New MTG Arena Historic Anthology 5 Spoilers
It’s time to look at some surprising spoilers for MTG Arena Historic Anthology 5! It will feature 25 cards, and drops on May 27th, 2021. As always, you will be able to buy the whole bundle for Gems (4,000) or Gold (25,000). Alternatively, you can pick them up individually using Wildcards, if there are only a few of them that you like. However, I’m a big fan of what’s going on already! So far the cards are spread across sets like New Phyrexia, Magic Origins, Judgment, Scourge, Time Spiral and Dragons of Tarkir! I absolutely love to see stuff like this. So as always, we’ll be covering the spoilers, giving you the knowledge you’ll need to make informed decisions on the upcoming cards.
There are, if I can be honest, some incredible cards in this set. I didn’t think we’d see a reprint of Stifle, but here we are. These cards can only be used in Historic in MTG Arena, so Standard mains? Breathe a sigh of relief. You won’t have to worry about seeing two Vorinclex types in your Standard meta. One’s enough though, isn’t it?
There are fun cards for every type of player so far. Do you want a low-cost, high-value turn-1 creature? Vault Skirge is on the way. Like destroying things your opponent worked hard for? Ray of Revelation and Ancient Grudge is here and even has Flashback to do it a second time! The only problem I have with the sudden spoilers for MTG Arena Historic Anthology 5 is that they’re sudden! I only found out that these were revealed at all because someone else was shocked on Twitter! While frustrating, I’m glad to see more cards popping up for Historic.
Since this will likely be a shorter list, I’ll sort them by color, and indicate the rarity in the card description.
Vault Skirge (2-Cost Common Artifact Creature – Imp): Hot out of New Phyrexia comes a symbol we haven’t seen in MTG Arena yet! This is technically a two-cost creature. You’ll notice the Phyrexian symbol next to the 1 colorless on this card. This means you can either pay the color of the card (black), or pay 2 life. If you pay two life, you need only pay the colorless cost of the card. Introduced in the New Phyrexia set, this was a unique way to pay for certain cards. The beauty of this is that if you’re willing to pay life for it, you can include it in decks that have no black mana! Having a 1/1 Flying/Lifelink for 1 colorless is incredibly powerful after all. You can slot it into virtually any deck. For a common, it’s got a lot of power. This was a staple pick for me in any draft I played in person, during the New Phyrexia block. Learn more about Phyrexian Mana here! “ALL WILL BE ONE.” – Phyrexian motto.
Sheoldred, Whispering One (7-Cost Mythic Rare Legendary Creature – Praetor): Surprised to see yet another Praetor? We sure aren’t! What’s interesting is that we haven’t seen a Landwalk creature in ages in MTG Arena. I can’t recall the last one I saw printed. This is a 6/6 for 7 and has Swampwalk. That means if your opponent has a Swamp, they cannot block this creature at all. That’s only part of the fun though. At the beginning of your upkeep,r eturn a creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield. You don’t even have to do any of the work that Liliana does to get that ability going off! On top of that, at the beginning of each opponent’s upkeep, that player sacrifices a creature. If you can mana ramp this into the game early (or use Bolas’ Citadel), you can really slow the game to a crawl for someone. An ideal control card and late-game bomb, I love Sheoldred. She still runs anywhere from 30-110 bucks too in physical Magic, depending on what version. She’s a valued part of quite a few combos.
Stifle (1-Cost Rare Instant): Oh, Stifle. Did you know that a copy of Stifle in real life can run about 23 bucks? That’s a high mark for a counterspell. This one has very specific uses. From the Scourge set, which was the end of the Onslaught block. It’s not an ordinary counter though. Stifle counters a target activated or triggered ability. Your opponent plays Muxus and the game is assuredly over? Not anymore, as long as you have one blue mana! Muxus enters play, and you drop this as his trigger would pop off? Nope! That player just sacrificed all their goblins and dropped their hand to make this happen, and they get nothing. It’s an incredibly versatile, powerful counterplay option. I’m honestly surprised this made it to the spoilers for MTG Arena’s Historic Anthology 5. It can stop any activated or triggered ability. No planeswalker ultimates if you time it right! It’s low-cost, high-reward. All it takes here is one rare wildcard! I’m so glad to see this card come to the game – until it starts being used on me, anyway. Then it’s way less exciting. Historic needed some good counterplay to mess up people’s combos.
Whirler Rogue (4-Cost Uncommon Creature – Human Rogue Artificer): Now here’s a fun card from Magic Origins. A 2/2 for 4, it creates two 1/1 colorless Thopter artifact creature tokens with flying. That sounds neat. But you can tap two untapped artifacts you control to make a creature unblockable for the turn. You can set up some absolutely bonkers things with the card. You can use planeswalkers that grant you an immediate win with their ultimate, as long as you deal combat damage: like Vraska! Big fan of seeing this card.
Merfolk Looter (2-Cost Common Creature – Merfolk Rogue): Just what we need – another Discard engine, and a cheap one to boot! Merfolk Looter only costs 2 mana, and it can be tapped to draw a card, then discard a card. For reanimator, and for Izzet artifact/Phoenix decks, Merfolk Looter’s going to be a hit. It’s an old card, dating back to M10, but it’s a classic with a low cost and high value. It can be exactly what quite a few decks need, for just one more discard/draw engine.
Reverse Engineer (5-Cost Uncommon Sorcery): We have another really interesting mechanic coming back, with Improvise! It’s expensive, but you can whittle that cost down to 2 blue, through Improvise. This mechanic is similar to Convoke. You can tap artifacts to reduce the colorless cost of this by 1 per artifact tapped. You’ll definitely want to take advantage, so you can pay 2 mana to draw 3 cards! Thopters, Treasure Tokens, anything like these will be beneficial. Spend little-to-no mana, and get this card out a little faster. It’s a fantastic way to get extra cards into your hand. Also consider ways to duplicate this. Perhaps the most enjoyable for me is to play Primal Amulet and transform it into a Primal Wellspring. If you use the mana from that spell to cast an Instant or Sorcery, you can duplicate it! Through this, you get six cards for the one spell.
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur (10-Cost Mythic Rare Legendary Creature – Praetor): Now, you might be looking at that mana cost and balking. I normally would too. But when we can cast this for free from our graveyard around turn 4 or so, that’s way more useful. A 5/4 for 10 with Flash, at the beginning of your end step, you draw 7 cards. Each opponent’s maximum hand size is also reduced by seven. So now they have to discard a lot. We just need a way to have an unlimited hand size. Thankfully, there are many of these in Historic! Lands, artifacts, choose your poison! Making your opponent have virtually no cards in hand is going to make it a fun slot-in for control/reanimator decks. In the mid-game, you can also cast it for 10 mana I guess, but why do that, when you can cheat him out?
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger (8-Cost Mythic Rare Legendary Creature – Praetor): This isn’t the Vorinclex you’re used to in the current Standard meta of MTG Arena. Oh no, Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger came first. An 8-cost green legendary, he also hails from New Phyrexia! Is this a sign that we’re going to get more Phyrexians in MTG? Perhaps a return to the Phyrexia battle? I do hope so. This is a 7/6 with Trample, and while he’s expensive, he’s worth it. Whenever you tap a land for mana, add one mana of any type that land produced. So you double your mana, which can help with some amazing results. This is great if you have temporary cards like Treasure Tokens or mana dorks to help get him out. However, when an opponent taps a land for mana, that land doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step. Now it’s a battle of “can I remove this? If not, how safely can I generate mana?” It can also easily win the game through raw damage, so that’s another plus.
Into The North (2-Cost Uncommon Sorcery): A simple-enough card, it lets you take a snow land from your library and put it into play tapped. This also counts for non-basic lands, as long as it’s a snow land. So cards like Alpine Meadow or something could be pulled for two mana and putting it into play. This especially great if it’s a card that would come into play tapped anyway. You lose nothing, and next turn you get extra mana! I’m a big fan of this card. Be glad that Dark Depths isn’t in MTG Arena! It would suddenly be very scary to turn-2, guarantee a copy of Dark Depths. All we’d need then is Vampire Hexmage! Into The North is a Sorcery, so it’s not an overpowered card. Very useful, but it only pulls Snow Lands, so it’s restricted.
Ancient Grudge (2-Cost Common Instant): This one’s easy enough to explain and use. Ancient Grudge, for two mana,d destroys a target artifact. No more Bola’s’s Citadel combos for your opponent! If they play another artifact you aren’t so keen on, you can cast this again from the grave! Flashback is a mechanic whereby you can pay the Flashback cost and cast this from the graveyard. If it would go back into the graveyard, you exile it instead. This card in particular costs 1 green mana to cast in this way, which makes it ideal for any response for a Gruul deck. If nothing else, it will be a fantastic sideboard card.
Trash for Treasure (3-Cost Uncommon Sorcery): All I’m saying is that I’m real glad Blightsteel Colossus isn’t in the game right now. I say that, and then realize there are so many scarier artifacts possible to use right now. You can throw this into your Jund Sac deck, and get a turn-3 Bolas’s Citadel. Turn-1 Faithless Looting the Citadel into the grave. Then you just need any old 0 or 1-cost artifact. Here’s the combo as far as I see it:
- Turn 1: Gilded Goose. It makes a treasure token.
- Turn 2: Faithless Looting, pitch Citadel into the grave.
- Turn 3: Trash for Treasure. Sacrifice token, put Citadel in play.
- Turn 4 – Whatever: Irrelevant, your opponent’s morale is broken.
That’s the power of Trash for Treasure. It’s a 3-mana sorcery, and it requires you to sacrifice an artifact as an additional cost. Then, you return a target artifact card from your graveyard to the battlefield. Most decks use this for massive creatures like Blightsteel Colossus as a way to end games fast in Modern. We don’t have that option here. That said, you can use it on Paradox Engine, Forsaken Monument, or any other high-cost, high-value artifact you can get your hands on. Trash for Treasure is a wildly powerful card if you’re looking to sneak out powerful artifacts, that’s for sure.
Urabrask the Hidden (5-Cost Mythic Rare Legendary Creature – Praetor): Another Praetor comes to bring us all together! I’d love to see this in “Big Red” or Gruul decks just in general. The Red Praetor gives your creatures Haste, and makes your opponent’s creatures slow down – they enter the battlefield tapped! It’s not viable for Mono-Red Aggro, but virtually any midrange deck can utilize this. I’m so glad to see more of the Praetors showing up though, and fuels my rumors of a return to Phyrexia. Well, with spells that increase the amount of mana you have/mana ramp cards, there’s a chance you can cast this a tiny bit early. There’s a chance anyway. I’d run this in a Big Red Dragon deck, and use some treasure tokens to throw his eager helper out early and lead you to victory.
Dragonstorm (9-Cost Rare Sorcery): Another card with Storm? Oh boy! However, it’s a very pricey 9 mana (1 red). This could be your late-game, game-winning bomb though. Cast a bunch of sorceries on a turn with a lot of mana (or find a way to cast this for free, such as in an Ultimatum deck or Omnipotence). This card searches your library for a Dragon permanent card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle. However, it has Storm. For each spell you cast before this, you cast it again! With a few 0-cost or 1-cost spells, we can flood the board with dragons. Now if we can just give them haste, it’s going to be a very sudden, violent smash of the other player’s face.
Intangible Virtue (2-Cost Uncommon Enchantment): Running White or White/Green tokens, and want them to get a little more oomph? Some chutzpah or pizzaz? Intangible Virtue brings that to you for the low cost of two mana! Creature tokens you control get +1/+1 and vigilance. Now they can swing aggressively and not lose out on being blockers too! Big fan of this turning my 1/1 creatures into 2/2s with Vigilance. It’s potent, low-cost, and efficient. It makes sense considering. This card is from Innistrad and there was a major focus on token creatures in the set. Werewolves, Humans, Spirits, all kinds of stuff.
Ray of Revelation (2-Cost Common Instant): Like Ancient Grudge before it, this one’s nice and simple. A 2-cost Instant, it destroys a target enchantment. It also has the same 1 green mana Flashback! Though from different sets, they feel very similar in scope and power. You could slap them together into a Red/White control deck and have a lot of removal options. Or, you can do what I’d likely do, and put it into the sideboard – just in case. This card from Judgment delivers.
Court Homunculus (1-Cost Common Artifact Creature – Homunculus): Court Homunculous is an okay card. It’s a 1-cost 1/1 artifact, but it gains +1/+1 as long as you control another artifact. You can drop a 0-cost Thopter or something and have a 2/2 on turn 1. So that’s pretty neat. It’s useful in other ways though – sacrifice/block fodder, or for spells that buff your artifacts. If Ensoul Artifact were in the game, you could have an easy 5/5.
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (7-Cost Mythic Rare Legendary Creature – Praetor): Out of all the Praetors, Elesh Norn is the one I used the most, personally. Elesh Norn is a 4/7 for 7 mana and has Vigilance. In particular, I ran her in a deck that swarmed the field with tons of creatures and had infinite mana. This gives other creatures we control (not her) +2/+2, and gives our opponent’s creatures -2/-2. If you can cheat her out early, low-cost, aggro decks are going to be overwhelmed. Most of their creatures will just die right off! SHe’s an incredibly powerful card and would be fun for a variety of decks. I like her mostly for the fact that she buffs and weakens. She’s the ideal Praetor.
Dromoka’s Command (2-Cost White/Green Rare Instant): The Command cards come from the Dragons of Tarkir set, and two of them got added so far! Dromoka’s Command is a White/Green 2-cost instant, and lets us choose two of the following effects:
- Prevent all damage target instant or sorcery spell would deal this turn.
- Target player sacrifices an enchantment.
- Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.
- Target creature you control fights target creature you don’t control.
For my money, prevent all damage, and the fight options are the best, but it’s flexible. You can pick whichever two you want to do, but sadly, not the same option twice. That would be silly for a card like this. It’s okay, but it’s not really my favorite of the commands. My favorite is Ojutai’s Command, which I’m talking about next!
Ojutai’s Command (4-Cost White/Blue Rare Instant): Now this is my favorite of the Commands. Sure it costs more mana (4 instead of 2), but it’s a control card! How can I not love it? We pick two of the following effects at Instant speed:
- Return target creature card with Mana Value 2 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.
- You gain 4 life.
- Counter target creature spell.
- Draw a card.
Need to bring back a useful creature? Just want another card? Ojutai’s Command has you covered. It’s a wide spread of abilities, and even getting 4 life back and a card draw at 4 mana really isn’t too bad. Especially since we can do it on our opponent’s turn!
Silumgar’s Command (5-Cost Blue/Black Rare Instant): I’m really starting to see a pattern here. Commands and Praetors! Silumgar’s Command is a Blue and Black Command and as with all of them, you have the choice of several abilities, and you can pick two. Silumgar’s is pretty expensive, but when you see why, it should all come together and make sense.
- Counter target noncreature spell.
- Return target permanent to its owner’s hand.
- Target creature gets -3/-3 until the end of the turn.
- Destroy target planeswalker.
Command cards came back in Strixhaven, and are very powerful. This one has a wealth of useful options. You can destroy a planeswalker and counter a spell at the same time! Or you can remove a low-strength threat and destroy a planeswalker. Or you can use it to counter a spell, and return a permanent to someone’s hand. Don’t get nervous about how much mana it costs to play, because Dimir and Grixis decks will find it to be incredibly useful.
Atarka’s Command (2-Cost Red/Green Rare Spell – Instant): Here we have another of the “Command” cards, this time, for Gruul! Every effect on this card is an absolute stunner, if you ask me. If I played more Red/Green, it would be in every Historic deck that splashed those colors in. Here’s what it does:
- Your opponents can’t gain life this turn.
- Atarka’s Command deals 3 damage to each opponent.
- You may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.
- Creatures you control get +1/+1 and gain reach until the end of the turn.
Mana ramp for 2? A group-wide buff? No life gain? Oh yeah, Atarka’s Command is rad, that’s for sure. Typically, I’m going for “Play a land” and “Deal 3 damage”, in the early game. Towards the end of the game, I want the No Life Gain and +1/+1/Reach. Either way you slice it, Atarka’s ready to put some players in the ground.
Kolaghan’s Command (3-Cost Rare Black/Red Instant): Another Command spell! A Black/Red one this time, it does all the fun stuff you expect a Black/Red spell to do! As always, you get two choices out of four abilities. Here’s what you can do:
- Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
- Target player discards a card.
- Destroy target artifact.
- Deals 2 damage to any target.
Now personally, my favorite is “return target creature” and “discards a card”. For 3 mana, that’s an incredible value. Sure the other two abilities are neat, but I lean towards discard in almost any situation. Cards your opponent don’t have in hand, in many cases, can’t be used easily. That’s not always the case, but in the early game, I want my opponent to have as few options as possible. Kolaghan’s Command dealing damage also helps though, especially when you can deal 2 damage, and return a creature to your hand, for just 3 mana?! This is great in aggro decks, control decks, you name it.
Grisly Salvage (2-Cost Green/Black Common Instant): Remember that Jin-Gitaxias? Here’s a great way to put it into the grave for 2 mana! An instant also means you can do it on your opponent’s turn. Grisly Salvage lets you reveal the top five cards of your deck. Put a creature or land from it into your hand, and the rest go into your graveyard. It’s a land ramp or a renanimator tool at your leisure. You just have to make sure you have a plan for the cards going into your grave. Bringing them back somehow is ideal, personally. Big fan of this card though. Green/Black reanimator’s going to love it.
Ichor Wellspring (2-Cost Artifact): Remember previously, when we discussed the powerful red spell, Trash or Treasure? This card is practically built for that. If you don’t want to use it to bring to life a ridiculously powerful card from the grave, you can use it on Ichor Wellspring. It’s a 2-cost colorless artifact, and when it enters play or leaves play (heads to the graveyard), you draw a card. So you can play this for 2 mana, and remove it the next turn with Trash or Treasure, giving you yet another card. Then a third card by bringing it back to life! Ichor Wellspring has way more uses though. It’s a fantastic card to use with Emery, Lurker of the Loch combo decks as another solution/revival card.
Relic of Progenitus (1-Cost Common Artifact): Huzzah, cards from the Alara Block! It’s a graveyard hate card, which can be very appealing right now. It can be tapped to have a target player exile a card from their graveyard. Or you can tap 1, exile Relic of Progenitus to make all cards from all graveyards. This hurts you too (unless you can retrieve cards from your graveyard instead). If you keep up with this on turn 1, you won’t have to bust its big ability – hopefully. I just like having the power to cheaply harm someone’s ability to return cards from their grave.