In my last article I analyzed the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms cards for Standard. This time, I'll do the anaysis for Historic.
As in the other article, I note that the new d20 and Dungeon abilities are limited mechanics and should not see play in constructed. If in Standard their power level is low, and they are slow synergies, let alone in Historic, where we have a lot of broken stuff to win the matches on turn 3 or 4!
The Book of Exalted Deeds as well as in Standard, has a combo in Historic, especially in the Angels decks, which is a real archetype in format. It could be another win condition for the deck.
Cleric Class is another slow but valid option for Angel decks, powering cards like Righteous Valkyrie and Soul Warden that constantly gain life. I don't think the best of the cards, but 1 or 2 copies on the sideboard looks worth a try.
Paladin Class is a card that can add a lot to the existing Mono White Taxes in the format. In a single card, it is possible to tax opponent spells in your turn, and having the effect of Glorious Anthem is very useful for the deck. I don't think there will be more than 2 copies in 75 because it is a card that requires a good board position to be effective, but it goes well in the deck.
Portable Hole does the quick removal role well against aggressive decks and Aura decks. Its advantage over Baffling End is that it costs 1 mana and doesn't leave a 3/3 token with trample when it leaves the field, though it only exiles the nonland permanent while it's in play.
Teleportation Circle follows similar analysis to Standard with the addition of Scholar of the Lost Trove being in the format, enabling combos with Emergent Ultimatum twice in the same turn! There's a problem that the deck didn't prove to be good against Brainstorm decks and some aggro decks, but the check for this combo is valid.
Demilich, as said in the review for Standard, is a card that necessarily implies playing with decks with plenty of cheap spells, and we have that in Historic with Izzet Phoenix. In some tournaments over the weekend, players have used 2 or 3 copies of the skeleton in this deck, replacing Crackling Drake in the high curve. The card is very synergistic with Finale of Promise and the deck's cantrips and other 1 mana spells such as Opt, Faithless Looting, Brainstorm, and Pillar of Flame. Probably the best card in the set for Historic.
Tasha's Hideous Laughter strikes me as an instant addition to the format's Dimir Rogues. If in Standard it has the potential to exile several cards, accelerating the mill strategy, in Historic this is enhanced when we talk about aggressive decks, like any Mono Red, Tribal Elves, Tribal Angels and so on. I don't think it's a main deck card, except in a very aggressive format, but it's a good option for the sideboard. It's worth trying to side it in against the Phoenix, as the deck plays lots of graveyard interactions.
Asmodeus the Archfiend hasn't seen a game in the format so far, but don't be surprised if you get a crazy combo with the card! The question is how to cast the Devil God (how ironic) for some alternative cost and, from the next turn on, activate your abilities because casting it for 6 mana seems extremely slow for the format. It can fit in reanimate decks, God-Pharaoh's Gift or even with Emergent Ultimatum.
Ebondeath, Dracolich can be easily cast in this format in a Jund Sacrifice or even in Mono Black Aggro, as a curve-topper. It's no better than Korvold, but it can come back from the graveyard in the pass with the cat + oven combo for 4 mana and come back hitting 5 with flying.
Battle Cry Goblin and Hobgoblin Bandit Lord are additions to the existing Mono Red Goblins, however the former seems better by giving +1/+0 and haste to all your goblins until end of turn for 2 mana . The second goblin can be an interesting choice in specific games where the board is locked such as goblin mirrors, against elves or against decks that use Settle the Wreckage, since this card can damage for lethal without attacking. Honestly, I don't see much use of these cards over the ones that already exist, but they might be worth the test.
Flameskull, like Standard, is a source of card advantage for Mono Red alongside Light Up the Stage. It's fragile because it only has 1 toughness, but the card pays itself by always generating value when it dies, being good against decks with plenty of removals.
Circle of Dreams Druid is honestly not a good card for tribal elves as there are better options in the format for the same mana cost and more toughness.
Green didn't get good cards for the format. We can think of The Terrasque in Transmogrify decks, but Craterhoof Behemoth is purely better for closing the game. Werewolf Pack Leader doesn't seem like such a powerful creature in Gruul Aggro either, but maybe it could see some play.
Trelasarra Moon Dancer does not have the angel subtype, but has a lot of synergy with life gain. It can be a card to be tested in some Selesnya Lifegain lists as a way to obtain card advantage, although slow because it is only a scry 1.
Targ Nar, Demon-Fang Gnoll is an interesting creature to try out in Gruul Aggro. Although it has no haste, it can double its power for 4 mana, a mana sink that doesn't currently exist in the deck, and gives +1/+0 to all your attacking creatures when they attack with a total of 6 or more power. Since it is a legend, I believe that 1 or 2 copies is the ideal amount.
I don't think Tiamat will see the play in the format, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a dragon tribal using the dragon god. We have a scenario in which Tiamat tutors Niv-Mizzet Reborn and then generates infinite value. Do we have better and cheaper tutors for the format? Yes, but the meme of a 5c Dragons might be real.
Manlands may see play in some specific decks, but I don't think they will be as widely used in the format as we're starting to see in Standard. Not only because of the slightly larger presence of Field of Ruin in the format, but because Eldraine's castles are very useful and usually a better choice in these decks, as they won't rotate in Historic.
That's all for today. I hope you have liked my analysis of the new set for Historic.
Next week, we'll see the metagame of these formats and the most interesting decklists
See you later!