MTG Arena Historic Decks to Try in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
Sure, Standard is fun in MTG Arena, but Innistrad brought us a lot of fun Historic decks too! With that in mind, I will look back at some fun concepts that you might want to try in Historic. Some of these will be powerhouse decks that melt faces in nearly every matchup. Others are silly, janky but are still incredibly powerful in their own right. I’m very fond of Historic as a match type, as it is as close to Modern as I can get in MTG Arena. It lets me play some wild, silly decks that can still get wins, where Standard has always felt more structured and requires you to play to the meta. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a fact of playing competitive styles of MTG.
It’s always felt to me like Historic’s meta has stayed pretty stagnant. From what I’ve gathered, the top-tier MTG Arena Historic decks haven’t changed too much with Innistrad. More five-color decks are going on right now, and I love that. However, most of these have nothing to do with new cards from Innistrad. After all, if Ultimatum/Tibalt’s Trickery decks are still working, why change it? Instead of focusing on these obvious decks, I want to talk about the decks that star some new cards. We’ll come back to the top decks soon. I want to start with a bold, interesting choice!
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UB Shadow Delver (Black/Blue Combo Deck)
Bringing back Delver of Secrets is really interesting. But we want to immediately pop it into its alternate form. To supplement this, we’re only going to run twelve lands in this deck. It’s a dangerous thing to do, but it’s going to pay off, I think. However, we also have Agadeem’s Awakening and Sea Gate Restoration that can also come in as lands. Since the top form of the card is a spell, it will trigger for Delver of Secrets. We have so many cards that reduce our life total. Why would we want to do that? Because our damage comes from Death’s Shadow and Scourge of the Skyclaves.
We can also just win from Delver of Secrets if our opponent can’t keep up with our control options. So what’s going on here?
How Does It Work?
Delver of Secrets is going to be the focus of our early game hopefully. It’s a 1/1 for 1, and during our upkeep, we look at the top card of our deck. We can reveal it if we want. If it’s an Instant or Sorcery, Delver transforms into Insectile Abberation, a 3/2 Flyer. Now we have turn-2 quality damage. Now we can wait on Death’s Shadow and Scourge of the Skyclaves. If we pay the Kicker for Scourge (5 mana, 7-cost total), it makes each player lose half their life, rounded up. Scourge of the Skyclaves’ Power/Toughness is equal to 20 minus the highest life total among players.
This is a deck that requires a little math, admittedly. That’s why you pay the Kicker, to make sure your opponent has a low health total too. This way, Scourge of the Skyclaves can be an absolute force of nature. This is another way to make sure Death’s Shadow is a force of nature. Well, a force of Hell. He’s a 13/13 for one black mana. However, when he comes into play, he gets -X/-X, where X is your life total. We need an incredibly low life total to make the most of this. How do we get there? Some of it will probably be simply taking damage from our opponent. But this is a control deck! We don’t want our opponent to get too much on the board. So many of our control spells feature low-cost, at the cost of life. A good example is the new Infernal Grasp, for 2 mana (1 black). It destroys a creature and makes you lose 2 life.
We also have Thoughtseize, which costs 1 black. It will make us lose 2 life, but we get to look at our opponent’s hand and choose a nonland for the other player to discard. Murderous Rider’s Adventure Spell – Swift End destroys a creature or planeswalker, and you lose 2 life. So we can slow our opponent down and reduce our life total to proper numbers. The lower your health is, the better those Death’s Shadows are going to be. I like to hold them until our opponent has nothing left and drop a few at once.
Sadly, we can’t run Tarmogoyf in this deck, but Scourge of the Skyclaves is a good enough replacement. So, in addition to the life-loss cards, we’ve got Drown in the Loch as a counter/removal card, and Spell Pierce to counter unless they pay 2 colorless. Memory Lapse is back to counter a spell and put it on their library instead of their graveyard. Bloodchief’s Thirst destroys a creature or planeswalker that costs 2 or less, and if it’s kicked (3 mana), it destroys any creature or planeswalker!
Our endgame is Death’s Shadow and Scourge of the Skyclaves. We gamble in this deck. Take your time, remove the most important threats, and hit with our creatures in the later parts of the game. Or just play four Delvers, and swat people for 3-12 damage a turn. Either way works for me!
4 Death’s Shadow
3 Overgrown Tomb
4 Drown in the Loch
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Watery Grave
4 Bloodchief’s Thirst
4 Memory Lapse
4 Godless Shrine
4 Agadeem’s Awakening
4 Sea Gate Restoration
4 Murderous Rider
4 Scourge of the Skyclaves
4 Infernal Grasp
4 Delver of Secrets
1 Steam Vents
2 Spell Pierce
What a deck! I adore Death’s Shadow decks as a concept, and while we lack the oomph of the other versions of the deck, MTG Arena’s version is fine for me. Innistrad brought just enough beef to make Death’s Shadow one of the exciting decks for MTG Arena Innistrad in Historic. The key to this deck is playing with pure skill. You really need to know your match-ups, and what your opponent can do. It’s not a deck that you just play cards and win. You have to have removal cards, and know what to let go, and what you cannot afford to let slide. That’s the exciting part of Death’s Shadow. It’s very exciting to get down into the sub-10 HP and start hitting someone with 7/7s, 8/8s, and more. It’s just such a satisfying feeling to completely outplay someone and win with Death’s Shadow.
Wrenn and Seven and Friends (White/Green Jank/Midrange)
Sometimes a deck will have several new cards in it, for example, Zombies. Some decks will be almost entirely new cards, just needing a couple of classic bits to make them powerful. Then there are decks like GW Landfall, which really only needed one power card – Wrenn and Seven. It’s a really fascinating deck because it uses Finale of Devastation without a single huge creature to make it worthwhile. Instead, we use it to simply buff our allies and swing for unprecedented damage. How would you like to see 50+ Scute Swarm mobs, and 20-30 Angels alls winging at once, and they all gain something ludicrous like +15/+15? It’s entirely possible in this deck.
This deck can become significantly faster, thanks to Nylea’s Intervention/Wrenn and Seven combo. This deck thrives on having a great deal of mana, especially if we can drop it all at once. Before that though, we want to get Felidar Retreat, and/or Scute Swarm in play. These are two of our amazing ways to win. Our other way to obliterate our opponent is Finale of Glory, and swarming people under with a choir of Angels. If we can get the creature and enchantment in play, everything else should neatly fall into play. Also having Mirari’s Wake makes this so much easier. This is not a fast deck.
But it’s very satisfying.
How Does It Work?
Scute Swarm is so great. A three-cost 1/1, it has Landfall: Whenever a land enters play for you, create a 1/1 green Insect creature token. However, if you control six or more lands, create a token that’s a copy of Scute Swarm instead. So this can get out of hand very fast. But they’re only 1/1s. That’s when Felidar Retreat comes into play. A 4-cost Enchantment with Landfall, it gives you one of two choices. You can either make a 2/2 white Cat Beast creature token, or you can put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control, and they get vigilance for the turn.
This is a nice, slow ramp, in any normal deck. On turn 5, we want to see Mirari’s Wake. A 5-cost Enchantment, it grants your creatures +1/+1, and whenever we tap a land for mana, we add one mana to our mana pool of any type that land produced. Now we’re doubling our mana production! We use Paradise Druid and Llanowar Elves to help that early-game mana generation, too. They can also be chump blockers in a pinch.
After this goes down, we want to cast Wrenn and Seven. We’re going to want access to their +0. A 5-Loyalty Planeswalker, It has 4 abilities, and they’re all pretty amazing:
- +1: Reveal the top four cards of your library. All lands go into your hand, the rest in your graveyard.
- +0: Put any number of land cards from your hand onto the battlefield tapped.
- -3: Create a green Treefolk with Reach and “This creature’s power and toughness are equal to the number of lands you control.”
- -8: Return all permanent cards from your graveyard to your hand. You get an emblem with “You have no maximum hand size.”
That -8 is pretty great, but it’s going to take some time to get to really make the most of it. My favorites are the +1, but more for this deck, the +0. Why? The next card in the chain explains that. Next up, we want to drop Nylea’s intervention for as much as we can humanly cast safely. It’s a 2+X Sorcery and has two choices. We can have it deal twice X damage to each flying creature, or we can search our library for up to X land cards, reveal them, and put them into our hand. So we want to get as many of our 26 lands as we can.
Depending on what we have in hand, we don’t want all our lands. Our next move is Wrenn and Seven’s +0, and we dump all those lands onto the field. We make a ton of Scute Swarms, and use Felidar Retreat to give them all +X/+X. No sense making the cats. From here, we can take the next turn to win the game – or this turn if our foe doesn’t have enough blockers. That’s entirely likely. The next turn, since we have tons of mana, can Finale of Devastation+Finale of Glory.
Finale of Devastation has us search our library and/or graveyard for a creature card that costs X or less and put it into our play. If we pay 10 or more (easy in this deck), creatures we control get +X/+X and Haste for the turn. If we use another Nylea’s Intervention, we can also make our new Scute Swarms Haste. We can also use Finale of Glory for 2+X. It makes X 2/2 white Soldier tokens with vigilance. If that X is 10 or more though, we create X 4/4 white Angel creature tokens with flying and vigilance instead!
With all that mana at our disposal, we can pretty much do whatever we want. If we play the long game and have more than one Mirari’s Wake in play, we get even more mana for our lands. This isn’t a deck with a ton of strategy. Instead, we’re going to set up as much land as we want, and simply overrun people with more creature tokens than they know what to do with it. It’s Elfball, but with Insects and Angels. Wasn’t that a song by Papa Roach? “Between Angels and Insects”? That’s what we’re working with here.
3 Finale of Devastation
4 Llanowar Elves
3 Paradise Druid
3 Finale of Glory
4 Nylea’s Intervention
3 Gaea’s Blessing
4 Felidar Retreat
3 Scute Swarm
4 Wrenn and Seven
4 Temple Garden
4 Sunpetal Grove
7 Snow-Covered Forest
7 Snow-Covered Plains
4 Branchloft Pathway
4 Mirari’s Wake
This is a deck that can backfire if our opponent is too fast. We may not get to really pop off. But even if we win at 1 life, that’s still a win. It’s very satisfying to just mow people down with more tokens than they can count conveniently. If we’re making them bigger at the same time, that’s just even better. We may not have access to trample, but my 200 tokens say that it isn’t really an issue.
Jeskai Blood Sun Engine is Wild (Blue/White/Red Combo/Jank)
Lithoform Engine is a really underrated offering for the artifacts if you ask me. It can duplicate just about anything while you’re casting it. We use this to help us farm life, and decimate someone with Aetherflux Reservoir. Lithoform Engine is incredibly powerful, but it’s not broken. In this instance? It can be absolutely terrifying. But we need a lot of mana to start kicking all this nonsense off. We have Lotus Field, but we have to sacrifice lands to make it work! Or we can be smart, and find a workaround. Luckily, we have one of those!
How Does It Work?
This deck has an infinite combo, and it’s really easy to use. We need a Lotus Field (and hopefully Blood Sun), Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset and Lithoform Engine. We just continue to generate life and mana nonstop. That way we can fetch the Aetherflux Reservoir to seal the deal and bombard someone for 50 damage.
Aetherflux Reservoir is a card we’ve mentioned before. Whenever we cast a spell, we gain 1 life for each spell we’ve cast this turn. Then Pay 50 Life: Deal 50 damage to any target. So how do we get there as fast as possible? Well, Karn, the Great Creator can fetch the Reservoir out of our deck, but how do we set other things?
Blood Sun is an enchantment that removes abilities of all lands (except mana abilities). Now, our Lotus Field doesn’t require us to sacrifice lands to play it! We get to play a land that now taps for 3 mana of any color. Next, we need Lithoform Engine. It copies either an activated/triggered ability we control, an instant/sorcery we control, or a permanent spell we control. The activated/triggered ability is what we’re after, and it costs 2 mana and requires us to tap it. Finally, we need the new Teferi! Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset is here to make things better for us. It’s all about his +1 ability. “Choose up to one target artifact, up to one target creature, and up to one target land. Untap the ones you won, tap the ones your opponent controls. You gain 2 life.”
So, in response to this going off, we tap our Lotus Field and Lithoform Engine, to trigger this ability a second time. We use Teferi to untap these, and in response to the second trigger, we tap them again and use it to copy Teferi’s copied ability, over and over. We do this to make sure we have enough life to win the game. Don’t go overboard and get a loss for spamming, but it should hopefully be fine. You can also use this to get to his -7. It creates an Emblem that untapped all your permanents during each opponent’s untap step, and we also draw a card on their draw step.
Ultimately, this is a control deck though. We have Search for Glory to tutor out a card we need – a Snow Permanent, a Legendary, or a Saga, reveal it, and put it in our hand. We then gain 1 life for each Snow Mana spent on it. Search for Glory is incredible and flexible. I’d probably use it for Lithform or Teferi. We have a wealth of counterplay though. Anger of the Gods to hit for 3 on each creature, and if it would die this turn, exile it instead.
We have Doomskar as one of the best boardwipes going, and Memory Lapse as a cheap counterspell. Archmage’s Charm also allows us to counter, draw two cards, or steal a permanent (nonland) that has a Mana Value of 1 or less. More likely, we’ll use it as a counter. We can also Lightning Helix for 3! The best part is when we have Lithoform Engine, we can copy every spell we’re putting into play! Did it get countered? We can just copy it.
Then if we need to get rid of cards and try again, Valakut Awakening puts any number of our cards in hand on the bottom of our deck, and then we draw that many plus one. This deck really works because of Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset. The new Innistrad card makes this one of the decks that really stand out in the MTG Arena Historic scene. It’s tedious and frustrating to play, and then when we’re ready, we fire the satellite laser at our foe. It’s satisfying.
1 Lithoform Engine
3 Anger of the Gods
1 Valakut Awakening
3 Memory Lapse
1 Cut /// Ribbons
3 Expressive Iteration
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
3 Blood Sun
2 Glacial Fortress
2 Steam Vents
3 Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset
2 Karn, the Great Creator
2 Memory Deluge
1 Commit /// Memory
4 Lotus Field
2 Narset, Parter of Veils
1 Search for Glory
3 Archmage’s Charm
4 Hallowed Fountain
1 Shatterskull Smashing
1 Snow-Covered Island
4 Raugrin Triome
3 Lightning Helix
3 Sulfur Falls
1 Sea Gate Restoration
3 Sacred Foundry
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Lithoform Engine
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Aetherflux Reservoir
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Glass Casket
1 Cataclysmic Gearhulk
1 Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
2 Mystical Dispute
1 Test of Talents
2 Dovin’s Veto
1 Torrential Gearhulk
What a great deck! Thanks to Karn, we can put a lot of cards in our sideboard for our needs, and this version of the deck is built for Best-of-Three, so there are non-artifacts on the sideboard. If you only play Best-of-One, you can just remove those, and load it up with necessary artifacts for your plans. This deck has so many options to slow down the other player, while we get set up. Once this begins, there’s pretty much no stopping it. We have cards to help us seek out the Karn, for Aetherflux as well! This might be one of my favorite MTG Arena Innistrad Historic decks in this whole blog. I’m a sucker for really obnoxious, frustrating decks. This fits the bill!
Another Dead Man’s Party (Mono-Black Aggro Zombies)
Of course, Mono-Black Zombies is going to be featured here! Aggro’s a fantastic archetype in Historic, and Zombies are pretty quick. They’re also effective, thanks to some of the new Innistrad cards that came into the MTG Arena Historic meta decks. Champion of the Perished and Tainted Adversary do a lot to help out here. Sure, I like the idea of Blue/Black Zombies, but I think “Mono-Black” is better. It’s in quotes because we technically have one green spell in the deck – Collected Company! It’s too good to not use in this deck. We also have more than enough Black/Green Dual Lands to use in this meta.
Ignoring how useful Collected Company would be shameless. We can win through sheer damage and numbers and even have useful card draw – even at the cost of life. We’re going to hammer people into the ground with huge, angry Zombies, and it’s going to rock.
How Does It Work?
Oh, Champion of the Perished, you’re so rad. I remember when you were Champion of the Parish when I ran Modern Humans in tabletop MTG. This isn’t a deck where we need just one card to win. Frankly, everything in this deck is amazing. But Champion of the Perished can help us win pretty easily. He’s a 1/1 for 1, and whenever a Zombie enters play under our control, it gets a +1/+1 counter. Sure, that means it’s easy to kill. It’s immediately a threat though, and if our opponent has no removal, he’s a terror.
We pair this with Diregraf Colossus to double our pleasure on turn 3, if possible. The only downside is that it enters play with a +1/+1 for each Zombie card in your graveyard. So you play it early if you want to flood your other cards, or you play it late for a big game-winning bomb (baseline 2/2). Or we can cast Agadeem’s Awakening and get the best of both if we play the Colossus early and it dies. What makes it so great is whenever we cast a Zombie spell, create a tapped 2/2 black Zombie creature token.
Champion of the Perished only requires them to come into play, not being cast. So the extra ones from Diregraf count. We also count the Zombie Army tokens that come into play as a result of a dying Lazotep Reaver. It also counts the mid-game power of Tainted Adversary. He’s a ⅔ Deathtouch for 2, but you can pay 3 mana (1 black) any number of times when you cast it. So you want to have as much black mana as possible. For each time you do this, give Tainted Adversary that many +1/+1 counters, and then create twice that many Zombie creature tokens (2/2) with decay.
Those also buff our Champion! These aren’t big Zombies (except Champion and Colossus), but we have a pair of Lords in the deck. Lord of the Accursed and Death Baron. Lord of the Accursed gives your other Zombies +1/+1 and can be tapped (alongside two mana) to give your Zombies Menace until the end of turn. That means they all require two blockers at least. Death Baron is simply, it gives Skeletons you control and other Zombies of yours +1/+1 and Deathtouch. They’re both 3-cost cards, so we want these in play as quickly as possible.
Undead Augur is our card draw engine. Whenever it or any other Zombie dies, we draw a card and lose 1 life. It doesn’t have to go to the graveyard, either. We’ve got lots of Zombies that aren’t going to do a whole lot other than attack until they die. Our 1/1 Shambling Ghast is on that list, but it lets us give a creature -1/-1 or create a Treasure Token, which is great. If you have a board advantage, get the token. Otherwise, probably going to weaken (or eliminate) a creature.
Wights are great too! A 3/2, it enters play tapped. But whenever it deals damage to a creature (and they die this turn), create a tapped 2/2 black Zombie creature token and exile the card that died. If we can keep this card buffed with Lords, we can just bulldoze it through and force it to get blocked. Better if it gets Death Baron’s Deathtouch. We can just make free creatures and eliminate threats permanently. Absolutely love it.
If we lose everything or think we will, Haunting Voyage can be put in Foretold position for 2 mana. We can then cast it later for 7 mana, to return all creature cards of one type into play. Otherwise, we pick a creature type, and put two of those cards into play, for 6 mana. It’s a deck where we just throw wave after wave of Zombies at our opponent until we win. That’s the strategy, that’s the deck. That’s why I love it.
4 Champion of the Perished
1 Diregraf Colossus
4 Darkbore Pathway
4 Woodland Cemetery
4 Overgrown Tomb
2 Castle Locthwain
1 Haunting Voyage
4 Collected Company
2 Agadeem’s Awakening
4 Shambling Ghast
4 Lord of the Accursed
4 Murderous Rider
4 Death Baron
3 Tainted Adversary
4 Lazotep Reaver
3 Undead Augur
Zombies! Zombies are great! It’s not a deck with a whole lot of strategies and removal, but it has some. If we get lucky, we’ll just trample people down with the Champion of the Perished, casting all those low-cost, frustrating Zombies, to make Champion harder to deal with. It’s got a few Lords and lots of free creatures! So many tokens can be made in the deck. Absolutely love this deck, but there may be a little room for improvement. Wonder if UB Zombies works in Historic.
Jeskai Needed Angelfire Ignition (White/Red Aggro/Midrange)
Oh, Angelfire. Remember when you were the best website to host people’s personal pages? Oh, I do. However, Angelfire Ignition is here to make some Jeskai decks suddenly set the world on fire. If only it were an Instant. This is also only technically a Jeskai deck. Vadrok, Apex of Thunder is a card we definitely want in the deck, more as a Mutate than anything else. The goal here? To start hitting people for obnoxious indestructible creatures, While also hitting someone with a barrage of damage from simply casting spells.
This deck also features one of my favorite/least favorite cards to be released in the past few years, Embercleave! You can Flash it in to give someone +1/+1, Double Strike, and Trample! Let’s say we slap this onto a Mutated Adanto Vanguard? Then we give it Angelfire Ignition to make sure we’re getting health back and just running people down? It’s a beautiful possibility in this deck.
How Does It Work?
This deck is one that we’re going to use one of our creatures (likely Adanto Vanguard) to batter down people’s defenses. It can become indestructible on its own, at the cost of 4 life. Or we can use Gideon Blackblade, which can give one of our other creatures either Vigilance, Lifelink, or Indestructible for a turn. We can use this to save on life or make him have Vigilance, and then pay up the life. We can get the life back on other turns, or by casting Lightning Helix.
An Instant spell, it deals 3 damage to any target and gives us 3 life. Only runs us 1 red and 1 white mana also! A real bargain. Elite Spellbinder also helps us slow things down a bit. Elite Spellbinder is a 3/1, and when it comes into play, you look at your opponent’s hand. Take a nonland card from it and exile it. The owner can play it, but it will cost 2 colorless mana extra. Bonecrusher Giant can also slow them down, thanks to its Stomp spell – deal 2 damage to any target, and the damage can’t be prevented for this turn.
Ideally, we want to hold one of these when we’re looking to win. That way our opponent can’t weasel out of the damage we deal. Our major damage is going to come from Adanto Vanguard though, and Gideon Blackblade. When it’s our turn, he’s also a 4/4 Human Soldier that is indestructible (and still a planeswalker). So the two of them make a very solid aggressive front. We’re also going to run Showdown of the Skalds is a Saga could help. Part 1 exiles the top four cards, and we can play those until the end of our next turn.
However, Parts 2 and 3 grant a +1/+1 counter onto a target creature we control, whenever we cast a spell (this turn only). Thankfully, it doesn’t specify creature/noncreature spells. We’ve got Raise the Alarm to make a few more soldier tokens, and we have a very frustrating planeswalker – Chandra, Torch of Defiance. She’s a 4-cost with 4 Loyalty. Here’s what she’s packing:
- +1: Exile the top card of your library. You may cast that card. If you don’t, she deals 2 damage to each opponent.
- +1: Add 2 Red Mana to your mana pool.
- -3: Chandra, Torch of Defiance deals 4 damage to target creature.
- -7: You get an emblem with “Whenever you cast a spell, this emblem deals 5 damage to any target.”
Now that second +1 is a serious get for us. We need all the extra mana we can get our hands-on. If we can manage the -7 safely, we’re going for it. Then we just dump spells on the board to get damage. That extra mana’s going to come in handy when playing a number of cards. Like one of our aces in the hole – Vadrok, Apex of Thunder! We’re likely not going to play him as a creature but as a mutation. That’s also why we picked Adanto Vanguard – He’s a Vampire Soldier, not a Human!
We could also play another one on Bonecrusher Giant if we can/want, but the immediate target for me is Adanto Vanguard. A 1/1, it gains +2/+0 as long as it’s attacking, and we can pay 4 life to make him indestructible. Vadrok, when mutating, allows us to cast a noncreature card with a Mana Value of 3 or less from our graveyard without paying its mana cost.
We slap this on an Adanto Vanguard, who also gains Flying/First Strike, and base stats of 3/3! Now he’s an absolute threat. This means we’ll want to cast an Angelfire Ignition early to get some threat out of it. When we mutate Vadrok, we can cast it again from the grave, without paying the mana cost, or the Flashback cost. That means, yes, we can do it again for the Flashback!
So, Angelfire Ignition. It’s a 3-cost Sorcery, and it puts two +1/+1 counters on a target creature. That creature also gains Vigilance, Trample, Lifelink, Indestructible, and Haste until the end of turn. It keeps the +1/+1 counters though. We do it early to buff a Vanguard and make a safe, easy swing. Do it again with Vadrok, making him a minimum of 5/5, then the other +1/+1 counters, so he’s roughly in the 7/7 range before attacking. With Chandra, we provide the extra mana (if necessary) and grant him +1/+1, and Double Strike/Trample. We cast that final Angelfire Ignition, and we slam someone into tiny pieces with one huge attack. That’s the deck! Nice and simple.
You run someone down with an Adanto Vanguard, or several if you can. It’s pretty reliable and very aggravating. That’s what’s so great about it!
4 Elite Spellbinder
4 Angelfire Ignition
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Bonecrusher Giant
4 Clifftop Retreat
4 Showdown of the Skalds
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Steam Vents
4 Raugrin Triome
4 Inspiring Vantage
3 Gideon Blackblade
3 Vadrok, Apex of Thunder
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Lightning Helix
4 Adanto Vanguard
4 Stormwild Capridor
4 Deafening Clarion
4 Solar Blaze
It’s amazing what one card can do for a whole deck concept. We could also use this on Bonecrusher Giant, but you have to beware. Anytime it’s the target of a spell, this 4/3 deals 2 damage to that spell’s controller. Angelfire Ignition would hit you back. That said, it would still make him a 6/5 with all those trimmings. So it’s all up to what works best for you. Adanto Vanguard is the better choice, having been said. It can survive just about anything (other than Exile) thanks to its on-demand Indestructibility service. We can get early game pressure too by giving him Lifesteal or Indestructibility, and saving the life total. We can also win by Chandra’s ultimate, and just cast spells over and over until we win! It’s a pretty safe, fun combo.
Bant Superfriends, Of Course (Blue/White/Green Control)
Why not round the current decks out with one of the most annoying things in the entire world? That’s right, a Superfriends deck. Superfriends decks run a bunch of spells and a handful of (extremely annoying) planeswalkers. More often than not, they’re White/Blue/Something else – in this case, Green! Bant Superfriends runs Teferi like most good Superfriends decks, but it ran two flavors – Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset. It doesn’t have an infinite as the previous Teferi deck did though.
We’re going to win via “The opponent running out of permanents in play” or “We’re going to smash them to tiny pieces with indestructible lands.” It will be one of the two, or possibly both, depending on how ahead we are/how much we don’t want the other player to have fun. An early Nissa, Who Shakes the World could make things very very frustrating for the other player. It will let us cast Storm the Festival, and then probably Flashback it almost immediately. Plenty of extra green mana will be to our benefit. This is a deck you don’t run against people you like, I’ve always said. If it gets on the ball, it’s going to be infuriating to play against. Why?
How Does It Work?
Growth Spiral, how I love and loathe thee. It’s the best mana ramp card going. For 2 mana and Instant Speed, you can draw a card and put a land into play. So you can play one on your opponent’s turn and ideally, another one on your turn (or theirs)! We want to get that mana running fast. Hopefully, The World Tree is going to show up early. Sure, it comes into play tapped, but when we have six or more lands, all lands can be tapped for one of any color.
Nissa, Who Shakes the World is the card we want to play on Turn 5. It makes our forests tap for additional green mana, making the mana ramp very fast. It can also uptick +1 to give a land of ours 3 +1/+1 counters, untap it, and make it into a 0/0 Elemental creature with Vigilance/Haste. It’s still a land. The ultimate let us receive an emblem – Our lands are indestructible. We can also go into our deck and find any number of Forests and put them into play tapped.
Ideally, this will allow us to follow up with the new Storm the Festival. For 6 mana, it lets us look at the top five of our deck. Then we can put up to two cards, with a total Mana Value of 5 or less into play. This should let us put a land (0 Mana Value) and hopefully a planeswalker. Means Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset, Wrenn and Seven or Nissa, Who Shakes the World if necessary. Wrenn and Seven is here to help us mana ramp as well, which we’ve talked about a few times here in the blog.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is still a great win condition. His +1 draws a card and lets us untap two lands at the beginning of our end step. We’re aiming for his -8: You get an emblem with “Whenever you draw a card, exile target permanent an opponent controls.” Absolutely brilliant. From there, you just draw cards and remove their lands/attackers. People give up when they can’t do anything more often than not. Just don’t set yourself up so you can lose via decking out. That’s why Nissa’s here, and Wrenn! We can make an attacker for Wrenn and Seven’s -3, which makes a Treefolk token. It has power/toughness equal to the number of lands we control. Or we can just hammer people with constant 3/3 indestructible lands until we win. 5-drop in the game we’d love to drop with Storm the Festival is Mirari’s Wake. It gives our creatures (lands) +1/+1, but it makes our lands also tap for an additional mana. Nissa+Mirari’s is of incredible value. It’s going to make things really kick off for us.
What do we do to stay in the game though? We have a Wrath of God, Day of Judgment, and Doomskar as boardwipes! We also have Memory Lapse to counter a spell and put it on top of the owner’s library (slowing down their draw), and Test of Talents. Test of Talents not only counters a spell, but lets us search their graveyard, hand, and library for all copies of that card, and exile them. If you’re playing against a Rats deck or something? That would be a hilarious way to win.
We keep the board clear as possible, power up our planeswalkers, and laugh when we get those emblems. From there, it’s only a matter of time until we win. We can also bring back a planeswalker through Elspeth Conquers Death.
3 Storm the Festival
4 Branchloft Pathway
4 Breeding Pool
1 Day of Judgment
1 Wrath of God
4 Barkchannel Pathway
2 Test of Talents
4 Growth Spiral
1 Commit /// Memory
2 Narset, Parter of Veils
4 Temple Garden
4 Memory Lapse
1 Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset
1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
2 Mirari’s Wake
1 Wrenn and Seven
2 The World Tree
4 Hallowed Fountain
2 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
4 Hengegate Pathway
2 Elspeth Conquers Death
1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
2 Omen of the Sea
A very expensive deck, in every sense of the word. 45 Rares, 5 Mythic Rares, and most of our cards cost 4+ mana. Can it still work? Oh yes. Is it one of my favorite Innistrad Historic decks in MTG Arena? Oh absolutely. Most of these I already had, so it’s not exactly hard to put together for me. We can even use Commit // Memory to shuffle our graveyard (and our opponent’s) back into the appropriate decks and keep going if things last forever. It’s so much fun! I love slowing the game until only I get to have fun. We exile cards, we untap our lands, we draw extra cards, and we have potentially indestructible lands to attack with. What’s not to love?
Lord of the Forsaken Cuts to Ribbons (Red/Black Jank/Combo):
Decks like this in theory shouldn’t work. Jank decks are weird, silly nonsense that is completely outside of the meta. That said, many jank decks take people off guard and have truly bonkers win requirements. For us, we need a spell in the graveyard and a demon in play! We need to have more life than our opponent, and if we do, we’ll likely win! We just need to cast Cut // Ribbons from the graveyard, and just win the game! The rest of the deck is built around just slowing the game down, and getting a few bits of extra life and Treasure Tokens.
I wasn’t really thrilled about Lord of the Forsaken after thinking about it. You can use it to mill your opponents, by sacrificing your creatures. We do not have a lot of creatures here though! So instead, we’re going to use our life total to churn out mana. To what end? To cast a spell from the graveyard!
How’s It Work?
Lord of the Forsaken allows us to convert 1 life into 1 colorless mana, only on spells we can cast from our graveyard. As it happens, we have a spell that we can only cast in our graveyard – Cut // Ribbons! The first half, Cut is cast from our hand, and Ribbons gets cast from the grave. Cut hits for 4 on a creature, for two mana (1 red). Ribbons cost 2 black+X and make each opponent lose X life. It’s going to likely take us until turn 5 or 6 to cast Lord of the Forsaken though, so we need to hold out.
Early Fountain of Renewal artifacts helps since they give us 1 life each turn. Shambling Geist can create a Treasure Token upon cast, so that can also help us get Lord of the Forsaken get out faster. If our opponent doesn’t have a flyer (or has weak flyers), our demon is a 6/6 Flying/Trample. We can put people into a kill range. We don’t want to use all of our life unless Fountains have put us significantly higher than our foe. Then we’re willing to pay 20 life to deal 20 damage.
The hard part is sticking out the game until then. It’s very easy to get Cut // Ribbons in the grave. We can cast it if we want, but we can also quickly draw and discard it. Faithless Looting lets us draw 2, discard 2, and Thrill of Possibility requires us to discard 1, to draw 2. We’ve got a few ways to slow down enemies though. Deadly Dispute needs us to sacrifice an artifact or creature (Shambling Geist), and as a reward, we draw 2 and create a Treasure Token. Between that and Shambling Geist, we could get Lord of the Forsaken on turn 4!
If we can turn 1 Faithless Looting a Cut // Ribbons into the grave, turn 2 Shambling Ghast/Fountain of Renewal, Turn 3, Deadly Dispute, and turn 4 Lord of the Forsaken, we can just win on turn 4. The Fountain would give us a tiny bit more life than our opponent. In the event that doesn’t happen, Languish gives all creatures -4/-4, and Crux of Fate destroys all Dragons or all non-Dragons. This will likely give us enough room to solve the problem of being attacked.
4 Lord of the Forsaken
4 Cut /// Ribbons
4 Faithless Looting
4 Thrill of Possibility
4 Deadly Dispute
4 Crux of Fate
4 Fountain of Renewal
4 Shambling Ghast
4 Blood Crypt
4 Dragonskull Summit
It may not be the best deck, but I love these wacky combos. We can easily win on turn 4 in an ideal situation. It’s not always going to work out like that. You might play 3 or 4 early Fountains and drop the game-winner on turn 8-10 or something. It’s just the way it goes. It has virtually no chance against aggro decks, but it’s a fun little deck concept that deserves a brief discussion.
Innistrad Gave Esper Reanimator Power New Tools:
What’s the hardest part about a Reanimator deck? Getting the cards you want in the graveyard! We already had stuff like Stitcher’s Supplier, which was great. But now, thanks to Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, we’ve got some cheap, powerful new tools for the deck! How cheap? How does a 1-cost Instant, and a 2-Cost (Blue/White) Instant strike you? Even better, that two-cost spell, Faithful Mending, has Flashback! It can be cast again for just one more mana! It’s absolutely filthy. We’ve got quite a few obnoxious creatures to play with too.
This is a deck where our opponent will have zero chance to win once things kick off.
How’s It Work?
Serra’s Emissary + Platinum Angel is not fair. Serra’s Emissary is also not a Legendary, so we can put four in play! It’s a 7-cost creature that has us pick a card type when it comes into play. Me, and my creatures have protection from that card type – creature, artifact, instant, sorcery, artifact, planeswalker, land? Whichever is a threat. Then we partner it with the 7-cost Platinum Angel, which reads, “You cannot lose the game and your opponent cannot win the game.” Suddenly, the game is yours to win. If your opponent has nothing but destruction spells, prevent that. If your opponent is going to use creatures, deal with that! It’s all up to you. These are incredibly expensive though!
We’ve also got Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Sheoldred, Whispering One, and Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur to put in play. And once things have really gotten out of control, Rise of the Dark Realms, to put all creatures in all graveyards in play under your control. In fact, Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur is a great Reanimator fodder option, once Platinum Angel is in play. He makes you draw 7 cards at the beginning of your end step and reduces your opponent’s maximum hand size by seven (so zero cards).
You don’t want to lose via deck out, so make sure a safe Platinum Angel is in play first. Oh, and we have Scholar of the Lost Trove, which when it enters play, lets us cast an instant, sorcery, or artifact from the grave for free. There’s our way to cast the 9-cost Rise of the Dark Realms! But what about pitching cards to the grave?
In addition to Stitcher’s Supplier and Bazaar Trademage, we’ve got new options. Consider is a 1-cost Instant in Blue, and has you look at the top card of your deck. You can choose to put it in the graveyard. Then, draw a card. That is insane value for a common. Gives a great chance to throw a powerful creature in the grave. We also have the new Faithful Mending. You gain 2 life, draw two cards, and then discard two cards. Did you draw into Platinum Angel and Serra’s Emissary? Or maybe two Serra’s? Throw ‘em in the pile!
We also want to make sure, if possible, a Rise of the Dark Realms gets in there. That way, when we animate a Scholar of the Lost Trove, we get everyone in the grave. In both graves! So how do we Reanimate in this deck? Unburial Rites is the main target. A 5-cost Black spell, it costs 4 (1 white) in the grave, via Flashback. So we want to, ideally, pitch this to the grave too. Stitcher’s Supplier in the early game really helps, as it mills three of your cards when it comes into play, and when it dies.
Bazaar Trademage does too, it has you draw two, discard three when it’s put into play (as a 3-cost blue creature). This deck is so frustrating. Once all this starts kicking off, we’ve got options. Sheoldred, Whispering One has Swampwalk (6/6) and returns a creature from your graveyard into play every turn. Each opponent sacrifices a creature at the start of their upkeep – fodder for Rise!
Elesh Norn is simple – A 4/7 with Vigilance, your creatures gain +2/+2, enemy creatures get -2/-2. A great defense against tokens. Vorinclex is familiar, it doubles all of our token generation (if we use any), and halves our opponents. Between Platinum Angel and Serra’s, we can make ourselves invincible and can win by main force, or by waiting people out.
4 Stitcher’s Supplier
2 Deserted Beach
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Watery Grave
2 Phyrexian Tower
4 Bazaar Trademage
2 Platinum Angel
1 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One
1 Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
4 Unburial Rites
3 Rise of the Dark Realms
4 Scholar of the Lost Trove
4 Serra’s Emissary
4 Faithful Mending
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Godless Shrine
There’s not a lot to say about the deck, other than I adore it. Reanimator is one of my favorite concepts, and Innistrad really hit it out of the park with these two cards. They aren’t rare, or even hard ot pick up! For Tabletop Magic or otherwise, it’s a beautiful addition to the deck. We have so many ways to pitch our cards to the grave, and when it’s time, start hitting the other player with Unburial Rites. If things go perfectly, we turn 4 Unburial, get Scholar of the Lost Trove, cast Rise of the Dark Realms, and pick up a few major creatures from the grave. At that point, people capitulate, more often than not. Especially if our opponent can’t stop anything we do.