Magic: the Gathering
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1. Eleven Questions with Kai Budde, MTG's biggest winner
2. Legacy Deck Tech: Izzet Delver
Goldspan Dragon, which will create treasures and return spells from your graveyard that will create more treasures, and draw cards like
Seize the Spoilsand
Prismari Commandto fetch more creatures with Mutate that will return spells from your graveyard to your hand with
Lore Drakkisor can be cast for free with
Valdrok, Apex of Thunder, turning
Goldspan Dragoninto some kind of
Krark-Clan Ironworkswith the treasures it creates. This can even be taken to levels of loops that last longer than ten minutes, using
Unsubstantiateto return your creatures or spells to the hand, and you can repeat the process of “enchanting” Goldspan Dragon with Mutate creatures over and over again, creating more treasures, drawing more cards, etc. Now check out this winrate sheet made by MTGData:
Emergent Ultimatumis among the top decks, but they suffer a lot against the Izzet Dragons and will become less relevant while the deck is at the top. • Jeskai Mutate did very well in the event and probably more people will play it, however it is not an easy deck to pilot and more players will also respect it and I expect it will eventually be hated out of the format. • Cycling and Rogues will remain popular as affordable and popular Magic Arena options that can pull in good results, with Rogues being a better deck against the Izzet Dragons while Cycling is a better deck against the Sultai Ultimatum. In summary, I don't think anything will change too much until the release of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and in a general context, after months of much controversy, I can finally say that Standard is in a healthy and diverse state. Unfortunately, I don't think we can say the same about Historic.
Tainted Pactis no longer a competitively viable archetype, and the two players who signed up with the deck had terrible results.
Mayhem Deviltrigger, damage to you, cat trigger, damage to you, repeat process) that simply cannot be shortened and are not fun to watch while playing against or while watching a stream. It's even important to point out that it was precisely this sequence that led to
Cauldron Familiarbeing banned from Standard (and no, I'm not asking for Cauldron Familiar to be banned in Historic). Then Strixhaven arrived, Mystical Archives came with the set and the format became a race to make the best deck with powerful cards in the entire Magic's history, which led to plenty of explosive decks that took advantage of a format which was still extremely creature-oriented. It didn't take long for the combo decks to emerge, the Control decks to have more space, and it became necessary to interact with the opponent before they played their next powerful spell or absurd combo, similar to how we do in formats like Modern, for example. The introduction of a bundle of extremely powerful cards easily creates situations where players are always trying to find the next broken deck for the format. We're seeing the same thing now with Modern Horizons II in the other formats and I sincerely believe it can happen in literally every set that comes out. There will always be cards to try to break, it's inevitable. To paraphrase a quote from Sam Black, from the week Wizards announced the creation of Pioneer, "If you're not trying to break the format, you're playing it wrong." But the problem is that, apparently, the players aren't having the efficient means to respond to everything that has entered the format repeatedly through sets and bundles like Mystical Archives, Jumpstart, or Historic Anthology. To be fair, of those only Mystical Archives really seems to be problematic for the format, and for what reason? Perhaps because, as in Jumpstart and unlike Historic Anthology, there was no planning or testing of what went into the format. So much so that the set had already come out with six cards that were obviously banned for power level issues that exceed even what Pioneer has access to, and yet Historic is a format that has a higher power level than Pioneer while retaining an entirely different nature. And that's where, for me, there's been a chronic problem with the format since Jumpstart came out at Arena: In addition to being simply impossible to keep track of everything that's legal in the format, there doesn't seem to be any idea or consensus on what Wizards aim or wishes for Historic. Both Jumpstart and Mystical Archives seem to have just been thrown on the digital platform without a plan for how the cards in the set would impact the format, and I even believe the same can be said for cards put into Remastered sets without necessarily having belonged to the set, such as
Collected Company, being added through Amonkhet Remastered along with
Pact of Negation, and other cards.
Death's Shadow, Izzet Phoenix, Burn, and others that are well known from other formats, I believe this creates not only a format that becomes fun and interesting but also motivates players who aren't that big a fan of Standard to play Magic Arena as well. However, when something goes wrong, and since it did when the
Tainted Pactdecks became by far the best deck in the format, leading to
Thassa's Oracleto be banned, that “fun” ends, and what's exposed is the clear lack of planning regarding the format. And the huge and chronic problem with when these interventions become necessary is that the format doesn't pass a safety margin for players to be really interested in spending their resources on it. Historic innately is an expensive format where virtually all major decks of the format are composed mostly of rare and mythic rare cards (and the fact that cards like
Faithless Lootingcame out as rares didn't help at all), and Wildcards for the average player are precious resources. It's hard enough to convince an Arena player that Historic is a good format to invest in because its Metagame is significantly different from Standard or any other format, but how can I convince someone to invest in a good deck when I have no idea if this deck will be viable in a few months? How can I convince a person who plays Modern that in Historic they can play Izzet Phoenix with
Faithless Lootingif I'm not confident if the deck will be valid for the next few weeks? How can I convince someone to play the format when I'm not even sure it's a good idea to play the format and what we should play to get good results? And now, if Historic is broken again, what will get banned if that's the case?
Arclight Phoenix? And after this ban, what will be the next best deck? What are the chances of it being oppressive? And what are the chances it also includes cards from Mystical Archives? As I write this article, more players and more content creators continue to debate whether something should be banned after this event, or even whether Mystical Archives should be removed from the format completely, thus admitting the mistake of not planning the set for Historic. Some with very valid arguments and very concise to reality and Wizards standards when it comes to bans, and others acting out of pure overreacting on the results of the Strixhaven Championship. Unfortunately, for me, there is no simple or clear solution to this problem. If a deck is overwhelming, it needs to be responded to by direct intervention or the format becomes uninteresting. If a card is too efficient, it polarizes the Metagame around it, and from that point on it's up to both the community and Wizards to decide if this card becomes part of the format's pillars or if it would be better if this card didn't exist.
Brainstormis pretty much part of Legacy's heart, but should it be part of Historic's heart too? The bomb is already dropped. Mystical Archives has been in Historic for some time, the format has already changed, the decks are already established. What's left is to deal with the damage and repair what's needed, everyone knew that adding these cards could be extremely dangerous. It's up to us now only to know how far we are willing to embrace this danger.