After a dominant weekend for Jeskai Turns at the Strixhaven Set Champion, Time Warp was abruptly banned in Historic last Wednesday. However, this ban hasn’t completely changed the Historic metagame — similar decks are still powerful, and a few other strategies are starting to regain popularity. If you’re looking to rank up or hit Mythic on the Historic ladder, I have three deck recommendations for you today!
Wait, but Time Warp was banned!
Jeskai Control was a popular archetype in Historic before Jeskai Turns came around, and as it turns out, it’s still powerful. While it might not be as fun as taking a million extra turns, you’ll still be able to play a similar deck that kills with Torrential Gearhulk or Shark Typhoon instead of Velomachus Lorehold.
This deck plays similarly to Azorius Control before Mystical Archive and Historic Anthology V came out. However, with the red splash, we gain access to additional interaction and a new MVP: Expressive Iteration. Expressive Iteration is an easy way to ensure consistency in your deck, especially when you’re playing three or more colors. This card is powerful in every stage of the game, and it simply isn’t talked about enough.
Along with Expressive Iteration, new cards for this archetype include Memory Lapse, Day of Judgment, and the original inspiration for pivoting to Jeskai, Lightning Helix. Control decks in Historic have received so many upgrades lately, it’s sometimes hard to believe they used to be the laughing stock of the format. The tables have turned, and control decks have a place at the top of the Historic metagame. If you’re a control player, take advantage of this opportunity and climb to the top of the Arena ladder before the meta changes again.
Looking to keep playing with those mythics you crafted for Jeskai Turns? You still can with Temur Creativity! This is a new archetype that wasn’t on players’ radars until it went 7-0 in the Arena Historic Challenge last week:
Temur Creativity is similar to Jeskai Turns in that it functions as a control deck with a combo win condition. During the early game, you can buy time with counterspells and other forms of interaction until you can cheat out Koma, Cosmos Serpent with Indomitable Creativity. Just like Jeskai Turns, this deck has plenty of fodder for Creativity: Treasure from Magma Opus or Prismari Command, Shark tokens from Shark Typhoon, and Dwarf tokens from Dwarven Mine. Koma is extremely difficult to deal with and it can quickly take over games, especially if you can get it in play by turn four.
If you already had Jeskai Turns built, you’ll find the shell of this deck is nearly the same; you’ll just need to replace the Time Warps and Velomachus Loreholds with Koma and more interaction. If you don’t have the wildcards for this Temur deck, however, you can also play Jeskai Creativity, which is almost identical to Jeskai Turns. The difference is that this deck leans heavily into Lorehold Command and Magma Opus instead of Time Warp. Either way, you’ll end up with a deck that is consistent, powerful, and difficult to interact with.
Rakdos Arcanist is an archetype that constantly gets new cards, but it had a difficult time counteracting Jeskai Turns. Without Jeskai Turns in the format, Rakdos Arcanist can make a comeback and enjoy some of the new additions it received from Mystical Archive and Historic Anthology V.
Faithless Looting, Inquisition of Kozilek, and Kolaghan’s Command have been huge upgrades for Rakdos Arcanist in the past few months — now it’s time to put those cards to use! This deck operates by generating card advantage against the opponent by stripping them of every useful card in their hand with Inquisition, Thoughtseize, and Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger. Outside of that you have removal spells and creatures that benefit from casting a lot of spells with low mana values, such as Young Pyromancer and Dreadhorde Arcanist.
Most importantly, the deck is packed inside a Lurrus of the Dream-Den shell. This makes the deck more resilient to spot removal, or you can continuously cast Kroxa from the graveyard with Lurrus to whittle down the opponent’s hand. You can also afford to be more aggressive when playing Lurrus because there are additional ways to get Lurrus back if your opponent kills it — that’s right, Kolaghan’s Command!
Kolaghan’s Command has largely been overshadowed by Prismari Command because decks like Jeskai and Grixis have been all over the metagame. However, Kolaghan’s Command fits perfectly in this archetype because we will often have creatures in the graveyard that we want to return to hand.
Fair warning, though: this is one of the more difficult archetypes I’ve ever played. Each decision is very important and could be a key turning point in any given game. That being said, this is a deck that will reward you heavily for playing well, so if you are comfortable with this type of deck or excel in technical play, I would recommend taking this powerful option to the ladder this week!
While the three decks above are the current all-stars in Historic, I want to give an honorable mention to a few more decks that have been making waves in the format. While they might not be the best, they are good options if you don’t have access to the decks mentioned above or just want to try something different. Any of these decks will still be competitive on the Arena ladder.
One of the best things about Historic is that players can generally get away with playing whatever they want. While you might see less of an established metagame for this reason, I’m still confident the decks we covered today will yield the best results across the board. If your goal is to grind your way up the Arena ladder with the least amount of stress, try one of these options until the next shakeup to the metagame!
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.