I believe Historic will be a completely new format with the addition of the Mystical Archive cards Strixhaven brings us. Mystical Archive cards are something new: existing instants and sorceries brought in a new frame.
Some of these Mystical Archive cards are from recent sets, but others are stronger, older cards. These cards aren’t legal in Standard, but they will definitely have a huge impact on Historic.
In this article, I’ll go over every Mystical Archive card and how I think it’ll impact Historic. I’ll finish with a couple of new possible Historic decks.
All 63 Mystical Archive!
First, let’s take a look at all 63 Mystical Archive cards!
Too Good to Be True
Some old cards are literally too good and immediately banned in Historic. These are very nice to open in paper, but are sadly pretty worthless on MTG Arena.
Already Available in Historic
These cards are reprints that were already available in Historic, so they won’t change anything.
Finally, we get to new cards we get to enjoy in Historic.
《Wrath of God》 is already available in Historic so now you can play more than four copies of this effect or mix them up against 《Meddling Mage》. Fun fact: both cards do exactly the same as there aren’t any creatures with Regenerate in Historic.
I’ll pass. Even if you’re on the draw, getting three 《Plains》 in hand won’t be very useful.
A Commander staple, but I currently don’t see any applications in Historic.
It can draw a lot of cards and with enough mana it can also kill the opponent, but I’m afraid we won’t see many Zeniths cast in Historic.
Probably the card people are most excited to cast in Historic. While I’m certain it will still be strong, don’t expect the 《Brainstorm》 Legacy players get. With only 《Fabled Passage》 to shuffle your library, 《Brainstorm》 gets a lot worse.
I’m afraid we won’t be seeing a lot of 《Compulsive Research》 in Historic. The card is just a bit too slow for what we want to be doing.
As there aren’t any rituals in Historic, I fail to see how Storm can be used in Historic. People will try, but I expect pretty clunky piles.
Phyrexian mana is very strong, but 《Tezzeret’s Gambit》 isn’t.
Sadly, I think 《Time Warp》 will be very playable in Historic. I’ve played plenty 《Nexus of Fate》 when it was still legal. The combination of Planeswalkers, 《Time Walk》 and 《Fog》 is no joke, but not very fun to play against either.
We have plenty of black two mana removal spells and depending on what you want to kill, 《Doom Blade》 might be an option.
Maybe an aggressive Mono Black deck could use this, but I highly doubt those decks want to spend two mana to draw two.
This is an odd tutor, but I suspect it plays out better than it looks in dedicated combo decks. I’m not sure what deck that would be, but I won’t be surprised if 《Tainted Pact》 sees play in Historic.
A somewhat risky removal, but it does get any permanent of the table, which isn’t something red decks usually get. Maybe Goblins will want this in its sideboard to answer 《Hushbringer》 or 《Grafdigger’s Cage》 or whatever problematic card the opponent boarded in.
I’m going to get some 《Arclight Phoenix》 back! I’m not so sure playing fair Magic will be possible in Historic however, so a Rakdos 《Dreadhorde Arcanist》 deck with 《Faithless Looting》 and discard might the better place to start.
Historic has plenty of similar effects that aren’t played right now, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing this.
Here’s another card I believe to be underrated currently. There are plenty of big spells available in Historic. 《Faithless Looting》 gives an efficient way to enable 《Mizzix’s Mastery》. Note that 《Mizzix’s Mastery》 even works against 《Grafdigger’s Cage》.
Not a card I think people should be playing, but some people love land destruction, so they’ll be happy to cast 《Stone Rain》.
This was a cool reprint in Modern Horizons, but it’s not close to constructed playable nowadays.
This is actually a new card that will be printed in Modern Horizons 2. It does what you want a cantrip to do in the early game: giving you either a land or a nonland, but I don’t envision this becoming a player in Historic.
Too slow and too fair.
Split Second isn’t worth the additional mana, pass.
A versatile, but a somewhat underpowered card.
A card once banned in older formats, I don’t think we’ll be seeing a lot of 《Regrowth》 being cast in Historic.
How the mighty have fallen. I love 《Electrolyze》, but I don’t think it’s strong enough anymore.
Burn decks get a new strong tool. Boros might be the way to go for aggressive burn decks now. It might also be a tool for a ‘control-ish’ Jeskai deck, where the life gain is more relevant.
This deck aims to disrupt whatever your opponent is doing, while using your graveyard as a resource. 《Faithless Looting》 and 《Inquisition of Kozilek》 both are strong additions to an already strong existing deck.
Simic Taking Turns
This deck uses 《Time Warp》 with various Planeswalkers to ideally never let the opponent take another turn. Without 《Time Warp》, this deck wouldn’t exist. The numbers could probably be more tuned, but this shell seems pretty strong to me.
To be fair, Strixhaven’s 《Clever Lumimancer》 does more for this deck then 《Lightning Helix》. Burn with a Wizard theme was already a strong deck, but I think it becomes a real contender in the new metagame.
Mizzix’s Mastery Special
I saw this deck on Twitter with credit going out to Andrew Baeckstrom for designing it. I think this sort of deck is what we’ll be seeing a lot of in Historic: crazy piles doing very unfair things. 《Mizzix’s Mastery》 and 《Faithless Looting》 make this deck possible, while 《Brainstorm》 is not only a very strong cantrip, but gives the option of shuffling unwanted combo pieces back into your library.
I’ll finish with a much more fair deck. It’s possible to build a 《Arclight Phoenix》 deck designed to beat pretty much any deck, but in a wide open metagame it’s a lot harder to have answers for everything. As graveyard synergies look to be very strong in Historic, expect to see plenty of 《Grafdigger’s Cage》 and 《Rest in Peace》.
Historic is Dead, Long Live Historic!
More unfair things are made possible, with better answers being printed. The decklists I provided are still untested, but look powerful. Of course many changes will need to be made, depending on how the format shaped out.
Hit me up on Twitter (@VierenPascal) if you have any feedback or just cool new brew you want to show. I for one can’t wait to try all these lists!
Pascal Vieren (Twitter)