In recent months, Historic has emerged as one of Magic: The Gathering’s fastest-growing formats. The Arena-exclusive format has seen new converts in the age of social distancing, and it’s becoming a viable option for competitive play.
If you’ve been thinking of diving into Historic yourself, here’s a quick guide to get you started.
What is Historic?
Historic is a non-rotating Constructed format that consists of all the available cards on MTG Arena. Cards from every set on the platform are legal in the format, including cards from supplementary sets like Jumpstart.
Wizards also seeds cards into Historic via small card sets called Historic Anthologies. Historic Anthologies consist of reprints from throughout Magic’s history and have included powerful cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Players can purchase entire Anthologies in the MTG Arena store or craft cards individually.
The gameplay rules for Historic are just like those for Standard on Arena. Players use 60-card decks and 15-card sideboards and can play either best-of-one or “Traditional” best-of-three matches. Historic is also an option for Constructed ranked play, so if you’re climbing the ladder but need a break from Standard, it may be a good option for you.
Banned & Suspended Cards
Historic has its own banned list, which consists of the following cards:
- Agent of Treachery
- Dark Ritual
- Demonic Tutor
- Field of the Dead
- Lightning Bolt
- Memory Lapse
- Natural Order
- Nexus of Fate
- Oko, Thief of Crowns
- Once Upon a Time
- Swords to Plowshares
- Thassa’s Oracle
- Tibalt’s Trickery
- Time Warp
- Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
- Veil of Summer
- Wilderness Reclamation
- Winota, Joiner of Forces
Additionally, Historic has what’s called a suspended list. The suspended list is effectively a separate banned list that changes more frequently as Wizards gauges cards’ impact on the format. (Suspended cards are not legal in Historic.) Since Historic’s introduction in 2019, we’ve seen cards return to play from the suspended list or move onto the more permanent banned list.
There are currently no cards suspended in Historic.
Since the launch of the Alchemy format in December 2021, Historic has included rebalanced versions of cards. These rebalanced cards are only available on MTG Arena and legal in the Historic and Alchemy formats. Standard play on MTG Arena uses original printings of cards.
Rebalanced versions of cards will always have the MTG Arena symbol in the top left corner of the card, next to the card title.
Why Play Historic?
If you aren’t preparing for a Historic tournament, there are still plenty of great reasons to play the format. If you’re a competitive Standard player, you may want another format to pick up when you need a break. Historic also offers opportunities to repurpose older cards in your Arena collection that are no longer legal in Standard and Brawl.
But most importantly, if you’re ever nostalgic for cards from Standard’s past, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to play them in Historic. As we look for new ways to engage with Magic while social distancing, a format that allows you to play your favorite cards from the comfort of home may be just what you need.
Looking to get started with Historic? Visit our partner MTGGoldfish for the latest Historic decklists.