MTG Arena Kaladesh Remastered Historic Decks to Try
Kaladesh Remastered is the latest addition to Historic in MTG Arena, which means there are going to be tons of new decks to play in the meta! This expansion dropped on Nov. 12, and with it comes two sets of cards mashed into one, just like Amonkhet Remastered. This particular set combines cards from Kaladesh and Aether Revolt, put into one neat place. This is a set that will feel familiar to many MTG players, and there are all kinds of amazing cards coming back. Now, it’s not going to have tons of game-breaking cards, but there’s some really good stuff coming.
Now, these aren’t all going to be terrifying OP decks that will all be guaranteed Tier-1 picks. However, we want to look at some concepts that are coming back thanks to the Kaladesh cards. Decks that partner Ahn-Crop Crasher, Bomat Courier, and Chandra, Torch of Defiance, for example. Energy decks are coming back to Magic as well! That might be a new concept for some players, so I’ll go over it briefly. Energy is a mechanic that comes in the form of an expendable source for certain cards. Energy Counters can be used with certain cards to enhance what they can do. Harnessed Lightning, for example. You cast it and pick a creature.
That spell then gives you 3 Energy Counters, and from there you can pay any amount of Energy you want. From there, Harnessed Lightning blasts that creature for that much damage. There are plenty of Energy building cards, so you can expect a Temur Energy deck. Kaladesh is all about the Inventor’s Fair, so there are tons of artifacts in this set. Vehicles, Artifacts, you name it. Kaladesh Remastered is going to be bringing approximately 300 cards into MTG Arena, so the potential for new decks is very high.
What’s going to stand tall, and what’s going to crumble under the weight of its own iniquity? I suppose we’ll just have to see! Some of these are decks I’ve researched, some are classic decks I ran in earlier metas, updated for the additional cards, and some are concepts my friends brewed and shared with me. I can’t wait to see what comes from the Magic community with these Kaladesh Remastered Historic decks for MTG Arena.
The Scarab God and Torrential Gearhulk = Best Friends (Blue/Black Control)
A new, annoying way to play The Scarab God decks you say? Step right up, Kaladesh Remastered! This Scarab God deck doesn’t run a ton of the new cards, but it does run arguably one of the greatest Black removal spells in the entirety of MTG if I’m honest. 1 black mana to destroy a creature if it has 2-or-less of a casting cost? It gets better! It has Revolt too. If you had a permanent leave the battlefield this turn, it can now destroy a creature that costs 4 or less.
We don’t have a ton of permanents in this deck to get rid of, sadly. We do have some, in the form of fetch lands (Evolving Wilds), or we can use Field of Ruin to destroy a nonbasic land of our opponents, and then cast Fatal Push. It’s really a great card overall. This is a deck where we counter/destroy our opponent’s creatures, then steal them thanks to the power of Scarab God. We also have Torrential Gearhulk to cast our instants/sorceries again. We can also Scarab God to bring the Gearhulk back and get yet another Instant/Sorcery back! The best part about that ability is that it can be cast at any time. We can do this to interrupt spells/abilities, by suddenly pulling another Disallow from the grave. It’s not a fast deck, but it’s one that’s going to make people very frustrated.
How Does It Work?
The Scarab God is so powerful. At the start of our upkeep, we Scry X, and each opponent loses X, and X is the number of Zombies we control. This doesn’t do much at first. But for 4 mana (1 black, 1 blue), we can exile a creature from any graveyard. Then we receive a 4/4 Black Zombie that’s a copy of whatever was exiled.
The idea here is that we’re going to counter our opponent’s cards, and then play them to get the advantage. It’s a deck that needs a little card draw and Scry, so we know what’s coming at all times. Search for Azcanta comes back for that! It’s probably a familiar Legendary Enchantment. During our upkeep, we look at our top card, and we can either leave it where it is or drop it in the graveyard. We have a couple of cards to help us get to Scarab God and Torrential Gearhulk just a little faster too.
Search will help until it transforms (then it helps us find spells to cast). Hieroglyphic Illumination is a 4-cost spell that we can also Cycle for 1 blue to draw 1. If we cast it for 4, we draw 2 cards. Honestly, it’s better to just Cycle it, unless you have a ton of mana. We can cycle it to the grave, and use Torrential Gearhulk to cast it from the grave for free at a later date.
Glimmer of Genius also has us draw 2 cards, but we Scry 2 first. We also gain 2 energy counters, but we don’t really use those in this deck. Speaking of Torrential Gearhulk, what’s it do? It’s a ⅚ with Flash, for 6 mana (2 blue). When it enters the battlefield, pick an instant or sorcery from the grave, and cast it without paying the mana cost. If you do, exile it instead of putting it back in the graveyard. So we have a good amount of access to cards.
The key to this deck is slowing the other player down, and killing/countering any creature they play. That way, when The Scarab God arrives, he’s ready to start demolishing people. You’re probably better off holding off on casting him until you have mana for other counters at the same time. People are going to immediately target it.
The Long Con:
Fatal Push is key to the early game. Being able to drop a creature that costs 2 or less at Instant speed is nothing to mess around with. It again can remove 4-cost creatures if you lost a permanent this turn. As far as removal, we also have Essence Extraction to deal 3 damage to a creature and gives you 3 life. It costs 3 mana (2 black), so make it count. Try to only use it on something that’s going to die, unless you use it in conjunction with a blocking creature. It’s also an Instant. We also have Vraska’s Contempt, but sadly, it exiles the Creature/Planeswalker in question. I tend to use this mostly on planeswalkers because we can’t bring those back. May as well just make them go away for good. Essence Scatter is a popular counter, and for 2 mana (1 blue) we counter a creature spell. Censor can also be used to draw a card in the mid-game. For 2 mana (1 blue) it counters a spell unless its controller pays 1 colorless mana. So in the mid-late game, it’s not so great unless they burn all their mana on one big move.
Then it’s amazing. Disallow is a 3-cost counter that can counter a spell, activated ability, or triggered ability. That makes it powerful at any point in the game. Stop a planeswalker ability, a really annoying ability that triggers, or to just stop something you don’t want to resolve just in general.
So we want to slow the game down with these measures and make sure the creatures the other player owns. Now, we could we lose this game against decks that have no creatures. The more powerful creatures they have that we can stop, the better we’ll be. Even if it’s a Thopter; it still becomes a 4/4 with Flying. That’s what determines what this deck can do; how effective you are at deleting threats, and bringing them back.
At least if The Scarab God dies it goes back to your hand at the beginning of the next end step (well, the owner’s hand, but we assume it’s you).
4 Fetid Pools
3 Field of Ruin
4 Fabled Passage
4 Drowned Catacomb
3 Search for Azcanta
1 Glimmer of Genius
4 Hieroglyphic Illumination
3 Vraska’s Contempt
2 Essence Extraction
4 Essence Scatter
4 Fatal Push
3 Torrential Gearhulk
2 The Scarab God
1 Treasure Map
1 Arguel’s Blood Fast
1 Field of Ruin
1 Essence Extraction
2 Vizier of Many Faces
3 Contraband Kingpin
It’s a really silly deck, but with how many decks in the Historic meta use powerful creatures, this is going to be a lot of fun. Lots of creatures that the other player is likely to dump all their mana into. Countering the first couple of them are going to make them think twice; that’s when we start destroying things instead! Scarab God doesn’t really have to attack either. We can just steal the other player’s creatures and watch as our slowly-growing amount of zombies whittle away at their life points directly, thanks to Scarab God’s passive. It’s brilliant, and it’s tedious to deal with. There will be other ways to play this deck, I’m sure. But I like where it’s at so far.
The Wizard of Menlo Park (4-Color Energy)
When I was thinking about how to build an energy deck, my brain immediately went to Blue/Red, maybe Temur (Blue/Red/Green). However, with this being Historic, we can also use a really silly card like Vraska, Relic Seeker in this deck. That takes it from Temur to 4-Color Fun. We’re only running a pair of Black cards in the deck, but they are powerful enough to be worth it. Remember the last deck, where we used The Scarab God? Well, we’re doing it again. The Scarab God is even more powerful in this deck though! This idea came courtesy of Aetherhub.
We have a bunch of creatures that give us Energy simply for casting them. We want that energy for the Confiscation Coup mostly. Do you know what else would be fun in a deck that builds energy? Electrostatic Pummeler. The only downside is that we aren’t running anyway for it to get Trample/Flying. That’s a completely different deck (Blue/Green Pummeler, which we may include). This is a deck built around the power of Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Vraska, Relic Seeker, and a few other tidbits to make them really not-fun.
I’ve said for years, literal years, that Chandra is one of the weakest planeswalkers in all of MTG Arena, but Kaladesh Remastered adds her to a number of decks. Why? Because Chandra, Torch of Defiance is far and away one of the strongest planeswalkers to be printed, in this writer’s opinion. Two +1s, both which are amazing, a -3 that is great at spot removal, and an ultimate that deals 5 damage whenever we cast a spell (at only -7) is infuriating to deal with.
Just be glad we aren’t running anyway to bump up her Loyalty faster! Lord knows there are ways. With The Scarab God around, those creatures we use for energy can now be thrown away as chump blockers/aggressive attackers. Then we bring them back as Zombies, so they can feed us even more energy. It’s not a kind thing this deck does to players.
How Does It Work?
Energy is a powerful resource for this deck. Most of the deck either creates Energy Tokens upon casting the creature/spell or creates Energy in other ways – like the Longtusk Cub. It generates 2 Energywhenever it deals combat damage to a player. You can also pay 2 to give +1/+1. Depending on what you’re doing to generate Energy, this could be a huge game-winner if you get him through. But our most ideal, most powerful way to win is through Vraska, Relic Seeker. Her ultimate ability, her -10 takes a player down to 1 life. She only needs 2 turns to get there (+2: Create a 2/2 black Pirate creature token with menace).
From there, we just have to deal the other player 1 damage. Chandra, Torch of Defiance makes that practically the easiest thing in the world. Her +1 exiles the top card of your library, and if you don’t cast it, she deals 2 damage to each opponent. Or you can get her Emblem (-7), and deal 5 damage anytime you cast a spell (to any target creature or player).
We’re not running a ton of Black Mana though, so we need to source it elsewhere. That’s where much of our Energy is going to go: black mana for Scarab God/Vraska. We’ll have more than enough, don’t you worry. After all, using The Scarab God to bring back many of our creatures will just give us the energy we expended back and then some. This is a deck that slows people down with a host of low-cost creatures that are tedious to deal with.
We hang on and survive, waiting out Chandra and Vraska. Those creatures can help us defend the planeswalkers, and The Scarab God brings them back as 4/4s. Heck, The Scarab God can get us a near-immediate win with just one zombie in play. During our upkeep, each opponent loses X and we scry X, where X is the number of zombies in play. We can create a Zombie (4 mana, 1 blue, 1 black) on the opposing player’s turn, after putting them down to 1 life with Vraska.
But let’s talk about some these new cards and how they generate Energy/what it does for us in the long term. After all, a lot of new cards are in this deck.
So many cards generate Energy in this deck! Which is great, because we need it for Aether Hub (Land) and Servant of the Conduit (Creature) to generate mana of any color we desire. Thankfully, most cards that need Energy also create energy. Attune the Aether might be one of the best cards to give us Energy. Why? It’s a 1-cost (green) Sorcery that lets us take a basic land and put it into our hand from the deck.
That could get us the one Swamp in the deck we need, so we don’t have to hunt it down later. We’ve also got cards like Harnessed Lightning, which is a 2-cost Instant (1 Red), that targets a creature. This spell then provides 3 energy, and we can then use as much Energy as we have to deal that much damage to said creature.
We don’t have to kill a creature with it, but you may as well. Target something weak, and save Energy. Speaking of creatures, Servant of the Conduit grants 2 energy when it enters the battlefield, and is a 2/2 for 2 (1 green). You can tap it, and pay 1 energy to give us 1 mana of any color in our mana pool. That’s one of our ways to get handy black mana (or any other color).
Aether Hub is the other. This land enters play with an Energy Token. You can tap this land for colorless, or tap it and use an Energy Token to add 1 mana of any color instead. If your opponent has no creatures or can’t block, Longtusk Cub is going to be a terror. It doesn’t generate energy when it’s played, but when it deals combat damage to a player. It then gives you 2 Energy Tokens. You can expend 2 of them to give a permanent +1/+1 counter to the Longtusk Cub.
The longer he sticks around and pokes, the more he generates for you. Bristling Hydra can put it to use. This creature generates 3 Energy upon entering the battlefield. You can also expend 3 energy to give it Hexproof until end of turn and a permanent +1/+1 counter. A great reason to keep energy stocked: keep this from being deleted by spot removal.
We have some multi-colored Energy producers too: Whirler Virtuoso (Red/Blue) and Rogue Refiner (Blue/Green). Whirler Virtuoso gives 3 Energy Counters when it comes into play, and paying 3 gives you a 1/1 colorless Thoper artifact creature token with Flying. You can do this to make sure that Vraska, Relic Seeker ultimate does not go to waste. Rogue Refiner, on the other hand, gives a card draw and 2 Energy when you put it into play.
Finally, our biggest Energy Card is Confiscation Coup. It gives us 4 energy (5-cost, 2 blue). We choose an artifact or creature, and if we pay an amount of energy equal to its converted mana cost, we gain control of it. Sadly, it’s not an Instant, but I see why. This is a great way to burn unneeded Energy to secure a win. Did your opponent play something huge, but they can’t put it to use just yet? Shame, that.
Ultimately, we want to use these cards to generate plenty of energy and wait for an opening. We can also win via Cut/Ribbons. Cut is a spell that deals 4 damage to a creature for 2 mana (1 red). Ribbons can only be cast from the grave though. It’s 2 black+X. The X is how much life each opponent loses. You could in theory drop this as a late-game bomb and win without any of the nonsense.
You don’t have to win via Chandra/Vraska though. But it’s awesome to do it. You could ping away at someone with the Longtusk Cub/Bristling Hydra, but neither have trample. So they’re just a means to an end. We want to get our two Planeswalkers out and start using their abilities ASAP. The Scarab God is fun too, but it feels like it’s a distraction. It’s going to become an immediate threat. But it can steal enemy creatures from the grave too, to give us more options.
Getting Chandra, Torch of Defiance to her -7 is key though. From there, any spell we cast will trigger 5 damage, before the spell resolves. We just have to cast the creature/sorcery/whatever. Even if it doesn’t get through, that’s 5 damage to whatever! From there, the game’s over.
4 Botanical Sanctum
4 Spirebluff Canal
2 Sheltered Thicket
3 Rootbound Crag
4 Aether Hub
4 Harnessed Lightning
1 Magma Spray
2 Confiscation Coup
2 Cut /// Ribbons
4 Attune with Aether
2 The Scarab God
2 Bristling Hydra
4 Whirler Virtuoso
4 Rogue Refiner
4 Servant of the Conduit
4 Longtusk Cub
2 Vraska, Relic Seeker
2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Appetite for the Unnatural
1 Treasure Map
1 Nissa, Steward of Elements
3 Chandra’s Defeat
3 Vizier of Many Faces
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
This isn’t my favorite of the MTG Arena Kaladesh decks to play in Historic, but I love Vraska, and Chandra. I feel like it’s a deck that has a slow burn if you pardon the pun. But the longer it gets to set up, the worse it’s ultimately going to be. If you can get a turn 4 Chandra, and build her up over the next 3 turns, it’s going to be a very quick game from there. You can use your energy however you want, but try not to burn it all on buffing your two creatures. Make sure you save some for black mana if you need it. It would be a real shame to lose because you can’t cast Vraska/use a Scarab God proc.
Historic Mardu Vehicles (Red/White/Black Artifacts)
Mardu Artifacts is a deck archetype that I remember beating me a lot during the times of Kaladesh. I was pretty active in MTG at this time, and having to deal with Toolcraft Exemplar, Depala, Pilot Exemplar, and Heart of Kiran/Skysoverign was just brutal. It’s fast, it’s brutal, and it’s got some tech that more experienced players are going to be familiar with. It doesn’t especially use a lot of non-Kaladesh cards, either.
We’ve got some here, like Thoughtseize and Gideon Blackblade, but far and large, it’s just Kaladesh tools. It doesn’t really need much beyond the expansion! I’ve seen a few people playing this archetype, like the incredibly talented Ally Warfield. Just seeing this deck again makes my anger act up and my skin crawl. But, I’ve learned a lot since those days. When you see a deck that’s pounding you into bits, maybe try it yourself! Use what’s working against you on other players.
This deck takes advantage of how powerful the Dwarven artificers are and pairing them with the already super-strong artifact vehicles from Kaladesh. They use the Crew mechanic, where you have to tap creatures with X power to turn the artifact into an artifact creature. In particular, we want to get Depala, Pilot Exemplar, tap some mana, and pull even more Dwarves/Artifacts.
Before the other player knows it, you’re hitting them for lethal damage. We play artifacts, buff them, and swing for bunches of damage. Since many players don’t run a lot of flying creatures, all of our vehicles do fly. Being able to mostly swing unmolested is fantastic.
How Does It Work?
How does this deck work? By taking advantage of how ridiculous Depala, Pilot Exemplar is! She’s a 3-cost (1 red, 1 white) that gives other Dwarves you control +1/+1, so they can crew easier/deal more damage. Each Vehicle you control also gets +1/+1 whenever it’s a creature (so it has been Crewed). That’s not even the best part. That’s neat, but here’s where things get wild.
When she’s tapped (so use her as a Crew), you can pay X mana. If you do this, reveal the top X cards of your deck and any Dwarves/Vehicle cards go into your hand. The rest, of course, go to the bottom of your deck. We definitely want to get Heart of Kiran as soon as possible, too. It may cost 2 mana, but we can cast it for 0 if we remove a planeswalker loyalty counter – Hello, Gideon Blackblade! We’re only going to be really using his +1 anyway (give a creature vigilance, lifelink, or indestructible until end of turn).
If we can just drop this on turn 2, it’s even better. It requires Crew 3 for a 4/4 Flying/Vigilance. So turn 3, we can drop Depala, Pilot Exemplar, tap it, and swing for 4 damage on turn 3. Depala makes most of this deck go. But it’s not all we have, thank goodness. This deck also runs one of the best artifact creatures for Red ever.
Bomat Courier is a 1-cost 1/1 with Haste, so as a turn 1 move (especially with no blockers), it can’t be beaten. Bomat Courier exiles the top card of your deck face down, anytime it attacks. You want to stack as much as you can on this safely. This is because you can pay 1 red, discard your hand, and put those exiled cards in your hand instead.
With this in mind, try and always keep a low hand, and at least 1 red mana in the early game, so you can stack this card high. Should it be killed, you can in response, use the ability, if it’s not going to be a disadvantage. So if you have 1 card on it, and 6 cards in hand, that would not be ideal. What Vehicles are we using?
Other than Heart of Kiran, we have the 3-cost Aethersphere Harvester, which is a ⅗ Flyer and only has a Crew cost of 1. When it comes into play, you gain two Energy to use. Paying 1 Energy for this gives the Aethersphere Harvester lifelink until the end of turn. We also run one copy of the Skysovereign, Consul Flagship, and is a 5-cost artifact. A 6/5 Flyer with a Crew cost of 3, this is the big damage dealer we want in play.
Whenever this creature enters play or attacks, it deals 3 damage to a creature or planeswalker your opponent controls. So on top of the baseline 6 damage, it also deals a free 3 damage frequently. We have several Dwarves to either help our vehicles or help themselves. Like Toolcraft Exemplar! If we aren’t getting Vehicles/Depala early, Toolcraft Exemplar can work together with cards like Scrapheap Scrounger to put the aggression on early.
The Exemplar is a 1/1 for 1 (1 white) that, if at the start of our combat if we control an artifact, it gains +2/+1 until end of turn. If you have three artifacts, it also gains First Strike. Then you pair it with a turn-2 Scrapheap Scrounger, which is a 3/2 that can’t block. It can always come back too. You can pay 2 (1 black) and exile another card from your graveyard, to return the Scrounger back into play.
Veteran Motorist is here to help our Vehicles though. It’s a 3/1 for 2 (1 red, 1 white), that Scries 2 whenever it enters the battlefield. Whenever the Motorist crews a Vehicle, that Vehicle gets +1/+1 until end of turn. If you pair it with Depala, we can really boost our attackers easily. That’s also why we want Gideon Blackblade, so we can swing with a Vehicle, and make it Indestructible, or give it Lifelink if things are down.
We have a few sound options to control the flow of the game too. We’re probably all familiar with Bonecrusher Giant already since it’s on these blogs at least once per list. Why? Because it’s so strong! Being able to cast it for damage, then make it into a 4/3 creature? Love it. Unlicensed Disintegration is a 3-cost Instant (1 red, 1 black) that destroys a target creature. It gets better though! If you control an artifact, it also deals 3 damage to that creature’s controller.
A creature removed, and free damage! We also of course run the best black spell, Thoughtseize. It reveals an opponent’s hand, and we make them discard a nonland. Sure we lose 2 life, but big deal! Ultimately we want to push threats in the early game, like Bomat Courier/Scrapheap Scrounger and set up having our Dwarves. As soon as it’s safe to start using our Vehicles, we definitely want to. They’re wildly powerful, and we can also safely attack with Gideon Blackblade at the same time, and possibly our Toolcraft Exemplar. It’s a deck that just pushes people around in the early/mid game. There’s not likely going to be a late game.
3 Aethersphere Harvester
4 Bomat Courier
4 Bonecrusher Giant
4 Concealed Courtyard
2 Depala, Pilot Exemplar
2 Gideon Blackblade
4 Godless Shrine
3 Heart of Kiran
4 Inspiring Vantage
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
3 Spire of Industry
4 Toolcraft Exemplar
4 Unlicensed Disintegration
4 Veteran Motorist
Honestly, I want to find room in this mainboard for Authority of the Consuls/Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Authority of the Consuls makes opponent’s creatures come into play tapped, and whenever they play a creature, we gain 1 life. It just slows the other player down to an impossible degree, just to make sure we are staying on top of things. If I were going to remove anything for it, it might be a pair of the Bonecrusher Giants. We want to keep at least two, so we have access to them, while still potentially being lucky enough to turn 1 Authority. It’s great for token decks/aggro decks, that’s for sure. It’s fun, it’s powerful, and those Vehicles make people crazy angry. That’s why I run them!
Creeping Death. . .Er, Death (Golgari Land Destruction)
Sometimes decks don’t really need a clear win condition. There are occasionally decks that are just pure control of the game until the other player gives up. This is definitely one of those types. Golgari Land Destruction is built around a pair of cards: Creeping Mold and Assassin’s Trophy. Between these, we can get rid of virtually anything. If the deck in question isn’t a mono-colored deck, Assassin’s Trophy will eventually completely run them out of lands too, if we start targeting their special lands.
Creeping Mold, on the other hand, is a 4-cost that destroys a Land, Artifact, or Enchantment. Honestly, this is a Jank/Control deck, so it’s probably going to catch people off guard. We don’t really have a lot of creatures to fight back with. In particular, we have one to win with: Underrealm Lich. The idea here is that we’re going to use Assassin’s Trophy, Extinction Event, Casualties of War, and Creeping Mold to depopulate the other player’s field. As long as they aren’t running hyper aggro, we should be fine, to be honest.
The bane of this deck is again, mono-colored/hyper aggro. We can still beat them down, but it’s significantly hard. We’re also using another card to blow those decks out of the water: Yahenni’s Expertise. It gives all creatures -3/-3 and also allows us to cast a 3-cost or less spell from our hand for free. Perhaps the best of all, we can nearly infinitely recycle our graveyard back into our deck, thanks to Gaea’s Blessing.
How does a deck with one creature and a ton of spells stop players? I’m glad you asked!
How Does It Work?
If you destroy all the lands a player has, they can’t fight back, after all. The problem lies in, once we’ve cast all of our Creeping Molds and Assassin’s Trophies, it’s a bit harder to delete lands, worse after we’ve used our Casualties of War. Zendikar Rising brought us a brand-new tool to help! Bala Ged Recovery is a 3-cost spell to allow us to bring a card back from the grave – any card! It puts it back in our hand to do it again.
That’s what makes Yahenni’s Expertise so important for the deck. We can use it, potentially destroy an entire flow of creatures before they can beat us, and then cast a 3-cost or less spell for free. We have a few options to use there, but sadly, only Assassin’s Trophy as far as deletion options for free (2 cost).
We’d use this to help us mana ramp. Explore, for example, lets us play an additional land this turn, and draw a card. Cultivate lets us take two basic lands, reveal them, and put one in play/one in hand. Gaea’s Blessing lets us take 3 cards from our grave and put them into our deck, but it’s much better to pitch it to the graveyard.
We can do that with Underrealm Lich; when we would draw a card, instead look at the top four of your deck. Pick one, put it in your hand, and the others in the grave. If you’d put Gaea’s Blessing in your grave from your library, instead, shuffle your graveyard back into your library! It just lets us keep up this toxic behavior.
All of our good spells are 4+ mana though. Yahenni’s Expertise is 4 mana (2 black), and Creeping Mold is 4 mana (2 green). You’re probably familiar with the 6-cost (2 black, 2 green) Casualties of War by now. After all, it’s a powerhouse that lets you destroy as many of these as you want: an artifact, creature, enchantment, land, and planeswalker.
We’re going to focus on destroying their lands. If it’s a multi-colored deck, and they seem to be low on one color and a full hand, destroy those colored lands. It’s likely they desperately need more of them. The faster we can start destroying their lands, the better. Yahenni’s Expertise isn’t our only board clear though. We’re also running Extinction Event, which exiles all creatures with an even or odd cost.
This is a very simple deck to play, but the challenge comes in getting the early mana ramp and out-deleting your opponent’s lands. If you can clear the board and get most of their lands out of the way, they may simply just fold. Constantly using Bala Ged Recovery to blow up lands is brilliant. I wanted to include this one because it’s hilarious and disrespectful. It may not always win, but it will nearly always make people furious.
4 Assassin’s Trophy
4 Bala Ged Recovery
2 Gaea’s Blessing
2 Underrealm Lich
4 Mazemind Tome
4 Extinction Event
3 Yahenni’s Expertise
4 Casualties of War
4 Creeping Mold
4 Woodland Cemetery
2 Blooming Marsh
4 Overgrown Tomb
This is absolutely the kind of deck that I personally love to play. The next deck is also on that list, but for entirely different reasons. This is something you run when you love Golgari and have confidence in your knowledge of MTG Arena. After all, you have to know what land to destroy when, and if you can afford to take damage. Sometimes you have to let creatures go through to destroy more of them later. After all, your life pool is a resource too. It doesn’t matter if you lose 1 life. If you can keep the other player without lands, it’s not going to matter what our health total is at. We can just wait them out, constantly rotating our deck while they run out of cards. As long as we keep deleting, they keep screaming.
Aetherflux Bombardment (Green Infinite Elves/Aetherflux Combo)
Aetherflux Reservoir might be familiar to some people in MTG Arena because it has shown up before as far as I can remember. It’s an artifact that, anytime you cast a spell, you gain 1 life for each spell you’ve cast this turn. You can then pay 50 life to deal 50 damage to any target. That’s our game-winner. But what if I told you there’s a really evil way to abuse this to get 50 life in much less time than you’d think? We’re going to combine two concepts that go great together: Elfball and Infinite Mana. Paradox Engine is another card that has returned.
It has us untap all nonland permanents we control, anytime we cast a spell. That’s okay because we don’t really need lands to make this pop off. Instead, we need Elvish Archdruid, and a pile of other elves to go on top of it. If we just pair it with Beast Whisperer and Lifecrafter’s Bestiary, we can keep drawing into spells, playing them, and building life in pretty short order. This is, of course, a jank deck, so it’s silly nonsense.
But honestly, decks like this can really throw off other players. If you’re taking everything in MTG Arena Ultra Seriously (™), Kaladesh Remastered decks like this will throw you for a loop in Historic. There are so many bonkers cards in this expansion, so seeing the Paradox Engine/Aetherflux combo show up really filled me with joy.
We also have stuff like Nyx Lotus and The Great Henge to just make this go as fast as we can humanly make it. We aren’t aiming to do a bunch of damage with our creatures. They exist to give us mana and card draw, that’s it. The only downside that I see is if we get overwhelmed by Mono-Red because that can definitely happen.
If their deck isn’t fast as light, we can easily overrun it.
How Does It Work?
Now technically, this is a Simic (Blue/Green) deck. Why? Because we run a playset of Spectral Sailor cards in this. They exist solely to give us more card draw. It’s also the only non-Elf creature in the deck. It’s more or less the last resort when we need to draw more cards to cast spells. It’s not a bad addition to the deck, but it’s the only non-green card we have. We have enough blue mana though, don’t worry.
The ultimate goal of this deck is to gain 50 life as fast as we humanly can. Even if we start taking hits early, it’s going to be fine. Aetherflux Reservoir, after all, gives us 1 life for each spell we cast each turn, so it stacks. The first spell gives us 0 life, then 1, and then 2, and so on. The more we can do each turn, the better. That’s why Paradox Engine is in the deck. Being able to untap all non lands anytime we cast a spell is devastating in this deck.
That’s also why we want Nyx Lotus, to help us generate Green mana. Simply casting a spell will untap the Lotus, and our Elvish Archdruid, our next form of mana generation. Elvish Archdruid gives our other Elves +1/+1, but more importantly, can be tapped to add 1 green for each Elf we control. That way, we cast a spell with the Archdruid, untap it and my other non-lands, and hopefully have Beast Whisperer/Lifecrafter’s Bestiary in play. Since every spell in our deck is a creature (other than the artifacts), Beast Whisperer will almost always give us a card – we draw whenever we cast a creature spell if he’s in play.
Lifecrafter’s Bestiary was added in Kaladesh and has us Scry 1 each of our upkeep phases. In addition, whenever we cast a creature spell, we can pay 1 green. If we do, draw a card. Thanks to how much mana we produce every single turn after turn 4 or so, we can almost always draw a card. Ideally, we want to pick up at least one of our important artifacts in our starting hand. Thankfully, we have plenty of mana sources and card draw.
Llanowar Visionary first off is a 3-cost Elf that also has us draw a card. Paradise Druid, Incubation Druid, and Llanowar Elves all have us tap for mana. Paradise Druid, while untapped has Hexproof, and we can use Incubation Druid to Adapter 3 and gain 3 +1/+1 counters if we pay the 5 mana. If we do, it can then tap for 3 mana of any type we can produce.
Fortunately, this is a very easy deck to figure out. We want our mana dorks out early (the aforementioned Elves), and a Paradox Engine. I feel like that might be more important to get out than Aetherflux, but we can in theory drop both in the same turn, with a Paradox Engine, casting literally anything else, and abusing our Archdruid to use even more mana. To make this combo work we need:
- A card draw engine (Beast Whisperer/Lifecrafter’s Bestiary)
- An untap engine (Paradox Engine)
- Constant Life Gain (Aetherflux Reservoir)
From there, we simply cast as many creatures as we can each and every turn. The more things we can play in one turn the better. We want to gain as much life as Aetherflux will permit. In theory, we could get to that 50 life in one turn. Since it’s not a Legendary Artifact, we can just play both of them in the same turn. Once we’ve got enough life stored, we pay 50 life to Aetherflux Reservoir, and deal 50 damage to the other player. Now, admittedly, you want a bit more than 50. You don’t want this to kill you, and you want to be prepared for any eventuality.
Some players may counter this ability, or simply play a card that says they can’t die this turn. Thankfully you also have a swarm of angry elves to use on the following turn. But bear that in mind. You don’t want to pop off, and drop to 0 life, or drop to ½ life, only to find they stopped the damage from coming in.
4 Fabled Passage
4 Hinterland Harbor
4 Breeding Pool
4 Beast Whisperer
4 Llanowar Visionary
4 Incubation Druid
2 The Great Henge
4 Elvish Archdruid
3 Botanical Sanctum
3 Llanowar Elves
2 Nyx Lotus
4 Paradise Druid
2 Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
2 Aetherflux Reservoir
3 Paradox Engine
3 Spectral Sailor
I honestly didn’t pick this deck because I think it’s top-tier. I picked it because it’s silly and it’s fun. It’s wildly satisfying to make pop off, to be frank. If it works, the other player typically has no choice but to watch you gain life until you’re satisfied. Then, you zap them with a deathbeam forged out of pure life force. It’s a thing of beauty. Some people use this to gain so much life that they can use the ability 2 or 3 times, and I don’t blame them. The other player may simply forfeit that way, too. I wouldn’t use the ability at 51 or so life unless I was 100% sure no burn spell, no counter, none of that stuff is on the way. If the player has zero possible answers, then it’s fine. That’s not going to happen all that often. So expert knowledge of the other player’s deck is also key. The other Simic deck I’m going to include may come next; Simic Mill, because we got a bunch of new toys to play with in Historic.
Blue/White Control is Mighty Powerful (Blue/White Control)
There are a few Blue/White decks right now in Historic, thanks to Kaladesh Remastered for MTG Arena. The two big ones, if you ask me, it’s Blue/White Gift and Blue/White Control. UW Gift focuses on God-Pharaoh’s Gift and Dream Trawler/Angel of Invention, as well as Akroma’s Memorial. It’s a lot of fun and a pretty great beat-down deck. But if you prefer to control the focus of the game, like me, UW Control is the way to go. I’ll probably also cover UW Gift too because it’s a hoot.
By contrast, Blue/White Control is a very slow deck where we whittle down the other player’s defenses, keep them at bay, and drop a pair of annoying planeswalkers. Between Dovin Baan and Jace, Unraveler of Secrets, we can completely lock down someone’s ability to move forward. We just play patient, play slow, and stop any important spell or creature they try to do.
Are they going to blow up all of our cards? Dovin’s Veto. Did one of their creatures get through and have a triggered ability? Disallow steps up. Do you simply want to blow up creatures again and again? Wrath of God has exactly what you want. It’s annoying, it’s slow, and we have so many counterspells that opponents might simply give in because they’re tired of being countered.
Heck, we even have Clear the Mind to get all those cards back again a second time, not to mention Torrential Gearhulk that does similar/is our beat stick. We don’t win quickly, but we do win.
How Does It Work?
Originally, this deck relied on simply decking someone out/beating them with Gearhulk/Fae of Wishes. That’s neat and all, but what if we can do it a bit better? What if we use one of my favorite cards to win instead? As it happens, one of my all-time favorites came back in the last Remastered set for Historic. Approach of the Second Sun! So it’s going to be in our sideboard as an alternate/preferred way to win.
It’s only not in our main board because we have a lot of very important control cards there. You could easily adjust it for that if you wanted. If I were going to remove something, it would likely be a pair of Jwari Disruption cards to make sure we have Second Sun accessible. We discussed this card originally in the Amonkhet Remastered blog, and it was also in one of the first blogs I wrote for Esports Talk!
What does it do? Approach of the Second Sun is a Sorcery for 7 mana (2 white). If this spell was cast from your hand and you’ve cast another spell named Approach of the Second Sun this game, you win the game. Otherwise, put this spell into its owner’s deck, 7th from the top, and gain 7 life. From there, it’s just a matter of getting it, casting it again, and ending the game.
It’s important to note that the first spell does not need to resolve on the first cast. It just says “cast”. So you can let the first get countered, played another, and still win the game off of it. Sure, we can win via slowly whittling away at the other player, but why not lock them down first and do this instead?
Sadly, we can’t use Torrential Gearhulk to win this way, since that card only lets us cast an Instant from the grave, and Second Sun is a Sorcery. But this whole deck is built around making sure we can cast this, or to simply make the other player give up. If we want, we can win via Torrential Gearhulk/Fae of Wishes though. The Gearhulk is after all a ⅚ with Flash, so it’s not exactly a bad card. He’s how we counterspells when we don’t have a counter in hand. During our opponent’s turn, we Flash it in, and cast a counter from our grave without paying its cost (and then exile it).
With that in mind, how do we slow down the game to a snail’s pace?
We have so many counters in this deck. Not just counterspells though, but we also have a pair of destruction-themed board wipes: Wrath of God and Fumigate. The best part of board wipe is that we can also return our Fae of Wishes back to our hand, provided we have 2+ cards in our hand, and two extra mana (1 blue). It’s how we fetch cards from our sideboard, after all, so we need it alive.
So try to be safe and smart about when you board wipe. If Fae is out and you don’t have another in your hand, make sure you have that extra 2 mana, and 2 cards to discard so he can return to your hand safely. Dovin’s Veto is one of my favorite counters though. As a spell that can’t be countered, it counters a noncreature spell for 2 mana (1 white, 1 blue). It’s incredibly powerful, and even though it can’t counter creatures, it’s got a lot to offer.
However, I’d save it for the right situations. If the other player has tapped all of their mana, Quench, Jwari Disruption, or even Supreme Will are better choices. The first two are preferred though. Jwari Disruption counters a spell unless the other player pays 1 colorless mana, and Quench does the same for the same mana unless that player pays 2 colorless mana. So keep in mind how much mana they can produce, and use these accordingly.
The reason I put Supreme Will aside, is that it is a 3-cost (1 blue) with two options. You can counter a spell unless the controller pays 3 colorless, or you can look at the top 4 cards of your deck, and put one in your hand. So that can definitely pay off bigger later for Second Sun, or other cards you might want. Disallow is a bit stronger, in that it can counter a spell, activated ability, or triggered ability. So it can also stop planeswalker powers or powerful creature skills, so you may want to hold it to stop an ultimate from an enemy planeswalker. It’s our strongest control spell, all told.
We also have Absorb, which is more expensive (in that it costs 2 blue, 1 white instead of 2 blue 1 colorless), but Absorb counters a spell and gives you 3 life. So it also serves a valuable purpose. That is our major system of control. We also have Sorcerous Spyglass in the sideboard to stop certain cards from using activated abilities, or Heliod’s Intervention to blow up artifacts/enchantments.
Really, you can add whatever control you’re comfortable with into your sideboard, but I like this setup. This deck also runs a trio of planeswalkers, that all bring something very important to the deck.
Planeswalkers and You:
Narset, Parter of Veils prevents opponents from drawing more than one card each turn and has a -2 that lets us look at the top 4 cards. We take a noncreature, nonland and put it into our hand. Considering almost every card in our deck is an Instant or a Planeswalker, this is a game-winner. Sadly, she has no +Loyalty ability, so use her wisely.
Dovin Baan is one of our two planeswalkers with an Emblem. His +1 gives a creature -3/-0 until end of next turn, and can’t activate their abilities. His -1 gives you 2 life and a card to draw, but I’d avoid this unless it’s going to pull you a Second Sun. His -7 is much more powerful though. You get an emblem that reads “Your opponents can’t untap more than two permanents during their untap phase”. It’s such a frustrating slowing of the game that they can do nothing about.
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets can help with making the pace of the game ideal for us (slow AF), since his +1 is Scry 1, and Draw 1. His -2 returns a creature to its owner’s hand, so if in a pinch, we can bounce Fae of Wishes or Gearhulk back. But his -8 is very tempting. You get an emblem with “Whenever an opponent casts their first spell each turn, counter that spell”. This will save you on counterspells in the long run.
We also have Search for Azcanta, which is a common spell in these decks. After all, it lets us look at the top card on our upkeep, and pick if we keep it or put it in our grave instead. If we have 7 or more cards in the grave, it transforms into a land that lets us pay 4 to look at our top 4, and put a noncreature, nonland from them and put it in our hand.
We want to get that Fae of Wishes out asap, to put a Second Sun in our hand. That’s how we’re going to win. Our opponent then has 7 turns, max to stop us from winning. It’s going to likely make them antsy and make mistakes. Keep card draw spells on hand, and counters to stop them. We’ll want to make sure we have at least enough mana to cast Second Sun, and cast a counter each time we use it.
2 Narset, Parter of Veils
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Glacial Fortress
2 Dovin Baan
2 Fae of Wishes
2 Search for Azcanta
2 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
4 Supreme Will
4 Jwari Disruption
4 Dovin’s Veto
2 Torrential Gearhulk
2 Wrath of God
2 Prison Realm
1 Ixalan’s Binding
2 Heliod’s Intervention
2 Into the Story
2 Clear the Mind
2 Settle the Wreckage
2 Sorcerous Spyglass
2 Approach of the Second Sun
If I weren’t running aggro in MTG Arena right now, this would likely be the deck I run non-stop. It’s annoying, slow, and frustrating. The other player, in more instances than not, has no choice but to play at our speed. We can Fumigate to board wipe and gain 1 life for each creature destroyed that way, or simply counter whatever they play. It’s not fun to play against, but that’s just how it is! This is such a fun deck to use, but not to see.
Hyper Charging Mill (Blue/Green Mill)
One of the things Simic does really well is Mill. In particular, we already had useful tools for it in Historic, like Bruvac the Grandiloquent. The ability to double whatever someone had to mill is pretty fantastic. But what if I told you that Kaladesh gives us even more infuriating ways to drain someone of their cards? Well, it’s true! It’s really a combination of Kaladesh and Zendikar cards as a whole, but it’s going to really obliterate people.
As soon as I saw Bruvac, I knew this deck was going to come back. It was already pretty good, but with cards like Minister of Inquiries and a few energy producers, we can do some truly nasty things to the other players. Or we can simply set out Bruvac, play 4 Ruin Crabs, and then use Glasspool Mimic to make more of them! Since each land we play with a Ruin Crab out makes the opponent mill 3, it could very easily turn into 1 land = 12 cards milled.
This is not a thing you do to people you like, care about, or respect. This is a deck that you play when you want to win, and you want it to be as unpleasant as possible. This is a pretty short deck to talk about, because it’s simple and powerful. We already have a Simic deck in here too (technically) so I wanted to add another brief one that I think is worth a try.
How Does It Work?
Bruvac the Grandiloquent is the card we want into play as fast as humanly possible. It’s up there with our Ruin Crab and Rashmi, Eternities Crafter. As a 3-drop (1 blue), it’s pretty easy to get Bruvac out. Thankfully this deck also runs plenty of mana ramp (Attune with Aether, Explore) to help us get moving. But what exactly does Bruvac do? He’s a ¼ for 3 (so he’s already amazing), and if an opponent would mill one or more cards, they mill twice that many cards instead.
We could very easily win simply off of that and a couple of Ruin Crabs. Now even a single Ruin Crab can spell disaster. It normally mills an opponent for 3 anytime we play a land, but now that’s suddenly 6. That’s why Glasspool Mimics are in the deck. For Ruin Crab, or our Energy Producing cards. Why those?
Because of Minister of Inquiries. It’s a ½ for 1 blue, that gives 2 energy when it’s cast. You can also tap it, and pay 1 energy to make a player mill 3 cards. Now that’s suddenly 6. Glasspool Mimic can copy any of our creatures when it comes into play, so any target (but Bruvac) is a solid one. If we need more energy, we can make it a Minister, or a Rogue Refiner to give us a card draw, and two more energy. If we simply want them to mill faster, and we’ve got the lands to play, we use Ruin Crab.
The Gameplay Loop:
It’s honestly really simple. We want Bruvac the Grandiloquent to drop on turn 3. That is the most important thing we can do. We can win without that, but it’s so much faster that way. Other than that, turn 1 Ruin Crab is our best friend. It makes every land drop we make that much more powerful. Once we have Bruvac in play, we can really ramp up our ability to mill people.
Ruin Crab as I said, triggers simply off playing lands. Minister of Inquiries requires energy, but we have several cards that provide it. This includes one of our ramp cards, Attune with Aether. This gives us two energy and lets us take a basic land from our deck and put it in our hand. We also have Teferi’s Tutelage, which makes the opponent mill two anytime we draw a card.
If we can pair that with Into the Story (draw 4 cards), that’s even better. Explore also has us draw a card and play an additional land for turn too, which is powerful. But our best tool for mill in the entire deck is Maddening Cacophony. On its own, it’s “each opponent mills eight cards” for 2 mana. If Bruvac is out, that becomes 16 cards for 2. Or we can pay the Kicker (4 mana, 1 blue), to make each opponent mill half their deck, rounded up. So we would cut their deck in half and then do it again.
We want to cast reasonably priced spells first each turn though, if we have Rashmi, Eternities Crafter in play though. Whenever we cast our first spell of the turn, we reveal the top card of our library. If it costs less than what we initially cast, we can cast it for free. Otherwise, it goes in our hand. So we cast Into the Story to draw 4, and make someone mill, and say, get a Maddening Cacophony after. This is a very easy deck to pilot. The only catch is living long enough.
Very fast aggro decks can beat us down, but as long as we have the power to mill, they have the power to lose.
4 Into the Story
4 Hinterland Harbor
4 Breeding Pool
3 Attune with Aether
3 Bruvac the Grandiloquent
3 Rashmi, Eternities Crafter
4 Teferi’s Tutelage
4 Fabled Passage
3 Maddening Cacophony
4 Rogue Refiner
4 Glasspool Mimic
4 Minister of Inquiries
4 Ruin Crab
This is a very simple, easy to pilot deck. It’s not one based around tons of strategy. We want the other player to have no cards the fastest we can possibly make that happen. If we can turn 1 Ruin Crab, turn 2 land for turn, and Maddening Cacophony, we’re off to a great start. You don’t have to pay the kicker each time. That 11 cards in the grave is enough to really slow down virtually everyone. This is especially true if someone took a greedy start, and was really counting on good draws. Just play creatures, mill the other player, and laugh as they struggle to keep up. I just wish Maddening Cacophony + Bruvac was a OTK. Sadly, it just cuts their deck in half twice, which is. . . let’s be honest, still amazing. You may hit a point where it’s better to just cast it normally – the 16 cards may be better than cutting their deck in half.