9, Jul, 23

MTG Previews Showcase Heavily Requested Win Condition!

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Article at a Glance

A bunch of MTG Arena Anthology previews have already been announced. Some of them have been iconic new additions to Historic, while others have felt mostly like filler for Explorer. Well, a bunch of new cards have been previewed, and this trend seems to be continuing. We also have multiple cycles of cards that are each making their way onto Arena for the first time. Three cycles, one for Explorer and two for Historic, have now been spoiled in full. So how do these card cycles stack up? Were these reasonable cycles to choose from to add to Arena?

For Historic, I feel the answer is a resounding yes. As we will see, both cycles are memorable and helpful for gameplay, both in traditional Historic as well as Historic Brawl. For Explorer, however, the cycle previewed thus far feels relatively mediocre, as all five of the cards see minimal play at best in Pioneer. In addition to these three cycles, we also have some excess preview cards spoiled as well to go over. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the first group of MTG Historic cards.

The Titan Cycle

Sun Titan

The Titans are a welcome addition to Arena. Primeval Titan was showcased earlier yesterday, but we have since found out that the cycle is being completed. Each Titan is a six-mana Creature with a massive ability that triggers whenever the Titan enters the battlefield or attacks. Primeval Titan is certainly the most iconic and powerful in other formats. The card’s ability to search for synergistic, non-basic Lands has the card banned in EDH and a powerhouse in Modern.

While the other Titans aren’t quite on Primeval Titan’s level, they are all super iconic and bring each color a massive threat especially for Historic Brawl. Sun Titan is great at reanimating small permanents, including Lands. Inferno Titan is capable of killing the opponent in short order by slinging damage at opposing blockers or the opponent themselves. Grave Titan is an army in a can and played as a solid reanimation target in Legacy for years. Finally, Frost Titan, while likely the weakest of the bunch, can freeze opposing permanents and keep them tapped.

Each of these Titans are excellent win conditions for their respective colors, and their iconic-ness cannot be overstated. Each Titan has appeared in the Magic Online Vintage Cube, and most of them are still elite inclusions. This mix of the cards being respected and powerful makes them a great fit for Historic.

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The Modern Horizons Land Cycle

Nurturing Peatland

This cycle of Lands sees a decent amount of play in Modern and should be pretty strong in Historic as well. Each of these cards is a great source of two-color mana fixing that can be cashed in for a card at any point in the game. The downside is that these lands require you to take one damage to use them for mana, which brings up interesting deckbuilding decisions with regards to how many are correct to play.

For example, Modern Burn utilizes a full four copies of Sunbaked Canyon, because the deck is super aggressive, making the damage less meaningful. Also, Modern Burn is all about utilizing all of its resources to deal lethal damage, so the ability to turn a land into a burn spell later in the game is super meaningful. On the flip side, control decks tend to play minimal copies if any of these lands, as the damage adds up very quickly.

These lands are meant to mimic the original version Horizon Canopy that came out years before. Now we have Sunbaked Canyon, Nurturing Peatland, Waterlogged Grove, Fiery Islet, and Silent Clearing added to the mix. This does, of course, mean that some two-color combinations do not have these Lands in their colors. Even for mono-color aggressive decks, though, these cards are a nice addition to Arena, as the ability to turn your Land drop into a card later in the game is super valuable. These lands should see lots of play in traditional Historic and Historic Brawl alike.

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Explorer Battle for Zendikar Lands

Prairie Stream

Explorer also got a cycle of Lands to add to the format. We already saw Cinder Glade and Canopy Vista spoiled, so it’s no surprise that Prairie Stream, Sunken Hollow, and Smoldering Marsh will be added as well.

What is perhaps surprising is that this cycle of lands was added to Arena at all. This is because these lands tend to see very little Pioneer play. With Explorer meant largely to shadow Pioneer, these lands weren’t exactly a top priority for Arena players to see.

The one thing these Lands have going for them is that they have the appropriate basic Land types. This means that for cards like Lay Down Arms out of Azorius Control, for example, do work favorably with Prairie Stream. The problem is that, with no Fetchlands on Arena or in Pioneer, the basic Land types aren’t super relevant often enough. Beyond that, these lands tend to enter the battlefield tapped quite frequently given the range of fixing available for multi-color decks. Lands like the Fastlands, such as Copperline Gorge or Shocklands, such as Stomping Ground, are simply much more impactful for Pioneer and Explorer than these lands getting added. There were some other additions for Historic and Explorer that were previewed as well, and this trend of better additions going to Historic continues.

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New Additions Beyond Cycles

Vendilion Clique

For Historic, even more iconic and heavily played cards have been previewed as well. For starters, Vendilion Clique is being added. Vendilion Clique was a great tempo play for many years. While the card has lost a bit of its luster in the face of Brazen Borrower, the card is still a cool addition to Arena.

Next, we have Wild Nacatl. Wild Nacatl is a very efficient card on rate. By using Shocklands, it’s quite easy to have Wild Nacatl be a two or even three-power Creature for one mana. This is definitely more difficult to achieve without Fetchlands on Arena, however.

Just like Wild Nacatl, Tribal Flames is a card that has been added to Arena that greatly misses the presence of Fetchlands. Tribal Flames works especially well with the Triomes, like Raugrin Triome, that add three distinct basic Land types for Tribal Flames in one Land drop. It’ll be interesting to see how these cards play out without their Fetchland counterparts.

Lastly for Historic, the card Mortarpod was just recently previewed. Mortarpod was once a decent piece of Equipment that came with a Creature of its own, thanks to the Living Weapon ability. The card may not be quite as impactful as it once was, but it’s a nice card for sacrifice synergies, nonetheless.

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An Explorer Addition

Worldspine Wurm

Finally, for Explorer, we have the addition of Worldspine Wurm. With Xenagos, God of Revels spoiled previously, this card getting previewed is not much of a surprise. With the use of Indomitable Creativity and two targets, as long as your deck is built correctly, you can put Worldspine Wurm and Xenagos into play and attack with a 30-power Hasty Trampling Wurm for the win.

While this is a neat combo addition to Arena, many Indomitable Creativity lists have forgone this combo in favor of utilizing Atraxa, Grand Unifier or Torrential Gearhulk, which only require one target for Creativity to be effective. There’s still some hope that some much-needed cards like Treasure Cruise and Hidden Strings will be added to help the format mimic Pioneer more closely, but we are starting to run out of time.

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