Magic Arena: Historic Anthology 6 Review

Magic: the Gathering

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Magic Arena: Historic Anthology 6 Review

29/07/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

Is it worth buying the sixth bundle in the Historic Anthology series? In this article, we look at the cards that are in the product and how they might impact Historic in Magic Arena.

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By Romeu

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translated by Romeu

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revised by Leon

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Historic Anthology 6

was officially announced and all of its cards were revealed last Wednesday, and raised several doubts about the impact the new cards will have on the format, as well as

whether it's really worth buying the bundle, or just craft what the player needs for their decks, including rares and mythics

. Much like what I did with Explorer Anthologylink outside website, I share with you my analysis of the new bundle and what I consider the possible impact of the cards included in it to conclude whether we should invest our precious Gold or Gems in this product, or save them for Dominaria United.

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Before I start, I'd like to point out that I've been away from Historic (due to focusing on other formats content) since Alchemy Horizons came out, which added over 200 cards to the format. Therefore, it is possible that some interaction of the new product ends up being neglected here. If so, feel free to mention them in the comments!

White

Avacyn, Angel of Hope

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Avacyn looks like a fun option for Historic Brawl, and definitely a card that every player who likes to put large creatures on the battlefield wants. But relative to Historic, she seems like a much worse option to bring to the battlefield with Indomitable Creativity or reanimate than Serra's Emissary, as it can win games on its own against certain strategies.

Blue

Phyrexian Metamorph

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Honestly, I'm not certain how far Phyrexian Metamorph can go in Historic: It's more of a clone effect for the Neoform combo, and its Artifact subtype in addition to being able to copy artifacts can offer a spot on some lists like Affinity as a one-of, or a tutorable piece with Karn, the Great Creator in any deck that wants or needs it.

Black

Night of Souls' Betrayal

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Night of Souls' Betrayal was, at some point in the past, a classic Modern Sideboard piece to deal with Splinter Twin while also working against archetypes with small creatures and Mana Dorks - time passed, Splinter Twin was banned and more efficient answers against Aggro emerged. In terms of more efficient answers, Historic has several options for black sweepers, but none of them are a permanent -1/-1 in the form of an enchantment. In theory, it would be useful against tribals like Humans, Elves, and Goblins, but in practice, this enchantment is only really useful if you've

already cleared your opponent's board

because these lists have an excellent creature core that go beyond the X/1 power, or that increases the toughness of other permanents of the same type. And even against infinite token combos like the Heliod Company, this enchantment doesn't stop the opponent from gaining an absurd amount of life and having a Scurry Oak with an arbitrarily high amount of power - and disregarding any other triggers that lifegain effects can provide on other permanents, such as Voice of the Blessed. In the end, I conclude that Night of Souls' Betrayal doesn't have enough impact against Historic's main competitors today.

Ophiomancer

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Ophiomancer's biggest utility for constructed is always offering a body to sacrifice between turns, and it doesn't seem like enough to justify casting a 2/2 creature for three mana.

Red

Laelia the Blade Reforged

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Laelia, the Blade Reforged excels in

Vintage

, a format with duals, fetchlands, and the

Power 9

, so it's pretty tricky to gauge her impact in an infinitely fairer format like Historic.

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So, what does she need to be relevant in the digital environment? An archetype where all the cards she exiles can be easily cast - Like other Turbo Xerox staples in eternal formats (Ledger Shredder, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer), Laelia gets better when the spells you cast are cheaper - since then you can always cast anything it exiles without having to decide between what you have on hand and what's in exile. Other cards that are very effective with Laelia are the recurring exile effects - Underworld Breach and Unlicensed Hearse are good examples of this, but several options exist in Historic. My conclusion is that Laelia, the Blade Reforged is in a very polarized position: either she will be insanely powerful and many decks will need her, or she will simply be bad because the mana requirements and lack of decent ramping in Explorer will make it a suboptimal choice when compared to better cards in this regard when we're playing "fair Magic".

Green

Go-Shintai of Life's Origin

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Historic Brawl fans really wanted a Shrine tribal to be viable and have a dedicated commander. Wizards answered your request, enjoy! I don't believe this Sanctuary has what it takes to be competitively viable, but I'm ready to be blown away (or maybe not).

Tarmogoyf

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The legendary Tarmogoyf has finally arrived at Magic Arena. I've seen many players dismiss Tarmogoyf in Historic as being an easy target for removals and being notoriously affected by the absence of Fetch Lands, but we're also forgetting how much the range of playable permanents has increased in recent years - cards like Esper Sentinel and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker have become staples, while Thoughtseize and the newly nerfed Unholy Heat are common cards to watch out for in Explorer games, making that Tarmogoyf doesn't have so much trouble becoming a 4/5 for two mana. But Goyf became obsolete in Modern for a reason - and it repeats in Historic - the lack of added value: Tarmogoyf is essentially just an attacker with no extra effects, no built-in protection, does absolutely nothing relevant when comes into play, attacks, or leaves the battlefield - and Magic, as a whole, has already abandoned that creature category unless they win the game in a turn or two, like Death's Shadow or Murktide Regent. Another issue we have is the huge amount of incidental graveyard hate on maindecks today: it's not uncommon to see people running Unlicensed Hearse or Soul-Guide Lantern on Game 1 to shut off Cauldron Familiar or Delirium. Time will tell if one of the most iconic creatures in the game's history will find a home in Magic Arena. And if the answer is no, then maybe it's time to consider whether it would be welcome at Pioneer. Finally, just a reminder for new players who have never faced a Tarmogoyf in their lives:

damage doesn't kill creatures, state-based actions (SBA) does

, and if you cast a Shock on a 1/2 Tarmogoyf with no Instants in graveyards, it will take 2 damage and become 2/3 (still having 2 damage) right after Shock goes to graveyard because SBA doesn't check what happens

between the effects

- and when the effects wear off, Tarmogoyf will be a 2/3 with 2 damage since an Instant exists in your graveyard.

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Artifacts

Chalice of the Void

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The first thing I'm sure of is that Chalice of the Void will be the most hated card in the bundle, and you can expect tons of social media complaints about it - both because people won't initially understand how it works and because there's a significant layer of archetypes that suffer a lot from a Chalice for 1 or 2 - Auras, Izzet Phoenix, Golgari Food, Mono-Blue Tempo, Rakdos Arcanist, among others. The good news is that, as far as I can tell, there aren't any very efficient ways to cast a Chalice of the Void on turn 1. This will give the opponent enough time to at least take some initial action and/or even prepare to respond to the artifact or remove it with Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek. But, which strategies really benefit from Chalice of the Void? I believe that, today, mainly Control decks would use it on Sideboard, in addition to other lists that don't have such a predefined curve focused on a single cost or in such a low mana value to the point of being hit by the artifact. However, I also don't think we'll see it as a ubiquitous figure in Historic these days, or if we do, it won't be long before players adapt.

Retrofitter Foundry

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Retrofitter Foundry sees play on Legacy due to its interaction with Urza's Saga, but also occasionally appeared in the Ninjas deck, with Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow. In this case, this artifact interacted positively with the main Ninjutsu enablers, Ornithopter and Changeling Outcast - creating 4/4 tokens on turn 1 or 2 alongside these creatures. As both creatures are also in the format, and we have some good quality Ninjas - but none close to the quality offered by Yuriko - in Historic today, like Ingenious Infiltrator, or Ninja of the Deep Hours, it's possible to create an interesting list within this theme. In addition, Retrofitter Foundry also interacts positively on Affinity and on lists interested in playing with Sai, Master Thopterist.

Bridges

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Aside from perhaps Affinity, enchanting them with Ensoul Artifact, and the obvious interactions with Cleansing Wildfire in a format that has archetypes with a greedy manabase, I can't imagine Bridges having much of an impact on Historic. This could change if, as most people speculate, The Brothers' War focuses heavily on artifacts to the point of making them instant staples.

Conclusion

After this analysis, and with a total of

ten cards out of the twenty in the bundle being common

and with the notorious feeling that a portion of the rare or mythics were focused on Historic Brawl,

I don't think Historic Anthology 6 is really worth the purchase unless you want to expand your entire collection instead of taking what you need for your decks

.

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It's not that the bundle is bad: there are cards with some competitive potential, but none of them seem like an instant staple to the point that I want multiple copies of each of them in my collection, and the fact that only half of the product has any difficulty in acquiring later does not contribute to the need to buy the complete package. That said, I'm really curious how much Laelia, the Blade Reforged, Tarmogoyf, Chalice of the Void and Retrofitter Foundry can really make a difference in the main archetypes, or enable new strategies to expand the format's competitive environment. Thanks for reading!
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Romeu

Writer and translator for Cards Realm and journalism student. Plays virtually every Magic: The Gathering competitive format.

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