The best MTG Historic decks on MTG Arena are a great way to invest your gold and gems into something that’ll last a bit longer. Providing a home to almost all the game’s cards, Historic boasts a huge variety of compelling archetypes. From janky casual decks to meta-dominating powerhouses, Historic has it all.
Since its release, Historic has steadily been shaped by each new set, with massive bombs creaking breakout strategies. For better or worse, this trend was supercharged in 2023. Thanks to The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, the power level in Historic has jumped significantly. In 2024, this is due to happen again once Modern Horizons 3 launches on Arena in Q2.
Mercifully for those fearing another format revolution, Historic is no longer the only eternal format option on MTG Arena. In late 2023, Wizards of the Coast released Timeless, changing the game once again. Boasting no ban list, Timeless has pulled a lot of attention away from Historic. As a result of this new competition, Historic has had to find its feet once again.
Thankfully, with a variety of interesting and fun decks on offer, Historic is still a great and enjoyable format. With unique strategies in both Best-of-One and Best-of-Three matches, the format has a lot of charm. Due to this divide, we’ll be covering both halves of the Historic coin separately today.
Whether you’re looking to brew, build, or just climb the ladder, we’ve got you covered. So, without any further ado, here are all the best decks in the Historic format on MTG Arena!
MTG Best Traditional Historic Decks
To kick things off, we’ll be looking at the best Traditional Historic decks on MTG Arena. In case you’re unfamiliar with the Traditional format variant, this game type is a Best-of-Three format that includes sideboarding. Thanks to this, games often boast more interaction with combos struggling unless they’re really consistent. If you’re looking for a thoroughly competitive experience, as you grind up the ranks, Traditional Historic is the place to be!
Golgari Yawgmoth, Thran Physician combo is a defining deck of the Modern format, and thanks to Yawgmoth’s appearance in Jumpstart: Historic Horizons, the deck continues to make its presence felt in the Historic format. The goal of the deck is to utilize Yawgmoth as a way to generate lots of value by sacrificing expendable Creatures to draw cards and shrink opposing Creatures. The reason the deck is so strong is that, not only does Yawgmoth act as an excellent source of card advantage, but it can also be used as a combo piece alongside multiple copies of Young Wolf and Blood Artist. The combo works as follows:
- First, sacrifice a Young Wolf with Yawgmoth’s activated ability. Do not target any of your creatures with the -1/-1 counter. The Young Wolf will come back with a +1/+1 counter thanks to Undying. This will trigger Blood Artist, draining your opponent for one.
- Second, sacrifice your Young Wolf that does not have a counter, targeting the Young Wolf that does have a counter. Your counters will cancel out. Your other Young Wolf will come back with a +1/+1 counter thanks to Undying. This, once again, will trigger Blood Artist.
- You can repeat step two over and over, sacrificing the Young Wolf without a counter, targeting the one that does have a counter, thanks to -1/-1 counters and +1/+1 counters canceling one another out.
This deck also plays Chord of Calling as a way to find Yawgmoth, much like the Modern version of the deck. While the Historic version does miss out on Grist, the Hunger Tide which is not on Arena, most of the best cards are still available, making this deck a great choice.
Izzet Wizards is a strong archetype with a decent game plan against a lot of different types of strategies. This deck plays cheap Creatures like Soul-Scar Mage and Dreadhorde Arcanist that work well with cheap spells. From there, the deck plays a ton of the best efficient removal spells and card draw spells available. Expressive Iteration, despite being banned in Pioneer and even Legacy, the card remains legal in Historic, and is a big reason to play this deck.
By sticking to a Wizards theme, you get to maximize both Wizard’s Lightning and Flame of Anor, which are both solid payoffs. What’s nice about this archetype in Best-of-One is that it has a proactive game plan but can still use burn spells reactively when necessary. This deck can use burn spells to help provide extra reach against control and midrange decks, while also using them to slow down aggressive decks like mono-green Elves by killing their Creatures.
Previously, Izzet Wizards and Izzet Jegantha primarily only saw play within Best-of-One Historic. Thanks to the recent nerfs to The One Ring and Orcish Bowmasters, however, it has seen a resurgence. Currently, Izzet Jegantha is one of the top performers in Best-of-Three due to it playing well against Mono-Green Devotion decks.
Providing the tempo and removal to stop this dominant deck’s ramping antics, Izzet Jegantha is immensely prevalent within the meta. While this can make for quite a tough mirror match, thankfully, there are counterspells and protection in the sideboard, just in case.
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Mono-green Devotion is yet another archetype in Historic with a lot of overlap with Pioneer. The deck has a very simple gameplan: cast elite top-end spells ahead of schedule. In the early turns, this deck plays a lot of ways to make mana. Much like in Pioneer, Elvish Mystic and Llanowar Elves go a long way, but the Historic version actually gets a pretty nice upgrade in the one-mana slot in the form of Utopia Sprawl. As an Enchanting Tales card from Wilds of Eldraine, the card is now on Arena and legal in Historic, but not Pioneer. Not only is Utopia Sprawl much better in the face of removal, but it also works quite nicely with Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner, which can untap your Lands.
These cards help you cast haymakers like Cavalier of Thorns and Storm the Festival rather quickly. With enough Devotion and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx in play, Karn, the Great Creator also becomes an elite threat. You can even use Karn to search for The One Ring in Historic, which is a nice bonus.
As the name suggests, Esper Auras is all about stacking Auras on creatures to create one monumental threat. If you’ve been playing for a while, it’ll be no surprise that this deck revolves around Kor Spiritdancer. Iconic for being one of the best Aura-focused cards in MTG, this Kor quickly turns into a monumental threat.
Supporting Kor Spiritdancer in their latest conquest, Esper Auras also includes Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice. Providing this deck with two for the price of one on Auras, Light-Paws allows you to build two threats at once. As if that wasn’t useful enough Giver of Runes provides some much-needed protection.
When it comes to the deck’s Auras, Ethereal Armor is undoubtedly the favorite. One of few four-of copies, you’ll want to be finding this staple Enchantment as often as possible. The same is true of Staggering Insight which offers plenty of consistent card draw.
Altogether, despite not being the most aggressive option, Esper Auras is more than capable of spiraling out of control.
MTG Best Best-of-One Historic Decks
If you’re looking for a more laid-back, combo-filled, and eccentric format, Best-of-One Historic is the place to be. As the name describes, this variant only pairs players up for a single game, no sideboards are required. Not only does this allow for a few more wacky strategies to emerge, but it’s also a good deal faster. If you’re looking to climb up the ranks on MTG Arena in a hurry, Best-of-One Historic has you covered.
Moving on from Traditional Historic, Best-of-One Historic is a whole different ball game. Given the lack of sideboard cards, heavily proactive decks with a straightforward game plan tend to get a huge boost. It’s much more difficult to play a reactive gameplan in Best-of-One against unknown opponents. Different pieces of interaction, such as removal or Counterspells, are better in certain situations than others, and without getting to play sideboarded games, it can be tough to know what hands to keep.
That’s where a deck like mono-green Elves comes into play. This deck is quite weak to board wipes, but in Best-of-One, the archetype performs quite well. It’s very streamlined, looking to put on a ton of pressure in short order. Cards like Elvish Archdruid and Leaf-Crowned Visionary are fantastic payoffs for a go-wide Elf strategy. Collected Company gives this deck a decent shot against opposing midrange decks. This deck even gets to utilize Allosaurus Shepherd, helping you beat Counterspells and effectively attack in board stalls.
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Scurry Oak Combo
As we mentioned earlier, the lack of a sideboard in Best-of-One Historic does allow for some wild and wacky combos. The Scurry Oak combo is definitely one of, if not the, most well-known of these. Seeing immense play on the competitive ladder, this deck is a nightmare in the best way possible.
At its core, the Scurry Oak combo is very simple, as all you need is three simple pieces. Firstly, you’ll need something to generate life easily, such as Soul Warden. Alongside this, you’ll need a way to generate tokens off that life, ideally Heliod, Sun-Crowned. Last but not least, the deck’s namesake Scurry Oak can be played to use all those tokens.
By targeting Scurry Oak with one of the Heliod-generated tokens, you create an infinite combo that creates countless Squirrel tokens. Unsurprisingly, this is often very hard to deal with and typically leads to your opponents conceding once the combo begins. Be warned, however, that this combo does require you to attack, putting you at risk of a board wipe.
Alongside board wipes being a non-insignificant risk, Scurry Oak also requires an awful lot of clicking. Needing to assign every single token onto Scurry Oak, you’re not able to just sit back and relax. While this can be a very tedious task, it’s important not to get too lazy and underdevelop your board. After all, if you don’t win the game with this infinite combo, you’ll just look like a fool.
In recent weeks, a new dominant Historic deck has risen through the ranks on MTG Arena. As the name suggests, this revolves around the Leyline cards from Core Set 2020 and Guildpack. Able to be cast for free, provided they’re in your opening hand, each of these cards is incredibly useful. Within this deck, however, these powerful cards are simply there to be exiled by Fragment Reality.
Through this two-card combo, you’re able to cast Geist of Saint Traft on turn one. Boasting Hexproof and the ability to create 4/4 Angels when attacking, this is obviously a serious threat. So much so, in fact, that opponents will likely just concede as soon as they hit the battlefield. Should games go on longer, this deck also features some protection and removal to keep Geist of Saint Traft safe.
As far as two-card combos go, Leyline Combo has proven to be rather successful and reliable in Historic. Thanks to how many Leylines you can play, you’re pretty much just relying on finding Fragment Reality. While this isn’t always guaranteed, a mulligan or two is usually enough to do the trick. In Best-of-One Historic, this deck excels at blitzing through quick games, however, it also performs admirably in Best-of-Three.
If you want to read more about this combo, we’ve written an entire article on it which you can find here.
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