Historic After Bans, Let’s Burn Them All

Grzegorz Kowalski

Grzegorz Kowalski


Hello. The last B&R announcement was unexpected and spectacular. Some formats were shaken drastically.

Today I want to focus on Historic, tell you what bans mean for the format, and what I would play in upcoming days. Both in best of three and best of one.

What will Happen After Bans?

Wilderness ReclamationTeferi, Time Raveler

First of all, what 《Wilderness Reclamation》 and 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 suspension means for us? A lot. The best deck in the format doesn’t exist anymore. Temur Reclamation simply can’t play without the name card itself.

Muxus, Goblin GrandeeTeferi, Hero of Dominaria

That opens up a slot for decks vulnerable to instant speed mass removal, like Goblins, or hard control decks that couldn’t cover every single angle that Temur attacked from (tokens from 《Field of the Dead》, big 《Explosion》, Shark tokens, fast ramp etc). Golos/Field decks are less oppressive, and have more predictable game plan, so it’s easier to fight against them as a control player, even though 《Field of the Dead》 and 《Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger》 are nightmares.

LanguishZagoth TriomeCry of the Carnarium

《Teferi, Time Raveler》 being suspended on the other hand probably moves Bant players more into Sultai direction. The biggest reason to play Bant version of 《Scapeshift》, was the planeswalker itself. Now, without him we can replace 《Shatter the Sky》 with 《Languish》, and get access to better mana base and better sideboard cards on top of that.

Kethis, the Hidden HandLeyline of the VoidGrafdigger's Cage

Another important factor is a nerf of Kethis combo. 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 was a great ‘free anti-hate card’. It was good enough to play in four copies maindeck, fitting the game plan and slowing down opponents, and also played an insurance role against 《Leyline of the Void》 and 《Grafdigger’s Cage》 postboard.

Now Kethis players have to find another card to deal with hate, which will be a real cost for the deck, as it probably won’t be a legendary card, and won’t draw a card during the destroy process. With raise of Goblins, and Kethis combo being more vulnerable to hate, I expect 《Grafdigger’s Cage》 to see a lot more play.

Decklist for BO3

That’s theory. Now it’s time for more practical advice. As you could have noticed on my Twitter, before ‘The Arena Open‘ I picked up Mono Red Burn both for BO1 and BO3 and I had really good results with it. Deck is fast, fun to play, and has a lot of great match ups (at least until people adapt, and add more lifegain to their sideboard, so make sure to don’t wait too long with trying it :D).

My final BO3 list:

Gameplay Tips and Tricks

    Thermo-AlchemistViashino Pyromancer
    Light Up the Stage

Sideboarding Tips and Tricks

Historic is too wide (especially now, right after the B&R announcement, when people are trying to figure out new decks, or tune the old ones) to write a specific sideboard guide. Metagame might look different in two weeks, decks might change, and classic sideboard guide written today might be useless.

Instead of that I’ll try to teach you how to board against macro archetypes, and explain what’s the reason for my cards in sideboard, so you can use that knowledge and apply anything that happens in the future.

《Blazing Volley》《Goblin Chainwhirler》

Blazing Volley


Goblin Chainwhirler


This is mostly against Goblins. Important thing, those cards are not the same! 《Blazing Volley》 is great against every deck with a lot of x/1 creatures. 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 is only good, if we have a chance to face x/1 creatures on turn three. So for example both are great against Goblins, but I won’t bring in 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 versus Bogles, while I’m happy to have two copies of 《Blazing Volley》.

《Redcap Melee》

Redcap Melee


That’s easy. Every match up with red creatures. Goblins, RB Sac, Mirror, RG Stompy are what I have in my mind right now.

《Tibalt, Rakish Instigator》

Tibalt, Rakish Instigator


It used to be a great card versus 《Uro》 decks. Now it’s mostly an anti-Sultai planeswalker. If you expect your opponent to have some life gain postboard, bring it in. Randomly great vs soul sisters.

《Experimental Frenzy》《Chandra, Fire Artisan》

Experimental Frenzy


Chandra, Fire Artisan


Our ‘I want to play this match up as a control’ package. There are two uses for it:

Don’t bring it against opponents that you have to kill fast, that don’t care about you card advantage (Kethis or Breach combo for example).

《Grafdigger’s Cage》

Grafdigger's Cage


Everything that uses their graveyard. Remember it doesn’t play well with 《Experimental Frenzy》. If you have both in play, you lock down yourself. The only match up where I bring both cards is RB Sac, as both cards have a capability of winning the game on their own (just please, don’t combo them together on the battlefield). Everywhere else pick one, there’s better for the match up.

What to Board Out?

Against Small Creatures

HeartfireSlaying Fire

It’s usually 《Heartfire》 and 《Slaying Fire》 (exception: RWx 《Feather》). 2 mana + a creature or 3 mana isn’t a great rate to kill one or two drop. Vs aggro you want your removal to be as cheat as possible.

Against Decks with 《Goblin Chainwhirler》s (Goblins, classic Mono Red)

Viashino PyromancerGrim Lavamancer

Cut some number of 《Viashino Pyromancer》s and 《Grim Lavamancer》s.

Against Controls

ShockSkewer the CriticsWizard's LightningGrim Lavamancer

Cut 《Shock》s first, some number of expensive burn spells and one or two 《Grim Lavamancer》s.

In general, if you decide between cutting 《Skewer the Critics》 or 《Wizard’s Lightning》, it’s good to cut sorcery spell first, if you keep all your creatures, and 《Lightning》 if you go to below 9 Wizards.

Sometimes on the draw might be good to cut a land (mostly versus decks where you don’t bring your 4 mana cards). If you do that, cut 《Forgotten Cave》 first. Never cut 《Mountain》s.

If you have any troubles, hit me up on Twitter. I’ll try to help.

Decklist for BO1

If you want to enjoy fast games, consider trying best of one. My record of a full game (non concedes involved, four turns played) is 58 seconds :D. Great way to rank up efficiently on MTG Arena.

Goblin ChainwhirlerExperimental Frenzy

Best of one meta is a little more aggro, that’s why I have 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 in the main deck, as well as 《Experimental Frenzy》 to break games where we focus on trading one for one.

There is also a mana base difference. With BO1 hand smoothing I don’t think 《Forgotten Cave》s are that necessary (we flood less often), and being able to play everything on curve is even more important. Due to this, I also believe 19 lands is correct, even though we have slightly higher curve, than in BO3 version.


I really hope you like the deck. It was great and fun for me, and I’m really happy I could share it with you. As always, if you have any questions, don’t understand something, or need help, let me know!

Until next time,

Grzegorz Kowalski (Twitch / Youtube / Twitter)

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Grzegorz Kowalski

Grzegorz Kowalski He made top 8 in GP Lille 2012 and GP Brussels 2015, and GP Santiago 2017 has achieved second place. His extraordinary skill is also demonstrated on Pro Tour, experiencing countless top prize and money finish. He is one of the top players who travels the world and continues to fight. Read more articles by Grzegorz Kowalski

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