The Best MTG Arena Historic Decks As of December 2020


by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Dec, 22nd 2020

Now that The Arena Open has concluded for MTG Arena, it reminded me that we haven’t talked about Historic MTG Arena in quite a while! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to get around to chatting with people about what they plan on utilizing in the tournament, so we can save that for next time. We’re again, going to focus on Best-of-One decks here. MTG Arena’s Historic meta can always shift one way or another and with another expansion (Kaldheim) on the way, it’s a good time to be a fan of Historic. This is the mode I tend to play more, when I’m really diving deep into MTG Arena, after all. But what the best MTG Arena decks for Historic in December? 

That’s an excellent question. As I always say, one deck may work great for many, but not you. That’s okay! That’s nothing to be upset about. Some of these decks have quite a few variants, like Sacrifice. In cases like this, if they’re wildly different, I’ll consider which to focus on first, and come back to the other. Should they be too similar, we’ll just cover them together. One thing that I do think is interesting is that there are two powerful Red decks right now.

If you think we won’t talk about Goblins, you’ve lost the plot. But in particular, there’s also another Mono-Red Aggro deck, which is good, but not great. Quite a few of these decks might feel familiar, and that’s because they are! Some of these were incredibly powerful in Standard (with a few changes) earlier this year. This changed because they either rotated out, had Standard bans, or heck, why not both?! That’s right, Uro, TItan of Nature’s Wrath hasn’t gone away quite yet. It should but somehow isn’t viewed to be quite as disruptive in MTG Arena’s Historic meta. That’s because we have Goblins! Goblins are the answer to the world’s problems if I can be honest. Speaking of which, let’s get started!

Muxus, Still On Top: (Mono-Red Goblin Aggro)


That’s right, Mono-Red Goblins is still the most top-tier of the decks in Historic for MTG Arena! Sure, the Sacrifice decks are neat, and so is Auras. But if you want something that can come back from nearly any situation, you want Goblins. It’s gone through some serious changes though. The last time I wrote about this deck, we included a legendary black land (Phyrexian Tower). 

The latest expansion to MTG Arena gives us a few more cards that can also be lands, making even more certain we don’t miss a land drop. It’s so important in this deck. Though, on that note, we have other ways to make sure we get to 5 mana. Why would that be so important? Because Muxus, Goblin Grandee can make people surrender simply by dropping him. I’ve watched players in all ranks give up simply by Muxus hitting the table, even if we didn’t even trigger his passive yet.

I’ve seen this deck also run a Chandra, like Chandra, Torch of Defiance since she can give you +2 Red Mana as part of her +1 Loyalty ability. The real question is “Where the heck would she go in the deck”? That is an excellent question. There are other ways to get things going though. I do have two deck options for Mono-Red Goblins though. The older deck runs Goblin Instigator and Phyrexian Tower still, and none of the cool new Modal Dual Faced Lands. Both are exceptional, if you ask me. The second deck is the one I personally have already built. 

How’s It Work?


Oh, Muxus. You’re so powerful and nobody even cares. Right now, this deck is sitting on a rough 60% winrate, which is nothing to sneeze at. It’s a little pricey to build, clocking in at 21 rares and 2 mythic rares, but it’s so strong and reliable. You know what makes this deck so gosh dang great? Even if the other player board wipes you completely, you can come back. As long as you have 6 lands, or can drop a Skirk Prospector and some weak creatures, you can come back.

One Muxus, Goblin Grandee is all it takes. Even if you have 0 creatures in play other than Muxus, that can easily be the end of the game. That’s why we want as few non-Goblins in the deck as possible. Only a handful of spells (if any), and the bare minimum lands. So what exactly makes Muxus so great? Let’s talk about this legendary goblin! 

Sure, he’s a 6-cost creature and is only a 4/4. Whenever Muxus, Goblin Grandee enters the battlefield, you reveal the top six cards of your library. All Goblin creatures that cost 5 or less from these, and put them into play. The other cards go onto the bottom of your library. This means you can’t just keep looping more and more Muxus cards, which is fine. Consider that about 30 of the creatures in this deck fit the bill.

You can then draw into cards like Goblin Matron, which lets you fetch another goblin from your deck and put it into your hand. What we want are Goblin Warchief, Goblin Chieftain, and Krenko, Mob Boss. Anything else beyond that is just a bonus. Either Goblin Warchief/Chieftain are fine if we just get one. That’s because they both give Haste. Chieftain also gives your Goblins +1/+1. The Warchief makes your Goblins cost 1 colorless less. Muxus has one more important power. 

Whenever he attacks, he gains +1/+1 until the end of turn for each other Goblin you control. Our creatures having haste and Krenko means we can do some really dirty things. Tapping Krenko, Mob Boss gives us X 1/1 Red Goblin Creature Tokens, equal to the Goblins we control. That’s why Goblin Instigator is so great. 

So how do we make this deck pop off just a bit faster? Skirk Prospector, step up! It lets us sacrifice a Goblin and gain 1 red mana. The next step is the Wily Goblin. It’s a 2-cost 1/1 goblin, and when it enters play, we receive a Treasure Artifact Token, which can also be sacrificed for 1 mana of any color (red). So turn 1, Skirk Prospector. Turn 2, drop another land, Wily Goblin. Conspicuous Snoop or Goblin Matron next! They will honestly just be used as a sacrificial pawn, so I’d rather see Matron. Especially if we don’t have Muxus in hand.

Turn 4, land for sacrifice the Matron, the Treasure Token, and summon Muxus! That should be the game! What makes the deck so powerful is that the opponent has to answer our threats. They have no choice but to deal with our aggression. If they can’t answer the arrival of Muxus, they will almost certainly lose. All we need is Muxus and a few good cards. This deck even has answers to other decks! Like Goblin Trashmaster. Worried about a powerful artifact deck? Use it to sacrifice a Goblin to destroy an artifact! Dealing with other annoying 1/1s? Goblin Chainwhirler can wipe them off the board. We can also use Castle Embereth to buff our attackers. 

Finally, we have Shatterskull Smashing/Spikefield Hazard, which can both be played as lands. Personally, I’m willing to let one of each of these go, just to add two Goblin Instigators into the deck. The ability to tap two, play a 1/1, that creates another 1/1 token? Brilliant. 

Muxus, Still On Top: (Mono-Red Goblin Aggro)


Decklist

Deck

2 Castle Embereth

4 Conspicuous Snoop

2 Goblin Chainwhirler

4 Goblin Chieftain

4 Goblin Matron

1 Goblin Trashmaster

4 Goblin Warchief

4 Krenko, Mob Boss

19 Mountain

4 Muxus, Goblin Grandee

2 Shatterskull Smashing

4 Skirk Prospector

2 Spikefield Hazard

4 Wily Goblin

Optional Older Deck

Deck

4 Skirk Prospector

4 Goblin Instigator

1 Goblin Trashmaster

1 Goblin Trashmaster

4 Wily Goblin

4 Muxus, Goblin Grandee

18 Mountain

3 Krenko, Mob Boss

1 Goblin Ringleader

3 Goblin Warchief

4 Goblin Matron

4 Goblin Chieftain

4 Conspicuous Snoop

4 Castle Embereth

1 Phyrexian Tower

 

Sideboard

2 Irencrag Feat

2 Gempalm Incinerator

2 Herald’s Horn

2 Goblin Ringleader

4 Abrade

2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance

1 Goblin Cratermaker

Final Thoughts


Honestly? Mono-Red Goblins is one of the most powerful decks in Historic for MTG Arena in December, and for all time, likely. As long as these cards exist in Historic, it’s going to be a threat. It’s easy to play, single-minded of purpose, and let’s be frank: Absolutely Bonkers Powerful (™). You play lands, play goblins, and drop Muxus as early as possible thanks to Skirk Prospector/Wily Goblin. Sometimes, this will backfire, and you’ll get nothing from your Muxus. It happens, but not often. But we’re running 4 of them. So just stick with it, and wait until you can play more goblins. You’ll come out ahead. 

UW Enchantments Is Infuriating (Blue/White Kor Spiritdancer Enchantments)


Kor Spiritdancer is such a powerful card. This deck doesn’t truthfully do a lot different, but we have some relatively new options. These mostly come from the Amonkhet Remastered brought back the Cartouche cards. Almost every card in this deck feels like it’s going to lend itself to a seamless, perfect victory. Need to counter? Got you covered. Is someone about to destroy Kor Spiritdancer? We have a solution to that too!

Card draw? This deck has that in spades. Four cards that draw for us! So something like a third of the deck has options to draw cards. Our ultimate goal is to get a bunch of artifacts and enchantments into play, buff Kor Spiritdancer, and win with it all on its own. We don’t have to attack with him; we can buff an Ornithopter instead, but if we don’t have to, we won’t. This is a powerful, fairly quick deck, which is key to MTG Arena’s Historic meta decks for December (and in general). 

Thankfully, this is also a very straightforward deck to pilot. Easy to use, easy to master, and surprisingly powerful. With just 3 or 4 mana, we can get easy, frustrating wins (for the other player). So, let’s talk about what makes this thing go!

How’s It Work?


I know we’ve talked about All That Glitters before, because it’s not going to stop being amazing. It’s an enchantment (aura) that gives the enchanted creature +1/+1 for each Enchantment and Artifact we have in play. So it’s a minimum of +1/+1, and the sky is the limit. 26 enchantments and/or artifacts lie in wait in this deck, and none of them cost more than 2 mana (1 white, 1 blue at most). 

We can spread these out amongst our creatures that we want to attack with, or we can just build one massive tron-like creature. This is why we want to target Kor Spiritdancer. She receives +2/+2 for each Aura attached to her. On top of that, whenever we cast an Aura, you can choose to draw a card. She’s a 0/2 for 2 mana (1 white), so she can drop very early.

Try to get a Selfless Savior out first, because we can sacrifice that Very Good Dog (™) to make a creature indestructible until the end of turn. You also want to avoid burning all your mana every single turn though. We only have one counterspell, Supreme Will, but it can also be used to fetch a card from the top four of our deck.

But Kor Spiritdancer gains +2/+2 each time we give her an Aura. What options do we have for that though? Sentinel’s Eyes is a 1-cost white Aura, that grants +1/+1 and Vigilance. This can also be brought back via the Escape mechanic. Curious Obsession is another very commonly used enchantment. It gives +1/+1 and whenever it deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card. But this creature has to attack every turn or sacrifice Curious Obsession. Staggering Insight is the better version of this card and is a 2-cost Aura (1 white, 1 blue). This time, you gain +1/+1, lifelink, and you draw a card anytime this creature deals combat damage to a player. Consider that when you give these to Kor Spiritdancer, now she gets +3/+3 instead of the +1/+1. 

Speaking of card draw, as an aside, Sram, Senior Edificer has you draw a card whenever you cast an Aura, Equipment, or Vehicle spell. So virtually everything we do grants a card while he’s out and in play. 

We also have the Cartouches! Cartouche of Solidarity is a 1-cost white Aura, and it creates a 1/1 warrior creature token when it’s cast. The creature you attach this to gains +1/+1 and First Strike. Cartouche of Knowledge is a 2-cost blue Aura, and has you draw a card when it comes into play. But the best part is that the creature gains +1/+1 and Flying. With many decks not playing Flying creatures, it’s a pretty great way to get free damage through.

Angelic Gift also offers Flying and has you draw a card when it comes into play. However, it costs 2 mana (1 white) instead of blue. It also grants no stat bonuses, so I’d only give it to her, or to make it a set up to better boosts from All That Glitters. That will help it get out of hand fast. All that card draw will hopefully land us cards like Ornithopter, which is a 0-cost artifact, to help boost All That Glitters. Shadowspear aids everything too. It’s a 1-cost legendary artifact that equips for 2. It gives +1/+1, Lifelink, and Trample, so we can get by the odd annoying chump blocker. It can also remove opponents’ permanents hexproof/indestructible for just 1 colorless mana. 

Our strategy is really clear in this deck. Play Kor Spiritdancer, and stock up on enchantments/artifacts. In a few turns, we can throw several on her, making her a nigh-unstoppable monster. Then we throw All That Glitters onto her, making her into something like a potential 20/20. It’s very easy to do. Try to hold several enchantments in your hand from all the card draw though. That way, if someone dies, you can reset, and return to throwing down. It’s important to have a backup. 

Stack tons of damage, and start swinging with just one, terrifying creature. I just wish we had more access to trample. You could consider throwing in Alseid of Life’s Bounty for color immunity (to make an attack guaranteed). If you replaced anything, I’d swap out Sentinel’s Eyes copies, and maybe one copy of some of the other enchantments (Cartouches for example). Swing hard, swing often! This is a very aggressive deck, after all.

You can also bring stuff back with Lurrus of the Dream-Den, who is our companion. It can bring back every single permanent in the deck, and start setting up victory yet again. 

UW Enchantments Is Infuriating (Blue/White Kor Spiritdancer Enchantments)


Decklist

Companion

1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den

 

Deck

1 Shadowspear

3 Ornithopter

4 Supreme Will

2 Angelic Gift

7 Plains

2 Island

1 Castle Vantress

4 Glacial Fortress

4 Hallowed Fountain

1 Reliquary Tower

1 Castle Ardenvale

4 Cartouche of Knowledge

3 Kor Spiritdancer

4 Sentinel’s Eyes

4 Sram, Senior Edificer

3 Curious Obsession

3 Selfless Savior

4 All That Glitters

3 Staggering Insight

2 Cartouche of Solidarity

 

Sideboard

1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Final Thoughts


This is a really fun deck. WIth just a few mana, we can dunk on people incredibly hard. If the other player isn’t running enough removal for enchantments, or even remotely slow, they’re going to suffer. We can demolish Goblins too if we get going before them. Just make your Spiritdancer fly, and soar right over all those annoying, dorky goblins. They can’t fly, after all! They can destroy artifacts, but not enchantments! So take heart, friend. It’s a deck that does not mess about. It’s solid against a lot of other decks right now, and does boast a roughly 60% win rate! 

Ulamog and Ugin = Best Pals (Colorless Ramp)


The best part about Colorless decks, you don’t have to worry about not having the right color mana! The downside is that none of our lands are basic. This can get cost-prohibitive if you don’t have some of the lands already. I love this deck, even more than the one that also includes white spells. This version is entirely artifacts and colorless spells. This is to take maximum advantage of Forsaken Monument. This newer legendary artifact gives you an extra point of colorless mana when you tap a permanent for colorless in the first place.

But on top of our colorless lands, we have colorless mana on our creatures/artifacts! Mind Stone, Guardian Idol, Hedron Archive just for example! In addition, Ugin, the Ineffable makes our colorless spells cost 2 less to cast! We have a few ways to make things cheaper, so we can ramp Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger out faster still! This deck is (again) very easy to pilot, and super satisfying. 

The only reason I don’t like the mono-white version of this deck, is there are cards that don’t synergize with Forsaken Monument. Sure, getting +2/+2 to every artifact is great, not all of our creatures are artifacts! Now, I would love to find a way to squeeze All That Glitters in, since we have so many artifacts in the deck. It just doesn’t quite work the way I’d want it to. Between Ulamog and Crawling Barrens, we can dole out quite a lot of damage without a whole lot of effort put in.

This deck in particular is a bit more direct than the previous Colorless Historic Deck we covered. This deck is almost entirely focused on mana ramp, card draw, and getting colorless spells from the sideboard. It’s frightening, it’s fast, it’s colorless Ulamog!

How’s It Work?


Our end-game is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. A 10/10 for 10 mana, it exiles two target permanents when we cast it. That’s important: Helm of the Host does not let you near-infinite exile permanents. However, this is still an Indestructible creature that, when it declares an attack, the defender exiles the top 20 cards of their deck.

That does work with Helm of the Host! So, while we have Ulamog (10 cost), Ugin (both flavors, 8 mana, and 6 mana), and Forsaken Monument (5 cost), we can easily put these in play. As I said earlier, we have a few ways to get extra mana on top of our land.

We want Forsaken Monument in play as soon as possible. It gives our colorless creatures +2/+2, and again, more colorless mana. Whenever we cast a colorless spell too, we gain 2 life. As a 5-cost, we need to get this into play as soon as possible. We can do this before turn 5 though if we’re lucky. If we turn 2 Mind Stone, turn 3 Hedron Archive, we could turn 4 the Forsaken Monument. Turn 4 is the best I can think of, and it’s good enough for me. 

Mind Stone taps for 1 colorless mana and the Hedron Archive taps for 2 colorless. You can also use these as sacrifice targets for card draw, but I don’t see that being too prevalent. We need mana too badly to do that, except in extreme emergencies. Guardian Idol is our other easy mana source, but it comes into play tapped. It taps for 1 colorless and can become a 2/2 Golem artifact creature for 2 colorless mana. So these cards, plus some lands. 

This will double our mana output in many cases. Foundry Inspector is another very important card. It makes our Artifact spells cost 1 less to cast, and we can combine that with Ugin, the Ineffable. Ugin’s passive makes colorless spells cost 2 less to cast. Now, artifacts aren’t always colorless, and colorless aren’t always artifacts. So we can’t get 3 off mana for Ulamog, Ugin, the Ineffable or Ugin the Spirit Dragon. But everything else? Aces.

Speaking of making these cost less/be easier to cast, Karn, the Great Creator is going to make this way more fun. We have a ton of awesome artifacts in the sideboard for all situations. Personally, my favorites are Helm of the Host, Tormod’s Crypt, and Sorcerous Spyglass. I mean, you don’t need multiple Ulamog’s, but why not? 

We also have the new Myriad Construct! It’s a 4/4 with a 3 mana Kicker (making it 7 total). In this deck, that’s too easy to hit. If you kick this, it enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter for each nonbasic land your opponent’s control. In this economy, in Historic? It’s going to enter play as at least an 8/8. However, when it becomes the target of a spell, you sacrifice it and create as many 1/1 construct creature tokens equal to this creature’s power. 

With Forsaken Monument, it also comes in as at least a 6/6. All this mana ramp leads us to getting Ulamog as fast as possible. Before that though, it’s likely we’re going to get our two Ugins in play. Ugin, the Ineffable whole purpose is to make things cheaper. But it can also use a +1 to create 2/2 colorless Spirit tokens, with the top card of our deck exiled under it. When they die, we get those cards.

His -3 destroys a permanent that has one or more colors! So many potential targets for that. The 8-cost Ugin (Ugin, the Spirit Dragon) is here to do so much. Its +2 deals 3 damage to any target, his -X exiles each permanent that costs X or less that’s one or more colors (so none of our cards). I wouldn’t use his -X unless it’s dire, or we have another we can just cast. 

His -10 has you gain 7 life, draw 7 cards, and put up to 7 permanents from your hand onto the battlefield! Suddenly, the world is our oyster. Our major win condition is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. More often than not, when Ugins and Ulamogs start showing up, that’s when people tap out. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Yorion deck, we can still exile their deck completely to the bone without much trouble. 

We have an alternate strategy: Crawling Barrens. Each time you tap 4 colorless to it, it gains 2 +1/+1 counters and becomes a 0/0 land. We just keep stacking these up to get bigger and bigger. We don’t have a lot of control options, so we just have to overwhelm people with big numbers and the indestructible god-fiend, Ulamog. 

It’s all about how you manage your mana and card draw. You have a lot of tools in your sideboard to pull from. It’s going to be hard to deal with how fast the aggro decks are, but once you start gaining life for nothing, and flood the board with weak creatures (like Spirits), you can laugh in delight as they try to batter past. 

Against enemy tokens, you can use Amulet of Safekeeping to make creature tokens get -1/-0. It also counters spells and abilities an opponent throws at you unless they pay 1 colorless, so that’s neat. Keeping Karn, the Great Creator in play is key to using your sideboard too. Once Ulamog is there, whether you have Helm or not, it’s time to start swinging. Even if he’s blocked, they still lose 20 cards. We don’t have to drop someone to 0. We can just eliminate their deck and wait for them to draw a card.

It’s. Beautiful.

Ulamog and Ugin = Best Pals (Colorless Ramp)


Decklist

 Deck

3 Crawling Barrens

2 Myriad Construct

1 Foundry Inspector

4 Karn, the Great Creator

4 Interplanar Beacon

4 Radiant Fountain

1 Buried Ruin

1 Scavenger Grounds

2 Karn’s Bastion

2 Ghost Quarter

1 Arch of Orazca

4 Blast Zone

3 Forsaken Monument

2 Mazemind Tome

4 Guardian Idol

4 Hedron Archive

4 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

2 Ugin, the Ineffable

2 Karn, Scion of Urza

2 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

4 Zhalfirin Void

4 Mind Stone

 

Sideboard

1 Forsaken Monument

1 Fountain of Renewal

1 Tormod’s Crypt

1 Grafdigger’s Cage

1 Sorcerous Spyglass

1 God-Pharaoh’s Statue

1 Platinum Angel

1 Meteor Golem

1 Mystic Forge

1 Navigator’s Compass

1 Ratchet Bomb

1 Transmogrifying Wand

1 Amulet of Safekeeping

1 Stonecoil Serpent

1 Helm of the Host

Final Thoughts


I’ll never stop loving this deck. Even if we get down to 2 or 3 life (which has happened to me), I can always come back. It’s not really that difficult. We have some lands that can destroy other nonbasic lands, but you have to be careful about those. When you have basically endless mana, then you can worry about blowing up lands. Gotta make sure you can cast things! You can Blast Zone entire waves of enemies off the board though. If the enemy has a ton of creatures that all cost 0 or 1 mana, you can just zap them to bits, and cackle. Just embrace the power and glory of Ulamog. You’ll be glad you did.

Uro and Nissa Are Still Around (Black/Blue/Green Midrange)


Growth Spiral and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath aren’t banned everywhere! They’re still alive and well somehow, in Historic. Perhaps they simply don’t dominate this meta like they did Standard. Considering how hard a good aggro deck can best ramp/midrange, it makes sense. However, I saw a surge of Sultai Midrange and felt we should discuss this obnoxious, mana ramping monstrosity. All the old major green threats are back, with some classic Black Removal, and a splash of Blue. 

Just the tiniest hint of blue! This is one of the decks for people that loved Sultai in MTG Arena’s Standard but play Historic instead in December/beyond. It will feel very similar. No, it doesn’t have all the busted Elemental Ramp and no Omnath. Instead, we’re going an entirely different route. Remember Nissa, Who Shakes The World? Remember how terrifying it was to see her in every single deck? 

Thankfully that’s not the case anymore. There is something you have to be careful with in this deck though. After all, we’re running Extinction Event as a method of control. Those lands are technically zero cost, making them Even. If you have a ton of lands as creatures and pick “Even”, you lose them all. You can also accidentally kill them with Languish, as it gives all creatures -4/-4 until the end of turn.  So, with that in mind, please be careful unless you can still win without them.

You still need lands to tap for mana, so be careful! But what are our keys to the kingdom?

How’s It Work?


We only have two mana ramp engines in this deck, three if you count Nissa. The two in question are both banned in Standard for being too powerful/being in every single deck ever! Growth Spiral is still a 2-cost (1 blue, 1 green) Instant that lets us draw a card and play a land from our hand! So it’s wildly strong. The capacity to do this on your opponent’s turn cannot be understated. 

Next, we have Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. There are a few reasons it’s such a great card. When this 3-cost card comes into play, it immediately hits the graveyard, unless it was Escaped from the grave. When it does enter the battlefield, you gain 3 life, draw a card, and can put a land from your hand into play. You can Escape it back for 4 mana (2 blue, 2 green) and exiling 5 cards from the grave.

This means it happens again! Also, anytime you attack with it, those triggers also proc again. As a 3-cost (1 blue, 1 green), dropping this immediately on turn 3 is amazing. Dropping another one on turn 4 is also a lot of fun. This deck has another really fun use for Uro. On turns when you have 1 black mana open, you can also use Fatal Push in a much smarter way.

If a permanent you control left the battlefield this turn, Fatal Push goes from destroying a creature that costs 2 or less to 4 or less. This also works well if you sacrifice a Fabled Passage to pull a Basic Land from your deck. Either or! So you’ll use those to get Nissa out as fast as possible. She passively gives us an extra Green mana whenever we tap a Forest for mana. It doesn’t specify it has to be just a Forest. For example, Breeding Pool is a “Forest Island”, so it counts there as well. Same for Overgrown Tomb’s “Swamp Forest” typing.

Plus her +1 giving a land +3/+3 in counters, and gives it Vigilance/Haste. Against the low-cost aggro decks, this is amazing. They can bully past a lot of Goblins pretty safely. If you can get her to the -8 ability (base loyalty of 5), she lets you pull as many Forests out of your deck as you want, and gives all Lands you control indestructible.

From there, you can just be a bully with lands (as long as the opponent doesn’t have Settle the Wreckage in it). Once we have access to a pile of mana, Hydroid Krasis comes in to play. It costs 2 mana (1 blue, 1 green) and X mana. When we cast it, we gain half X life, and draw half X cards, rounding down each time. 

On top of that, Hydroid Krasis gains +X/+X, where X is also equal to the mana paid. This also has Flying/Trample. We can make some kind of monster 20/20 Flying/Trample. You can also cast this early in the game just to have a 4/4 or 5/5 something to be a threat/defensive structure. So we have constant Land Creatures and the Hydroid Krasis. I’d also like to see sneaking in a Crawling Barrens or two. After all, we can make a land as big as we want, and then make it indestructible! We can use Nissa to turn it into a creature, and just keep buffing it whenever we see fit. 

If I replace anything, it’s probably the Fetid Pools or a Zagoth Triome. Or you could just make it a 62-card deck. I’m not your dad! I’d also be open to removing one or two of our spot removal cards, just to have another safe damage option. But what do we have for removal? It’s almost all black (except Aether Gust).

Bloodchief’s Thirst is very fun and powerful, coming to us courtesy of Zendikar Rising. It destroys a creature or planeswalker that costs 2 or less, but if you pay a kicker (3 mana, 1 black) it destroys any creature or planeswalker. Fatal Push, as we recently discussed, is able to destroy a creature 2 or less, unless something you control leaves play (then 4 cost or less).

Thoughtseize is probably our best turn 1 move, and honestly, great at any point. It’s also especially excellent when a player has to bring a nonland card back to hand. It can work with Aether Gust if the other player can’t re-play it right away. Thoughtseize costs 1 black mana and reveals a player’s hand. We pick a nonland from it and that player discards it. We then lose 2 life. There are instances when this benefits the player casting it to target themselves; this isn’t really one of those decks.

I suggested Aether Gust because it targets a spell or permanent that’s Red or Green. The owner puts it on the top or bottom of their library. If the opponent puts it on top of their deck but hold off on casting it, we can just Thoughtseize it right into the grave (sadly, on our turn; Thoughtseize is a Sorcery).  We also have the classic Eliminate that destroys a creature or planeswalker that costs 3 or less mana. Languish is incredibly simple and destructible. We only have one because it’s a 4-mana drop, and it’s also possible to eliminate our own creatures. It doles out -4/-4 to all creatures, after all. But if we don’t have anything that dies, it can completely ruin the day of virtually any aggro deck. Finally, Extinction Event exiles all creatures that cost Even or Odd (our choice). So use at your discretion.

This is a very straight forward deck. Use your threat removal to remove whatever is most dangerous, and hopefully Extinction Event before you start flooding the board with land creatures. You can honestly just win with Uro and Hydroid Krasis! Uro swinging every turn gives you life, land, and card draw, and you also get the same thing again with Hydroid Krasis. 

You want to mana ramp as hard as possible, as quickly as you can, to get Nissa on board ASAP. Getting her on turn 4 is brilliant, and you can start doing terribly mean things with her. Bear in mind you can tap a land for mana, then use her +1, to untap it/turn it into a creature. That means we can tap it again for mana!

Uro and Nissa Are Still Around (Black/Blue/Green Midrange)


Decklist

Deck

4 Growth Spiral

1 Languish

2 Extinction Event

2 Eliminate

2 Aether Gust

3 Bloodchief’s Thirst

3 Fatal Push

4 Thoughtseize

4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World

3 Hydroid Krasis

4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

2 Forest

2 Swamp

2 Island

1 Fetid Pools

4 Breeding Pool

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Fabled Passage

4 Zagoth Triome

2 Hinterland Harbor

1 Watery Grave

2 Drowned Catacomb

 

Sideboard

2 Elder Gargaroth

1 Cry of the Carnarium

2 Mystical Dispute

2 Narset, Parter of Veils

1 Aether Gust

2 Negate

1 Grafdigger’s Cage

2 Thought Distortion

2 Shark Typhoon

Final Thoughts


It seems like this deck is seeing play again, and I’m not surprised. It’s reliable and powerful. There are lots of variations of it too! You can throw in Elder Garganoth, or other obnoxious creatures like The Scarab God or even Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. There are so many fun threats you can slot in, so go with what’s comfortable. Many of the best historic decks in MTG Arena are pretty straight forward, and this is no exception. Just don’t go crazy with your threat removal! Wait to see what’s most important, and then deal with that. Sometimes you just have to take damage. Uro can help with that though. Just ramp, make land creatures, swing with them, Uro, and a huge Hydroid! The world is your oyster with this deck. They just don’t know it yet.

Sacrifices Come In All Flavors (Red/Green/Black Sacrifice)


Maybe it’s because I just finished a re-watch of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but Sacrifice has been on my mind. It may not weigh heavily on the meta right now, but it has a high winrate, and Sacrifice was pretty popular in the MTG Arena Open. Honestly, the two decks (Rakdos Sacrifice/Jund Sacrifice) aren’t all too different.

But there’s a very powerful fetch card in this version of the Jund Sacrifice deck. As it happens, this version in particular is much different from the last Historic Sac deck. We aren’t using Golden Goose, we aren’t using fancy legendaries, or enchantments to give us more Food Tokens. We don’t need any of that nonsense. This deck is straight-forward and brutal. 

This is a deck that takes mighty fine advantage of cards like Collected Company for example. We can steal the opponent’s creatures and then offer them up in sacrifice to our mighty engine. Remember how annoying Cauldron Familiar+Witch’s Cauldron was? That’s back! This is a classic deck with a shade of more-recent flavor thrown in for spice. 

How’s It Work?


It’s a little cost-prohibitive, but Collected Company is the big addition to this deck. Costing 4 mana (1 green), it lets us look at the top six cards of our deck. We can then take two creature cards that cost a total of 3 mana combined (or less) and then put them onto the battlefield. That’s where the card shines. Four mana is a small price to pay!

You could use it to just seek a Mayhem Devil and put it into play! Conversely, if you see a pair of Cauldron Familiars and already have a Witch’s Cauldron in play, you could fetch those and start the sacrifice train! Nothing in this deck costs more than 3 mana (creature-wise) anyway. The only 4+ cost spell is Collected Company. Whatever card you need, that’s what you get.

Pulling and casting this on turn 4 is absolutely brutal. Of course, we can also drop it earlier, if we’re fortunate enough to have a green land and command of Phyrexian Tower. You can use it to sacrifice a creature and gain two black mana. In this deck, you can cast it on Turn 3, but you need to sacrifice something to Phyrexian Tower. Conversely, you could sacrifice two creatures to Priest of Forgotten Gods to also get access to 2 black mana.

It’s not the game-winning card, but it can do quite a lot and it certainly needs to be addressed. It’s a powerful tool in this deck to make sure we get a shot at whatever key cards we need to win. We don’t really need a lot. We need to get our Witch’s Ovens (at least 1) and things to sacrifice to them. The most reliable way to win for my money is via Cauldron Familiar.

It’s a 1 drop (black) creature that makes each opponent lose 1 life and gives you 1 life whenever it enters the battlefield. You can also bring it back from the graveyard by sacrificing 1 Food Token. Coincidentally, sacrificing a creature to the Witch’s Oven also gives us a Food Token! If the creature in question has 4 or more power, you gain 2 Food Tokens. 

That’s the basic game loop. Sacrificing a Cat, getting a food token, and bringing it back into play. We can also sacrifice other creatures to the Oven beyond the Cat. For example, one of our chief ways to interrupt early game moves is Claim the FIrstborn.  It lets us gain control of a creature that costs 3 or less for a turn and give it haste. So we can attack with it, and if for some reason it’s going to die, we can sacrifice it to the Oven! Bear in mind you have to tap the Oven to sacrifice something to it, so don’t be hasty.

If you aren’t in need of Food Tokens, you can also sacrifice enemy creatures to Woe Strider! We can sacrifice a creature to Woe Strider to Scry 1. So, that’s another fantastic use of an enemy creature. On top of the Cat/Cauldron combo, we want to have if at all possible, Mayhem Devil. It’s a 3-cost creature, but anytime a player sacrifices a permanent, we deal 1 damage to any target.

So if they sacrifice something of their own volition, still they must take damage. So if we can get one or two Mayhem Devils into play, each time we sacrifice and bring back a Cauldron Familiar 2 damage per Mayhem Devil! With two in play, we can deal 4 damage a turn, if not more. It just depends on how many Cauldrons we have and how many Food Tokens there are available!

Our overall game plan is to get the Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Cauldron into play as soon as possible. Between these, we can start dealing damage and gain life at our leisure. My preferred way to use this is during the opponent’s turn, personally.  We can also use our creatures to block, and in response, sacrifice them to the Cauldron. This will nullify the incoming damage unless they have trample/double strike.

Speaking of Cauldron Familiar, we want to have Midnight Rider out at the same time. Why? When a nontoken we control dies, we lose 1 life and draw a card. Then we bring back the Cauldron Familiar as normal, and get that 1 life back! It’s a safe, near-endless supply of card draw! We also have the Priest of Forgotten Gods for another sacrifice/draw engine. We can sacrifice two creatures to it to gain 2 mana and draw a card. The other player loses 2 life and sacrifices a creature. If Mayhem Devil is in play, we’ll just get more free damage this way. 

We have a creature we can be very aggressive with, Dreadhorde Butcher!  Anytime he deals combat damage to a player/planeswalker, he gains +1/+1. When this creature dies, he deals damage to any target equal to his power. So we can swing with him as often as is safe (pretty much every turn). This is how we win. We constantly sacrifice and deal damage/gain life for it. We can draw cards at the same time, and make people just frustrated. If we can get Dreadhorde Butcher a few early safe attacks (through cards like Claim the FIrstborn), we can make him too strong to risk blocking. Or we can use him as a late-game bomb to sacrifice and win the game.

Be patient, as always. This isn’t a deck that wins in a few turns. But it does get wins. They’ll feel satisfying, and the other player will be vexed. That’s what matters. 

Sacrifices Come In All Flavors (Red/Green/Black Sacrifice)


Decklist

Deck

4 Midnight Reaper

2 Swamp

2 Sheltered Thicket

4 Priest of Forgotten Gods

4 Mayhem Devil

4 Cauldron Familiar

4 Blood Crypt

4 Woe Strider

4 Dragonskull Summit

4 Collected Company

2 Woodland Cemetery

4 Claim the Firstborn

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Stomping Ground

4 Witch’s Oven

1 Phyrexian Tower

1 Bonecrusher Giant

4 Dreadhorde Butcher

 

Sideboard

2 Reclamation Sage

2 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

1 Act of Treason

3 Leyline of the Void

2 Noxious Grasp

1 Scavenging Ooze

3 Witch’s Vengeance

1 Jegantha, the Wellspring

Final Thoughts


This is a classic deck, as much as any deck can be in Historic. It’s one of my personal favorite style of “control” decks in MTG. We can get wins without the opponent having much of a say-so in it. Now, there are ways to stop the deck. Exiling cards from our graveyard (like the Cats), or exiling our Witch’s Cauldrons helps. Stopping us from using cards in the graveyard (Grafdigger’s Cage for example) is also a problem. High-speed aggro decks might be a problem, so you need to have the Cat/Cauldron in play by turn 2 for those style decks. That way you can block with them, sacrifice them in response, and bring them back. It’s annoying, and it can deal damage at a pretty surprising speed. If you get a few early Claim The FIrstborn cards on top of the Oven, you might get every early play an opponent has and stop it cold in its tracks.

Comments


Leave a Reply