Welcome to What We’d Play! With the recent introduction of Zendikar Rising, many are unsure what they’d play in Historic. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this advice aids in your decision making for your next Historic event!
Autumn Burchett — Four-Colour Midrange
I love Yasharn, Implacable Earth in Historic. It was going to be really hard for my abandoned article about Four-Colour Ramp to not just be at least one-half raving about how excellent the Big Pig is in the format. Sadly the best home for Yasharn, Four-Colour Ramp, has been torn apart by bans, but Yasharn itself remains and has somehow become even better now that one of the few decks that could ignore its static ability has been removed from the format.
Seriously, Jund Sacrifice is wholly non-functional if this card is on the battlefield. Mono-Black God-Pharaoh’s Gift has more outs to the card, but if they don’t draw one their deck looks embarrassing and even if they do you still get a clean two-and-a-half-for-one. Temur Neostorm was primed to be a key player in the format, but nope there’s a pig in the way so their deck literally doesn’t do anything. Even outside of these important matchups, where the card is wholly unrealistic, it still stands to shut down Skirk Prospector, Phyrexian Tower, and Treasure tokens from Wily Goblin; to slow down the velocity Rakdos Arcanist gets from a card like Village Rites; or to trade with some hefty Gruul creature whilst drawing you a land or two in the process.
There’s a reason so many great players registered Four-Colour Midrange for the Grand Finals. That reason is they didn’t realise how good Four-Colour Ramp was and how much it destroys these kinds of midrange decks. The other reason though, is that Yasharn is the truth and you need a good reason not to be playing the Big Pig. With Omnath, Locus of Creation banned, one of these reasons is a non-issue and the other is even more true now than it was beforehand, making it the perfect time to be playing this deck.
Michael Majors — Rakdos Arcanist (Lurrus)
- 2 Young Pyromancer
- 4 Stitcher's Supplier
- 4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
- 4 Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger
- 2 Archfiend's Vessel
I’m still (figuratively) sleeving up the same 75 I advocated for earlier in the week. There you can read about my card choices, alongside some general tips and sideboarding notes. Rakdos Arcanist can play every phase of the game well, keep an opponent off balance, and close effectively. It has every making of a strong deck in an Eternal format, and now that it can go toe-to-toe with hate, it has no clear weaknesses.
Dom Harvey — Four-Colour Midrange
There’s a lot of sweet stuff in Historic and then there’s the generic midrange deck playing as many offensive cards as possible. Sultai Midrange was a contender for best deck in Historic before Zendikar Rising — not because Seth Manfield won the Mythic Invitational, which he could with an Arena starter deck, but because the Historic card pool features perfect examples of every role-player a midrange deck needs. The Sultai core gets to enjoy Thoughtseize as one of the best interactive spells of all time; cheap and effective interaction ranging from Bloodchief’s Thirst and Eliminate to Negate and Aether Gust; and the best finisher of all time in Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. No matter what made-up cards are parachuted into Historic, this shell has the tools to adapt to any problem.
The headline for Zendikar Rising in Historic was Omnath, Locus of Creation — as dominant here as it was in Standard. The bad news it buried was that Sultai got much better too. Yasharn, Implacable Earth does double duty against every other major deck; an annoyance for Goblins or Rakdos Arcanist and a knockout punch against Jund Sacrifice and another new arrival in Temur Neostorm. The few matchups where the sacrifice prevention is irrelevant tend to be against midrange or control where the other ‘mode’ of two Borderland Rangers in a trench coat is still excellent. The Four-Colour Midrange deck with Omnath used Yasharn themselves to dominate the Grand Finals while outclassing the other decks; with Omnath gone, this Four-Colour Midrange deck takes up that mantle and is ready to rule.
Bloodchief’s Thirst is a welcome addition, curving well with Growth Spiral or Uro and offering another answer to Nissa, Who Shakes the World in a pinch. This list has Elder Gargaroth and more cheap removal in the sideboard as a nod to a possible rise in Gruul Aggro now that Burning-Tree Emissary is out of jail.
Shaheen Soorani — Temur Neostorm
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Dualcaster Mage
- 1 Combat Celebrant
- 4 Gilded Goose
- 4 Tangled Florahedron
- 4 Sea Gate Stormcaller
- 4 Glasspool Mimic
- 1 Tuktuk Rubblefort
I’m still riding the Temur Neostorm hype train in Historic and for good reason. The suspension of Omnath will push the metagame into a more experimental phase, with players trying all the old hits of the format once again. Omnath in Historic, like in most other formats, warped competitive play for the worse. While the format regroups, I’m all about the powerful combo deck.
Not only was Omnath removed, Burning-Tree Emissary was unsuspended. This is another reason to choose Temur Neostorm in Historic, as its aggro matchup is that good. This combo can be tough to disrupt from a removal standpoint, which is what Burning-Tree Emissary revitalizes when released. With the amount of aggro that will fill the streets of Historic, a powerful combo deck is exactly what the doctor ordered.