There’s a new big bad boogie man in the Historic format, and it’s name is Jeskai Turns. We saw the dominance of this deck this past weekend at the Strixhaven Championships where it took 5 of the top 8, despite only have 45 people playing the deck out of 250 players. The other deck that did well in the event was Izzet Phoenix, but not quite to the level of Jeskai Turns. It’d make sense that after this weekend, we’ll be seeing a lot more Jeskai Turns and Izzet Phoenix on the ladder and in tournaments. How do we beat these power house decks? Both of these decks utilize very similar strategies, so today we’ll cover a few different options to combat these dominate decks.
Mono Black Aggro
The first deck to consider is going to be Mono Black Aggro. The main benefit of this deck is that you have the possibilities of fast starts with lower to the ground creatures that can grow into sizeable threats, as well as a host of good hand disruption that can help to deal with specific spells. The trick with this is knowing when they’re going to go for their combo and having the ability to hold up removal. Post board you get access to Cling to Dust and Go Blank to deal with cards in the graveyard.
Selesnya Collected Company
The next deck up on the list is Selesnya Collected Company. This list didn’t change much from the release of Historic Anthology 5 but what it did get was a nice addition in Dromoka’s Command. The beauty of this deck is it’s “Death and Taxes” style make up with cards like Elite Spellbinder, Skyclave Apparition, and Archon of Emeria. Our main deck graveyard disruption is Scavenging ooze, which can target key Mizzix’s Mastery targets. Dromoka’s Command can fizzle a Magma Opus dealing with our creatures as well, which is a great benefit. Post board, we gain access to Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, which taxes our opponent’s spells, Rest in Peace to deal with the graveyard, and a big uncounterable threat in Shifting Ceratops.
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Mono Blue Spirits
The 3rd deck up is Mono Blue Spirits. This deck is a deck that plays low to the ground flash creatures and a bunch of cheap counter magic and interaction to force through damage. This deck can play a very reactive game against both decks. Post board we have access to more counter magic, as well as Graffdigger’s Cage. A new option that we have to deal with the graveyard as well is Relic of Progenitus. Mono Blue is generally very good when a meta is unrefined, but it seems that the tools are in place for this deck to be a contender in the meta.
“Death & Taxes”
The last deck that we’ll talk about today is a deck that’s akin to Modern “Death & Taxes”. For those of you who don’t know, Death & Taxes is generally a mono white deck that looks to use white creatures to “tax” opponents on their spells, and are able to cheat them into play at instant speed with Aether Vial. We don’t have Aether Vial in Historic, but we do have a decent caste of Tax creatures in Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Archon of Emeria, Archon of Absolution and Reidane, God of the Worthy. Additionally, the deck plays 1 main deck and 2 sideboard Authority of the Consuls, which slows down aggressive strategies, and in our cases, steals the tempo away from Arclight Phoenix or Velomachus Lorehold entering the battlefield. Our big hate pieces for the sideboard are Rest in Peace, Containment Priest, and more Authority of the Consuls. Declaration in Stone is a nice tech piece against Phoneix as well as it can remove multiple Arclight Phoenix with 1 spell and prevent them from coming back.
The future of key cards in Jeskai Turns and Izzet Phoenix is uncertain, as we are unsure whether or not Wizards of the Coast will do anything to them in an upcoming Banned and Restricted announcement. In the meantime, try these decks out and see how they feel against the field. Do you think that Jeskai Turns or Izzet Phoenix will survive the next B&R, and what decks do you think can beat these two and still be competitive in the metagame as well? Let us know in the comments!