Every few months, I get the pleasure of examining Historic through the lens of change—how has MTG Arena's "eternal" format evolved since the last big event? With any other eternal format, the answer would be not much, but Historic is unique in that regard. In addition to new set releases, Historic has received regular injections of curated cards through various supplemental releases, helping the format grow at a steady pace while maintaining a distinct feel.
So how has Historic evolved since the Kaldheim Championship? Well... buckle in and let's find out!
Enter the Mystical Archive
The release of Strixhaven brought with it the Mystical Archive—63 instants and sorceries from throughout Magic's history, with gorgeous new art, much of which would be added to MTG Arena for the first time. After seven cards on the list were "pre-banned" due to power level concerns, we were left with a grand total of 34 new cards being introduced to Historic in what is perhaps the most impactful supplemental release the format has seen so far.
In the month-and-a-half since the release of Strixhaven, we have had a chance to see the new cards in action, and they have not disappointed. Whether improving existing archetypes or helping spawn entirely new ones, the Mystical Archive cards are here to stay, which means we should get to know some of those cards and decks better.
The big story of the May Strixhaven League Weekend was
Grixis Pact by Stanislav Cifka
Ultimately the two-card combo was too cheap, too consistent, and too powerful, which lead to the banning of Thassa's Oracle in Historic on May 20. While this was a big blow to the deck, the Pact archetype is not completely dead, with
Blue decks of all flavors in Historic have embraced
Azorius Control by Julio Bejarano
There was a lot of hype around
Not only is
Dimir Rogues by Yuta Takahashi
Up until this point, the only format I'd had the pleasure of playing
One of the most powerful graveyard enablers of all time,
Izzet Phoenix by Bernardo Torres
Jeskai Control by Lukas Dusek
Being able to discard Magma Opus to create a treasure, and then use
As a well-known
Jeskai Turns by Mystmin
There's a lot going on in this deck, but it all boils down to using
Boros Midrange by Charizard_James
This deck has been putting up some great results on the ladder, but it has yet to prove itself in a tournament environment. Having access to a great suite of disruptive tools and powerful threats is not to be taken lightly, and I'm curious to see if this deck will make a showing at the Strixhaven Championship.
Inquisition of Kozilek
Depending on a deck's game plan,
Orzhov Auras by Santi Delgado
Rakdos Arcanist by JohnRamosMTG
Despite its success at the Kaldheim Championship and the new discard spell, Orzhov Auras has fallen a bit out of favor in the current metagame. Rakdos Arcanist on the other hand has been continuously gaining new tools. Both decks are still extremely powerful, and either could rise again to sneak up on an unsuspecting metagame.
The only card to receive its first printing in the Mystical Archive,
Jund Sacrifice by Noriyuki Mori
The Mystical Archive has, without a doubt, changed the landscape of Historic. Many of the top decks in the format feature at least one card from the it (or in the case of Jeskai Turns, five!), and this feels like only the beginning. Of the 34 new cards introduced to the format in the Mystical Archive, only a third of them have started seeing competitive play so far. For many others, it feels like only a matter of time before the right tools become available to give them a chance to shine.
Looking Ahead: Historic Anthology 5
I want to leave you today with some speculation for the upcoming release of Historic Anthology 5. At the time of this writing, the set is not out, and I have not had a chance to play with the new cards in the meta yet. Instead, I'd like to talk about my top five picks for cards that we may see at the Strixhaven Championship:
As a bonus, here are the top three Anthology cards I'd love to see at the Strixhaven Championship (however unlikely):
Trash for Treasure Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur Vault Skirge
The Strixhaven Championship
The Strixhaven Championship is just around the corner, and I can't wait to see what players are able to come up with for Historic. The format feels fresh, the decks are exciting, and anything seems possible. I'll be at the news desk all weekend to break it down for you on twitch.tv/magic, alongside the rest of our incredible coverage team. I look forward to seeing you there!