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Exploring Historic Options


Hello everyone. Magic Arena will be hosting an Arena Open on August 1-2. This online tournament is open to the public, and features the potential for you to win $2,000, provided you do well. The format for this tournament is Historic. Last week, I brought you five Historic decks that you could use if you wanted to enter into this tournament. This week, I finish my two-part dive into Historic with another five decks for you. Let's get started.


The Elvish tribe has been one of my favorites for as long as I've been playing Magic. Luckily, they're pretty good in tournament play. Let's take a look at the Mono-Green Elves deck that you could play.

If you've ever played an 'Elfball' deck before, you'll know exactly what this deck is about. In the early stages, you'll want to cast your Elves that help you produce extra mana and draw additional cards. Llanowar Elves and Paradise Druid help ramp you into Elvish Archdruid and Marwyn, the Nurturer. Those cards allow you to cast additional threats, filling your battlefield with a ton of relatively small creatures. You'll also want to try to resolve a copy of Beast Whisperer if you can, as this will allow you to keep filling your hand with new threats whenever you cast a creature spell.

Once you have a field full of small creatures and the ability to produce a ton of mana, you can go for the endgame. You can use your mana to cast Finale of Devastation, allowing you to search your library and graveyard for Craterhoof Behemoth. When Craterhoof Behemoth enters the battlefield, each of your creatures will get a bonus to their power and toughness equal to the number of creatures you control. They'll also get trample, which can allow you to punch through for lethal damage. If possible, you'll want to cast Finale of Devastation for a total of twelve mana, allowing you to give an additional bonus to each of your creatures of +10/+10 and haste. By combining Finale of Devastation with Craterhoof Behemoth, you get a truly devastating amount of damage.

Grixis Control

Our next deck features a couple of different versions of Nicol Bolas. Let's take a look at it.

While this deck is classified as a control deck, it's not control in the typical fashion. This version of control does what it can to control the amount of creatures your opponent has on the battlefield, rather than control what spells you allow them to resolve. Spells such as Eliminate and Languish can be used to clear out opposing threats. Grim Lavamancer offers a bit of reach, allowing you the means to deal direct damage to an opponent's creatures or planeswalkers, or even directly to the opponent, making them easier to defeat.

You also have powerful versions of Nicol Bolas that have their own means of controlling the battlefield. Nicol Bolas, the Arisen has a -3 loyalty ability that you can use to deal ten points of damage to a target creature or planeswalker. Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God also has a -3 loyalty ability, but it flat out destroys any target creature or planeswalker, no matter its size. Each of these powerful planeswalkers has the ability to dominate in a game and allow you to prevail over your opponent.

Gruul Aggro

Next up, we have Gruul Aggro. While Gruul decks were recently dealt a blow by the recent suspension of Burning-Tree EmIssary, this deck shows that they're hardly down for the count. Let's take a look at the deck.

Even though this archetype no longer has access to the explosiveness of Burning-Tree Emissary, you can still win very quickly with a well-timed Embercleave. Since Embercleave offers both double strike and trample, and also attaches itself to a creature you control for free, it can be very difficult for an opponent to successfully block and destroy a creature wielding this legendary sword. By combining the bonuses that Embercleave provides with things like Garruk, Unleashed's +1 loyalty ability, which gives a +3/+3 bonus to a target creature, and you're able to create a very formidable threat in no time.

One card I love in this deck is Sin Prodder. Since Sin Prodder has menace, it can be difficult for your opponent to block. However, most of the time you won't want to attack with Sin Prodder thanks to its other ability. At the beginning of your upkeep, you'll be able to reveal the top card of your library. Your opponent can choose to take damage equal to the converted mana cost of that card, which will cause that card to be discarded. If they choose not to take the damage, you get to put that card into your hand. While an effect like this normally is just marginal, due to the fact that your opponent has control of the situation by being able to decide what happens, once you've dealt a bit of damage, it can become difficult for your opponent to keep denying you these additional cards. It becomes worse for them if you have multiple copies of Sin Prodder in play. Plus, that damage they take by denying you these cards makes it easier for you to steal the game by playing Embercleave.

Kethis Combo

The next deck I have for you features Kethis, the Hidden Hand and a slew of legendary cards. Let's take a look at it.

Typically, legendary cards are a little more powerful than nonlegendary ones simply because they cost more mana to cast. Kethis, the Hidden Hand helps out with this by offering a discount of one generic mana for any legendary spell you cast. Kethis also offers you a way of casting a legendary card in your graveyard again and again. And while it's possible to win via traditional means with this deck, it's much more fun to win via an alternate win condition.

Jace, Wielder of Mysteries has a static ability that allows you to win the game if you would draw a card from your library and your library has no cards in it. This deck is filled with ways for you to put cards from your library into your graveyard. Diligent Excavator allows you to target yourself with its ability and mill two cards whenever you cast a historic spell. Legendary cards just so happen to be historic. Emry, Lurker of the Loch puts your top four cards from your library into your graveyard when it enters the battlefield. Tamiyo, Collector of Tales can use her +1 loyalty ability to put up to four cards into your graveyard. Finally, Lazav, the Multifarious can become a copy of Diligent Excavator, as long as there's a copy of it in your graveyard. He can also become a copy of Kethis, which allows you the ability to cast Jace, Wielder of Mysteries from your graveyard at the most convenient time.


The final deck I have for you this week revolves around the Goblin tribe. Let's take a look at it.

This deck has the capability of running fast and hitting hard. By starting off with Skirk Prospector, you begin the game with one of the most important Goblins in the deck. By being able to sacrifice your forces in exchange for one Red mana per creature (since there are no non-Goblin creatures in the deck), you'll be able to cast what is arguable one of the most overpowered creatures in this deck, Muxus, Goblin Grandee. When Muxus enters the battlefield, you will reveal your top six cards from your library and put any Goblin creatures with a converted mana cost of five or less onto the battlefield. The rest go to the bottom of your library. Since every creature in this deck is a Goblin, and all of them except for Muxus costs less than five mana, you'll likely add 3-5 Goblins to your side of the battlefield, basically for free. Any extra copies of Muxus and any land cards you reveal go to the bottom of your library to be used in the future.

Games in Magic are generally won by attacking your opponent, and this deck can attack for a lot of damage. While your individual Goblins are generally pretty small, you can quickly outnumber and overwhelm your opponent. Krenko, Mob Boss has an ability that will double the number of creatures you have in play every turn. You'll even be able to use this ability the turn you cast Krenko, as long as you have a copy of either Goblin Warchief or Goblin Chieftan in play, as both of these Goblins provide haste for your other Goblins. Goblin Chieftain also gives other Goblins a +1/+1 bonus, and since Goblin Chieftain isn't legendary, your Goblins have the potential to become quite large. If I were to play in the upcoming Arena Open, this is likely the deck I would play.

Wrapping Up

Between this week and last week, I've given you ten different decks that you can play if you choose to participate in the Arena Open on August 1-2. As you can see, there is a large variety of decks that can do well in Historic, and they include decks that are aggressive, controlling, and somewhere in the middle. Historic looks to be a great addition to Magic Arena and I'm looking forward to seeing what deck takes this tournament down.

Let me know what you think of these decks in the comments section below. I'll see you next week when I switch back to looking at Standard decks.

- Mike Likes

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