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Ten New Brews For Historic Anthology 7 and Explorer Anthology 3



The decks you are about to see are mostly untested first drafts! They were played Wednesday on stream on the release day for Historic Anthology 7 and Explorer Anthology 3 on MTG Arena and are my first stabs at the new Historic and Explorer formats. Most are brews based around these cards that are new to the format, while there are also a few updates to previously established archetypes, but it's important to note that these are the first steps and not finished products! Use them as stepping stones for your own deck brewing process, but play them card for card at your own risk!

Anthology releases on MTG Arena are an exciting time.

Snapcaster Mage
Bloodbraid Elf

Historic has fast become one of my favorite formats in Magic right now, as a totally unique format unlike anything else in the game. It's an eternal format with no fetchlands or ubiquitous staples like Lightning Bolt, the wildcard element of digital cards, and perhaps most excitingly a place for many of Magic's fun historical cards that have been power crept out of other formats. Where else can you find Tarmogoyf, Snapcaster Mage, and Bloodbraid Elf all hanging out together again! The Historic Anthologies are the path for these awesome pieces of Magic's history entering the format.

And of course, the Explorer Anthologies are part of the path to finally having access to Pioneer on MTG Arena, although that road has been a rocky one so far.

So, when we see a dual release of a Historic Anthology and Explorer Anthology to MTG Arena, we're seeing an influx of 25 or 50 mostly exciting and playable cards into these formats, which is more than most full sets usually bring. As such, it's a very exciting time to be brewing! We get a bunch of cards we already have good experiences with, but are now placing them in an entirely new context.

This is awesome!

Today we are going to go over all ten decks I played as part of my Ten New Brews on YouTube and stream, briefly going over each list and my thoughts on how it was, giving it a letter grade, and talking about what kind of potential it has going forward. Because of the dual formats for the Anthologies, I built seven Historic Decks and three Explorer decks. I played three matches with each deck in best of three so the deck's record will also be included, but do note that these matches were played on the open ladder not during an Early Access event. I was high Platinum and Diamond at the time of playing these so my opponents are all reasonable players playing mostly meta decks.

We'll be doing the seven Historic decks first, then the three Explorer. Let's go!

Seven Historic Brews

Deck's Record: 2-1

Deck's Grade: B+

Deck Potential: Medium to High

Standout Card: Bloodbraid Elf and Rally at the Hornburg

First up is the formerly banned in Modern Bloodbraid Elf!

Bloodbraid Elf

Bloodbraid Elf was the best card in many different formats, while also being a major player in pre-Modern Horizons Modern to the point of being banned. It's since been unbanned but power crept out, but for those who have never cast one before it is quite the experience. While Bloodbraid Elf does provide card advantage and tempo, the hasted body does also see it favor being played in more aggressive decks as well.

Well let's get aggressive then!

Atarka's Command
Burning-Tree Emissary
Rally at the Hornburg

We've got an Atarka Red thing going on here, which is a mostly Mono-Red Aggro deck packed full of aggressive creatures and burn spells topping off on some big splashed Green cards. Burning-Tree Emissary is one of the biggest draws, allowing you to dump your hand very quickly while playing incredibly with The Lord of the Rings' Rally at the Hornburg, which gives haste to the Burning-Tree Emissary as well! Once you've gone wide, Atarka's Command can pump the team for the killing blow.

However, that's not to say that this deck is one dimensional.

Laelia, the Blade Reforged
Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion

Alongside Bloodbraid Elf as aggressive sources of card advantage are Laelia, the Blade Reforged and Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion. Laelia is simply one of the best cards in the format, providing aggression, cards, and scaling power at a very low cost. Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion is one of the most powerful digital only cards in the format, letting you recast your spells immediately with a well sized body.

This deck was impressively aggressive, with the only real tension being wanting four copies of Bloodbraid Elf but balancing the land count necessary for a 4-drop.

Deck's Record: 3-0

Deck's Grade: A-

Deck Potential: High

Standout Card: Primeval Titan

If you've been a fan of my content in the last year, you know I'm huge on the Gates deck in Historic.

Maze's End
Baldur's Gate
Gate to Manorborn

What started out as an attempt at a building a meme deck on my show Freshly Brewed has blossomed into an extremely serious archetype in Historic that plays a similar role to Tron in Modern. I've done tons of content and videos for the deck, which is a real player.

So, what's new for it? How about the best Titan of the cycle and multi-format all-star Primeval Titan?

Primeval Titan

Primeval Titan is a very powerful card, but without access to Field of the Dead or Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, one is left to wonder exactly what to do with it. Well gates it is! Ramping into Primeval Titan is a tried-and-true thing to do across many formats, and in the Gates deck you can go find your Baldur's Gate or Maze's End, speed up your Maze's End kill, or even just gain life with Plaza of Harmony. And of course, it's also just a 6/6 that needs to be delt with lest it gain more value.

While Primeval Titan is far weaker against counterspells than Guild Summit or Hydroid Krasis, in a Thoughtseize and Orcish Bowmasters-infested metagame it feels far superior. This deck is no joke!

Deck's Record: 2-1

Deck's Grade: B-

Deck Potential: Low to Medium

Standout Card: Sun Titan

From one titan to another!

Sun Titan

While not quite possessing the pedigree of Primeval Titan, Sun Titan has seen its share of play across various formats as a fantastic value tool. The ability to return lands as well as any type of permanent that costs three or less is wide and powerful, and what we have here is a Mono-White Prison deck built around the card.

Lay Down Arms
The Restoration of Eiganjo // Architect of Restoration
Field of Ruin

Staying Mono-White means that we get to use excellent removal from Lay Down Arms, the utility and card advantage of The Restoration of Eiganjo // Architect of Restoration, as well as a smooth mana base that allow us to play a ton of land destruction lands like Field of Ruin, Demolition Field, and even Ghost Quarter to recur with our Sun Titans and run our opponent out of lands and basic lands.

Karn, the Great Creator
Yorion, Sky Nomad

Karn, the Great Creator is a natural fit for the deck, providing us with utility, threats, and more, while also providing a powerful Null Rod effect in a number of matchups. And of course, this is an excellent Yorion, Sky Nomad deck, providing the power of a companion as well as tons of great things to blink in a deck that wants to go long.

Overall, this deck was a lot of fun, but felt a bit underpowered relative to the rest of the things happening in the format.

Deck's Record: 1-2

Deck's Grade: C

Deck Potential: Maybe Medium With A Big Rework

Standout Card: Bloodghast

Bloodghast is a very powerful graveyard recursive element that joins the format as an excellent way to utilize both the graveyard as well as sacrifice synergies.

Prized Amalgam
Priest of Forgotten Gods

That's what we were trying to do here, with self-mill and looting effects looking to dump Bloodghast and Prized Amalgam into the graveyard for some serious value recursion. Bone Shards and Priest of Forgotten Gods also presented a sacrifice-for-value element to this as well, which Bloodghast excels at.

The problem was that we ended up with a mediocre graveyard deck as well as a mediocre sacrifice deck.

Bloodghast is a great card, but this deck lacked the focus necessary to succeed. There's definitely an amount of potential here though, likely set on picking one of the paths and going with it.

Deck's Record: 3-0

Deck's Grade: B

Deck Potential: Medium

Standout Card: Orcish Bowmasters



When I did my set review for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, I was very high on the card Slitherwisp. A flash threat that played well with other instant speed cards and drew cards just felt awesome, but the card never made any waves because the quality of the other flash cards just wasn't there. Enabling Slitherwisp required playing too many bad cards, and this coupled with the awkward mana requirement basically buried the card.

Well not anymore!

Orcish Bowmasters
Faerie Mastermind
Snapcaster Mage

The last few sets have given us Orcish Bowmasters, which is frankly one of the best cards in the format and doesn't need any synergy help, Faerie Mastermind which operates in a somewhat similar space, and the classic Snapcaster Mage. All three of these cards, especially Orcish Bowmasters and Snapcaster Mage, are just excellent cards that happen to have flash rather than needing to force in weak cards.

Vendilion Clique

And then there's the new Anthology addition of Vendilion Clique, once a huge player in Legacy, Extended, and Modern, but no longer really a factor. On raw rate Vendilion Clique is certainly a reasonable card that helps to provide flash threat and disruption, but what's special in this deck is how the extra draw for your opponent is such a huge benefit for Orcish Bowmasters and Faerie Mastermind.

This one was a lot of fun, although I worry the creatures may be a bit fragile, especially to opposing Orcish Bowmasters.

Deck's Record: 1-2

Deck's Grade: C-

Deck Potential: Low with Lurrus, Medium with Ranger-Captain of Eos

Standout Card: Orcish Bowmasters

The five charms are perhaps one of the most embarrassing parts of Explorer Anthology 3, with only Izzet Charm or Golgari Charm ever seeing fringe play and Gruul Charm and Simic Charm being downright shameful. However, Orzhov Charm at least looked appealing alongside Death's Shadow.

Death's Shadow
Orzhov Charm

Death's Shadow has a good pedigree in both Modern and Legacy, although historically is a card that needs a lot of the right pieces to fall into place to make any impact. Orzhov Charm looks made for Death's Shadow, with a life loss drawback on a flexible removal spell as well as the ability to bring back dead copies of Death's Shadow, but the power level is just too low to matter.

Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Ranger-Captain of Eos

Furthermore, Lurrus of the Dream-Den is definitely the incorrect way to build this deck, as having Ranger-Captain of Eos (and maybe even Ranger of Eos) to help find more copies of Death's Shadow feels necessary. There are so many awkward life loss cards in the deck trying to make Death's Shadow good, but when you draw zero to one Death's Shadows it's a lot of work for no payoff, so having more ways to find them would be huge.

Maybe there something here, but it would need a major rework.

Deck's Record: 2-1

Deck's Grade: B+

Deck Potential: Medium

Standout Card: Sword of Fire and Ice

It wouldn't be Ten New Brews without an Equipment deck!

Sword of Fire and Ice

Sword of Fire and Ice was long considered the best "Sword of X and Y" and saw non-Stoneforge Mystic play early on when it was printed, but is considered pretty clunky by today's standards. However, the effect is very powerful, providing removal and card draw alongside some key protections.

Fervent Champion
Frodo, Determined Hero
Arms Scavenger

Cards like Fervent Champion and Frodo, Determined Hero can pick up the sword immediately, as well as wear the other equipment with ease, while Arms Scavenger keeps the material coming to ensure you hit a critical mass of equipment to turn your synergies on.

What equipment synergies?

Rebel Salvo
Nahiri, Forged in Fury

Y'all like Affinity, right? How about Affinity for equipment? Okay, maybe a bit less exciting, but Rebel Salvo is actually one of the best removal spells in the format when you can consistently cast it for one Red mana, which is usually the case here. Nahiri, Forged in Fury has some serious Winota, Joiner of Forces vibes, and the buffed version of Plate Armor is a serious power and toughness booster.

This deck is an absolute blast to play, providing synergistic aggression in a unique way. It may not have what it takes to be a tier one deck, but it's got a lot of great stuff going on.

Three Explorer Brews

Deck's Record: 2-1

Deck's Grade: A

Deck Potential: High

Standout Card: Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki

Hey wait, that's not a new brew! That's just the deck Reid Duke won the last Pioneer Pro Tour with!

Indomitable Creativity
Xenagos, God of Revels
Worldspine Wurm

Good eye!

It's important to note that the goals of the Historic and Explorer Anthologies are very different.

The Historic Anthologies just look to add new and fun cards to an already expansive environment, with no real caveats or restrictions other than "this is cool." However, the goal of the Explorer Anthologies is to help Explorer move forward as a format toward the eventual goal of lining up with Pioneer almost exactly; Historic is its own format, Explorer is just a placeholder for Pioneer.

As such, the Explorer Anthologies are less focused on "new brews" and more focused on "what Pioneer stuff do we have access to now?"

Well, with the addition of Xenagos, God of Revels and Worldspine Wurm, we now have 74 of the 75 cards for the Izzet Creativity deck my team played at the last Pioneer Pro Tour! The last remaining hold out is the one Dig Through Time, as we still don't have the delve spells yet, but this is a challenging to play but powerful deck for Explorer.

Deck's Record: 0-3

Deck's Grade: F

Deck Potential: Very Low

Standout Card: Paradoxical Outcome (Not Accorder's Shield)

Ah yes, penance for my sins.

Accorder's Shield

In my article a few weeks ago talking about how MTG Arena needs to handle getting most of the cards in Pioneer onto MTG Arena to have a complete Pioneer format, I gave Accorder's Shield as an example of a card that would easily be overlooked in an Anthology or Remastered Product, but as a card that some fringe combo deck may want to have access to. You can't have a full format by just printing two Anthologies with the top 50 cards in the format not on MTG Arena, because you lose out on these fringe deck-building tools.

I didn't expect the MTG Arena Twitter account to announce this three days later:

No, not like that!

So, to atone for wasting a slot in this rather lackluster Explorer Anthology I build this deck trying to utilize Accorder's Shield. We actually won a game or two (despite timing out one game I had a sure win), but I would not recommend this to anyone but the most deranged Magic players.

Deck's Record: 2-1

Deck's Grade: B+

Deck Potential: Surprisingly Effective

Standout Card: Risen Reef

Another one of my favorite brews returns!

Brushfire Elemental
Risen Reef
Omnath, Locus of Creation

The LOLmentals deck is a sort of hybrid aggro-ramp deck, utilizing the extra land drops of Risen Reef and Cavalier of Thorns to help trigger the big landfall effects of your other elementals. The deck is capable of getting super aggressive with Akoum Hellhound and Brushfire Elemental to pull out some turn four kills, as well as going super late into the game and drawing a bunch of cards with Risen Reef and your pair of Onmaths.

So, what did it add from Explorer Anthology 3?

Voice of Resurgence
Omnath, Locus of Rage

Voice of Resurgence is excellent against both control and grindy decks, providing two bodies in one while discouraging interaction on your turn. The issue with it is needing White mana early, which pushes the mana base in a Secluded Courtyard direction that makes it a little harder to cast non-creature spells, but giving the deck another early play is great. On the far other end of the equation is the 7-drop Omnath, Locus of Rage, which is pretty easy to ramp out and bonkers alongside Risen Reef, as each elemental you make triggers Risen Reef again to possibly find a land and make another elemental.

Whenever I play this deck it impresses me and this time was no different, with the ability to be aggressive in linear matchups and go super long when necessary, as well as an ace in the hole against both control and go wide decks in Chandra, Awakened Inferno. This one's a blast.

The Pro Tour Is Next!

Well, that wraps up this round of brews, until of course the big fall set Wilds of Eldraine releases this fall. The fall set is usually huge because it sees a big rotation in Standard, but they recently changed the rotation schedule so we will see how that one shakes out.

For me, as you're reading this I am preparing to travel to Barcelona, Spain to play in Pro Tour Lord of the Rings! It is a paper Pro Tour that is going to be both Modern and The Lord of the Rings draft, and I am once again working with Team CFB & Friends for this event which is as always, an honor. A good finish at this Pro Tour would qualify me for Worlds, so it's a big one!

You can follow along on Magic's official Twitch.tv page for coverage, as well as on all the official channels. Next week I'll give my predictions for the event, and then it's time to battle!

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