Hello, I'm Mani Davoudi and I will be your Desk Expert for the 2020 Mythic Invitational. With the event coming up next week, now is the perfect time to take a closer look at Historic as a format and some of the top decks we may see in the upcoming tournament.
What is Historic?
Historic is Magic's newest competitive format, and in many ways, the most interesting one. Originally introduced with MTG Arena's first set rotation, Historic was created to fill a need: players need a format where they can play with their cards once they have rotated out of Standard. Eternal (non-rotating) formats are nothing new to Magic: Vintage, Legacy, Modern, and Pioneer are all examples of the various implementations of this concept. What makes Historic unique is that it is Magic's first entirely digital format, only playable on MTG Arena. This opened new doors for what the format could become over time.
In the year since Historic's inception, we've seen the format evolve beyond the original card pool of "Standard Plus". With supplemental products like the Historic Anthologies, Jumpstart, and most recently, Amonkhet Remastered, we're seeing the potential of a format that can be molded with more freedom. The ability to hand-pick cards from Magic's past and combine them with new cards gives the format its own identity, featuring a diverse metagame of new decks as well as familiar decks with new twists.
Now that we know what Historic is, let's take a closer look at some of the top decks in the format and the roles they may play in the Mythic Invitational.
It is fitting to start a list of top decks with Sultai Midrange, one of the scariest decks in Historic. This deck takes the already powerful
The printing of
The game plan for Sultai is a dance weaving together card advantage with efficient answers and powerful threats. You want to progress your board state while making sure your opponent does not get a foothold in the game. This game plan is best facilitated when Sultai is leads off with an early
The following turns will likely consist of developmental spells like
The strengths and weaknesses of a deck like Sultai will come from the specific build of the deck. Given that you are an answer-oriented deck, having the right answers to the threats being presented at the right time will be integral to your success. This is why Sultai can struggle against decks that pack game-ending threats like
Sultai Midrange is the definition of flexibility. With the right card choices across the main deck and sideboard, it can be tweaked to have a good matchup against almost any deck in the format, making it a formidable threat and one to keep your eyes on heading into next week.
Bant Control is another deck that utilizes the combination of
Bant Control derives its power from being consistent. Most of the cards in the deck either cycle or cantrip and can be played at instant speed, allowing the deck to minimize stumbling and execute its game plan. Combine this with the most iconic board clear of all time in
Much like Sultai Midrange, Bant Control wants to spend the early turns of the game developing its mana. Hitting the second turn ramp spell is important, which is why two copies of
One of the most exciting inclusions in this deck is the two copies of
As previously mentioned with Sultai Midrange, the strengths and weaknesses of a deck like this depend on the specific build of the deck and how it answers the metagame of the event. By primarily focusing on having counterspells as answers, Bant Control will have an easier time dealing with decks that rely on resolving a single powerful spell. The tradeoff is having a much harder time dealing with resolved problematic permanents like Planeswalkers.
Like Sultai Midrange, a well-designed list of Bant Control with a good read of the metagame is a force to be reckoned with and should not be taken lightly in Historic.
Goblins as a deck owes its existence to Jumpstart. Not only did the set bring back powerful reprints like
In terms of raw power,
The strength of Goblins comes from being a multi-dimensional aggressive deck. The trio of
Unlike many aggressive decks, Historic Goblins has two game plans. The first is straightforward, using the power of their two haste-granting lords in
The second game plan is simpler, summed up in one word: Muxus. Using cards like
The ideal early game for Goblins begins with a first turn
Goblins has the toughest time against decks that can slow down your explosive starts, and then go over top of you. Because of this, some of your weakest matchups include Jund Citadel and Mono-Black God-Pharaoh's Gift.
Rakdos Goblins is not an easy deck to play, despite having relatively simple game plans. Knowing how to sequence your spells, when to leverage your resources to become stronger, and when to pivot from one game plan to another all play key roles in the success of a Goblins player. I expect Goblins to put up some strong finishes next week.
One of the most surprising inclusions in Amonkhet Remastered was
Like Goblins, Jund Citadel is a deck that follows the pattern of a fast deck with powerful cards and had the ability to quickly ramp out a six mana spell that often wins the game upon resolving.
Jund Citadel relies on having a mana-ramp creature on the first turn of every game, and should mulligan aggressively to find that start. From there, you are able to leverage your extra mana into a three-mana creature on your second turn, and a
The reason why
Jund Citadel presents your opponent with an aggressive sacrifice deck capable of large bursts of damage quickly while staying ahead on card advantage, all backed by the omnipresent threat of
Jund's biggest weaknesses come from its own fail rates—missing on
The power and potential for Jund Citadel is there, and if other players cut down on copies of
Mono Black God-Pharaoh's Gift
The latest arrival on the competitive scene, Mono-Black
Your ideal game begins with a first turn
Being a Mono Black deck gives you access to the best removal and interaction in Magic. Since it can both search for creatures using
Resilience, card advantage, interaction, and getting ahead on mana all play an important role in why Mono-Black GPG is such a strong well-rounded deck. The ability to attack from multiple angles is a recurring theme we've seen in many of the top Historic decks. Right now the format isn't prepared for this deck, allowing a card like
A Historic Mythic Invitational
The 2020 Mythic Invitational is just a week away, and we are closing in on the debut of Historic in Magic Esports. Without other Historic format professional tournaments leading up to this event, there is an air of mystery around the metagame. I'm excited to see what the top players come up with in both deck and card choices.
I'll be on the coverage desk bringing you all of the Historic action, so join me at twitch.tv/magic beginning September 10 as we watch 161 of the world's best players battle it out live in a bold new format!