With Such A Successful Weekend, Is Tainted Pact Historic’s Deck To Beat?

Tainted Pact decks dominated Historic during the May Strixhaven League Weekend. Will any of our SCG creators buck the trend?

Pack Rat, illustrated by Fiona Hsieh

Welcome to What We’d Play! With the arrival of Tainted Pact, many are looking for options 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!

Dom Harvey — Dimir Tainted Pact (Lurrus)

It’s nice to be in on the joke from Day 1.

Dimir Tainted Pact (Lurrus) went from a quirky gimmick overshadowed by the other crazy combos coming out of the Mystical Archive to the best deck in a tier of its own, with over half of MPL and Rivals League members registering Tainted Pact for the May Strixhaven League Weekend. This is the deck to beat and the deck to play but also the most customizable deck you could ever find. I tried my best to be comprehensive when going over the options in my deep dive on the deck but I loved seeing obscure cards I missed pop up in the wonderfully varied lists from last weekend.

This list switches out some of the removal and sweepers that are dead in the mirror for the anti-combo/control tools that lived in the sideboard. It’s a fine trade-off when the format is mainly the mirror and anti-Tainted Pact decks like Jeskai Control. Pack Rat is a common pivot creature by now but Hope of Ghirapur and Baral, Chief of Compliance are both excellent against other blue decks and are far more likely to survive in sideboard games.

It’s bad for a format when a deck like this is dominant and it’s bad for Arena when this happens despite the rope system preventing its namesake card from even working properly. You won’t get to play it for much longer. While you can, it’s an easy call to make.

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa — Dimir Tainted Pact (Lurrus)

When I did the Strixhaven Standard What We’d Play yesterday, I said the format was wide open and you could basically play whatever you wanted. I don’t think this is the case with Historic; even though there are more cards available, there’s one deck that I believe is simply better than the rest of the field — Dimir Tainted Pact (Lurrus). The deck is simply faster than the field and is also capable of playing a control game if required, and it’s more resilient than it appears, so if you are not playing Dimir Tainted Pact, you’d better be playing an anti-Tainted Pact deck. Personally, I will be taking my free wins against decks like Izzet Phoenix, Goblins, and anything Mayhem Devil-related until the card is banned.

I talk about the deck more in-depth in my article this week, but I would basically take my MPL version and add two cards that were banned during League Week (due to a bug with devotion) — Search for Azcanta in the maindeck and Arguel’s Blood Fast in the sideboard. This version is very tweaked towards other blue decks, but given the success of both Tainted Pact decks and Jeskai Control decks I think this is where you want to be in the maindeck. Then, after sideboarding, you can shore up the weaknesses against the aggro decks.

Shaheen Soorani — Grixis Tainted Pact (Lurrus)

Goofy, broken combo deck in Historic?  Count me in!

It is tough to pry me away from control, especially with Brainstorm back in the mix.  It takes a strong combo deck that has very few tough matchups and is amazingly consistent to do the trick.  I’m confident that this deck will suffer bans very soon, but in the meantime, it’s time to party with a bunch of one-ofs.

Thassa’s Oracle is a problematic card in competitive Magic, as it has been the win condition of busted combo decks since its release.  Without it in Pioneer and Modern, I would have won a lot less in my last few months of in-person tournaments.  The cards around it have been getting banned, but eventually management may have to look at the smoking gun itself.  In Grixis Tained Pact, it’s surrounded with disruption to ensure its resolution.  There are removal spells for problematic creatures early on, as well as countermagic that protects it on the stack.  I have been amazed by the consistency of this deck, which is hard to tell when looking at it on paper. 

Once they give this deck the axe, I will be back in the mix with Torrential Gearhulk; Teferi, Hero of Dominaria; and Brainstorm in no time!

Michael Majors — Dimir Tainted Pact (Lurrus)

You can check out my article that came out yesterday for the full scoop on why I think Tainted Pact is a power outlier and needs to go in Historic.  I don’t call for bans easily, so I hope it’s pretty clear that I think this deck is messed up and is clearly the right deck to be playing in Historic.

Perhaps in reality you should be going harder to try to beat up on mirror matches with cards like Test of Talent or even Whirlwind Denial making the maindeck, but you can still die to folks who just beat you down if you don’t draw your two-card combo quickly enough.

Tainted Pact is the deck to beat in Historic and will continue to be until Wizards of the Coast (WotC) bans something.

Brad Nelson — Grixis Tainted Pact (Lurrus)

Do I really have to spell this one out Cedric? Grixis Tainted Pact is broken and anyone who doesn’t think this is the best deck by a country mile is out of their mind. It even gets better with a Search for Azcanta, but that’s a card you can’t technically play right now if you’re preparing for the Strixhaven Championship (which is why it’s not in our list).

I really hope WotC bans the hell out of this deck before the release of Historic Anthology V or the only cards seeing play out of that will be Kolaghan’s Command and Relic of Progenitus. Seriously, I’m not joking — Historic is a one-deck format right now and you’re simply fooling yourself if you play anything else. The Strixhaven Championship is going to be so much more fun to play in and watch if they ban something from this deck.

Please ban something WotC! I’m begging you! Just get rid of Tainted Pact and/or Thassa’s Oracle; we’re better off with them out of here!

Thank you for your time and please consider playing the best deck before it’s gone.

Ari Lax — Dimir Tainted Pact (Lurrus)

Play Tainted Pact until they refund your two rare wild cards. The combo is completely out of the reasonable scope for Historic. Sure hope this card isn’t in Modern Horizons 2, or maybe singleton nonsense will be fun in that format.

Cedric Phillips — Dimir Tainted Pact (Lurrus)

What everyone else said…