Jumpstart: Historic Horizons is just a week away, and when it releases, the Historic format will never be the same. The set will create entirely new deck archetypes, and today, we’ll be taking a look at five examples. While these might not be the optimal builds (the full set was just released yesterday!), these are great jumping-off points for building around these new archetypes.
First up, we have a classic deck that’s finally making its way to Arena. Slivers is THE tribal deck in Magic — it can easily snowball and quickly take over the board. Historic won’t have all the amazing Slivers that you’ll find in formats like Modern — or the mana base options — but it does have enough to form a decent shell for the deck.
The trick will be figuring out exactly how we want to build the mana base and if we can support spells like Collected Company. It’ll also take some time to evaluate all the new Sliver cards and figure out which ones are best for the metagame. I went with what seemed like some obvious choices in this build, but in time, the community will be able to refine this deck.
Worth noting: This deck looks to be extra fun in Best of One Historic, if that’s your jam. Best of One players will have fewer answers you have to work through, so you can flood the board with Slivers to your heart’s content.
Like Slivers, Enchantress is looking to assemble a critical mass of a certain card type (in this case, enchantments). However, this deck also has a combo element, thanks to the Nine Lives + Solemnity lock; once that’s established, winning the game becomes trivial.
This deck can feel like a house of cards at times, but it’s surprisingly resilient to Disenchant effects. Cards like Sterling Grove can protect your engine and combo pieces, and Archon of Sun’s Grace provides a solid backup plan.
You can technically play this deck on Arena already, but it got some huge upgrades in Historic Horizons!
First, we finally got another two-drop lord in the form of Master of the Pearl Trident. This puts our Merfolk lord count up to three, so your chances of drawing one early in the game are high.
Another great addition to this deck is Shoreline Scout: the first of the Arena-only cards we’re going to talk about today. Shoreline lets us run a lower-than-average land count and still curve out, and it’s a solid threat to boot. It also gets +1/+0 FOREVER, which means our starts with this card will quickly put your opponent on the back foot.
Finally, this archetype got a huge power boost with Svyelun of Sea and Sky. Not only is this often an impossible-to-remove threat, it also protects our other Merfolk and finds more of them. This card has been a huge shot in the arm for Modern Merfolk, and I expect it to have a similar.
Merfolk isn’t the only tribe getting new toys with Historic Horizons. Historic has been slowly getting a few new Zombies with each supplemental set, and we may have finally hit the tipping point.
Diregraf Colossus is the sort of threat the Zombies archetype was missing. While you’ll need it to stick around for a few turns to maximize its value, it’s a good play both early in the game and late.
It also helps enable another powerful card from this set: Dark Salvation. If you ever played Standard Zombies circa Eldritch Moon, you know just how impactful Dark Salvation can be. It’s a cheap catch-all in some situations, and a great way to sink mana in the late game.
The neverending horde of Zombies truly doesn’t stop with this set. Undead Augur was a Modern Horizons card that hasn’t quite seen the light of day, due to just how powerful that format is, but it could be just what a Historic Zombies deck needs. Zombies needs ways to refuel and fight through interaction in the early game, and this two-mana Midnight Reaper allows us to curve out more consistently.
Sacrifice decks have been a mainstay in Historic from the beginning, but they’ve lacked the combo finish typically associated with Aristocrats. This new deck takes advantage of the synergy between two new-to-Historic cards: Vesperlark and Davriel’s Withering.
If you cast Vesperlark and respond to its trigger by casting Davriel’s Withering, the Vesperlark will see itself in the graveyard and be able to target itself. This will cause an infinite loop that you can take advantage of with lifegain/drain cards. The deck has 12 cards that drain the opponent for one life every time a creature dies, plus four copies of Soul Warden, if you need to gain some life instead.
We also have Davriel, Soul Broker himself, which can make the Vesperlark small enough that another copy can start the chain. But Davriel also has a ton of options, many of which work well in this deck. Obviously, drawing three cards is great in our high-synergy deck, and Manor Guardian can find your combo pieces. While returning two random creature to our hand can go against the combo, this deck can do the normal Aristocrats grindy thing regardless. Returning the card with the highest mana value often helps set up the combo as well, since we can use escape from Woe Strider to easily set up.
I won’t lie — this deck is the one I am most excited to play. It’s very reminiscent of the old Abzan Citadel combo decks, but instead we have leaner cards.
Jumpstart: Historic Horizons has so much to cover that we will need another round of decklists next week to begin to even scratch the surface! So, what deck are you most excited to play with? Tweet at @masoneclark and @card_kingdom and let us know!
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.