Historic Is Dead, Long Live Historic!

Pascal Vieren


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.

Swords to PlowsharesCounterspellDark RitualDemonic Tutor
Lightning BoltChannelNatural Order

Already Available in Historic

These cards are reprints that were already available in Historic, so they won’t change anything.

Defiant StrikeGods WillingDivine GambitRevitalize
Approach of the Second SunOptNegateStrategic Planning
Whirlwind DenialDuressVillage RitesAgonizing Remorse
EliminateClaim the FirstbornInfuriateShock
Thrill of PossibilityAdventurous ImpulseSnakeskin VeilCultivate
DesparkGrowth Spiral

New Toys

Finally, we get to new cards we get to enjoy in Historic.

《Day of Judgment》

Day of Judgment

《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 don’t see a real home for 《Ephemerate》 at the moment, but there are plenty of strong enter the battlefield effects. Maybe someone will find a nice place for 《Ephemerate》, as the rate is quite good.

《Gift of Estates》

Gift of Estates

I’ll pass. Even if you’re on the draw, getting three 《Plains》 in hand won’t be very useful.

《Mana Tithe》

Mana Tithe

If ever there was a card I want to run as a singleton, it’s this one. I actually do think 《Mana Tithe》 will be playable as big spells like 《Emergent Ultimatum》 are quite common at the moment.

《Teferi’s Protection》

Teferi's Protection

A Commander staple, but I currently don’t see any applications in Historic.

《Blue Sun’s Zenith》

Blue Sun's Zenith

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.

《Compulsive Research》

Compulsive Research

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.

《Memory Lapse》

Memory Lapse

《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 has a new best friend. At two mana, you just don’t get to counter every possible spell nowadays. I think 《Memory Lapse》 is currently the most underrated of these cards.

《Mind’s Desire》

Mind's Desire

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.

《Tezzeret’s Gambit》

Tezzeret's Gambit

Phyrexian mana is very strong, but 《Tezzeret’s Gambit》 isn’t.

《Time Warp》

Time Warp

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.

《Crux of Fate》

Crux of Fate

Seems worse than both 《Languish》 and 《Shadows’ Verdict》 in decks interested in this effect.

《Doom Blade》

Doom Blade

We have plenty of black two mana removal spells and depending on what you want to kill, 《Doom Blade》 might be an option.

《Inquisition of Kozilek》

Inquisition of Kozilek

With both 《Thoughtseize》 and 《Inquisition of Kozilek》, black decks can tear hands apart. I think we will see a lot of both.

《Sign in Blood》

Sign in Blood

Maybe an aggressive Mono Black deck could use this, but I highly doubt those decks want to spend two mana to draw two.

《Tainted Pact》

Tainted Pact

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.

《Tendrils of Agony》

Tendrils of Agony

At least 《Tendrils of Agony》 is nice with 《Bolas’s Citadel》, but I don’t think that’s really what you want to be doing. Like 《Mind’s Desire》, we’ll need to wait for actual rituals.

《Chaos Warp》

Chaos Warp

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.

《Faithless Looting》

Faithless Looting

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.



As with the other Storm spells, I don’t think 《Grapeshot》 has much potential right now. 《Grinning Ignus》 and 《Birgi, God of Storytelling》 are cute, but not playable.

《Increasing Vengeance》

Increasing Vengeance

Historic has plenty of similar effects that aren’t played right now, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing this.

《Mizzix’s Mastery》

Mizzix's Mastery

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》.

《Stone Rain》

Stone Rain

Not a card I think people should be playing, but some people love land destruction, so they’ll be happy to cast 《Stone Rain》.

《Urza’s Rage》

Urza's Rage

This was a cool reprint in Modern Horizons, but it’s not close to constructed playable nowadays.

《Abundant Harvest》

Abundant Harvest

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.

《Krosan Grip》

Krosan Grip

Split Second isn’t worth the additional mana, pass.

《Primal Command》

Primal Command

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.

《Weather the Storm》

Weather the Storm

If a true burn deck emerges in Historic, 《Weather the Storm》 could be a strong sideboard card. Or you could build a crazy 《Bolas’s Citadel》, 《Tendrils of Agony》 and 《Weather the Storm》 combo deck.



How the mighty have fallen. I love 《Electrolyze》, but I don’t think it’s strong enough anymore.

《Lightning Helix》

Lightning Helix

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 is just worse than other options, like 《Assassin’s Trophy》 or 《Maelstrom Pulse》.

Historic Decklists

Rakdos Arcanist

Rakdos Arcanist

Click to Wide

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

Simic Taking Turns

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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.

Boros Burn

Boros Burn

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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

Mizzix’s Mastery

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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.

Izzet Phoenix

Izzet Phoenix

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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)

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Pascal Vieren Pascal is a Gold Level Pro from Belgium. Before the beginning 2018-2019 season, he was advanced from Hareruya Hopes to Hareruya Pros with Jacob Nagro, and his countryman, Branco Neirynck. He has some sweet results like 2 GP top 8s and the runner-up at Worl Magic Cup 2016 with the greatest Belgian team in the history. Though, the most impressive one is Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan where he went undefeated in the Swiss portion (12-0-4) and 3rd place at the end. He piloted an interesting UR Pyromancer deck which was designed by his big brother Peter Vieren. Read more articles by Pascal Vieren

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