It’s been an incredibly long time since I last sat down to write an article for LegitMTG.com. I think my last one was in January of this year, and I ended it with the threat to be back the week after, and thankfully, I never followed up on that. I am not sure why that was, I’m still writing a weekly column on PureMTGO.com and for the life of me I can’t figure out what has been keeping me from writing here.
Actually I know why I haven’t been writing here. State of the Program sometimes takes up to 20 hours a week to write. While the pandemic is going on, I’m streaming more, which is nice, because I’m able to zoom my friends and play games with them on Arena. The truth of it though is this. Even with therapy, I’ve been depressed. Been depressed is a bit of a lie though, it should be I am depressed. It’s not a normal case of the sads or the feel bads, it’s just been overwhelming enough to where I can’t do everything that I want to do. I can’t pick up my tuba for lessons, despite it being within arms reach. I can’t click the link for a therapy session despite it being on the pc I am typing on. It’s a struggle to get out of bed sometimes. With that said, I’m sitting down to write about Historic on Arena right now, because my son and nephew are playing Minecraft Dungeons, and I have time blocked out to get things done. I may be living with the depression, but I don’t want it to define me, to dictate my life.
So if you’re not on Arena, you may not know what the Historic format is. It’s basically like Classic on MTGO, when that existed. It’s a stop gap on the client until other things get there, in this case, it’s Pioneer on Arena, where Classic was Vintage on MTGO. It’s a non-rotating format, and it was created to address what would happen with cards that rotated on Arena. Historic also got three separate packs of cards with the Historic Anthology series. Some of these cards are fun, like Treasure Hunt. Some of these cards are meant to take advantage of preexisting themes on Arena, like Ancestral Mask, Tectonic Reformation and Phyrexian Obliterator. That’s enchantments, cycling and devotion for those keeping track. Others were meant to strengthen existing archetypes and others still were meant to create new ones.
Historic is a weird format, and it just got ranked play on Arena, so now, more than ever is the time to start paying attention to it. WotC has said that Historic will be around for a while, but who knows if that is the case after Pioneer is on the client. It’s not like they are just adding the format in one go though.
To start off the look at Historic, I wanted to highlight the winning deck from the most recent Hooglandia Open. Consisting of players subscribed to Jeff Hooglands twitch stream, this event on mtgmelee.com had 218 players in it. Ran as double elimination it took advantage of the last Historic Anthology to shake things up and bit, and gosh, that sure did happen. In Standard, Winota, Joiner of Forces looks to cheat out early copies of Agent of Treachery to disrupt the opponent and win the game. In Historic, the focus isn’t on Agent as much, instead a little used card from Ixalan gets a chance to shine.
Ideally on turn one you cast a Llanowar Elves. On turn two you cast Legion Warboss and make a token, attacking for one. On turn three you cast Winota, make your second token and attack, creating three triggers from the legend. Hopefully the deck is in your favor and you get to vomit out three copies of Angrath’s Marauders which multiply damage dealt by 8. The two tokens and the Warboss would then deal 40 damage wrapping the game up. Even if you miss on Marauders, there is a single copy of Agent to take out a land or a block and copies of Haktos the Unscarred to make blocking a bit more difficult. Heck if you hit Agent, Haktos and Marauders, you’re still attacking for lethal as the Agent would get in for 4, the Haktos for 12 and Marauders for 8 as well as the previous attackers.
This archetype won 70% of the matches played, and got better in the post board games, but only slightly.
You can see stats for the decks played at the tournament’s information page.
I’ll leave you all with the list.
The sideboard potentially takes away Umori, the Collector as a companion, but having access to Fire Prophecy and Baffling End feels really important against the aggro decks of the format, and having a copy of Settle the Wreckage feels incredible against the mirror match. I’d like to see more copies of that there if the deck picks up more steam on the ladder. The tax that Thalia, Guardian of Thraben imposes on countermagic helps protect you just a bit as you are trying to resolve Winota, and it does make mass removal like Cry of the Carnarium Time Wipe and Shatter the Sky become a factor a turn later, which may be all the time you need to win the game instead of rebuild.
This deck is scary good, and so far appears to be one of the best decks in the new Historic.
I might be back next week, I might not be back until October, but I hope you all enjoy playing Magic!
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