk: Your last 4 win conditions. If you feel like, you need more, play some copies of Shark Typhoon, but I have been happy with this because Abundant Harvest is good at finding action. Gearhulk is usually a huge threat together with the piece of interaction that you need.

No Frilled Mystic: I think Historic has become a bit too fast for this card. 4 mana counterspell with a body isn’t strong enough anymore, especially if it doesn’t play well together with Torrential Gearhulk and the fact that we play 3 colors.

Eureka Moment: I’ve tried 2 copies of this card and it was actually decent! Sometimes you just want card advantage with Torrential Gearhulk to push ahead. It also allows for Gearhulk to come down a turn earlier. After 10 games or so this card still felt just a tiny bit underpowered, so I cut it, but I encourage you to try it out.

Inquisition of Kozilek: For some reason, this card has been hit or miss. The reason for that is that most cards that you want to take away cost more than 3 mana (and it’s usually Collected Company). It’s not a bad card by any stretch, but I couldn’t find the heart to slot this in in a wide open meta.

Sideboard

1 Fatal Push: To finish out the playset.

4 Thoughtseize: Against combo-ish and control decks.

1 Negate: Against essentially the same decks.

2 Test of Talents: I have been fairly impressed by this. It’s incredibly against Arclight Phoenix decks, but it also stops one of the few counter spells that some decks play. Usually they only have one or two types of counters and this is incredible in spots like these.

1 Doom Blade: Just to have a larger variety of removal spells. If you don’t have this card, play Heartless Act or Eliminate instead.

3 Mystical Dispute: Perfect card against pretty much every blue deck. Play up to 4 copies if you face a lot of them.

3 Languish: Recently, Selesnya Company (and Gruul for that matter) has been becoming more and more popular. This card is great here, but don’t fall in love with this card. You can certainly cut it, since we have a lot of cheap interaction already.

Matchups and Sideboard Guide

Fatal Push Art by Eric Deschamps
Fatal Push Art by Eric Deschamps

Orzhov Auras

InOut
+1 Fatal Push-3 Sinister Sabotage
+3 Languish-1 Negate
+4 Thoughtseize-4 Memory Lapse

Playing a tempo card like Memory Lapse is not easy when your opponent is playing only cheap spells especially if they get to redraw them quickly. With the amount of removal we have, this matchup should be pretty much even. Use Brainstorm to hide your removal spells from their Thoughtseize.

Gruul Aggro

InOut
+1 Fatal Push-3 Sinister Sabotage
+3 Languish-1 Negate
+1 Doom Blade-1 Brainstorm

Just remove all of their things and win with Ambusher or Gearhulk. This game plan is pretty straight forward. I like keeping Negate in because of Collected Company and Embercleave.

Burn

InOut
+1 Fatal Push-3 Sinister Sabotage
+1 Negate
+1 Doom Blade

Negate is unexpectedly good against this archetype, because they rely on a lot of noncreature spells to get them through the middle stages of the game. Especially post board, they stack Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Experimental Frenzy, so that’s nice.

Izzet Phoenix

InOut
+3 Mystical Dispute-3 Sinister Sabotage
(-2 if you don’t bring in the Fatal Push)
+2 Test of Talents-4 Memory Lapse
+1 Doom Blade
+1 Fatal Push
(If Dreadhorde Arcanist and Sprite Dragon are played)

Memory Lapse is ineffective against a deck with Faithless Looting, Brainstorm, Opt, etc. If they really want to redraw this card, they are going to be able to do so and you it also makes room to play the other cards. Sinister Sabotage is a bit expensive, so we’re cutting that as well.

Rakdos Arcanist

InOut
+1 Fatal Push-3 Sinister Sabotage
+3 Languish-1 Negate

This matchup is pretty even. They got a lot of removal for your threats so you have to be careful that you don’t run out of them. It might be better to take out Memory Lapse instead of Sinister Sabotage for that reason, or even board in Negate and just slow roll your win conditions until you can make sure to protect them.

Dimir Rogues

InOut
+3 Mystical Dispute-3 Sinister Sabotage
+4 Thoughtseize-4 Memory Lapse
+1 Negate-2 Growth Spiral
+1 Fatal Push

With the amount of removal that they have, it’s not so easy to win by just slamming Nightpack Ambusher. Because of that reason, Growth Spiral loses value there, as ramping it out will not do a lot and it just takes a deck slot. It’s never bad, but also not great. We have tons of removal spells and this matchup will just always stay a bloody fight, as it’s 2 tempo decks clashing against each other.

Selesnya Company

InOut
+1 Fatal Push-3 Sinister Sabotage
+3 Languish-1 Negate
+1 Doom Blade-1 Memory Lapse

I found this matchup to be quite tough. Collected Company is a huge deal, at the same time I found it to be a bad idea to keep Negate in because they just don’t have other targets, and usually they just snap it off when you’re forced to tap out. Archon of Emeria and Elite Spellbinder are also excellent against us. This deck is real, don’t underestimate it.

Tainted Pact Combo

InOut
+3 Mystical Dispute-3 Fatal Push
+4 Thoughtseize-3 Heartless Act
+1 Negate-1 Brainstorm
-1 Abundant Harvest

This matchup should be good, considering you’re playing a tempo deck against a combo deck. Memory Lapse is also hilarious when they go for Thassa's Oracle and you just Memory Lapse their Tainted Pact. Congratulations, you just wasted your Oracle!

End Step

I hope you enjoyed this guide – Sultai Flash has treated me really well and I think it’s an underrated archetype at the moment. Historic is still a wild ride and a lot of things are possible, so keep brewing, wizards!

Stay safe and have a great week my friends!

Sorquixe

Alexander Steyer, 23 years old. Qualified for Mythic Championship VII, Zendikar Rising Championship and Arena Open Winner.

2 Responses

  1. Hannes77 says:

    Thank you very much for this deck guide! I just love Sultai Flash and was sad that my controlier version had no chance anymore after the Uro ban. I also highly appreciate that you also in a BO1 list too, since I think that there are more people here like me who prefer to play BO1 instead of the more professional BO3. A few weeks ago I would have said that you are the best free Magic content source, but that has changed now… But still I think that most of the players who come here to read stuff and find lists are playing BO1. The more competetive players probably have a sub to CFB Pro and go there. But anyways, this is just my assumption and this why I think it’s really good to post BO1 deck lists in the guides as well. So at least for me: Thank you very much again! ­čÖé

  2. Michele says:

    10 Games, 9 win! xD My build is more or less same to your, change less then 20 cards between main and side. This deck i think return on meta, so much strong, win against all, atm less then Burn, but maibe cause I change the built!