The MTG SNC Historic summary is going to be a lot shorter than the Standard summary, simply because there isn’t a lot to cover. Historic has been stuck in a similar state for the past few championships where it has been featured. Even the big takeaway from this championship isn’t a new revelation. Its simply a deck that got hard targeted a few set championships ago that people forgot about over time.
The top five archetypes on this list have been the thing to do in Historic for a really long time now. Rakdos Arcanist lessened in popularity between this championship and the last one. This is likely due to how poor the Golgari Food matchup is. Hidetsugu Consumes All is being used as an equalizer, but it usually isn’t enough. Most Arcanist players are playing Hidetsugu as a sideboard card, making it very difficult to win game one. If you don’t find it game two, or it gets Thoughtseized away, your chances of winning plummet.
Azorius Affinity saw a huge uptick in representation. A lot of the members from Andrea Mengucci’s open team registered the deck and found success with it. This deck popped up on Historic’s radar once again after @J-EDepraz dominated the Historic portion of the Neon Dynasty Championship with Affinity.
The real story comes from the success of two Selesnya archetypes throughout the tournament. Both WG Humans and WG Enchantress had a fantastic performance at the SNC Champs.
As we all know, Ledger Shredder has a huge story of its own. It was an incredibly undervalued card at release that exploded in popularity after people realized how good it was. Ledger Shredder is at home in Historic Phoenix. Its no surprise to see that this card got a ton of representation in the championship.
Here is another chart from @mtgmetaio that roughly breaks down how each of the more popular Historic archetypes performed throughout swiss of the tournament. Because the top eight was Standard only, this does take into account all Historic games played throughout the tournament.
You’ll notice that I said that Selesnya Enchantress performed really well throughout the tournament, yet its not on this sheet. This is because it wasn’t a very popular option. Regardless, it should continue to be a deck that you watch out for if you plan to play Historic in the near future.
Selesnya Humans saw a major resurgence in SNC Historic during and after the championship. This deck had a huge rise in popularity after Esper Sentinel was released on MTG Arena. Because of its sheer popularity, it had a major target on its back a few set championships ago. After some time has passed, the deck was forgotten about and rose again.
Golgari Food seems like it would be a difficult matchup with this deck, yet it went even with Food in swiss. Personally, I would be more comfortable bringing more hate for the food matchup if you’re planning on playing this on ladder. What better hate card is there than Yasharn, Implacable Earth? This card stops any food synergies in their tracks. Use the time to overwhelm them with the rest of your game plan.
Sideboard-wise, this deck has some interesting options. Kraul Harpooner is definitely meant to target the phoenix matchup, but should not be used on phoenixes themselves unless absolutely necessary. Use the Harpooner to deal with a Ledger Shredder or a Sprite Dragon before they get too big. Crackling Drake can run away with the game on its own, so having an out to that is also very valuable.
Playing Tormod’s Crypt in higher numbers than Unlicensed Hearse is an interesting decision. This may simply be due to a lack of testing. There isn’t really a scenario where you need to have graveyard hate before turn two, even if your opponent goes first. Being able to run out Tormod’s Crypt and a creature may be better for tempo purposes. I personally would be interested in trying out two Hearse and one Crypt going forward.
For any who are interested in trying this deck in a paper environment, note that Inquisitor Captain is an Arena-only card. This effectively gives the deck eight Collected Company-like effects, with a ninth in the sideboard in the form of Elspeth Resplendent. A good counter to this deck, as a result, may be Grafdiggar’s Cage.
As discussed in a previous article, Hisamichi Yoshigoe managed a top four finish with primarly brews. Rakdos Arcanist is a known archetype, unlike the other decks he used to get this far, but even his Arcanist deck is very unique in its card choices.
Two maindeck Unlicensed Hearse is brave, but probably correct. This wasn’t an incredibly unique decision, as it saw a lot of main deck play in the tournament. The card did a ton of work throughout the tournament and is probably among the best graveyard hate in the format.
Historic Arcanist typically doesn’t run Young Pyromancer at all, yet Yoshigoe has four of them in the main deck. Even now, I’m not sure why he decided to do this. It does line up well with Golgari Food and Selesnya Humans, but besides the Humans deck, (and maybe the Affinity matchup) I’m not sure this card does enough work. Regardless, his decision seems to be the right one.
Sarkhan, Wanderer of Shiv and By Force are some other unusual choices considering the common contents of this archetype. By Force makes a lot of sense. It can destroy a mass amount of artifacts in the Food matchup, and can wipe an Affinity board. Regardless, this is a new take on Arcanist that will have an impact on the Historic metagame at some level.
Everything Else is the Same
I did say that this article would be significantly shorter than the Standard Summary. The Historic meta has gotten rather stale, and the other archetypes that did well aren’t doing anything revolutionary. Azorius Affinity did get a huge representation boost from the last championship, but besides Unlicensed Hearse, its also running familiar cards. I hope Wizards of the Coast does something soon to shake the format up. Otherwise, it may just be forgotten about as Explorer continues to get pushed.