Sultai Midrange Historic Deck Guide: The Deck to Beat
Hello all! With the release of Kaladesh Remastered, Historic will be the talk of the town for the foreseeable future. I’ve already tried a smattering of Historic lists, but before I even started, I had a pretty strong feeling on what was already the best deck. Kaladesh, for better or worse, didn’t heavily impact the Historic meta, at least for the moment, so it makes sense that the best deck before Kaladesh will be the same after Kaladesh. Of course, we’re talking about Sultai Midrange. With a smattering of removal, ramp, and payoffs, Sultai is a straight-forward strategy that only has to interact a few times before taking over the game with huge spells. Let’s take a look at the list.
This is still week 1, but this is where I like the deck right now. After the card choices section, I’ll add a section on how the deck is built, what is core so you can adapt the list over time. Lastly, because of the linear nature of the deck, I will happily recommend this list for Bo1 play as well. Let’s take a look.
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World: This card is just so good it feels dirty playing it. A mana doubler and a wincon wrapped in one, this is the card that always feels insane to play and awful to play against. Always have 4 in this deck as it makes Hydroid Krasis even more busted.
3 Hydroid Krasis: Speaking of Hydroid Krasis, this is your ultimate top end to out grind any opponent. Doing this for 6+ is such a backbreaking maneuver that it shouldn’t be too hard to win from there. It can be clunky and it’s not great early, but the late game potential is too powerful to ignore.
4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath: Why isn’t this card banned already? Uro is probably the best creature ever printed, so may as well play it! Ramper, card advantage, and wincon, never play less than 4.
4 Thoughtseize: Early hand interaction for a small price, Thoughtsieze is one of Historic’s best cards. Always play 4, but you can always board them out against really aggressive decks.
2 Maelstrom Pulse: This card is more or less a flex slot, but being able to destroy any permanent is quite the nice effect. Don’t go fishing for 2 for 1s with this, just use it as a removal spell that can answer permanents you normally would struggle to kill, but if you can nab the 2 for 1, may as well.
4 Extinction Event: Exiling is such big game with so many decks utilizing the graveyard and most decks tend to incidentally be a lot of even/odd creatures so you can frequently get full board wipes.
4 Fatal Push: The newest and only addition from Kaladesh! Fatal Push is a strong removal spell for how cheap it is and synergizes really well with Fabled Passage and Uro. As a tip, try to save Fabled Passage activations so you can kill a bigger creature with Fatal Push.
1 Aether Gust: Ladder tends to gravitate towards Green and Red decks, so playing 1 Aether Gust main is generally a very safe proposition. In a pinch, I’ve Aether Gusted my own permanents to some effect. Just today, I was in a top deck war and I Aether Gusted my Hydroid Krasis when I had a Nissa out to refill my hand! Even when Gust is “dead”, it’s not even dead.
1 Eliminate: One more removal spell just in case your opponent thought they were going to keep a creature on the battlefield. This could also be Heartless Act so you can hit larger creatures since you already have Fatal Push, but nearly all the relevant creatures in this format are 3 CMC or less anyway.
4 Growth Spiral: Who would’ve thought making Explore an instant would make it so busted? Being able to hold up interaction and a ramp spell is so good for a strategy looking to use a lot of mana. There’s such a stark contrast between games you cast Growth Spiral on 2 and games that you don’t.
1 Search for Azcanta: The miser Search for Azcanta. Excellent in slow matchups to grind them out and very easy to flip it to a land as we’re already working towards a larger graveyard to Escape Uro. This can be awkward if you have to escape Uro prior to flipping this, but that’s pretty niche.
2 Grafdigger’s Cage: This card works so poorly with Uro but it’s the premium hate card for Historic. Stopping Muxus, Aetherworks Marvel, Collected Company, Cauldron Familiar, and so on, Cage is too versatile to not include.
3 Aether Gust: This card is so good against Red and Green decks, may as well have the full playset.
1 Negate: There’s a lot of powerful non-creature spells and Disdainful Stroke isn’t always good or there are scary spells that are cheaper than 4 that we want to counter like Narset, Parter of Veils, so I like the one Negate.
2 Disdainful Stroke: 4 CMC seems to be the breakpoint in Historic to do busted things, so having a counterspell designed to stop those powerhouse spells is extremely nice.
2 Narset, Parter of Veils: Amazing against the slower decks and anything looking to utilize card draw. The static on Narset is just so gross and her minus is also excellent in a deck packed with non-creature spells (25 hits maindeck!)
1 Cry of the Carnarium: Good against small creature decks and doubly so if they’re utilizing the graveyard. I’m not positive if you’ll always need this, but players tend to gravitate to faster decks early in a format so this is a very safe sideboard inclusion.
2 Casualties of War: Is this card good right now? I’m not sure. Is this card super fun to play with? You bet it is. I like Casualties of War as it can pull you out of spots that no other card can and is pretty much the only card in Historic that actively punished Nissa, Who Shakes the World.
- 4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
- 2 Hydroid Krasis
- 4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
- 4 Thoughtseize
- 3 Wrath Effects
- 4 Cheap Removal Spells
- 4 Growth Spiral
- 27 Lands
If you’re looking to build your own version of Sultai Control, I would say you have to start with this base no matter how you want to go about it afterwards. This base accounts for 52 cards, so past this point, you functionally have 8 flex slots to work with. Growth Spiral, Nissa, Uro, and Thoughtseize should always be 4 ofs no matter the metagame in my opinion. I like 3-4 Hydroid Krasis, but you can get away with 2 technically. I think you want at least 4 cheap removal spells to help bridge you into the late game alongside at least 3 Wrath effects. This deck hits its stride later in the game, so you need to stymie aggression until then. 27 Lands I would say is the floor for such a mana hungry strategy and most lists opt to go for 28, including mine.
What do you add from here you may be wondering? For week 1, I like adding even more removal as players tend to gravitate towards faster decks. Something like Maelstrom Pulse gains a lot of stock when you don’t know exactly what you need to answer, thus it’s inclusion. If the meta slows down and Sultai becomes the clear deck to beat, adding cards like Narset or more Aether Gust main would be a great step to getting an edge on the competition. Be flexible in your list and your game plan, and you should have a strong record with this deck.
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE
MONO RED/ GRUUL AGGRO
|+3 Aether Gust||-1 Hydroid Krasis|
|+1 Cry of the Carnarium||-4 Thoughtseize|
|+2 Elder Gargaroth||-1 Search for Azcanta|
Your entire game plan is going to predicate around stalling your opponent until you can resolve an Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. I would say Monored and Gruul tend to be 50/50 matchups unless you draw an Uro and interaction, then you’re heavily favored. Try not to shock yourself unnecessarily and keep your life total up and you should be able to take it pretty easily. Thoughtseize is slightly better against Gruul than it is Monored, but I think it’s still too risky to justify.
|+3 Aether Gust||-1 Maelstrom Pulse|
|+1 Negate||-4 Extinction Event|
|+2 Disdainful Stroke||-4 Fatal Push|
|+2 Narset, Parter of Veils||-1 Eliminate|
|+2 Casualties of War|
This matchup will entirely revolve around Nissa, Uro, and Hydroid Krasis, but more so the first two. Keeping Nissa off the board is by far the most important part of this matchup as is hitting your land drops. If your opponent is constantly holding up mana and you can’t protect your Nissa, don’t open yourself up to getting your Nissa killed and letting them deploy one of their own, that’s the most common way I see people lose the mirror.
|+2 Grafdigger’s Cage||-3 Hydroid Krasis|
|+3 Aether Gust||-2 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath|
|+2 Disdainful Stroke||-2 Maelstrom Pulse|
|+1 Cry of the Carnarium||-1 Search for Azcanta|
Although I haven’t heard much from Goblins recently, the deck is too powerful to ignore. You have to stop them from amassing a large board or from resolving a Muxus, which is why we take out so many threats to get more answers. I hate boarding out Uro but it’s not nearly as good if you have a Grafdigger’s Cage out. Hydroid Krasis is too slow generally to be relevant and tapping out is a scary sequence against a deck that can so easily kill you from nothing.
This matchup can be tough if they have a fast start, and we don’t have many options post board to work with either. The good news is that without Spiritdancer, it’s not too hard to out grind their small creatures and Extinction Events are extremely brutal against them. Try to keep their creatures off the board and land a Nissa.
These are the main matchups I would focus on for the time being. Obviously as the format evolves there’s going to be more to consider, but this is a solid start. With that, that’s the deck guide for today! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a great day!