Historic Anthology V is on the horizon, which means once again, it’s time to brew three new Historic decks! I’m especially excited for this Anthology set because of all of the amazing inclusions. From the Tarkir Commands and the Phyrexian Praetors to “answer” cards like Stifle and Ancient Grudge, this Anthology has a ton of tools for new and existing Historic decks alike. You can read my thoughts on some of the new cards here; now, let’s dive into the new and exciting brews!
As I was writing my article last week, I quickly became excited about the Trash for Treasure reprint. I have so many ideas about where to take this deck. Bolas’s Citadel, God-Pharaoh’s Gift, or Platinum Angel — there were a lot of places to start making a Trash for Treasure deck. However, I decided to start with one of my favorite cards: Combustible Gearhulk.
Grixis, Rakdos, and Mardu were all options I considered as I built my first Trash for Treasure deck. However, I’m starting simple with a classic archetype: Big Red. This deck is a little different than your typical Big Red deck, though. There are a couple strategies and game plans in this deck, but the main goal is to put a Combustible Gearhulk in your graveyard and put it onto the battlefield with Trash for Treasure as early as turn three! I like Combustible Gearhulk so much because your opponent either gives you card advantage or takes a lot of damage, not to mention you still have a 6/6 with first strike in play. Additionally, you have a couple of artifacts that you actively want to sacrifice to Trash to Treasure for added benefits, specifically Ichor Wellspring and Solemn Simulacrum.
While this is the ideal game plan for the deck, what happens if you can’t get a Gearhulk into play on turn three? The rest of the deck is set up to ramp and draw cards, so you can hard-cast Gearhulk, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, or even Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. There’s even one copy of Cascading Cataracts you can search for when resolving Golos, so you always have mana to activate its ability. If all that fails, I’ve included Snow-Covered Mountains alongside four copies of Coldsteel Heart so you can play Faceless Haven in this deck as well.
The Phyrexian Praetors have been the most notable cards revealed in Historic Anthology V, so I had to build some of the silliest and most broken decks for them. When I think of Elesh Norn, the first thing I think of is Reanimator. Reanimator has always been on the edge of making an impact on the metagame, specifically in the hands of Ali Aintrazi. Will Elesh Norn and Sheoldred be enough to push Reanimator into the competitive tiers of the Historic format? Here’s what I’m currently working with:
Whew, Reanimator decks are HARD to build. There have been a handful of new cards added to Arena to support this archetype, but it can be hard to determine which direction to go with this deck. I initially wanted to include Grisly Salvage (another new card in this set), but it’s difficult to support a five-color deck with only 21 lands.
This deck can function solely by putting a creature in the graveyard and reanimating it with Unburial Rites — but that’s no fun, if you ask me. Instead, you can fill up your graveyard with as many creatures as possible and one Eerie Ultimatum or Rise of the Dark Realms. Then, you can cast one of these spells from the graveyard with Mizzix’s Mastery or Scholar of the Lost Trove to get even more creatures into play.
Velomachus Lorehold is a great new inclusion in this type of deck as well. While you might not be able to cast Eerie Ultimatum or Rise of the Dark Realms with Velomachus’s attack trigger, you can still dig for Unburial Rites, Mizzix’s Mastery, or any other card that allows you to draw and discard cards.
Sheoldred and Elesh Norn aren’t the only Praetors you should be excited about! Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger is about to start making some waves in Historic as well. Green ramp has been a powerful strategy since the release of Throne of Eldraine, and that isn’t changing anytime soon. With this specific list, I focused on building a deck completely around resolving Vorinclex.
As you can see, there are a lot of unique cards in this list you might not have seen in many Historic decklists. Nyxbloom Ancient, Spark Double, Double Major — what are these cards for? Well, it turns out I’m just incapable of building fair decks — I want to combo as often as possible!
When you have multiple copies of Vorinclex in play, your opponent’s lands don’t untap for two (or three, or four) turns. Both Spark Double and Double Major allow you to bypass the “legend rule” and have multiple copies of Vorinclex in play at once. With a few copies of Vorinclex, Nissa, Who Shakes the World, and Nyxbloom Ancient, you can produce a LOT of mana, especially if you end up copying Nyxbloom Ancient, too. At some point, you’ll have enough mana to force your opponent to draw their entire deck with Blue Sun’s Zenith. But aside from the cute combo kill, you have a solid shell with powerful cards; ramping fast into Nissa and Hydroid Krasis is often too much for some decks to handle.
I’m extremely excited to play with new cards in Historic, especially when there is a set specifically geared toward the format. This is one of the best Anthology sets to date, and many people are gearing up for a new metagame. What will end up on top? I’ll be sure to keep all of you updated with what is happening in Historic in the upcoming weeks before the Strixhaven Championship. Happy brewing!
Ally Warfield is a member of the Rivals League, a full-time streamer, and a Splinter Twin apologist. Her focus is in Historic and Standard, but she also loves to dabble in Vintage and Limited formats as well.