Historic: Post-Ban Decklists

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Historic: Post-Ban Decklists

Today, we'll discuss Historic's recent bannings and take a look at what decks benefited from it the most and what the current Metagame prior to the Qualifier looks like!

By Thiago, 10/22/21, translated by Romeu, with help from our readers

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On October 30-31th, another Qualifier will take place on MTG Arena, at the Historic format after Tibalt's Trickery and Brainstorm were banned, along with the suspension of a key card for many of the format's blue decks: Memory Lapse, a card that was widely played on Jeskai Control, Dimir Rogues, and plenty of other decks. Today, we'll talk about the lists that might emerge with these updates.

Regarding Historic's Banlist Update

Briefly commenting on the bans, Brainstorm was the best card in the format and gave a lot of consistency to the blue decks, practically making it impossible not to play with blue and the greater diversity of decks currently supports this argument.

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Memory Lapse was, without a doubt, one of the best cards in the format, but I don't know if it needed a suspension. The card buys time, but it doesn't solve the threat forever, it's a kind of budget Time Walk that just doesn't make a bad situation worse. As for Trickery, the ban seemed purely due to the fun factor. The deck was never competitive, never performed well in tournaments, but it was extremely frustrating to play against in gold events or in the play queue because almost no casual deck can answer Ulamog, Cealess Hunger, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or Genesis Ultimatum in turn 3 or 4. I thought the ban was unnecessary, but following that line of thought, I think it's justifiable, as Historic has become a format in which many players play for fun without paying too much attention to tournaments, a kind of Arena Modern.

Historic Post-Ban Decklist

Having made this introduction to contextualize the article, let's comment on some lists that are running in this post-ban Historic and what to expect until the Arena qualifier. First, most lists have Soul-Guide Lantern in the main deck and no wonder since Jund Food is the main deck of the format, and we have several other decks that use the graveyard a lot, like Mono Red Discard, Jeskai Opus, Izzet Phoenix, Arcanist decks and more. Therefore, I prefer to have a good answer in game 1 to have more chances to win, but it is personal preference and, in the worst-case scenario, Lantern is essentially a 2 mana cantrip.

Jund Food

Let's start with the main post-ban deck, Jund Food. We have the standard version with Jegantha, the Wellspring and a version without Jegantha to use The Meathook Massacre, Innistrad's new black sweeper that has a lot of synergy with the deck, draining 2 life every time we activate Cauldron Familiar + Witch's Oven.
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The version without Jegantha has been tested and doing good results because Massacre is an excellent card for mirror match and against aggro in general. It's also a good answer for Yasharn, Impecable Earth, the card that kills Jund, and anything else on the other side of the board. It's the safest deck at the moment because it's good against aggro, format randomness and its main problem, the control decks, are outnumbered due to Lapse's suspension. Jund with Collected Company doesn't look any better than Jund Food at the moment because with less Jeskai in the field, more aggro are seeing play and the Food version is more resilient than the Company version. On a mirror match, the Food list can be rushed by the Company list, but we don't live in a world of Jund mirrors (yet).

Selesnya Humans

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Selesnya Humans is one of the format's new contenders. Before, we had Mono White who played like an extremely aggressive taxes. Now we're splashing green for Sigarda, Champion of Light which buffs all of your human creatures, plus the card advantage of putting a human into your hand. And since there's green in a small creatures deck, you can't miss Collected Company, which makes the deck even more explosive. Yasharn, Impecable Earth is in the deck to stop the Jund and nothing else.

Jeskai Opus

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Speaking of control, Jeskai Opus remains a good option, but it needs to adapt to the Metagame. Lapse's four open lots would naturally be occupied by Censor, but I think the card is just bad, I prefer almost anything else instead. I'm testing a Lantern, 2 Fateful Absence and 1 Dovin's Veto in place of Lapse, and I've enjoyed it.

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Innistrad's white removal deals with any creature or planeswalker, focusing on creatures like Shifting Ceratops, which were too problematic for the deck, and others with 4 or more toughness that doesn't die to Lightning Helix or Anger of the Gods. Maybe it's time to use a copy of Wrath of God in the main deck, but I still have doubts, I prefer to rely on the combo of Mizzix, Gearhulk and Magma Opus. Another Innistrad addition that I'm testing and enjoying is Memory Deluge. It dodges discards well and wins grindy games, digging the necessary cards. However, without many control mirrors, 2 copies on 75 cards seem enough.

Dimir Control

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The other control deck that had space in the format, Dimir, suffered more from Lapse's suspension, as it was a more reactive deck than Jeskai. But Meathook Massacre and Deluge already have their slots guaranteed in the deck as they work very well as sweeper and cantrip, respectively, holding the game against aggro and looking for more answers and ways to close the match.

Sultai Ultimatum

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Going a bit on the combo side, Seth Manfield came up with a Sultai Ultimatum for the format and has been moving up the ladder well. This version focuses heavily on the combo of Emergent Ultimatum, Alrund's Epiphany, Scholar of the Lost Trove and Final Parting so the game never goes back to the opponents.

Izzet Phoenix

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Good old Izzet Phoenix comes back strengthened without Lapse in the format because, in addition to the deck never using the card, it was superb against it in game 1. The deck didn't change because Innistrad didn't bring anything relevant, as we know that Delver of Secrets is a worsened version of Dragon's Rage Channeler. There is even a version of Izzet Delver, but I chose not to put it in the article so as not to mislead anyone into crafting the deck instead of Phoenix, which is an improved version of Izzet Delver.

Grixis Lurrus

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One deck that has been gaining space is Grixis Lurrus with Dreadhorde Arcanist and Channeler. This blue Rakdos version doesn't suffer much for the mana base and adds two very synergistic cards, Expressive Iteration and Consider. The new and improved Opt clears the top all too well with Arcanist and Channeler, while Iteration is one of the best cards of recent years, giving more consistency to almost any deck. We have sideboard counterspells for control and 5c Niv.

Orzhov Auras

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Auras have not received new cards in Innistrad, but may have more room if the field has many aggros. I think it's unlikely because Jund is the main deck of the format and ends up being good against Auras when it has Claim the Firstborn on the sideboard, but it's a safe option for those who like the archetype and don't want to spend too many wildcards on other decks.

Rakdos Midrange

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Another option against aggressive decks in the format is Rakdos Midrange, which has many removals which can be flashbacked with Bloodthirsty Adversary, the Innistrad addition to the list. The rest of the deck is the same as before, with Channeler feeding the graveyard to activate Delirium and Escape Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger as soon as possible.

Merfolks

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The Merfolk Tribal is covered in the article because, despite looking like a meme deck, it has already won relevant tournaments and is a deck that should not be disrespected with the additions of the latest Jumpstart.

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The deck is not good against Jund, but it improves against midrange and control decks with Malevolent Hermit on the sideboard. I often say that any pile of creatures with 4 Collected Company is dangerous, and the Merfolk Tribal is no different.

Mono-Red Discard

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Another deck that benefits from Jeskai's downfall is Mono Red Discard, which instantly concedes against any graveyard hate. It's a fast, not too cute archetype that will use all the mana every turn with light plays, in addition to taking advantage of the graveyard with Delirium and Managorger Phoenix cards, and cycles a lot of hand cards with Seasoned Pyromancer and Faithless Looting. With Blazing Rootwalla, Fiery Temper, and Pyromancer, it's okay to always discard your hand because there's almost always use for cards in the graveyard. There's still an Ox of Agonas in case we don't have better plays, escaping for 2 mana, drawing 3 and putting a 5/3 on the board is always relevant.

Niv-Mizzet Reborn

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The last list for today is Niv-Mizzet Reborn. It didn't get additions from Innistrad, but it's excellent against Jund, which instantly makes it well-positioned in Historic today. Klothys, God of Destiny is great against Jund, and the main deck's Grafdigger's Cage also messes up Food's game plan a lot, as well as stalling any Company decks. The card that receives the most prominence at this point is Deafening Clarion which can turn games quickly by giving Lifelink to Niv and clearing the board on the other side. I think it's a good choice for those who like the archetype.

Conclusion

Until the Qualifier Weekend, we'll see how the format adapts to Jund Food's new rise and attempts to counter the deck, and we'll talk more about that over the days leading up to the tournament weekend. Any questions, comments or feedback I'm available in the comments below. See you next time!
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Thiago

Economist, Standard and Historic player. I stream on Twitch MTG Arena.

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