The State of the Historic Metagame
This past weekend saw the first major Historic tournaments on Magic Arena that included the new Historic Anthology 5 release. With a wide open meta game and some speculation on the impact of Historic Anthology 5, there were some very interesting results in the top performing decks. The Strixhaven Championships are right around the corner and we have a pretty clear picture as to the State of the Historic Metagame.
Izzet Phoenix was the first stand out winner from the weekend, sporting a massively positive win rate in both the F2K United Invitational and the CFB Pro Showdown May 2021. With the additions of Brainstorm and Faithless Looting from the Mystical Archives, the deck has seen a massive resurgence in popularity and strength. Combined with it’s strong evasive threats, card selection, and cheap, synergistic removal suite, the deck dominated it’s match ups securing 4 Top 8 spots in the CFB Pro Showdown. Expect this to be a big player in this weekend’s championship event. The list above is Kenji Egashira’s list (aka NumotTheNummy) from F2K United.
Jeskai Control was the next deck that was widely represented and had a very strong showing at both events over the weekend. The above list was piloted by Lars Gerhardt to a 5th place finish in CFB. The story with this deck is the similar to Izzet Phoenix, that of a positive win rate and a lot of representation in top spots in these events. A couple of interesting notes that these lists shared in common was the exclusion of Magma Opus, and the inclusion of a main deck Rest in Peace. My guess is that these cards were switched in anticipation for Izzet Phoenix being one of the top decks, with Magma Opus being a bit too slow against Izzet’s explosiveness, and to also hedge against the next deck that we’ll talk about. Either way, this deck harkens back to Jeskai Control decks of old, sporting a slew of removal and counter magic, and a few powerful planeswalkers in Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Narset, Parter of Veils to push their advantages and close out the game. Between Jeskai Control and Izzet Phoenix, I anticipate that these two archetypes will make up a large portion of metagame in Championship weekend.
Fighting For 3rd Place
Fighting for 3rd place over the weekend is a pretty clear battle between Jund Food, and Aggro Decks. Jund Food, a mainstay strategy in Histroic’s past came out to play again this weekend with generally positive results as well, just not with the same amount of representation that the previous two decks had. Very little has been changed about these decks other than the inclusion of newly added Relic of Progenitus to the sideboard.
As for the Aggro decks, we saw a variety of strategies do well in Mono Black, Mono Green and Mono White. The losers of this archetype being Mono Red and Gruul, both seemed to fall flat with negative records and virtually no top finishes, despite having a fair bit of representation. The addition of power house Atarka’s Command in Historic Anthology 5 was not enough to push these decks over the edge against opponents with more depth to their deck compositions.
As we can see, Historic Anthology 5 didn’t really make a big splash in release weekend tournaments. It makes sense that higher profile events would showcase strategies to take advantage of the unrefined nature of the field with new cards added in the format. This weekend’s Strixhaven Championship event is going to be very interesting, as it’s a Standard and Historic Hybrid event. Which Historic Decks do you think are going to dominate the field, and do you think that with this past week of testing, is Historic Anthology 5 going to play a bigger role than it did this past weekend?
READ MORE: Full Modern Horizons 2 Spoiler Gallery