With Uro, Titan Of Nature’s Wrath Banned, Where Does Historic Go From Here?

With Uro gone from Historic, do you play a top deck untouched by the ban, or do you try to go another level? Seven SCG creators weigh in.

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, illustrated by Chris Rallis

Welcome to What We’d Play! With the arrival of Kaldheim and the banning of Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, 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!

Todd Anderson — Jund Sacrifice (Jegantha)

With the banning of Uro, Historic will likely open up a bit. With that said, I believe most of those decks will be creature-based, which makes Mayhem Devil one of the most outrageous answers imaginable. Mayhem Devil is a nightmare to play against for anyone trying to win via the combat step. It’s a Howitzer hiding behind enemy lines, shooting down advancing troops before they can even enter the red zone.

Rakdos and Jund Sacrifice have been a big part of Historic for a while now, and they even thrived during the time where Uro dominated. The creatures are resilient, the engines are tough to interact with, and some of the spells are just impossible to beat on any fair level. If you’re going to be casting creatures, just know that all variations of this deck will be a nightmare to play against.

If you played this deck while it was in Standard, it’s mostly the same stuff except for Collected Company. If you’re big sad about Cauldron Familiar getting the axe, pick up this deck in Historic and give it a try because it’s excellent. Collected Company really gave it a boost, and changed how the deck operates on a fundamental level. That burst of two creatures often leads to powerful interactions like turning on Priest of Forgotten Gods or Mayhem Devil and Cauldron Familiar when Witch’s Oven is already active. This is one of the better Collected Company decks I’ve ever seen.

Michael Majors — Rakdos Sacrifice (Jegantha)

What that means is that one should expect mirror matches and hate.  In these types of situations where mirrors are going to be a big part of a metagame, I usually like to go bigger.  One could argue that’s a case for Collected Company, but I also really like casting my spells, and now that Blightstep Pathway is around, the deck’s mana is near flawless and can easily support a couple of Castles to help mitigate flood.

What I’m trying instead is Stitcher’s Supplier.  I’ve been fond of the Rakdos Arcanist deck in Historic for some time, and Supplier can do some similar turbo charging of Rakdos Sacrifice — finding you Cauldron Familiar to get Cat/Oven online or digging to various escape creatures or Scrapheap Scrounger.  To that end, I’ve added a Kroxa which is a nice general up-tick in power in a new metagame.  Another one-mana creature is also welcome alongside Priest of Forgotten Gods.

What I’m missing is Dreadhorde Butcher, a card which could be a disaster when Claim the Firstborned, and is somewhat of an oddball as a hyper aggressive piece in an oftentimes synergy/engine deck.  That said, you’ll miss it against hate like Grafdigger’s Cage and Leyline/Rest in Peace so be malleable towards the metagame.

I’m playing two Fatal Push as a nod to Yasharn.  If Yasharn doesn’t end up popular and the mirror stays prevalent, play more Abrades.

The sideboard is a mixed bag of hedging and you should adjust it rapidly as needed.  Thoughtseize, Abrade, and Feed the Swarm are all pretty self explanatory — hedge against your opponents playing hate against you as appropriate, but don’t over sideboard. Leyline of the Void is good against the mirror — A+ content here, I know — while Angrath and the extra Kroxa are strong against control when your creature interaction is weak.

The actually interesting piece is Immersturm Predator.  There’s a good chance this breaks open the mirror match completely, it can’t be beat up by hate, and it can’t be removed by any of the popular removal spells, Claim the Firstborn, and also serves as disruption against opposing Cat combos (although it’s pretty weird to leave up indefinitely and kind of unreliable, every bit helps).  You can even bring it in as a hedge against control and/or various pieces of hate as it’s another resilient threat.  On paper, it kind of does it all, but time will tell.

Regardless, this deck is consistent and does powerful things, so I suspect it will have a target on its head for quite a while.  You’ll just need to adjust the flex slots on the fly to keep up.

Shaheen Soorani — Azorius Control

With the inevitable fall of Uro, control needs a new plan.  It’s no secret that the Azorius Senate is my safe place, a group of spells that showcases the power control once wielded not too long ago.  Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is as good as it gets for control and the supporting cast of characters improved greatly with the release of Kaldheim.

Doomskar gains strength in this older format, as the aggressive clock hastens with more powerful threats in the early-game.  There’s a deficit in one- and two-drops in Standard that does not exist in Historic, so the need for a Turn 3 sweeper is much higher.  Saw It Coming replaces Absorb to increase the power of Doomskar, and the downside of missing lifegain has not been too punishing in my limited play with the deck.  If the bluff and minor cost reduction aspect are not worth the life loss, then we swap right back.

The other big change was moving Narset, Parter of Veils to the sideboard in favor of additional foretell cards, namely Behold the Multiverse.  I’ve been heavily impressed with this source of card advantage and it adds to the power of the other foretell cards in the deck.  I’ll be running this version of Azorius Control to start with, but I’m always eyeing the Gideon of the Trials + Pact of Negation variant as a powerful alternative. 

One thing is for certain — Azorius Control got a boost from the removal of Uro and I intend to see how far it can move up the metagame ladder.

Autumn Burchett — Jund Sacrifice (Jegantha)

It’s going to be interesting seeing where Historic heads now that Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath has been forcibly removed from the format, though personally I expect very little to change.

The three top decks before this banning were Sultai Midrange, Gruul Aggro, and Jund Sacrifice. Gruul and Jund became top decks because they were favoured against Sultai whilst putting pressure on the rest of the format, and whilst it’s certainly possible that Sultai disappearing provides a window for other decks to rise, it will be challenging. Jund pressures aggressive decks just as much as Sultai’s Uros did, whilst any combo deck that hopes to thrive with Thoughtseize on the decline still must race Gruul Aggro’s terrifying starts.

I’m not saying we won’t see other decks rise now, and we may see old favourites be tuned different ways with Sultai gone (I know I’m excited to start messing around with Mono-Red Goblins builds), but anything trying to break into this top tier has a tough gauntlet to face. Even with Uro gone from the format, what I said in last week’s Historic What We’d Play remains true and I’d still just play either Gruul Aggro or a Sacrifice strategy in Historic right now.

Personally, even though I have more experience with Gruul, my inclination would be to register Jund Sacrifice (Jegantha) instead. I think it has a very slight edge against Gruul, which is appealing, and I anticipate a lot of people trying out creature strategies that struggled against Uro now that that card is banned. Mayhem Devil and Claim the Firstborn are the perfect ways to exploit that.

Ari Lax – Azorius Control

Level 0: Everyone will play a Rakdos or Jund Sacrifice deck. There will be a million Claim the Firstborns and Mayhem Devils. You can’t play Kor Spiritdancer against the first one, and you can’t play Muxus, Goblin Grandee against the second one. Sad face for the most fun decks in Historic.

Level 0, Part 2: People will play Gruul decks.

Level 1: That’s a lot of creatures and a lot of reasons to not play creatures. Time to play some Azorius piles.

Grafdigger’s Cage remains good, cutting off Collected Company, Scrapheap Scrounger, and Muxus. Narset, Parter of Veils is way worse than when Brad Barclay won the Zendikar Rising Championship without Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and Hydroid Krasis as primary threats. I think I only want some Doomskar since there’s a lot of good two-drop action in this deck, but that’s fine because this seems like a metagame where you want more than four Wrath of God effects. I probably have too many copies of Cast Down or Shark Typhoon, but that can get figured out as the format resolves.

At least until people get pushed off the Cauldron Familiar decks, this is where I want to be. I have some ideas of where to go after that point, but that’s a discussion for the future.

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa — Jund Sacrifice (Jegantha)

While the Uro ban is likely to have a strong impact in Historic, since it kills what has arguably been the best and most popular deck throughout the entire existence of the format, I don’t believe the immediate impact will be to dislodge the decks that were, alongside Sultai Midrange, the two best decks in the format — Gruul Aggro and Jund Sacrifice.

I go more in depth about how I think the format is going to evolve in my article this week, but the gist of it is that, though I believe new decks might emerge to fill that gap in Tier 1 in the long run, the two best decks are strong enough to stop a radical change from happening immediately. 

To me, in the absence of more information on how the format will evolve, it makes sense to me to play one of the decks that were the best before and that didn’t lose anything. They’re both proactive decks that have the ability to win versus random things, so even if the format does go in a particularly different direction very quickly, it’s unlikely these decks will suddenly become bad this weekend since they aren’t that easy to punish.

Last week, I chose Gruul Aggro because I thought we were going to see a gradual increase in the number of Four-Color Midrange decks. I thought Jund Sacrifice was a slightly better deck, but I was worried about specifically Yasharn, Implacable Earth as a reaction to the popularity of Jund Sacrifice, so I chose the deck that did not care about that card. Now that Uro is banned, there’s no real home for Yasharn, so my choice would be Jund Sacrifice again. 

I’ve changed my sideboard to reflect the fact that I don’t expect to have to kill Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Yasharn, Implacable Earth anytime soon. Noxious Grasp was the best removal spell before, but now it feels more important to be able to kill things in the mirror and against Mono-Red Goblins, so I’d rather play four copies of Abrade, and a card like Fatal Push is not outside the realm of possibility. I also have two copies of Reclamation Sage and one Vraska, Golgari Queen because I expect Azorius Control to rise a little in popularity.

If someone does cast Yasharn against me, they will basically win on the spot since I have no answer, so I’m hoping that a deck like Selesnya Company doesn’t explode in popularity all of a sudden. If the format does evolve in a way that you need Yasharn answers, you might need to go back to Noxious Grasp (or Heartless Act or Murderous Rider), but right now I think you’re mostly fine with this configuration.

Dom Harvey — Jund Sacrifice (Jegantha)

There were two archetypes that have seen consistent success in Historic — Sultai/Four-Colour Midrange and Rakdos/Jund Sacrifice. The first received a body blow with the ban of Uro and the second received a welcome upgrade to its manabase with the final batch of Pathways in Kaldheim. Jund Sacrifice used to need Dragonskull Summit to get the required number of red sources, which in turn mandated playing the full twelve Jund shocklands and taking costly damage against aggressive decks. The Pathways are ideally suited to the light splash for Collected Company — you get more pain-free, untapped black or red sources that can still contribute to casting Company if you can afford to plan ahead.

The sideboard reflects an expected focus on creature decks — not just the mirror but Gruul Aggro, which was already gaining momentum in Uro’s final days; Goblins, always lurking and ready to take a tournament by storm; and Rakdos Arcanist, another big winner from Kaldheim thanks to Blightstep Pathway if nothing else. Lovestruck Beast is the ideal defensive creature and Company hit against Gruul while Leyline of the Void is a lethal weapon against Rakdos Arcanist as well as fringe decks like the various takes on God-Pharaoh’s Gift.