The Pizza Box is a semi-casual event series hosted by Twitch streamer HolywoodPizza. This weekend, their monthly Pizza Box Open took place featuring the Historic format – among the first Historic tournaments since the very recent banning of Tibalt’s Trickery and suspension of Memory Lapse.
The tournament had a prize pool of $240 US with a 1st place prize of $100, but the real draw here to this event was the opportunity to play competitively in the format now that blue decks have been significantly weakened by the recent removal of Memory Lapse and of course Brainstorm, which was removed back in July.
Below, we’re going to break down the metagame, with additional analysis provided by mtgmeta.io, and present the Top 8 standings and decklists from the tournament. The competitive Historic meta is sure to continue shifting as players work to find the best decks in the post-ban format, but let’s take this opportunity to see what competitive players are thinking and how the results are playing out so far.
|Archetype||Number of Decks||Percentage of Field|
|Jeskai Control (Kaheera)||5||5.6%|
|Rakdos Arcanist (Lurrus)||3||3.4%|
|Orzhov Auras (Lurrus)||3||3.4%|
Many players had speculated if, with three cards from the Strixhaven Mystical Archive now banned, the Historic format would largely return to what it looked like before the Archive was printed – a format run largely by Jund Sacrifice, driven by the engine of Cauldron Familiar/Witch’s Oven and powered up with Mayhem Devil and a suite of other synergies.
Looking at the metagame shares from this event, it appears that many of the competitors were thinking along those lines. Over 20% of the meta consisted of various Jund Food decks, which look much the same as they always have. The second most popular archetype, Jeskai Control, was significantly behind, making up just 5.6% of the meta for comparison.
Jeskai Control, the former hegemon of the format, still performed respectably with a 59% winrate, but it lagged behind Jund decks which were sitting at nearly 58%. Perhaps the most impressive results, however, were posted by Five-Color Niv-Mizzet, which managed an 85% winrate in the event with a high winrate against Jund in particular.
Top 8 Standings
|2||Dominik Konieczny||Mono Red Madness||8-1|
|3||Mikail Nogueira||Jund Food||7-3|
|4||Renzo Arana||Selesnya Company||7-2|
|5||Ivan Mery||Jund Food||6-2|
|6||Taras Kohut||Jund Company||6-2|
|7||Marcos Raulino||Jund Food||5-3|
|8||Levon Sogomonyan||Jund Food||5-2|
It was in fact one of the three Five-Color Niv-Mizzet decks entered that managed to win the Pizza Box Open, ending the tournament with an impressive 9-1 record in the hands of player SirHamilton1. Like Jund, the Niv-Mizzet Reborn decks in Historic haven’t changed all that much in recent months, although SirHamilton1’s deck does include a full playset of Territorial Kavu from Jumpstart: Historic Horizons.
Much of the rest of the Top 8 was taken up by the Jund decks, which shouldn’t be a surprise given the archetype’s share of the meta. There were, however, two other archetypes that showed up at the Top 8 – a Mono Red Madness/Aggro deck piloted by Dominik Konieczny to the number two slot, and Selesnya Company by Renzo Arana in fourth place.
Mono Red decks have been showing up all over the place in Historic, especially on the ranked ladder, thanks to a huge injection of power for the archetype from Historic Horizons. Dragon’s Rage Channeler, Blazing Rootwalla, and Unholy Heat have really come together with existing cards like Bomat Courier and of course Faithless Looting to create a blazing fast synergistic aggro deck, and Konieczny did a great job showcasing the power of the archetype.
Selesnya Collected Company-based decks have also been quite popular in Historic in both competitive events and on the ladder, often based around the Angel tribe. Renzo Arana’s fourth place deck took the deck in the direction of the Humans instead. The deck features all of the staples of the tribe like Esper Sentinel and Thalia’s Lieutenant, and it even includes the new Sigarda, Champion of Light from Midnight Hunt for the lord effect and a bit of added grind.
It seems that the Historic format hasn’t been completely turned on its head by the recent bannings, but one thing is certain: Jund is back. It will be interesting to see if decks like Jeskai Control will continue to do well at the highest levels of competition in the format now that Memory Lapse has been suspended. Although there were no Jeskai decks in the Top 8 of this event, the sample size was pretty small and the archetype is still putting up solid win percentages.
We’ll surely be keeping an eye on the Historic ladder as well as competitive events as the meta continues to adapt, so stay tuned! In the meantime, you’ll find all eight of the top decklists from the event linked below. Also, be sure to check out the detailed infographics available from the Pizza Box Open on the tournament’s mtgmeta.io page.