Are you sick of your favorite decks rotating out of Standard? Do you want to play with some of the most powerful cards available on MTG Arena? Want to flex your creative muscles and brew unique decks? If you answered “Yes” to any of these then the new Historic format is for you. MTG Arena’s version of the wildly popular “Modern” format, Historic lets you use any card that has been implemented in the game.
This means any cards from Amonkhet and beyond are legal to use. Additionally, a new collection of cards is available in the Store for 3,400 Gems or $19.99. These cards cannot be unlocked in any booster pack currently available, so we strongly suggest you purchase this bundle of cards. They cannot be unlocked via Wildcards, making them only accessible via the Store.
Keep in mind, Historic is still a very new format so don’t be afraid to experiment with different decks. Our list will certainly miss some great decklists, especially if older cards continue to get introduced via Anthology Bundles. Below are several archetypes and decks we feel have the best potential in the format, so consider starting here if you’re new to Historic!
Let’s begin with the bane of Standard and perhaps the best control deck available in Historic. Esper Control is a force to be reckoned with that boasts strong card advantage and removal, allowing a skilled player to quickly take over the game. Thanks to the abundance of dual lands in the format, you can easily cast multiple mana pip cards such as Kaya’s Wrath, Absorb, and Bolas’s Citadel. This may take a bit of fine-tuning depending on what lands you own, so make sure to note what cards you’re having trouble casting during games. Your main win condition is using Teferi, Hero of Dominaria’s ultimate or bludgeon a player to death with a creature such as Brazen Borrower or Thief of Sanity. This deck is absurdly powerful since it utilizes the absolute best control cards to ever enter MTG Arena’s Standard format. If you like to play the long game then Esper Control is for you!
Surprising no one, Mono-Red is a mainstay of almost every format in Magic: The Gathering. There are a lot of directions you can take this deck, but we are going to focus on Aetherhub user’s LegendVD’s Hidetsugu’s variation. Combining early aggression with powerful burn spells, Mono-Red can quickly reduce an opponent’s health to zero. Shock, Lightning Strike, and Skewer the Critics are our core burn cards, allowing us to either remove problematic creatures or finish off our foe. Goblin Chainwhirler can take out an entire board of creatures while Electrostatic Field acts as a blocker and incremental damage dealer. All of this is building up to casting Hidetsugu’s Second Rite, killing your opponent instantly if they have 10 life.
A personal favorite, Gruul Aggro is a superb deck that can apply early pressure, while still remaining viable in the mid to late game. This is thanks to cheap, aggressive creatures such as Pelt Collector, Burning-Tree Emissary, Zhur-Taa Goblin, and Gruul Spellbreaker. If the game goes long, Questing Beast and Rekindling Phoenix can make short work of your opponent’s life total. Embercleave is terrific for surprising opponents with a burst of additional damage. With the deck curving out at around 4 mana, Gruul Aggro can quickly establish a presence in the face of board wipes or other removal spells. Just make sure to sideboard cards like Veil of Summer when dealing with counterspells!
Ready for something really degenerate? Simic Nexus is a combo deck that revolves around using Wilderness Reclamation to gain a ton of mana so you can cast Nexus of Fate and get an extra turn. You then spend your free turn casting either another Nexus of Fate or increasing the loyalty of your various planeswalkers. It’s a methodical, slow playstyle that grinds the game to a complete halt. However, it’s exceptionally effective due to the sheer amount of card draw and ramp in this deck. There’s a very good reason this was one of the top played decks during its Standard reign of terror.