Powerful MTG Arena Decks to Try in Historic Anthology 5


by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Jun, 7th 2021

Now that Historic Anthology 5 has landed, it’s time to look at some decks for it in MTG Arena! It’s going to be a mix I think, of proven commodities, and fun new concepts, new ways to play certain deck archetypes. For example, Bolas’s Citadel has some fun new tech, thanks to Trash for Treasure, and the Mystic Archives cards. We can do some absolutely brutal things with it. Then there are power MTG Arena Historic Anthology 5 decks like Five Color Superfriends, Jeskai Control, and more. I want to look at a nice mix of stuff, then come back later in the month and see what decks actually stood on top/will continue to do so.

We won’t see MTG Arena’s D&D set until July 23rd, so there’s still time to play some awesome stuff before new cards come in. That having been said, Historic is such a wild meta. There are so many cards you can run in it, and it tends to lean right now, in my estimation, towards faster decks. It feels like Modern-light, in that it’s got a wealth of power cards, but isn’t quite on the same power level. In a few sets, and a few more Historic Anthologies later, and who knows? Maybe Goblin Charbelcher will wind up in MTG Arena. … Yeah, maybe not that one so much. We can dream though, right?

I also have to wonder if any of those cards will become Historic staples, but only time will tell. As the spoilers continue, we’ll be keeping a very careful eye on them. But we aren’t here to talk about the future, are we? No, we’re looking at the here and now! What MTG Arena Historic Anthology 5 decks are fun and powerful? I’m glad you asked!

Trashstorm (Red/Green/Black Storm/Combo Deck)


This is a concept I thought of as soon as I saw Trash for Treasure was being added via Historic Anthology 5, so of course, it’s one of the MTG Arena decks I picked. For 3 mana, it has you sacrifice an artifact as an additional cost. But it then has you return a target artifact card from your graveyard and put it into play. What can we possibly do with that though? That doesn’t sound too overpowered. . . oh my god, Bolas’s Citadel. We can turn 3 the Citadel with a particular amount of ease! We cast Faithless Looting turn 1, turn 2 artifacts, turn 3, profit!

This deck also has lots of Storm nonsense in it. We can create a few really massive Storm combos to get the win with, or simply use Aetherflux Reservoir/Bolas’s Citadel’s powers. We’ve got quite a few options to win, and they’re all pretty easy to do. Once we get started, it’s really hard to stop it. The above two options exist, but we also have Tendrils of Agony, again, thanks to Mystic Archives. In fact, most of the cards in this deck come from that! Ichor Wellspring is another Historic Anthology 5 card that makes this deck that much more powerful. But what do we do with it all?

How Does It Work?


Trash for Treasure is such a great card. It just makes this deck much faster. It means we don’t have to rely on insane card draw and mana ramp to get an early Bolas’s Citadel. The ability to just drop a Citadel from the grave, hopefully before our opponent can gear up to stop it, is important. The Citadel itself lets us look at our top card anytime, and we can play the spells that way for life instead of mana. Thanks to cards that also grant us life, we can make this last way longer. This means we can cast way more spells than normal in a turn. We’re also running some Storm cards here. Cards with Storm trigger extra copies of themselves for each spell we cast before it. Sadly, those don’t trigger Storm too. This means you have to pick your Storm spell correctly.

An example is Weather the Storm. It has us gain 3 life and has Storm. If we cast 10 spells on a turn, and then cast Weather the Storm, we gain 30 life! Since we cast a lot of spells with our life total, having more life is so important. Casting Navigator’s Compass for 1 also nets us 3 life when it enters play. Storm also matters on our win condition – well, one of them. Tendrils of Agony has a power lose 2 life, and we gain 2 life. Then it triggers Storm. We only need at least 10 spells in a turn to win, less if we’ve harmed the other player earlier.

Unlikely though, since we are running one creature and no direct damage spells. We probably won’t even use Bolas’s Citadel to deal 10 damage, because it requires 10 non-land permanents to be in play. We do have 10 non-land permanents in the deck, but it’s not likely we get them all out in play. But it’s possible. As we said, we have a pretty ideal first three turns. We need Faithless Looting, Bolas’s Citadel, and Any Of Our Artifacts. We have Stonecoil Serpent (X Cost), Navigator’s Compass (1-Cost), and Ichor Wellspring (2-Cost). Finally, we need Trash for Treasure. So we need at least 3 mana on turn 3.

Faithless Looting is cast on turn 1, so we draw 2, and discard 2. We want to pitch the Citadel. Then we want to play next turn, any of our ½ cost artifacts. That way we have sacrifice fodder. My favorite is Ichor Wellspring, because it has us draw a card when it enters play, and leaves play. Then on turn 3, we sacrifice that card to Trash for Treasure and put Citadel into play. Now we can play cards right off the top of our deck for life.

We want to get one of our win conditions in play soon. Witherbloom Apprentice and Aetherflux Reservoir are the permanents that get us wins. Witherbloom Apprentice has us make an opponent lose 1 life and give us 1 life, anytime we cast or copy an Instant or Sorcery. So if this is in play, and we cast a Storm spell, we get something for each effect that is triggered. Aetherflux Reservoir reads “Whenever you cast a spell, you gain 1 life for each spell you’ve cast this turn.”

It won’t copy our storm copies, but for each time we cast a spell, we gain more and more life. If we cast a spell, we gain 1 life, then we gain 2 life for the next spell, et cetera. We can lose 50 life to deal 50 damage to any target. Finally, we have Tendrils of Agony as our other Storm spell. It has an opponent lose 2 life and grants us 2 life, and then Storms. As far as other spells, we’ve got a few more.

Abundant Harvest has us pick “land or nonland.” Then we reveal cards until we get one of those we picked and put it in our hand. The rest go back into our deck. Grisly Salvage also has us reveal the top five of our deck, and we can pick a creature or land from among them in our hand. The rest go into the grave. I’m less keen on that if I don’t have a win condition ready. I don’t want to lose them all in one go.

We just need a win condition (or several), cast our spells, and win the game. In theory, you can win right on turn 3. The downside is you’d need to not hit any land drops. More likely, we’ll win a turn or two later. We can always make comebacks thanks to how much life we gain each turn.

Decklist

2 Tendrils of Agony

4 Stomping Ground

2 Blightstep Pathway

4 Darkbore Pathway

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Blood Crypt

4 Ichor Wellspring

4 Trash for Treasure

1 Aetherflux Reservoir

4 Grisly Salvage

4 Navigator’s Compass

4 Abundant Harvest

4 Faithless Looting

3 Witherbloom Apprentice

3 Bolas’s Citadel

1 Mountain

3 Cragcrown Pathway

3 Weather the Storm

2 Stonecoil Serpent

Final Thoughts


What a fun combo! I’m a big fan of ridiculous nonsense like this. I knew when Storm popped up, it was only a matter of time before silly decks came to be. Sure, Grapeshot is neat, but it’s no Citadel. It allows us to cast as many spells from our deck as we have the time and life to do. Later turns, if we need, we can also cast stuff like Grisly Salvage or Faithless Looting from our hand, so we can get rid of lands on the top of our decks, to allow even more spells! This may not be a world breaker, but it’s so fun. And it works.

Praetor’s Genesis (Blue/Red/Green Control)


Sure, Aggro/Midrange is all the rage, there’s nothing wrong with a quality control deck. This is a deck built around plenty of mana ramp, and some really big, really annoying creatures. How would you like to Genesis Ultimatum into a card that made your opponent have a zero hand size? Sounds like a brilliant time to me. A trio of the Phyrexian Praetors is featured in this deck, and two of them are exceptionally expensive. It’s worth it though.

Historic Anthology 5 brought all five Praetors back to life and will surely get used in a variety of MTG Arena decks. However, we only need Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, Urabrask the Hidden, and Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger. Quite frankly, we can win off of playing Genesis Ultimatum, then Terror of the Peaks, and a few of the Praetors. Terror of the Peaks is the real win condition. As long as it’s in play when another creature enters the battlefield, Terror of the Peaks deals damage equal to that creature’s power to any target. We melt people’s brains with angry angry damage. You absolutely love to see it.

In theory, you could put anything into a Genesis Ultimatum deck. It doesn’t even have to share colors with your main deck. You probably shouldn’t though. Having these in your hand and not being able to cast them is misery incarnate. There’s another Praetor deck that I think we’re going to write about, and it’s a Red/Black/White Reanimator deck. Sheoldred, Whispering One, and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is too good to ignore.

How Does It Work?


Genesis Ultimatum is a card we’ve no doubt discussed several times. There’s a really good reason for it. For 7 mana, you look at the top five of your deck and put any of the permanents found therein in play. The rest go into your hand. Then we play as many big creatures as we possibly can. We already talked about the Terror of the Peaks. If by some miracle, we don’t get a win through sheer force, here’s what the other Praetors do.

Figure we should discuss them because what you draw could really wildly vary. If you just get Jin-Gitaxias for example, you can slow the pace of the game down to absolutely nothing. Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur is a 10-cost blue legendary. He has Flash and is a 5/4. At the beginning of your end step, you draw 7 cards. Each opponent’s maximum hand size is reduced by seven. Now their maximum hand size is zero. Each Praetor benefits you and punishes the other player.

Urabrask the Hidden is a 5-cost Red Praetor, that gives you creatures Haste, and creatures your opponents control come into play tapped. Getting a few Praetors and Terror of the Peaks can very easily seal the game with Urabrask in play. Finally, Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger. He’s an 8-cost 7/6 Legendary Green Praetor with Trample. Whenever we tap a land for mana, we add 1 mana to our mana pool of any type that land produced. Whenever an opponent taps a land for mana, that land doesn’t untap next turn.

You can see how quickly the game grinds to a halt with these allies of mine. But we need ways to get enough mana to make this happen. Into the North is one of the newer ways. It lets us search our library for a snow land card (doesn’t have to be basic) and put it into play tapped. For 2 mana, that’s great. Of course, Growth Spiral is here, as it’s the best mana ramp card in possibly the history of MTG. Explore lets us play an additional land for the turn and draw a card, and then there’s Eureka Moment.

A 4-cost spell that lets you draw 2 cards, and put a land from your hand into play. So yes, we have mana ramp. We also have Tangled Florahedron, which can also come into play as a green land if that’s what you want. Almost all of these cards have card draw built-in, so we can quite easily get set up and find a Genesis Ultimatum. Out of all of those cards though, the easiest to cast on their own are Urabrask and Terror, since they are both five-cost, compared to the other, higher costs.

Our early game is very simple. We mana ramp, card draw, make sure we get Genesis Ultimatum as soon as possible. This way, as soon as we have the mana, we dump it, and we get our end-game condition. We can just keep casting Genesis Ultimatum with Terror of the Peaks, to keep doing damage to our opponent. Or we can just use the haste and swing lethal if we have it. Even if you can only get Jin-Gitaxias to make your opponent have 0 cards in hand, you can take your time to find what you need.

We also have Fire Prophecy to deal 3 damage to a creature. This also lets you put a card from your hand onto the bottom of your deck and if you do, you draw a card. It’s a fantastic way to get rid of something unwanted, and instead, pull something (potentially) viable. In a perfect world, we pull cards from Genesis Ultimatum to grant us another Ultimatum. Some of these ramp spells are also Instant, like Eureka Moment and Growth Spiral. Those two are massive, even if Eureka Moment costs 4 mana (1 green, 1 blue).

It’s such a beautiful deck. ALL WILL BE ONE.

Decklist

4 Ketria Triome

1 Rimewood Falls

1 Volatile Fjord

3 Breeding Pool

3 Steam Vents

3 Sulfur Falls

3 Rootbound Crag

4 Hinterland Harbor

2 Tangled Florahedron

3 Eureka Moment

4 Fire Prophecy

4 Terror of the Peaks

2 Urabrask the Hidden

3 Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur

3 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger

4 Explore

3 Into the North

3 Growth Spiral

2 Stomping Ground

4 Genesis Ultimatum

1 Highland Forest

Final Thoughts


This has to be a frustrating deck to come against. All Genesis Ultimatum decks are when you get right down to it. I thought about adding a way to give this deck an unlimited hand size too, thanks to Jin-Gitaxias, but the games shouldn’t go much longer than that initial Genesis Ultimatum. Once you start dropping Praetors, people tend to just give in, if they don’t have an immediate answer to them. It’s a very streamlined deck where you land ramp, land ramp, land ramp, and suddenly “Oh, I won!” In a perfect world, we’d pick two Terror of the Peaks and 1 of each of the Praetors. In that order, it would be enough damage to just win completely.

Selesnya Collected Company – Now With Phyrexians! (White/Green Aggro/Combo)


Selesnya Collected Company is a White/Green deck based on playing tons of Elves and doing it quickly. But we also have one of the new Historic Anthology 5 cards once again to add to these WG decks in MTG Arena. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite isn’t an Elf, but they work in this deck miraculously. We can even use an Elf to get them out of our deck! Fierce Empath lets us get a creature that costs 6 or greater. As it happens, the only creature that costs more than 3 mana in the deck is Elesh Norn!

From there we just have to use our Mana Ramp to play them! This deck doesn’t have a ton of mana ramp elves, but between Llanowar Elves, Elvish Archdruid, and the Growing Rites of Itlimoc Legendary Enchantment, we can play anything we want! For extra spice, we have Helm of the Host, to let us make copies of creatures each turn – and if it was legendary, the copy is. What would we put this on? For my money, Elesh Norn! What does she do though? Let’s talk about Elesh Norn and her awesome Elf friends.

How Does It Work?


Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is a 7-cost 4/7 with Vigilance. They make your other creatures gain +2/+2, and your opponent’s creatures lose -2/-2. So if we can Helm of the Host Elesh Norn, we spam the board until your opponent can no longer even play creatures that don’t immediately die. Or we can use it on Elvish Archdruid for more mana ramp, or, for my money, Imperious Perfect. It gives your other Elves +1/+1, and can also be tapped to make 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature tokens.

Now, we’re only running two Elesh Norn, and one Fierce Empath. You can use Collected Company to pluck it out of your deck if you need it though. Collected Company costs 4 mana, and is an instant. So we can play it on our opponent’s turn when it’s safe. We look at the top six cards of our library and can put up to two creature cards with a Mana Value total of 3 onto the battlefield. Sure, you have to find it in those cards, but you certainly can.

Elvish Collected Company decks are pretty easy to run, thankfully. In a perfect world, we turn 1 Llanowar Elves or Allosaurus Shepherd. Frankly, I want to the Shepherd more. It can’t be countered and makes your Green Spells unable to be countered. You can tap 6 mana to make all of your Elves have a base power/toughness of 5/5, and also makes them Dinosaurs for a turn. That second part is for later in the game, but if you know your opponent can counter, let’s put a stop to that.

Our early game hopefully consists of playing Llanowar Elves to tap it for 1 green. We also want at least one Elvish Archdruid for 3 mana, which grants other Elves +1/+1. The best part though is it can tap for 1 green for each Elf you control. This leads me to wanting Elvish Clancaller. It also grants +1/+1 to your other elves (like Imperious Perfect), but for 6 mana, you can search your deck for another Elvish Clancaller and put it into play. With a few Elves in play, you can easily seek out the other ones, buffing your Elves more. The other ramp spell is Growing Rites of Itlimoc. This legendary enchantment has us look at the top four of our deck, and we can take a creature card from among those and put it into our hand. Then, at the beginning of your end step, if you have four or more creatures, it transforms into Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun (Legendary Land).

It can be tapped for 1 green, or it can be tapped for 1 green for each creature you control. Why even have the first part? Through these, we can gain tons of mana to play anything we want. We also have, I suppose, Jaspera Sentinel. I’m not crazy about it, but you can tap it, and tap an untapped creature you control to generate 1 mana of any color. That’s a good use for the various 1/1 green Elves we can create.

It will be very easy to cast Helm of the Host and immediately equip it onto something. I pick either one of our buffing Elves or Elesh Norn if we have it. Fierce Empath helps us find Elesh Norn, but that’s about it. We should never run out of Elves to inflate. Elvish Warmaster, for example, creates a 1/1 Elf Warrior token whenever one or more Elves enters the battlefield under your control. It only triggers once a turn though, so no infinite loops out of him. Imperious Perfect’s ability to create a 1/1 green Elf Warrior is also great.

So what’s our end-game? What’s the goal? Well, we can clone Elesh Norn until our opponent can no longer have creatures in play and swing, or we can dump all of our mana into Finale of Devastation. It lets us search our library and/or graveyard for a creature that costs X or less (probably Elesh Norn if we don’t have it yet, or one of our buffing Elves). That creature comes into play, and if X is 10 or more, your creatures gain +X/+X and haste for the turn.

If only we had Trample. That’s why we want to make as many Elves as possible with our generators, and use Elesh Norn to weaken the opponent’s creatures. If we get multiple Imperious Perfects into play, and an Elvish Warmaster, save a Perfect to use on your opponent’s turn. That way we can create two Elves on our opponent’s turn.

Our other major way to help facilitate a win is through Allosaurus Shepherd. It can make our Elves into 5/5 baseline. Then we take into account any buffs they have. This lets us swing far safer. Suddenly, we might have 9/9 or 10/10 Elves to swing with! Since that ability costs 6 mana, it’s . . . still very cheap when you consider how much mana this deck generates. We can also use this ability when our opponents attack, to suddenly have giant blockers! This is a deck you can be pretty aggressive with, too. As soon as your Elves get bigger, it’s time to get feisty.

Decklist

2 Ajani’s Welcome

2 Growing Rites of Itlimoc

4 Plains

4 Branchloft Pathway

2 Jaspera Sentinel

4 Elvish Archdruid

4 Elvish Warmaster

4 Allosaurus Shepherd

4 Llanowar Elves

2 Finale of Devastation

4 Elvish Clancaller

4 Collected Company

7 Forest

1 Fierce Empath

2 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

4 Helm of the Host

3 Castle Garenbrig

3 Imperious Perfect

Final Thoughts


We have one more white spell that is important to sticking around. Ajani’s Welcome is a 1-cost White Enchantment. Whenever a creature enters play under your control, you gain 1 life. So all those tokens and duplicates? More life each time! We have two in the deck, and they are worth playing. This is a pretty fast deck thanks to our mana ramping, and almost nothing in this deck is expensive. It can be really explosive, and you have the capacity to land colossal blows with Elves. This isn’t the only Selesnya deck in this meta either.

There’s a non-Elf version where you have more control options, and it’s fun. It’s okay, but I prefer the Elfball move. It’s so much more satisfying to use.

Izzet Phoenix: Still Relevant (Blue/Red Aggro/Combo)


There are quite a few flavors of Izzet Phoenix, that’s for sure. My favorite is the heavy spell version with Arclight Phoenix and Sprite Dragon. We can do a whole lot with it, and it becomes very aggressive very fast. This iteration also features Crackling Drake for a fun late-game bomb. Sadly, it doesn’t really use any of the new Historic Anthology cards. It truly doesn’t need it to make it pop off. Is it better than the Izzet Grapeshot deck? It feels safer to me, at the very least.

We have quite a few cards to control the flow of the game (direct damage, for example) to stall creature growth. It’s still a deck that’s a lot of fun, and in every single game, I hope to see a turn-2 Sprite Dragon because it’s just so good. There’s a good reason for that though. Anytime we cast a noncreature spell, it gains a permanent +1/+1? We have 27 noncreature spells in the deck! It’s going to grow, as long as your opponent can’t immediately remove it.

That’s the major argument for not casting him on turn-2. Instead, wait a turn or two until we can buff and save it from direct damage removal.

How Does It Work?


The idea is that we discard our Phoenixes into the grave, and then play three or more instant/sorcery spells before combat. We spend our early game setting this up in a variety of ways. Arclight Phoenix is a 3/2 Flyer/Haste that will come back if you’ve played 3 or more spells by the beginning of combat. Faithless Looting really helps out, and so I’m glad that it came to MTG Arena for decks like this, Historic Anthology 5 or not. It has us draw 2 and discard 2 for 1 red. We can also Flashback it, to cast it from the grave (then exile it), for 3 mana.

Strategic Planning also has us look at the top 3 cards of our deck, put one in hand and the rest into the graveyard. Expressive Iteration does this as well, for the same Mana Value (2). It has us look at the top three cards of our deck, put one into our hand, one on the bottom of our deck, and then exile one. We can then play the exiled card. Sadly it doesn’t put a card in the grave. But we can use this to put a card in our hand to then discard.

Let’s not forget Opt! For 1 blue as an Instant, we can Scry 1. If we want to keep that card there, we can, or we can put it on the bottom of our deck, then we draw 1. It’s important to get the Phoenix in our hand to discard it, after all. But it’s not our only damage.

Crackling Drake has Power equal to the number of Instants and Sorceries in our graveyard. It’s then got a Toughness of 4, and flies. We also draw a card after playing it. It can become very powerful. Then Sprite Dragon gains +1/+1 every time you cast a noncreature spell! It also has Flying/Haste. Stormwing Entity is normally a 3/3 Flyer/Prowess for 5, but if you cast an Instant or Sorcery this turn, he costs 3 less. Prowess has it gain +1/+1 until the end of turn every time you cast a spell.

So we have a lot of damage to tide us over until the Phoenix spam comes. The best part of the deck is we can always just cast more spells if the Arclight Phoenixes die. As long as they don’t get exiled, they will always come back. If we need to bring spells back from the grave, we can cast Finale of Promise. It lets us cast one target instant and/or sorcery from our grave, with Mana Value X or less without paying their mana costs. You exile them if you cast them this way. But if X is 10 or more, you copy each of those spells twice and can pick new targets.

If you need damage, you could get 6 damage out of a single Shock this way, or Lightning Axe 3 enemy creatures. Then you can get another 6 damage out of Pillar of Flame if you pay the 10 mana. Also, a great way to get extra card draw/discard if needed. We also have Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor to eliminate threats, as it deals damage to a creature equal to the Instants and Sorceries we have in the grave. If that creature would die, exile it instead!

Decklist

2 Stormwing Entity

3 Crackling Drake

4 Arclight Phoenix

4 Sprite Dragon

1 Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor

2 Lightning Axe

2 Shock

4 Brainstorm

4 Opt

1 Expressive Iteration

2 Finale of Promise

3 Strategic Planning

4 Pillar of Flame

4 Faithless Looting

2 Fabled Passage

3 Mountain

3 Island

4 Sulfur Falls

4 Riverglide Pathway

4 Steam Vents

1 Ox of Agonas

1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance

1 Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor

1 Spell Pierce

2 Young Pyromancer

2 Soul-Guide Lantern

2 Abrade

2 Narset, Parter of Veils

3 Mystical Dispute

Final Thoughts


Swing hard, swing often. Anytime you have enemies your opponents can’t deal with, swing on them. Especially if they have no flyers. Then you swing all the time! Be aggressive with your Phoenix cards, because they can always come back the very next turn. No sense in being passive with a deck like this. You push the other player around, remove their creatures, and punch them in the nose repeatedly. It’s such a fun and aggressive deck.

Teferi, True Hero of Dominaria Stands Tall (Blue/White/Red Control)


Control is my One True Love (™). Teferi, Hero of Dominaria absolutely dominated MTG Arena when he debuted. His power is absolute. The ability to force players to constantly exile cards off their mainboard is not to be underestimated. But what decks does he work best in for MTG Arena? As it happens, he works great in decks with tons of control over the board! That’s what we’re doing here. Tons of removal through damage, counterspells, and draw to get what we’re after. We get him on board, wipe the field, and make sure the other player can do nothing but be sad.

There are two different ways to play this deck, but they’re still similar at the end of the day. One offers an extra win condition in the form of Chandra, Awakened Inferno. She grants permanent damage every single turn that stacks higher and higher. That’s what I want to do, personally. I’ll drop the other decklist too for a second option. But this is the way I like to play the deck. It’s what I know the best, and personally enjoy.

We take it nice and slow, identify threats in our opponent’s deck and eliminate them. It’s a deck where you have to really understand the meta, and what the other player can/cannot do. Through that, you slow things down and get Teferi/Chandra. Their abilities pop turn after turn, making sure we always have the mana for counterplay, and constantly stack damage.

How Does It Work?


Sadly, one of the decks gains nothing from the Historic Anthology 5 drops for MTG Arena. We do however have new power from Strixhaven and Mystic Archives. Brainstorm is a classic power card for MTG, and it allows us to rearrange the way we pick up a few cards. For 1 blue mana, we draw 3 cards and put two cards from our hand back in any order. Also consider this is an Instant-speed spell, so we have 3 new cards early and can put two back that we’d like to draw into later. Explosive Iteration does something similar too. It has you look at the top three cards, put one in your hand, one on the bottom of your deck, and exile one. You can play that exiled card this turn.

It’s a great way to put extra lands in your hand back, and instead, draw into them when you need them a turn or two down the line. Instead, we have a shot at drawing cards like Teferi or control spells like Lightning Helix. Frankly, I’m amazed Brainstorm got a reprint at all. Now, it isn’t one of the Power Nine (arguably the most powerful cards in MTG), but it’s a variant. It’s a version of Ancestral Recall but moderately nerfed.

Ultimately, we want a safe board for Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Lightning Helix deals 3 damage to a target and give us 3 life, for example. A fantastic card to remove a threat for just two mana. If we’re dealing with low-cost aggro decks, we have Sweltering Suns. It’s a Red Sorcery that deals 3 damage to each creature, and we definitely want that ready to go. Speaking of board wipe, Wrath of God destroys all creatures. Electrolyze also deals 2 damage to one or two targets, divided as we choose, and draws a card. Memory Lapse and Dovin’s Veto are our counterspells too. We use the card draw and damage spells to hold off until we can play the 5-cost Teferi. We’ve talked about him a few times before for sure. We’re likely going to spam his +1 (draw a card, untap two lands at the end of your turn), until you get to her +8.

That gives you an emblem that reads “Whenever you draw a card, exile target permanent an opponent controls.” Suddenly, Brainstorm is a powerful spell. We use our card draw to exile our opponent’s lands, for example. That way, there are no more incoming threats. We couple this with Chandra, Awakened Inferno. Her +2 gives each opponent an Emblem, that deals 1 damage to that player at the start of every one of their upkeeps. We slow the game down, stack these each turn, and prevent our opponent from ever having a chance to counter us. It becomes a matter of time before our opponent drops.

Companion

1 Kaheera, the Orphanguard

Deck

2 Wrath of God

2 Electrolyze

4 Expressive Iteration

3 Sulfur Falls

3 Steam Vents

3 Hallowed Fountain

4 Memory Lapse

3 Chandra, Awakened Inferno

4 Dovin’s Veto

4 Raugrin Triome

2 Plains

1 Narset, Parter of Veils

2 Mountain

4 Lightning Helix

1 Island

2 Glacial Fortress

1 Clifftop Retreat

4 Fabled Passage

4 Sweltering Suns

4 Brainstorm

3 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Sideboard

2 Wrath of God

2 Negate

3 Shark Typhoon

1 Kaheera, the Orphanguard

2 Authority of the Consuls

2 Search for Azcanta

2 Rest in Peace

1 Narset, Parter of Veils

Final Thoughts


Oh, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. He’s so wildly powerful, and Chandra synergizes with him well. Narset joins the deck too, so we can look for noncreature, nonland spells easily. She also prevents our opponents from drawing more than a card per turn. Once you’ve figured out what your opponent desperately needs to win, you use the tools in your kit to stop them. It’s greatly satisfying. No matter the Jeskai deck you run, it’s powerful. Here’s an alternate version though. It has different board wipes, throws in more cards to draw with, and no Chandra. It’s quality too, but it’s not what I personally like to run.

Alternate Deck

2 Grafdigger’s Cage

1 Prismari Command

2 Saw It Coming

4 Brainstorm

4 Lightning Helix

4 Memory Lapse

2 Doomskar

2 Deafening Clarion

2 Day of Judgment

3 Expressive Iteration

1 Shark Typhoon

1 Search for Azcanta

2 Narset, Parter of Veils

4 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

1 Castle Ardenvale

1 Mountain

1 Plains

2 Island

2 Sulfur Falls

3 Fabled Passage

4 Raugrin Triome

4 Steam Vents

4 Glacial Fortress

4 Hallowed Fountain

Four-Color Dragonstorm (Blue/Black/Green/Red Combo)


We don’t need white in this deck at all! We’ve got so much power, we barely know what to do with it all. Now, looking at this decklist you might say “But Jason! Unburial Rites’ Flashback takes White mana, and is cheaper! Why not do it that way!” Well, while this deck has no white spells in it, we do run just a pair of Plains, just in case. However, we can also just cast Mizzix’s Mastery to see this through til the end. We’re going to use the Historic Anthology reprint of Dragonstorm in this deck and it’s going to be brilliant.

We have a lot of really powerful dragons in this deck, but they all cost a fortune. Why? Because they’re dragons, and they’re powerful, that’s why! It’s a really simple deck concept, fortunately. We have high-cost spells like Dragonstorm and Omniscience and we want to get them out as soon as possible. But how can we do that, when they cost a fortune? Mizzix’s Mastery and Emergent Ultimatum, mostly. But we need to get cards in the graveyard for Mizzix’s Mastery to kick off. Can we do that too? Oh, we’re running Red. That’s overwhelmingly easy. I’ll keep this one brief because it’s a straightforward combo deck with a lot of power behind it.

How Does It Work?


Mizzix’s Mastery, for those that don’t remember, lets us cast an Instant or Sorcery in our graveyard without paying its mana cost. Then we exile Mizzix’s Mastery. So no, we can’t cheat out Omniscience with it. But we can cheat out Dragonstorm or Unburial Rites, or Emergent Ultimatum. For Dragonstorm, we want to cast as many spells on that turn as possible, to make sure we trigger Storm for it. Dragonstorm has Storm and has you search your library for a Dragon permanent, and put it into play. Then it triggers again for each spell we played this turn.

Even if we only get a couple of spells out, it’s fine. So this is best when triggered a few turns into the game. We want a few Dragons in the grave too, and perhaps a Scholar of the Lost Trove, if possible. It also lets us play an Instant, Sorcery, or Artifact from our grave without paying its casting cost. If it would go back to the grave though, we exile it.

This means we want our early game to be filled with Discard and Draw. Faithless Looting has us draw 2 then discard 2 (with Flashback to do it again), and Cathartic Reunion makes us Discard two to Draw 3. We have one copy of Thrill of Possibility to discard a card and draw 2. So yes, we have a host of ways to get cards exactly where we want them. This also helps us make sure we never miss a land drop.

In a perfect world, we’re going to Emergent Ultimatum on turn 4, through Mizzix. This ultimatum has us pick three mono-colored cards from our deck. An opponent picks one to go back into the deck, and you can cast the other two for free. For my money, I want Omniscience as one. The other two will probably be Dragonstorm and a Scholar or Goldspan Dragon if need be. That will let us stack more mana for later if necessary. Omniscience is a bit more obvious. It’s an enchantment that allows us to cast all spells from our hand without paying mana. Suddenly, Dragonstorm is a whole lot scarier. We stack our hand with cards, play a bunch of them back to back, and fetch the Dragons we want to win with our of the deck. When we start playing Dragons, I almost always want Terror of the Peaks first. That way, the more Dragons played, the more damage the other player takes. Since it deals damage to a target equal to the power of our creatures when they come into play, it’s going to be over really fast at that point.

We also run the familiar Lathliss, Dragon Queen in this deck. When creates a 5/5 red Dragon creature token with flying into play whenever a nontoken Dragon of yours enters play. She also bulks up your Dragons for 2 mana, granting +1/+0 for a turn. But there’s one more Dragon. Bladewing the Risen is a 4/4 7-cost dragon. Whenever he enters play, this Dragon Legend has you return a Dragon from the grave and into play. For 1 black and 1 red, he also gives all Dragons +1/+1 for the turn. From here, we can just win via Terror of the Peaks damage or swing for huge numbers.

That’s why Unburial Rites is in the deck. In case we can’t pop off any other way, we can discard a few dragons, and cast that to put them in play. Personally I want to pick Lathliss or Bladewing from this, just because of their mana cost. They also have very powerful passives. If we can turn 4 a Lathliss (via discarding it and Flashback it for 4), and then use it to pull Bladewing, we can get one more dragon from our grave, if we’ve discarded them.

That means on turn 4, you’ve got a 4/4 Flyer, a 6/6 Flyer, another Dragon, and two more 5/5 dragons. You can win off of that combat easily. It’s just a shame we don’t have Haste. If the game is dragging on, and you want to win, you can Overload Mizzix’s Mastery for 8 mana. Then you cast every Instant and Sorcery from your grave, exile them all, and then trigger a Dragonstorm to get all of your Dragons from the deck basically. Just be careful you don’t mess yourself up there. You could run out of cards to play in the deck.

Decklist

4 Dragonstorm

4 Mountain

4 Fabled Passage

1 Blood Crypt

1 Drowned Catacomb

1 Watery Grave

1 Sacred Foundry

2 Clifftop Retreat

1 Sulfur Falls

4 Steam Vents

4 Cathartic Reunion

1 Bladewing the Risen

1 Goldspan Dragon

1 Thrill of Possibility

1 Prismari Command

2 Lathliss, Dragon Queen

2 Terror of the Peaks

1 Omniscience

2 Plains

4 Faithless Looting

4 Unburial Rites

3 Scholar of the Lost Trove

1 Dragonskull Summit

2 Island

4 Emergent Ultimatum

4 Mizzix’s Mastery

Final Thoughts


This deck has a lot of room for alteration, too. You can run a pretty wide variety of Dragons. If some of the Legendary Dragons from Strixhaven work for you, you could probably slot one or two in pretty easily. I like this set-up though. We have just enough White Mana to try and cheese out a turn-4 Unburial Rites, for example. Tons of card draw and discard, to make sure whichever route we go, it’s going to be easy to make the game turn out the way we want it. It’s such a delight, and if you can Emergent into Omniscience, people are going to be very sad, very sad indeed. Give them the choice between lots of damage and dragon combos, or …still lots of damage and dragon combos, but for no mana.

Selesnya Lifegain Has a 69% Winrate. Nice. (White/Green Combo/Midrange Deck)


Now this is only technically a Selesnya deck. It’s White/Green because it has one playset of green cards in it: Collected Company! The ability to pull a few creatures from our deck is undeniably strong in a deck like this. We’re going to gain as much life as humanly possible, and then get rid of our opponent’s board. We’re also just going to beat the other player up, spamming annoying creatures that get bigger and bigger (Hi, Youthful Valkyrie)! Between Speaker of the Heavens and Resplendent Angel, we can make quite a few Angels, which makes Youthful Valkyrie stronger, and helps Righteous Valkyrie get us the win.

Sadly, it’s not running our favorite Mono-White God, nor is it running any of the new cards from the Historic Anthology 5 content, but it doesn’t need it. It’s going to be incredibly easy to overwhelm the other player with our lifegain, and just hammer them down into the ground like a tent spike with Angels. Not as many players run flying creatures, so we tend to just swing free on them like it’s nothing.

We run people down with impunity through lifegain and just a wealth of creatures. Oh and a cheeky Ajani’s Pridemate or two through Ajani, because why not? It’s not going to be anything but a net positive for us. Plus they make a delightful threat target.

How Does It Work?


This is a concept we’ve talked about a few times here on Esports Talk. Soul Warden is overpowered and should be played as fast as possible, same with Speaker of Heavens. These one-drops are so good. Soul Warden grants you 1 life whenever any other creature enters the battlefield, no matter who puts it there. Aggro decks might worry and slow down, especially if they have no removal for it. A turn 2 Bishop of Wings helps too. We want it out before we start dropping Angels. After all, the goal is to have 7 more, then 15 more life than our start.

So we first one 27, then 35 life. Bishop of Wings grants you 4 life whenever an Angel comes into play for us, and whenever an Angel we control dies, we gain a 1/1 white SPirit creature token with flying. Then we want to start playing Youthful Valkyrie and Resplendent Angel. Since Youthful is a 2/2 flyer that gains +1/+1 anytime we play another Angel, they’re a must.

Resplendent Angel is a 3/3 Flyer for 3, and any turn where we gain 5+ life, we create a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying and vigilance. Simply playing any Angel with Bishop in play and Soul Warden will give us 5 life, and grant us another Angel at the end of turn, which grants yet another 5 life. Every one of our turns, we just stack more and more life. If your opponent plays a bunch of creatures, we can in theory also gain 5+ life! Having more than one Soul Warden stacks after all.

When we have over 27 life, we can use Speaker of the Heavens to make sure we gain 5 life each turn (our turns). It can be tapped to create a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying. We can only do this on our turn. At this point, we want Righteous Valkyrie in play. A 2/4 flyer, whenever another Angel or Cleric comes into play, we gain life equal to its toughness. We could play this earlier too (as a 3-cost), but it can be a threat so be careful. As long as we have 7 life more than our start, creatures we control gain +2/+2.

So now we have a small army of 6/6s! This is a deck where we’ll attack every single turn its safe to. Preferably with our powerful angels, and not the weaker Clerics. We also have one copy of Resplendent Marshal, as a way to buff everyone (almost). When it enters play or dies, we can exile a creature card from our graveyard. When we do, each creature we control that shares a type with the exiled card gain a +1/+1 counter. Another great way to buff angels! We also have a single copy of Authority of the Consuls as a 1-drop Enchantment. It makes our opponents creatures come into play tapped, and we gain 1 life anytime an opponent puts a creature into play.

Collected Company is here to pull one or two creatures from the top six of our library that cost a total of 3 or less mana. How great is it to pull two Soul Warden cards from here? It’s so frustrating for our opponents. Pick whichever one or two cards you need the most. We also finally have Ajani, Strength of the Pride. We don’t need this four-cost planeswalker, but he’s sure nice! His +1 gives us life equal to the number of creatures we control, plus the number of planeswalkers we control. His -2 creates a 2/2 token named Ajani’s Pridemate. It gets +1/+1 anytime we gain life. He also has a +0, for when we have 15 more life than our starting total (35). It then exiles itself, and each artifact and creature your opponent controls.

Then it’s probably going to be swing for lethal damage. Frankly, you should have no trouble winning before that, provided your opponent can’t board wipe. Just swing with Angels over and over, and watch them grow in size and number!

Decklist

4 Collected Company

4 Speaker of the Heavens

4 Branchloft Pathway

1 Resplendent Marshal

4 Temple Garden

4 Sunpetal Grove

4 Angel of Vitality

4 Resplendent Angel

4 Righteous Valkyrie

1 Authority of the Consuls

4 Youthful Valkyrie

4 Soul Warden

4 Bishop of Wings

12 Snow-Covered Plains

2 Ajani, Strength of the Pride

Sideboard

2 Disenchant

2 Ixalan’s Binding

2 Deafening Silence

2 Gaea’s Blessing

1 Settle the Wreckage

3 Grafdigger’s Cage

2 Heliod’s Intervention

1 Cleansing Nova

Final Thoughts


It’s a simple, easy-to-understand deck! Play Clerics that give us life, play Angels which gives us more life, which makes some Angels bigger. You just hit the other player over and over! Even if your opponent has stronger creatures, it might still be safe to swing on them even if those creatures fly. Just overwhelm them with numbers and make more Angels! The idea is to get so much life that our opponent can never overcome the numbers. I’ve seen this deck simply work because we get hundreds of life, and our opponent runs out of cards and lose. It’s tedious, but it can be fun if that’s what you into. I don’t judge.

Lotus Field, Without the Downsides (Blue/White/Green Combo)


Lotus Field is such a powerful land. It has Hexproof and can be tapped for 3 mana of any color. However, there’s a price to be paid. You have to sacrifice two lands when it comes into play. But what if I told you we could play this land without that trigger coming into play? We can, and it’s really easy! We can counter it with Stifle, or we can simply ignore it. There’s a creature that removes triggered abilities from going off. That way, we can just completely ignore Field Lotus’ power. We can also seek the land out from our deck pretty quickly.

Sure, we can’t win with Field Lotus alone. But it offers a lot of mana, allowing us to sacrifice or use our other lands (For the most part) to make other allies bigger. You know, like Knight of the Reliquary! As of turn 2, we can start really ramping, provided everything goes according to plan. It wouldn’t be hard to cast a turn 3 or so Koma, Cosmos Serpent, or Knight of the Reliquary, our other powerful ally. We can also win via Nissa, Steward of Elements because she’s just rad. 

So where do we go from here?

How Does It Work?


We want to get those Field Lotus cards into play as soon as possible. This can be done via Elvish Reclaimer or simply draw into them. But we want to have access to one of two cards first. The first, the easiest is Strict Proctor from Strixhaven. A two-cost Spirit Cleric, it has Flying and is a ⅓. Whenever a permanent entering the battlefield causes a triggered ability to trigger it, counter that ability unless its controller pays 2 colorless.

This includes Field Lotus. We can just choose to not pay the mana, so we can’t use that triggered ability. It also prevents other players from using ETB effects unless they pay mana, so it’s a win-win! Then we play Lotus Field, don’t trigger the effect, and keep our lands! We also have the instant Stifle for 1 blue. It counters a target activated or triggered ability. We can use this on our opponents too, for say, ultimates on their planeswalkers. 

It’s also a way to stop Muxus triggers, for example. That is an activated ability. Triggered abilities are, for example, Enters the Battlefield abilities. Now we just have to find the lands. We now have two options for that, too! One gains a benefit from having lands in the grave too. Knight of the Reliquary is a 3-cost White/Green Human Knight. A 2/2, it gains +1/+1 for each land card in our graveyard. You can also tap it and sacrifice a Forest or Plains card, to search your library for a land and put it into play.

Conversely, Elvish Reclaimer costs 1 green and is a ½. It gains +2/+2 as long as there are three or more lands in your grave. It can tap 2 colorless, tap itself and sacrifice a land to search your deck for a land card and put it into play tapped. So, the Reclaimers a cheaper, slower option, but both are useful. 

From here, we can get several Lotus Fields. If we get all four, that’s 12 mana on four cards. If we’ve got Kiora in play, we can even untap that Lotus Field for another 3 mana. What’s our win condition though? We can possibly turn 3 or 4 Koma, Cosmos Serpent, which is a 6/6 that can’t be countered. Each upkeep, he makes a 3/3 blue Serpent creature token (Koma’s Coil). These can be sacrificed to tap a permanent and prevent its activated abilities from being activated or make Koma indestructible for a turn.

You can just start hammering away with Koma, or stack up the serpents and tap all your opponents creatures. When we have a ton of mana, we play Nissa, Steward of Elements, which is a 2+X planeswalker. We want to tap at least 8 mana. It has Loyalty 0, but gains X loyalty based on what you tap. It can Scry 2 for +2 Loyalty, or for 0, we can look at the top card of our library. If it’s a land or creature, that costs less than or equal to the number of loyalty counters, you can put it into play. Or we can pay -6, and untap two target lands. They become 5/5 Elementals with Flying and Haste, and they’re still lands.

That’s an easy 10 damage right away. We can also buff allies with Ajani the Greathearted, who can heal for 3 for +1, and -2 gives each creature we control +1/+1, and each other planeswalker a loyalty counter. He also gives our creatures vigilance. He allows us to be willfully aggressive. From here, we just swing as hard as possible. Thanks to the way the deck is designed, we can mana ramp very hard without any drawbacks, and swing lethal at our own will. We can also just swing hard with Knight of the Reliquary, as it grows.

Decklist

4 Strict Proctor

3 Ajani, the Greathearted

3 Koma, Cosmos Serpent

2 Pact of Negation

2 Botanical Sanctum

1 Crawling Barrens

2 Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner

2 Nissa, Steward of Elements

1 Forest

1 Island

1 Bojuka Bog

1 Plains

4 Breeding Pool

4 Temple Garden

4 Knight of the Reliquary

2 Fabled Passage

4 Elvish Reclaimer

4 Brainstorm

3 Stifle

4 Lotus Field

4 Llanowar Elves

4 Hallowed Fountain

Final Thoughts


I didn’t even realize this was a thing until a few days ago. I totally forgot about Strict Proctor could allow us to do this. Then we’ve got Stifle which is new, thanks to Historic Anthology 5. Once you get a turn 4 or so Koma, people might just be upset and give up. Especially if you can start making him indestructible anytime he’s targeted. It’s a deck you ramp early, then play patiently to get enough damage to win. You can always just Nissa, swing for 10, and then summon a new Nissa (if you don’t have enough to do it twice), and swing for potentially lethal. 

Gruul Remains Relevant, No Matter What (Red/Green Aggro)


Gruul Aggro never truly goes away, no matter what you might hope. Especially in Historic, when we don’t have to worry about cards like Embercleave rotating out! Since we don’t have to worry about power cards going away, the deck remains mostly the same. We have occasional new cards drop into it, or get banned/unbanned (Burning-Tree Emissary, for example). Other than that, it’s probably not going to change all the much. The last real addition was Goldspan Dragon and a few other cards in that expansion. Nothing wrong with that though. It’s still fast and aggressive. 

We’re going to swing hard and ferociously. Though it does add a card that I cannot recall if I’ve used in a Gruul deck though. Collected Company definitely belongs in the deck though. It’s a deck with a particularly high win rate, and it’s not exactly a secret as to why. Big numbers, high speed, quick games. That’s the best part right there. Gruul games are quick.

How Does It Work?


This is a very straightforward deck with only two spells in it that aren’t creatures. Shatterskull Smashing (which we can also play as land) and Collected Company. Oh, and Embercleave. We have a few mana ramp options and a ton of early damage. What good Gruul deck would be complete without Llanowar Elves and Burning-Tree Emissary? Llanowar Elves as we know can be tapped for 1 green mana. The Emissary grants you 1 red and 1 green mana in your mana pool when cast.  

So don’t cast him unless you’ve got another play to make on turn 2. For example, if you turn 1 Llanowar Elf and turn 2 Emissary, you can turn 2 Gruul Spellbreaker or Klothys, God of Destiny. You don’t want to cast Klothys until you have a few cards in the grave though. On your pre-combat phase, you can exile a card from the grave. If it’s land, you get 1 red or 1 green mana in your pool. Otherwise, you gain 2 life and it deals 2 to your opponent. 

When you have a Devotion to Red and Green that’s 7 or higher, he becomes a ⅘ Indestructible creature, which is great. But we’re looking for damage. So my favorite turn 2 options are Gruul Spellbreaker or Rampaging Ferocidon. Gruul Spellbreaker is a 3/3 Trample and Riot. Riot lets you give it Haste or +1/+1. I lean more towards the +1/+1. As long as it’s your turn, he also has Hexproof. 

Rampaging Ferocidon though has Menace (needs two creatures to be blocked). It’s a 3/3 for 3, and makes players unable to gain life. This is exceptional as a counter for life gain decks as well. Whenever another creature enters the battlefield, this creature deals 1 damage to that creature’s controller. I play Rampaging once we’ve got enough cards to start swinging with, so Gruul is the real play. 

You can also play Burning-Tree Emissaryj on Turn 3 to play Questing Beast! We want Questing Beast as early as possible because it’s a 4/4 Haste/Deathtouch/Vigilance! It can’t be blocked by creatures 2 power or less, and damage dealt by our creatures can’t be prevented. Then when it hits an enemy player, that damage is also slapped onto a planeswalker that they control. From here, we want an Embercleave onto Questing Beast in particular, or something else big. You could also play Kazandu Mammoth, drop a land, and attach the Embercleave onto it, or Goldspan Dragon. Goldspan already has Flying/Haste and is a 4/4. Whenever it attacks or becomes the target of a spell you get a treasure token that can be sacrificed for one mana – normally. When this is in play, Treasure Tokens are sacrificed for two mana of any color.

We’ve also got the very powerful Bonecrusher Giant, which is a 4/3. Whenever it is the target of a spell, the controller takes 2 damage, and we can also cast it as a spell first for 2 damage, and all damage that turn can’t be prevented. We also snuck in an anti-revival/graveyard card – Scavenging Ooze. It can exile cards from the grave, and if it’s a creature, you gain 1 life and it gains +1/+1. 

Our ultimate goal is to start swinging quickly. Even if things don’t go that way, we have Gallia of the Endless Dance and Voltaic Brawler as early game creatures. Gallia is a 2/2 Haste, and other Satyrs gain +1/+1 and Haste. That’s neat, but we have no other Satyrs. But when we attack with three or more creatures, we can discard a card at random. If we do, draw 2. 

And as we all know, Embercleave gives +1/+1, Double Strike and Trample. It can also be Flashed in, and costs 1 less for each attacking creature. Another potential Embercleave wielder is Pelt Collector. That 1/1 gains +1/+1 whenever a creature with a greater power comes into play or dies. So we want a 2/2 to come and go, then a 3/3, and then a 4/4, etc. We can make it incredibly strong. With the right timing, we can make a huge Pelt Collector. The overall strategy is to play an early creature, swing when it’s safe, and then play more creatures. We want to have a big creature on turn 2, 3 at the latest.

Then we get the Kazandu Mammoth or Questing Beast, Goldspan, and really start swinging. You ruthlessly attack the other player, flash in an Embercleave on someone smart (like Goldspan) and win the game in short order. Just swing aggressively and give them no chance to breathe. 

Decklist

2 Collected Company

2 Goldspan Dragon

2 Rampaging Ferocidon

2 Questing Beast

1 Klothys, God of Destiny

2 Kazandu Mammoth

2 Shatterskull Smashing

2 Gallia of the Endless Dance

4 Burning-Tree Emissary

4 Llanowar Elves

5 Forest

3 Mountain

3 Embercleave

3 Voltaic Brawler

2 Ramunap Ruins

4 Pelt Collector

4 Bonecrusher Giant

4 Gruul Spellbreaker

4 Cragcrown Pathway

1 Scavenging Ooze

4 Stomping Ground

Sideboard

2 Rampaging Ferocidon

1 Klothys, God of Destiny

2 Abrade

1 Scavenging Ooze

1 Cindervines

4 Grafdigger’s Cage

2 Primal Might

2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Final Thoughts


It’s a simple, easy-to-play deck. You play aggressive, and once you can drop Embercleave mid-combat, you do it. It’s even better if the creature can’t be blocked. Goldspan suddenly hits for 10, and same for Questing Beast. If you can attach it to Klothys and he doesn’t get blocked, now it hits for 12. If for some reason it doesn’t win, you can Flash another one in, using the original wielder as bait. But it’s not likely that will be a problem. You hit hard, hit fast, and mow people down with big creatures. So satisfying.

Orzhov Auras is Harder Than You’d Think (White/Black Prison/Aggro)


Historic has so many wild options in MTG Arena, but one of my favorites as a simple concept (that’s actually really hard) is Auras. Black/White Auras sounds really simple. You play one of your two creatures (Kor Spiritdancer and Sram, Senior Edificer) or your Companion (Lurrus) and you stack Auras to the ceiling. Technically we have another creature with Hateful Eidolon but it seems the community is torn on whether or not to even add it in the deck at all. I personally like it as a great way to get some card draw when it perishes. 

Back in the day, we used Alseid of Life’s Bounty and Selfless Savior in the deck, but they just aren’t viable anymore. While I like Savior a lot, it doesn’t really do a whole bunch in the deck I think. It’s a deck concept that used to do a whole lot of things, but now it’s fine-tuned just one thing: Play our Spiritdancer and Edificer, stack Auras, and swing for serious numbers. It really just needs the Kor Spiritdancer to beat players after all. We’re going to overwhelm our opponent with low-cost, high-efficiency Auras, and just pummel someone into custard. We have a lot of card draw,  and constantly have an answer. 

We just need a big creature, a little removal, and a whole lot of faith. We’re just going to hammer other players into the ground like a tent spike. That’s the strategy.

How Does It Work?


That sounds really easy, right? Play Kor Spiritdancer and stack Auras? It sounds that way, but there are some caveats. You’re going to want to mulligan to make sure you have a Spiritdancer in pretty much every game. You might hold out if you have a Hateful Eidolon, but if it’s not a good hand, don’t do it. There’s also the fear of playing a Kor Spiritdancer and immediately losing it. You’re going to have to gamble sometimes. 

If you have more than one in your hand, you could play a Kor Spiritdancer, and let it get removed if you think it’s your opponent’s only removal spell. It’s all a learning experience, which is what makes the deck so great. The strongest enchantment/Aura in the deck for my money is All That Glitters. We use it in so many enchantment decks for a very good reason. It costs 2 mana, and it grants +1/+1 for each artifact and/or enchantment you control. 

This stacks constantly, so it’s to your benefit to play as many Auras as possible. If your opponent has no flyers, you’re going to want to also use Angelic Gift and Sentinel’s Eyes. Angelic Gift gives Flying, and Sentinel’s Eyes grants +1/+1 and Vigilance. Even casting Hateful Eidolon is good because while it’s a creature, it’s also an enchantment. 

We also have two enchantments that help bring the target back to life. Demonic Vigor costs 1 black and gives +1/+1. ZIn addition, when the enchanted creature dies, return it to its owner’s hand. It’s a weaker version of Kaya’s Ghostform. Kaya’s Ghostform can also affect planeswalkers, and when the enchanted permanent dies or is put into exile, return it to the battlefield under your control. Finally, we have Cartouche of Solidarity, which grants you +1/+1 and First Strike and creates a 1/1 white Warrior token with vigilance.

None of these are expensive, so in the mid-game, we can stack more and more. Plus, Kor Spiritdancer has you draw a card (if you want) anytime you cast an Aura spell. It is also a 0/2 for 2 and gets +2/+2 for each Aura attached to it. So even if it gives no stats (Angelic Gift), you still get +2/+2. We even have a way to slow down our foe, with Heliod’s Punishment. It puts four task counters on the creature that it afflicts. That creature can’t attack or block and loses all abilities. But it gains “Tap: Remove a task counter from Heliod’s punishment. If it has no task counters on it, destroy Heliod’s Punishment”.

It’s a terrific way to slow down a creature that could stop us from dealing damage. Sram, Senior Edificer also helps us draw. Whenever we cast an Aura, Equipment, or Vehicle spell, draw a card. Between the two of the main creatures, we’re in a constant state of draw, since 23 cards in our deck are Auras. Lurrus can also bring them back, since he lets us cast permanents that cost 2 or less from our grave, once per turn.

You’ll want to avoid putting Kaya’s/Demonic Vigor on the same minion though. If you do, be sure to trigger the effects manually, so it returns to your battlefield and not hand. You’ll also learn to be wise with how you use Angelic Gifts. There may be times when it’s flight that’s the only way to win. It’s hard to pick a strategy though, since it all comes down to a case-by-case basis. The end game is to stack enchantments onto Spiritdancer and bully your opponent. That’s what makes the deck so satisfying. If the creature stays, at some point it’s going to be a 20/40 or some horrifying number power creature. 

You can be overwhelmed by enemy creatures, which is unfortunate, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. If you have a huge creature with vigilance though (and first strike), there isn’t much that can stop you. You just play aggressively and make your opponent take unfavorable blocks. First Strike will stop Deathtouch, and Flying will stop ground creatures.

Decklist

Companion: Lurrus of the Dream-Den

 

2 All That Glitters

3 Angelic Gift

4 Brightclimb Pathway

4 Cartouche of Solidarity

4 Claim /// Fame

4 Concealed Courtyard

1 Demonic Vigor

4 Godless Shrine

2 Hateful Eidolon

3 Heliod’s Punishment

2 Isolated Chapel

4 Kaya’s Ghostform

4 Kor Spiritdancer

4 Plains

1 Sacred Foundry

4 Sentinel’s Eyes

4 Sram, Senior Edificer

2 Swamp

4 Thoughtseize

Sideboard

4 Dead Weight

1 Demonic Vigor

3 Duress

1 Heliod’s Punishment

4 Hushbringer

1 Legion’s End

1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Final Thoughts


It’s just an amazing deck. It’s very single-focus and straightforward. It’s not as hard as you might think, but it does take practice and planning. Once you get a stacked Kor Spiritdancer in play, the world is your oyster. I adore watching this deck pop off, but it’s definitely better in BO3 than BO1. I play BO1 more than anything, but in BO3 you can at least swap cards out, like adding in Dead Weight and Hushbringer to stop decks that have lots of battlefield triggers (Green/White Collected Company). It’s fun, it’s powerful, and you can hammer people with ridiculous damage on one creature.

Jegantha Sacrifice? That’s right! (Black/Red/Green Sacrifice Combo)


Most sacrifice decks these days lean towards Black/Red, a Mono-Colored affair, or something similar. This is admittedly the first time I’ve ever seen Jegantha Sacrifice. The old decks like this ran Gilded Goose and similar green-tinted cards to offer card draw and power. This one’s closer to Rakdos, but it splashes in Klothys, God of Destiny, and Collected Company to lend us a hand in this endeavor. Why Jegantha, the Wellspring though? Its ability to tap for all five colors (but can’t be used on generic costs) allows us a lot of potential movement and card play in the midgame. It costs 5 mana to play it though, so it’s certainly a mid-game move.

As this is typically a best-of-three deck, it’s also packing Korvold, Fae-Cursed King in the sideboard. It’s a very popular card in older versions of this deck. We also have Leyline of the Void, because using it on Turn 0 can make people quit immediately. What it does, is if an opponent would put a card into their grave from anywhere, exile it instead. If it’s in our starting hand, we can put it into play immediately. Since this is a sacrifice deck, we can steal cards and sacrifice them, or deal damage to our opponent’s cards and kill them through Mayhem Devil.

It’s a very easy-to-grasp deck, and boy is it annoying! The main combo of the deck is something we’ve talked about time and again here on Esports Talk. A mighty good reason for that though! It’s not n infinite, but it is sure going to feel like it to your opponent.

How Does It Work?


We’re going to do damage to our opponent through the power of sacrificial victims. Witch’s Oven is a card I’m going to be glad to see go away soon in the Standard meta. It’s not as prevalent there, but you can still run it. A 1-cost colorless artifact, you can Sacrifice a creature to it. If you do, you create a Food Token. If that creature’s toughness was 4 or greater, you create two Food Tokens instead. The biggest part of this deck is the Witch’s Oven. It’s partnered with a very potent, 1-cost Black creature.

Cauldron Familiar is a 1-cost Black creature, a cat. When it comes into play, your opponents lose 1 life and you gain 1 life. You can sacrifice a Food Token to return Cauldron Familiar from your graveyard and back into play. So you play the Familiar, sacrifice it, bring it back, and your opponent loses 2 life right off the bat. It’s not our only option for damage, but it’s the most reliable.

Around turn 3, we want Mayhem Devil to be in play, and hopefully another after it. It deals 1 damage to any target whenever any player sacrifices a permanent for any reason. So if they sacrifice for fetching a land, when we force them to sacrifice, in any situation. That’s why Claim the Firstborn is also in the deck. If your opponent plays an early, powerful minion, we can steal it, attack with it, and then sacrifice it to the Oven to get it off the board.

Then there’s Dreadhorde Butcher, which is a 2-cost 1/1 with Haste. It’s one of our best, most aggressive cards when our opponent has no blockers. Whenever it deals combat damage to a player or planeswalker, it gets +1/+1. Then, whenever Dreadhorde Butcher dies, it deals damage to equal to its power to any target (the enemy player). So we can attack with it over and over, build it up, and then either sacrifice it or make it a forced block.

Then there’s the Priest of Forgotten Gods/Woe Strider combo. Priest of Forgotten Gods can have you sacrifice two other creatures. Any number of target players lose 2 life and sacrifice a creature. We add 2 black to our mana pool and draw a card. So if we’re using Claim the Firstborn to add extra Food Tokens to our playing field, we can sacrifice a Cauldron Familiar or two, and still bring them back otherwise. We can also use Woe Strider and its 0/1 Goat creature token it creatures. He’s also another sacrifice engine since we can sacrifice a creature to Scry 1. But it doesn’t grant food tokens. We can do this though if we have Mayhem Devil, and our opponent is low on life. Just sacrifice our other creatures and win.

Every creature in this deck costs 3 or less, so literally, anything can be pulled, creature-wise, from Collected Company. Then we look at six cards of our deck and put two creatures into play that cost 3 or fewer total. This includes our one-off Klothys, God of Destiny. We just talked about them! It’s a way to exile cards from a graveyard and deal damage, or give us more mana to cast more cards.

There’s also Midnight Reaper that deals 1 damage to us and draws a card anytime a nontoken of ours dies! Between this and the Cats, we lose life and gain life. There’s no end to how powerful we are. Finally, we’ve got Screapheap Scrounger, which is a 3/2 can’t block, and we can exile a card from our graveyard to bring this back into play. Sacrifice it or something else, exile something, bring it back!

We’re great at drawing cards, and dealing out constant life loss. Personally, I like to trigger my Cauldron Familiar combo on my opponent’s turn, so it leaves it open to do on my turn, just in case. That’s basically the deck in a nutshell! Sacrifice allies, make our opponent sacrifice constantly so they can’t keep a decent board, and deal nonstop damage to them.

Decklist

Companion

1 Jegantha, the Wellspring

 

Deck

4 Priest of Forgotten Gods

2 Woodland Cemetery

2 Scrapheap Scrounger

1 Swamp

2 Woe Strider

2 Woe Strider

4 Witch’s Oven

4 Blightstep Pathway

3 Stomping Ground

4 Overgrown Tomb

2 Midnight Reaper

4 Mayhem Devil

1 Klothys, God of Destiny

4 Dreadhorde Butcher

1 Darkbore Pathway

4 Collected Company

4 Claim the Firstborn

4 Cauldron Familiar

3 Cragcrown Pathway

4 Blood Crypt

1 Phyrexian Tower

Sideboard

1 Jegantha, the Wellspring

4 Leyline of the Void

4 Thoughtseize

2 Abrade

2 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

2 Reclamation Sage

Final Thoughts


I wanted to keep this as brief as possible because we talk about sacrifice a lot. This deck is so good. I like the idea of putting Jegantha in the deck, and also the singular Klothys. Collected Company makes it so easy to pull the creatures we need to start rolling. I’ve had moments where I pulled two Familiars that way, and already had a few Ovens ready to go. The more Ovens and Familiars we have, the more power we have. It’s potentially 8 damage a turn if we’ve got four of each! You love to see it.

Platinum Angel Says You Can’t Win (Colorless Mana Ramp)


I absolutely adore colorless decks. They’re dangerous because there are tools to stop non-basic lands. But there are simply so many artifacts and lands that dump tons of mana on us for doing literally nothing. Then we play Forsaken Monument to make sure all colorless spells cast grant us life, and tapping for colorless mana, we gain an additional one. Then our colorless creatures gain +2/+2. It’s. Beautiful. Perhaps best of all, Platinum Angel exists. Sure, it’s a 7-cost creature. But as long as it’s in play, your opponent can’t win, and you can’t lose the game. You could be at -100 life, 0 cards, and 20 Poison Counters.

Now, if she leaves to play and those are in effect, you would immediately lose the game. That’s probably not going to happen. Not with this deck. Starting turn two, we’re going to flood the board with mana producers, play things cheaper, and make the other player angrier than they’ve ever been before. This deck has a wealth of power, and then we stack Karn, the Great Creator on top. That means the artifacts in our sideboard can also be brought out and played! Few things are more frustrating than having no control, despite not being locked down.

How Does It Work?


We talked about a similar deck in Standard not too long ago, but it lacks the punch the Historic version does. What’s our win-con? Well, we have several of them. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is a major part of it. It’s Indestructible, exiles two permanents when cast (not played), and when it attacks, the other player exiles the top 20 their deck. It’s an amazing way to beat someone, by forcing them to deck out, or just take 10 damage over and over.

Platinum Angel can simply make people give up if the other player can’t answer it. A 4/4 Flyer for 7 that makes your opponent unable to win the game is very frustrating. We can also win via lands, through Crawling Barrens and Blinkmoth Nexus. The Crawling Barrens continues to grow each time you put +1/+1 counters on it (2 +1/+1s for 4 mana). Blinkmoth Nexus becomes a 1/1 flyer for the turn, and you can slowly beat someone with it.

Or we could win via Aetherflux Reservoir in our sideboard. It gives you 1 life for each spell you’ve cast this turn, and you can pay 50 life to deal 50 damage to a target. Our opponent could get bogged down by how annoying God-Pharoh’s Statue. It makes your opponent’s spells cost 2 more to cast, and makes them lose 1 life a turn. Lithoform Engine helps that too since it can copy an activated or triggered ability we control, an instant or sorcery we control, or a permanent spell we control.

We can just continually duplicate Platinum Angels! We’ll never run out of them! All of this stuff is very expensive though. We need to start piling up mana. Mind Stone comes first, with 2 mana to play it. You can tap it for 1 colorless mana. Guardian Idol is next, and taps for 1 colorless for 2 mana. It can also become a 2/2 Golem artifact creature if you want. Powerstone Shard is one of the best ones though. For 3 mana, it can be tapped for 1 colorless for each Powerstone Shard you have in play. Might be fun with Lithform Engine. Then we have Hedron Archive for 4 mana, which taps for 2 mana. You can see how quickly this mana piles up, casting these turn after turn. The two most powerful things to make this deck go though, are Ugin, the Ineffable, and Forsaken Monument. We already discussed what makes the Monument so great. More mana, more stats, it’s brilliant.

Karn, the Great Creator is a 4-mana planeswalker, and he can help us pull useful artifacts out of our sideboard. It also stops your opponent’s activated artifact abilities from being triggered. He can also turn an artifact into a creature artifact, with stats equal to its casting cost. That’s how we’re going to get alternate win conditions into play.

Ugin, the Ineffable costs 6 mana, but it makes colorless spells you cast cost 2 less to cast. It’s very easy to stack up mana between land drops, and the mana ramp artifacts. Now, our entire deck costs 2 less! Nothing in this deck has a specific color. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon also really helps us, especially if we’ve already played Karn, the Great Creator. We’ve talked about Ugin the Spirit Dragon so often. His ultimate ability (-10) lets you draw 7, gain 7 life, and put seven permanents from your hand into play. You can stack your hand with useful cards from Karn, and then play them all at once.

This deck has only permanents in it, so you’re guaranteed to get stuff you can drop. He can also exile cards with a color on them (so non-lands, non-colorless cards). A -X ability, it makes each permanent with CMC X or less be exiled, if it has at least one color to its identification. So it will never affect us. Its +2 deals 3 damage to any target. Even our lands only tap for colorless mana. Speaking of lands, we can return an artifact from our graveyard to our hand with Buried Ruin (sacrifice), and sacrifice our Inventor’s Fair to pull an artifact from our deck and put it into our hand.

So we’ve got options. You can stamp someone down into the ground with Ulamog, flood the board and attack with Platinum Angels, or even just swing with a 1/1 every turn, and make your opponent unable to block since we have so many powerful creatures just standing by. They will be assimilated.

Decklist

4 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

4 Platinum Angel

4 Radiant Fountain

4 Zhalfirin Void

2 Labyrinth of Skophos

2 Inventors’ Fair

4 Crawling Barrens

4 Buried Ruin

4 Blinkmoth Nexus

4 Forsaken Monument

4 Hedron Archive

4 Mind Stone

4 Powerstone Shard

4 Guardian Idol

2 Karn, the Great Creator

3 Ugin, the Ineffable

4 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Sideboard

1 Aetherflux Reservoir

1 Lithoform Engine

1 God-Pharaoh’s Statue

1 Sorcerous Spyglass

1 Grafdigger’s Cage

1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

1 Meteor Golem

Final Thoughts


You could also slap Helm of the Host in your sideboard. That may sound familiar, and it should! You can equip a creature with it. Then, before your attack phase, it makes a copy of that creature, and if it’s legendary, it’s no longer legendary. So you can make constant Platinum Angels, or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger! That way, you can make your opponent rage quit simply by overwhelming them with creatures that are too strong to stop. We’ll probably want to keep copies of these in hand in case our opponent removes targets. That way, they always come back. You play a few planeswalkers, drop tons of mana-generating artifacts, and cackle as your opponent is swarmed under. It’s not a deck that takes long to win, either. Once you can produce tons of extra mana, you can play those 8 and 10 cost cards easily.

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