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Article at a Glance

Unsurprisingly, with Modern Horizons III leaks coming out of the woodworks, lots of players are excited to see how the which new cards will have the most impact on Modern. Modern Horizons I and II both brought immense change to the format. Cards like Wrenn and Six and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer have become format all-stars. Meanwhile, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis and Fury proved to be too much for the format to handle.

If the first two Modern Horizons sets were any indication, Modern will surely be in for a shakeup when Modern Horizons III releases. Importantly, though, Modern won’t be the only format affected. Even beyond Eternal formats like Legacy, these cards will be coming to MTG Arena. This means that Historic and Timeless will be in for huge changes as well.

For fans of Historic, there’s a lot to look forward to. The format has become rather stale over time. While some cards from the new set are sure to follow recent patterns and get preemptively banned (I’m looking at you, Grief), there’s a lot of room for cards that cause metagame shifts without being inherently too broken. Timeless has, more or less, stolen Historic’s identity of being the most powerful format on Arena, leaving the format in a weird limbo.

Recently, there was a lot of discussion regarding what existing cards players most wanted to see implemented into the format that aren’t on Arena. Between Modern Horizons III and the inevitable bonus sheets alongside future premier sets, there are sure to be some cool reprints coming to Arena soon enough. Let’s take a look at some that might provide a nice jolt to the format.

Hedron Crab for Mill

Hedron Crab

Kicking things off, we have a card that fits into multiple different archetypes in Modern. Unlike Ruin Crab, Hedron Crab has the ability to target you or your opponent with its Mill ability. This opens the door for different decks to utilize Hedron Crab in different ways.

First, for players that like to use Milling the opponent as their win condition of choice, adding Hedron Crab to Arena could help make this strategy more viable. The reality is, most of the Instants and Sorceries that see play in Modern Mill are now on Arena. Glimpse the Unthinkable, Jace, the Perfected Mind, and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter had all been on Arena for a while.

Thanks to Outlaws of Thunder Junction, Archive Trap and Surgical Extraction joined the party as essential additions to a Mill deck in Historic. Fractured Sanity is still missing, but adding extra copies of Jace or Tasha’s Hideous Laughter as a replacement is totally reasonable.

What this deck has really been missing is another turn one play. Having access to both Crabs makes Mill faster, more consistent, and helps enable Drown in the Loch more reliably. The Fetchlands may be banned, but Prismatic Vista and Field of Ruin can help pick up the slack.

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Adding Vengevine to the Mix

Vengevine

Of course, Hedron Crab’s ability to Mill cards from your own library is what distinguishes it from Ruin Crab. Thanks to cards like Prized Amalgam, Narcomoeba, and Creeping Chill, milling yourself can be very rewarding if you build around it.

Interestingly, all of these payoffs are already on Arena. As for enablers, Stitcher’s Supplier and Merfolk Secretkeeper can provide some necessary redundancy on Arena if Hedron Crab joins in.

The one thing a deck like this is missing, though, is Vengevine. Vengevine is a very powerful card that some players want added to Arena. It helps lead to explosive starts, but at the same time is a recursive threat. This makes it strong against typical removal spells. Vengevine is definitely on the stronger side, but given the deck’s natural vulnerability to graveyard hate, it probably wouldn’t be too pushed for the format.

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Aether Vial and Its Supporting Cast

Aether Vial

One card that seemed to garner a lot of support was Aether Vial. Aether Vial is the type of card that, in my opinion, could actually do a lot of good for the Historic format. Over the years, general Creature decks have fallen out of favor in multiple formats. In Modern, cards like Orcish Bowmasters and Wrenn and Six have made decks with lots of small Creatures significantly weaker.

At the same time, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician combo, one of the only top-tier decks with a very high density of Creatures, prays on other Creature-centric strategies that try to win through combat. Yawgmoth combo is elite in both Modern and Historic, and seeing other go-wide archetypes emerge would be a breath of fresh air.

In Historic, Orcish Bowmasters is nerfed while Wrenn and Six is not on Arena. Solitude appears to be on its way shortly, but I’d be surprised if it doesn’t see an early ban along with some of the other Evoke Elementals. In this sense, there may be room for more Creature decks to flourish if the right tools are implemented on Arena.

For example, most pieces of five-color Humans (a deck that once dominated Modern but fell out of favor in the face of the cards mentioned above) are on Arena. Thalia’s Lieutenant, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Meddling Mage, and the requisite five-color Lands like Cavern of Souls are all available.

The problem is that the premier one-drops in Aether Vial, Noble Hierarch, and Champion of the Parish are all missing, which the deck can’t really function without. On a similar note, adding Lord of Atlantis or Tideshaper to Arena along with Aether Vial could help take Merfolk to the next level. With members of the supporting cast like Master of the Pearl Trident and Vodalian Hexcatcher already on Arena, taking these small steps could help shake up the Historic metagame.

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Make Stoneforge Better

Stoneforge Mystic

Personally, I’d love to see Stoneforge Mystic get its time in the sun. Stoneforge Mystic was just recently added to MTG Arena as part of the Special Guest series in Outlaws of Thunder Junction. Stoneforge is undoubtedly an incredible card, but many of the best cards to pair with it aren’t on the client.

On raw power, both Kaldra Compleat and Batterskull would make Stoneforge a much bigger threat. Both of these cards are capable of taking over games on their own thanks to their Living Weapon abilities, making Stoneforge more of a must-kill threat.

Stoneforge is also a big piece of the puzzle towards making Colossus Hammer a reasonable option in Historic. Now, Stoneforge, Hammer, Sigarda’s Aid, Esper Sentinel, and Ornithopter are all on Arena. If Puresteel Paladin were to finally get added, maybe Hammer Time could make some noise. Obviously, not having Urza’s Saga makes the deck considerably worse, but putting Puresteel on Arena would come a long way.

Right now, Historic is in desperate need of some changes to make the format more exciting. Timeless is the new hotness, and Historic has grown stagnant. Perhaps throwing in some of these powerful options for underrepresented archetypes could provide the spark Historic needs to get back on track. With Modern Horizons III coming soon, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for any potential game-changing inclusions.

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