History of Historic

Matias Leveratto

Matias Leveratto

Inroduction

I’ve gotta say, Historic has been the format I’ve been enjoying the most lately. For all those who are not familiar with the format, the idea of this article is to put you up to date. To begin, Historic is an exclusive format of MTG Arena, where all the cards that exist on the platform are legal, and it has its own ban list.

Historic Ban List

Oko, Thief of CrownsWinota, Joiner of ForcesOmnath, Locus of Creation

Premier Events

Tournament Grounds

Now that we know what Historic is, let’s take a look at all the premier tournaments of this format since its inception. There were not many, but the ones that did exist were quite important.

2020 Mythic Invitational – September 10-13 2020

2020 Mythic Invitational Metagame

Image Copyright: Wizards of the Coast

This tournament was the first premier tournament of the format, and the only one exclusively Historic.

Muxus, Goblin Grandee

As you can see, Goblins was the most played deck by a large amount. The deck combining its two versions (Mono Red and Rakdos) ended up being 1/3 of the metagame. It was something to be expected, because since 《Muxus, Goblin Grandee》 appeared in Jumpstart, he became the number one threat thanks to his ability to win the game on his own.

Sultai (16.9%) and Jund (13.8%) were the second and third most played decks, respectively. Then there were a lot of different decks, but they appeared with much smaller representation numbers.

Top8

If we look at the winrate of the tournament decks and the decks that managed to reach the top8, the Mono Red version of Goblins had much better results than the Rakdos build. We could also say that it was the great disappointment of the tournament, since despite being the most played deck, it only placed one copy in the top 8. On the contrary, Jund was not only the best performing deck, but also half of the Sunday decks (3 Sacrifice/1 Citadel). None of this impressed Seth Manfield, who managed to win the trophy, despite being the only top-8 player playing Sultai.

2020 Season Grand Finals – October 9-11 2020

2020 Season Grand Finals Metagame

Image Copyright: Wizards of the Coast

The Grand Finals was Historic’s second premier tournament, but unlike the previous one, this was a double format consisting of a Historic and a Standard portion, the latter being the one used in the top8. It was undoubtedly a tournament with many peculiarities. On one hand, only 32 players competed, therefore the field was much smaller and with little variety. On the other hand, it was the only moment in which 《Omnath, Locus of Creation》 could be played in a Historic Premier event, since the day after the tournament ended it was suspended.

Omnath, Locus of Creation

A third of the competitors had the luxury of playing 《Omnath, Locus of Creation》 before it was no longer legal in the format, playing the mighty Omnath Ramp. Jund and Sultai (this time in a 4c version) kept the second and third places of representation, while Goblins after the disappointment of the previous tournament, was only chosen by one player.

Zendikar Rising Championship – December 4-6 2020

Zendikar Rising Championship Metagame

Image Copyright: Wizards of the Coast

The last premier tournament of 2020 was also double format (Historic and Standard), but on this occasion, Historic would be the one used to determine who is the champion. The metagame did not bring surprises, again the three most played decks were Sultai/4c, Jund/Rakdos Sacrifice and Goblins. This time, Jund/Rakdos Sacrifice was the most played deck on the field with 30% closely followed by Sultai (28%) and lastly, Goblins were a bit more behind, 12%.

Muxus, Goblin GrandeeKorvold, Fae-Cursed KingUro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Without a doubt, at this point we can say that these are the 3 most emblematic decks of the format. I don’t recommend anyone to play a Historic tournament without expecting a lot of these decks.

Top8

This time Sultai/4c was the deck with the best results, not only having decent winrates vs most of the field, but also managing to place 6 copies in the top8 (2x Sultai/4x 4c). On the other hand, we can say that Jund/Rakdos Sacrifice was the great disappointment, even more than the Goblins were in the first tournament, since despite being the most played deck, no one playing this deck reached the top8. The champion of the tournament was Brad Barclay playing UW Control, with a version very well prepared for the three big menaces.

3 Potentially High-Tier Decks

So far, we have reviewed the history of Historic as a format, and I dare say that as long as there are no bans, Jund/Rakdos Sacrifice, Sultai/4c and Goblins will continue to be tier1 decks. However, there is still hope that we will have a more varied format. In my opinion there are 3 decks that can dispute the throne of Historic.

UW Control

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

The current champion. UW control proved to have all the tools needed to establish in the format. It remains to be seen if now that it is more on the radar, the other decks manage to readjust, as for example lately the Sultai players were cutting 《Fatal Push》 (a card almost useless in that matchup) and replacing them with 《Eliminate》 (kills 《Narset, Parter of Veils》). It’s going to be a challenge for this deck to adapt to the new changes. It’s a very reactive deck, so as long as you are well prepared for the metagame you will have good results.

Paradox Engine Combo

Paradox Engine

Zendikar Rising Championship brought us the Sultai Paradox Engine Combo. A deck designed by none other than Kai Budde and Joel Larsson. The deck goes off by generating infinite mana and allowing you to draw your whole deck thanks to 《Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy》, 《Paradox Engine》 and 《Emry, Lurker of the Loch》.

Since then, the deck has evolved a lot, at first two things happened:

Escape to the Wilds

The latest versions of the deck are now running red for 《Escape to the Wilds》, and I think it’s a great call since that card works very well with what you are trying to do. If you are going to play this deck, I recommend starting here.

Rakdos Arcanist

Dreadhorde Arcanist

One of my all-time favorite Historic strategy. This is the deck I played with my teammates at the Mythic Invitational, with Luis Salvatto finishing third in that tournament. Not long ago, Patrick Fernandes used this deck to win the Star City 5k and get the invitation to the Kaldheim Championship. I really like his build but I made some small changes in the maindeck and sideboard, and ended up in this version:

Rest in PeaceLeyline of the Void

I’m still not sure about 《Scourge of the Skyclaves》. The card has underperformed for me, and I can easily see myself cutting one or both of them in the near future. These days people don’t have much graveyard hate, so this deck can abuse its powerful synergies. If people start to play more 《Rest in Peace》 or 《Leyline of the Void》, you should add some 《Feed the Swarm》 to the sideboard.

Conclusion

That’s all for now. We did a review of what was Historic’s first year as a competitive Magic format and what may be coming in the near future. To all those who have not played Historic yet, I recommend that you give it a try because it came to stay.

I hope the article has been useful, comments and suggestions are welcome. Until next time =)

Matias Leveratto (Twitter / Twitch)

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Matias Leveratto

Matias Leveratto Matias Leveratto is a veteran player from Argentina. He quit Pro Magic in 2012 but finally returned and his re-debut was insanely great. When he won two qualifiers in succession, he got a chance to compete in the highest level tournaments and he didn't miss it. At the Mythic Championship III he chose Simic Nexus as his weapon to battle against the very best players from all over the world and his trusty deck and skill just crushed EVERYTHING. Now he is a Mythic Championship winner and one of the remarkable player in the game. Read more articles by Matias Leveratto