12, Mar, 21

Historic Anthology IV: Five Decklists Featuring The Newest Cards

Historic Anthology IV opens the door for new decks in Magic: The Gathering Arena!
Article at a Glance

Historic Anthology IV has just released on Magic: The Gathering Arena, introducing 25 cards to the Historic format from the game’s storied past. It’s been almost a whole year since the last Anthology set dropped on Arena, so I’m excited to see which of these new tools make a lasting impact on the format. Looking back, only a couple of cards from the last set actually see play in high Mythic ranks today, so Historic Anthology IV will hope to do better.

Read More: Historic Anthology IV Now Released on Magic: The Gathering Arena

My first impression of this new injection of cards is that it may be more of the same. I can imagine two, maybe three, cards performing well in a competitive setting. Death’s Shadow is the most exciting of the bunch, though I wouldn’t sleep on Historic’s newest White cards. Thraben Inspector and Declaration in Stone are sweet effects that I predict will fill important roles in the format starting today.

While I may be a little pessimistic about the chances of Goblin Gaveleer or Spider Spawning winning a big tournament anytime soon, that’s not going to stop me from finding potential homes for Historic Anthology IV cards. So, without further ado, I present to you five decks that feature a handful of these new, delicious cards!

I said no further ado, but I would like to emphasize that these lists are rough drafts. I’ve tested them on ladder and have seen promise in how they play out, but the best decks are those that have undergone many iterations. I can’t wait to see what the Historic community comes up with after a day or two!

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White Aggro – Thraben Inspector, Declaration in Stone

Historic Anthology 4 White Aggro

This list is a straightforward White beatdown deck that aims to flood the board with cheap attackers and grow them all into threats. While I personally enjoy playing control decks more than anything, I actually qualified for my first Mythic Championship playing White Aggro when Ixalan was legal. So, I’m always looking for an excuse to cast some Savannah Lions and Glorious Anthems.

That Standard deck had mediocre one drops and noncreature spells like History of Benalia and Conclave Tribunal. Thanks to Historic’s bigger card pool and Anthologies, we can upgrade our cards and play nearly 100% creatures.


Thalia, Guardian of Thraben makes life difficult for control while Skyclave Apparition clears blockers and deals with threats like Mayhem Devil and a large Kor Spiritdancer. Thraben Inspector is a deceptively powerful addition to this archetype. The 1/2 body isn’t impressive, but the Clue token it generates helps you recover from sweepers and lets Skymarcher Aspirant reach for the sky sooner. Inspector is one of the best White creatures ever printed and I’m going to try and fit it into as many Historic decks playing Plains as I can.

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Declaration in Stone, meanwhile, is an efficient removal spell that is much better in an aggro deck than in control. Aggro decks just want to push through damage, while control decks actually have to worry about the eventual card draw their Clues grant them.

I’m also happy to play a deck that can support Yasharn, Implacable Earth in the sideboard. This big pig is the best technology against the Sacrifice decks that are doing well right now. Just remember that you may want to remove your Inspectors when Yasharn comes in, since the pig prevents Clues from being sacrificed.

Main Deck
4 Thraben Inspector (SOI) 44
12 Plains (ZNR) 380
4 Benalish Marshal (DAR) 6
4 Venerated Loxodon (GRN) 30
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben (DKA) 24
4 Legion’s Landing (XLN) 22
4 Skymarcher Aspirant (RIX) 21
4 Dauntless Bodyguard (DAR) 14
4 Branchloft Pathway (ZNR) 258
4 Temple Garden (GRN) 258
4 Adanto Vanguard (XLN) 1
4 Faerie Guidemother (ELD) 11
2 Luminarch Aspirant (ZNR) 24
2 Skyclave Apparition (ZNR) 39

2 Remorseful Cleric (M19) 33
2 Giant Killer (ELD) 14
4 Hushbringer (ELD) 18
1 Skyclave Apparition (ZNR) 39
3 Yasharn, Implacable Earth (ZNR) 240
1 Forest (ANB) 112
2 Declaration in Stone (SOI) 12

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Azorius Control – Think Twice

Historic Anthology 4 Think Twice

In this build of Historic Azorius Control, I’ve moved the copies of Narset, Parter of Veils I usually main deck into the sideboard. This way, I don’t have to play her in game ones against aggro decks where I’m unlikely to get a second activation off. Instead, I can play the Historic Anthology IV card Think Twice.

This instant isn’t particularly powerful. In fact, it competes with strong cards like Behold the Multiverse. Think Twice’s strength lies in its flexibility and. Paying two mana + three mana over two turns comes out cheaper than paying four mana in one turn. This is the same reason that Behold was such a great addition to control decks in multiple formats. Like Behold, playing Think Twice allows you to hold up counterspells and threaten to draw more cards at the same time.

I’m not sure if I’ll still be playing Think Twice in my Blue control decks a week from now, but I’m happy to see how well it fits into my game plan.

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Main Deck
4 Behold the Multiverse (KHM) 46
1 Dovin’s Veto (WAR) 193
4 Plains (ANB) 115
4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251
3 Think Twice (ISD) 83
2 Cast Out (AKR) 9
4 Absorb (RNA) 151
2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
3 Castle Ardenvale (ELD) 238
3 Shark Typhoon (IKO) 67
1 Doomskar (KHM) 9
1 Grafdigger’s Cage (M20) 227
4 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria (DAR) 207
4 Irrigated Farmland (AKR) 304
3 Wrath of God (AKR) 46
5 Island (ANB) 113
4 Glacial Fortress (XLN) 255
1 Search for Azcanta (XLN) 74
2 Saw It Coming (KHM) 76
4 Censor (AKR) 52
1 Essence Scatter (IKO) 49

2 Dovin’s Veto (WAR) 193
3 Baffling End (RIX) 1
2 Aether Gust (M20) 42
1 Tale’s End (M20) 77
1 Dream Trawler (THB) 214
2 Rest in Peace (AKR) 33
2 Authority of the Consuls (KLR) 9
2 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61

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Mono-Red Turbo Phoenix – Flameblade Adept

Historic Anthology 4 Mono Red Phoenix

At long last, Flameblade Adept from Historic Anthology IV is reunited with best friend Hollow One to wreak havoc on the format! Actually, without turbo discard engines like Goblin Lore and Burning Inquiry to rely on, this pair will wreak minor inconveniences at best.

To attempt to make Adept and Hollow One viable in Historic, I mashed that archetype up with an Arclight Phoenix package. This way, we can set up silly draws where we curve Adept into discard outlet on two, discard outlet plus Hollow One on three, and ideally enough spells to bring back multiple Phoenixes on turn four.

The curve I described certainly sounds like Magical Christmas Land, but I was surprised at how many scrappy wins I was able to put together with this band of misfits. Between Magmatic Channeler, Merchant of the Veil, and Cathartic Reunion, you can usually churn through your deck enough to make good things happen.

Both the Hollow One and Izzet Phoenix decks were nerfed into oblivion by the Faithless Looting ban in Modern. But don’t worry, we have a Looting deck at home.

Main Deck
4 Flameblade Adept (AKH) 131
17 Mountain (ANB) 114
4 Hollow One (AKR) 274
4 Lightning Axe (JMP) 341
4 Arclight Phoenix (GRN) 91
4 Magmatic Channeler (ZNR) 148
4 Cathartic Reunion (KLR) 116
4 Thrill of Possibility (ELD) 146
4 Merchant of the Vale (ELD) 131
4 Shock (M21) 159
4 Soul-Scar Mage (AKR) 175
3 Forgotten Cave (ONS) 317

1 Grim Lavamancer (JMP) 331
2 Pillar of Flame (JMP) 355
2 Redcap Melee (ELD) 135
2 Soul-Guide Lantern (THB) 237
3 Irencrag Pyromancer (ELD) 128
2 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame (M20) 126
2 Reckless Air Strike (M20) 154
1 Ox of Agonas (THB) 147

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Azorius God Pharaoh’s Gift – Adorned Pouncer

Historic Anthology 4 Azorius GPG

Astute readers might notice a pattern in the decklists I’ve come up with. I’ve basically ported classic 2017-2018 Standard decks to Historic and slotted in the cards from Historic Anthology IV that complement their game plan the best.

This version of Azorius God Pharaoh’s Gift is no different. It looks pretty similar to the deck Pascal Maynard took to the finals of Pro Tour Ixalan. Then and now, this deck looks to stall the game and dump cards into the graveyard until it can Refurbish a God-Pharaoh’s Gift into play and go to town with 6/6 Lifelink Angels and other Eternalized dorks.

What has changed is that this deck gets to take advantage of Skyclave Apparition’s ability to deal with threats and protect your life total. Even death won’t stop the spirit from doing work, as God Pharaoh’s Gift can bring it back to the battlefield as a 4/4 to double-up on exiled permanents.

My latest list adds Adorned Pouncer from Historic Anthology IV as a cheap blocker that comes back as a pretty frightening 4/4 double striker. I’m also packing Declaration in Stone in the sideboard, because this card is just one of the most efficient removal spells available in White now.

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Main Deck
4 Champion of Wits (AKR) 53
5 Plains (ANB) 115
4 Minister of Inquiries (KLR) 58
4 Refurbish (KLR) 27
4 Island (ANB) 113
4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251
1 Search for Azcanta (XLN) 74
4 Glacial Fortress (XLN) 255
4 God-Pharaoh’s Gift (AKR) 272
4 Chart a Course (XLN) 48
4 Strategic Planning (KHM) 77
4 Angel of Invention (KLR) 7
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship (KLR) 272
1 Emeria’s Call (ZNR) 12
4 Hengegate Pathway (KHM) 260
3 Adorned Pouncer (HOU) 2
3 Skyclave Apparition (ZNR) 39
2 Ipnu Rivulet (AKR) 303

3 Authority of the Consuls (KLR) 9
3 Grafdigger’s Cage (M20) 227
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship (KLR) 272
2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
2 Wrath of God (AKR) 46
1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria (DAR) 207
1 Negate (M20) 69
2 Declaration in Stone (SOI) 12

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Mardu Cat Pact – Harmless Offering, Coldsteel Heart

Historic Anthology 4 Mardu Cat Pact

Remember when I said that these were rough drafts? This is a rough, rough draft based on a sweet list I saw Twitter user Robert Taylor playing.

When the combo of Demonic Pact and Harmless Offering was in Standard, that deck usually played Grixis colors to take advantage of bounce spells like Silumgar’s Command. In this list, I look to White for effects that help me survive my Demonic Pact and also set up donating my Pact to my opponent. Cards like Planar Cleansing, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Kaya, the Inexorable, and Doom Foretold all help me manage my Pact and put the squeeze on my opponent’s resources. This list also makes good use of Coldsteel Heart to get me to that fat signing bonus sooner and fix my mana.

You can build around the Cat Pact combo in so many different ways. Fireshoes above also ran the Nine Lives and Solemnity combo that locks the opponent out of dealing damage to you. I have no idea if this combo will be competitive in Historic, but the kitty in the art of Harmless Offering has such an adorable face that I am willing to find out.

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1 Yorion, Sky Nomad (IKO) 232

Main Deck
4 Harmless Offering (EMN) 131
4 Gideon of the Trials (AKR) 19
4 Demonic Pact (AKR) 99
2 Plains (ANB) 115
2 Swamp (ANB) 116
1 Mountain (ANB) 114
4 Godless Shrine (RNA) 248
4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
4 Sacred Foundry (GRN) 254
4 Savai Triome (IKO) 253
4 Isolated Chapel (DAR) 241
4 Dragonskull Summit (XLN) 252
3 Omen of the Forge (THB) 145
4 Wrath of God (AKR) 46
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon (M21) 1
3 Treacherous Blessing (THB) 117
4 Coldsteel Heart (CSP) 136
1 Kaya the Inexorable (KHM) 218
4 Mind Stone (WTH) 153
3 Yorion, Sky Nomad (IKO) 232
4 Fabled Passage (M21) 246
3 Emeria’s Call (ZNR) 12
4 Doom Foretold (ELD) 187
4 Thoughtseize (AKR) 127
1 Planar Cleansing (M20) 33

1 Yorion, Sky Nomad (IKO) 232
1 Deafening Clarion (GRN) 165
2 Authority of the Consuls (KLR) 9
2 Sorcerous Spyglass (ELD) 233
2 Declaration in Stone (SOI) 12
1 Gideon’s Intervention (AKR) 20
2 Grafdigger’s Cage (M20) 227
1 Despark (WAR) 190
1 Rest in Peace (AKR) 33
2 Duress (M21) 96

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