While initially considered to be something of a “fake” format, Historic is now a very real part of Organized Play. With the Historic Arena Open, many people have started taking a closer look at the format, myself included.
Awkwardly, the banning of Nexus of Fate might have accidentally encouraged people to build better decks. Temur Reclamation currently sits at the top of the metagame and for good reason. There’s no deck I’d rather be playing at the moment. Everyone will be out to get you but that’s because Temur Reclamation is the best deck by a wide margin.
This is my personal decklist and what I would recommend. This isn’t much different than Core Set 2021‘s Standard’s version of Temur Reclamation, except that Explore provides additional consistency, Field of the Dead provides offense and defense, and Magmaquake solves the rest of the problems. In Historic, Temur Reclamation is truly a monster.
Field of the Dead gives the deck a low-opportunity-cost win condition, so there’s very little need for an additional backup plan. The merging of Field of the Dead and Wilderness Reclamation is so obvious, it makes me wonder why we played Golos, Tireless Pilgrim in the first place.
Between Field of the Dead and Explosion, Temur Reclamation is able to go over the top of every deck in the format. It has disruption, acceleration, card advantage, and interaction. There are pressure points that can be exploited but this build of Temur makes it difficult.
Growth Spiral is already enough of an issue and adding Explore to the mix further exacerbates things. Having access to both of those cards gives Temur incredible consistency. Being able to accelerate your mana for very little cost is one of the best things you could be doing in the format and now Temur gets to do it almost every game.
With eight Explores and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, Temur Reclamation is very good at putting lands onto the battlefield and emptying its hand. Using Wilderness Reclamation and Explosion to refill your hand is the typical way to go, but I often wanted something else to fill that role. Search for Azcanta is one potential option but that’s meant for longer games. The same could be said for Frantic Inventory.
I tend to dislike Chemister’s Insight in decks that abide by Magic’s rules but Temur Reclamation is clearly different. You’ll often have mana to spare and Chemister’s Insight gives you something to spend that mana on. It fixes your draws when you’re flooded and it does the best job of digging for additional lands (which you’ll need to get the most out of your Explores). When you’re hellbent, there are fewer cards you’d prefer to draw. A single Chemister’s Insight can dramatically alter a game, transforming a hand with very little into action into all business.
Oddly, one of the biggest pickups for the deck is a sweeper that saw nearly zero play the first time it was around. With so much acceleration; instant speed playing well with Wilderness Reclamation; and things like Teferi, Time Raveler, Magmaquake ends up being tailor-made for the archetype.
It’s not perfect. Decks like Gruul Aggro are able to put enough power on the battlefield to pressure Temur and enough toughness to dodge Magmaquake. In optimal conditions, Wilderness Reclamation makes that irrelevant.
Just like in Standard, I’ve been happy with three copies of Explosion. You go through your deck quickly and often find an Explosion when you want it. Flooding on them in the early-game isn’t ideal, plus this version has Field of the Dead as a backup plan, so it’s not like you explicitly need it.
The manabase has nineteen blue sources, sixteen green sources, and thirteen red sources, not counting Field of Ruin. For the most part, you only need blue and green mana early. Magmaquake is the main outlier because you’ll often have Wilderness Reclamation to double your red mana by the time you’re ready to cast Explosion. After sideboard, that changes with Bonecrusher Giant but you can afford to be lighter on red mana.
Field of the Dead warps your manabase, which makes building it slightly difficult. Eleven Explore effects necessitate a heavy land count and 31 feels better than the 30 that most people are playing. You want four copies of Field of the Dead because you want it early and in multiples; Field of Ruin for opposing copies of Field of the Dead; and to make those land drops whenever you use an Explore, Growth Spiral, or Uro.
Triomes are excellent for Field of the Dead manabases because they enable Hinterland Harbor and the like and can even cycle in the late-game if you need them to. Four copies of Ketria Triome aren’t that much worse than diversifying for Field of the Dead.
Three Breeding Pools aren’t the norm but it’s your best land by quite a bit. There are situations where you’re unlucky and will draw two but it’s rare. I’d prefer to make a Zombie when I finally hit seven lands as often as possible but that’s less important than being able to cast your spells in the early-game.
Field of Ruin is my colorless utility land of choice, although it could be Blast Zone or even Radiant Fountain, depending on the metagame. Field of the Dead is far more prevalent than Teferi, so it’s an easy choice.
VS Temur Reclamation
This Temur Reclamation mirror, unlike the Standard instance, can’t be about playing draw-go while trying to sculpt the perfect hand, mostly because of Field of the Dead. Shark Typhoon can also allow you to pressure your opponent, so the onus is on someone to make a move eventually.
On one hand, disruption is potentially more important because you can rely on your tokens to create a clock while you attempt to stop them from doing their thing, but it also means your counterspells won’t deal with their Plan B.
It’s a tricky situation but having Brazen Borrower to bounce Shark tokens, Chemister’s Insight to sculpt your hand, and Field of Ruin for opposing copies of Field of the Dead should give you enough of an edge.
VS Gruul Aggro
This matchup tends to be a blowout on either side. Either they win by Turn 5 or fail to get any traction and you win easily. Goblin Ruinblaster out of their sideboard can be annoying but all the acceleration should allow you to mostly ignore it.
There are few better feelings than using a Bonecrusher Giant to trade with an opponent’s second- and third-turn plays. Stymie their development and save an Aether Gust for Questing Beast, Embercleave, or anything else that might allow them to sneak in the final points of damage. Once Field of the Dead gets going, very few of their cards matter and they basically can’t break up Wilderness Reclamation.
Elder Gargaroth might not be the correct card to play here but it seems like an easy thing to ramp into and give you some free wins. They still have some counterplay with deathtouch, Embercleave, and Primal Might, so it’s not a lock. That, combined with the fact that it doesn’t do anything against Mono-Blue Aggro or random decks like Mono-White Auras, means that you might want something more versatile.
Taking out some lands makes sense here. You want to develop as cleanly as possible but you also need interaction to keep afloat in the early-game.
VS Mono-Blue Aggro
Overall, this is the worst matchup among the popular decks. It gets worse if they have Curiosity in addition to Curious Obsession. Spell Pierce tends to make things difficult as well. Either way, a small clock with flying and a wall of counterspells is a nightmare. When your opponent is sitting on that countermagic, Chemister’s Insight is one of the best cards you can have.
Mystical Dispute is your best card, which is one of the reasons you want four copies in your 75. Bonecrusher Giant’s body isn’t very relevant here but it can pick off something wearing a Curious Obsession. Brazen Borrower can perform a similar role while also providing a body that can block a flyer.
This matchup highlights one of the problems with Magmaquake, so you end up light on relevant interaction. It’s so powerful everywhere else that you don’t really have a choice, at least until Mono-Blue Aggro takes up more of the metagame.
This matchup is kind of laughable and one of the reasons to play Temur Reclamation. Yes, they can do powerful things with Muxus, Goblin Grandee, but you have all the answers. Aether Gust and Magmaquake are particularly great against their deck and you even have Bonecrusher Giants for their powerful three-drops.
You can play things like Grafdigger’s Cage to stop Muxus but it’s not necessary in this deck. Stopping it directly with Aether Gust will give you plenty of time, especially if they have to sacrifice something in order to get to six mana or you can Magmaquake their battlefield after.
I don’t mind one Chemister’s Insight in this matchup because of how slow their deck is. It gives you an extra boost in consistency, which mitigates the situations where you could actually lose.
At this point, I’d recommend playing Wilderness Reclamation in basically every format. Doubling your mana is just about the most powerful thing you can be doing and each format has its respective ways of abusing that mana generation. Historic is no different, so you should be casting Explosions while you still can.