Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / Meme or Dream? No-Sideboard Historic Rats

Meme or Dream? No-Sideboard Historic Rats

A few months ago, Wizards started publishing decklists from Magic Arena. To qualify for publication, a deck needs to win at least six matches in a row at platinum rank or better. This sounds simple on its face, but some incredibly janky lists end up being posted every time lists are published. This has led to speculation that a bug in the system allows decks that didn't actually win six matches in a row to be published or, for the most tin-foil-hatted crowd, the idea that Wizards just publishes whatever it wants, to make the metagame look more diverse than it really is. 

This week, we're heading to Historic to play one of the most underappreciated (and apparently two-drop-heavy) tribes in Magic: Rats, complete with 10 copies of Rat Colony! While we're lacking as sideboard like usual on Meme or Dream? we do have 60 cards in the main deck and 24 lands, which should be enough to allow us to cast our spells. That said, Rats aren't really known as a powerhouse tribe. I mean, have you ever seen a Piper of the Swarm or Rat Colony on the battlefield in Historic? Me neither. While Rats winning six matches in a row at platinum or better might seem like a long-shot, there are some reasons to think the deck can at least win some matches, especially Pack Rat, which has proven its ability to take over the game all by itself if the opponent doesn't have an answer. Is it really possible that Rats could be competitive in Historic? Is Rat Colony and friends a meme or a dream? Let's play some matches and find out!

Loading Indicator

Post-Match Thoughts

  • First off, we actually finished 3-3 with Rats, which is a surprisingly strong record, enough to qualify as a dream!
  • As we theorized during the deck tech, the true power of the deck is Pack Rat, which was responsible for many of our wins, although Piper of the Swarm was a sneaky stand-out in the deck. Giving our Pack Rats and Rat Colony menace proved essential for pushing through enough damage to close out the game. And while 1/1 Rat tokens might not seem like much since they pump Pack Rat and Rat Colony, they are much better than they look at first glance!
  • While the deck worked a lot better than I expected (or at the very least, won much more often than I expected), we still can do several things to improve it. First, add a sideboard. Even if you are a free-to-play player and don't have wildcards for the best sideboard options, tossing whatever random discard and removal spells you have in your collection into the sideboard will improve the deck. An ideal sideboard probably involves some copies of Fatal Push or Bloodchief's Thirst; Grafdigger's Cage or Leyline of the Void; Duress; and maybe Crippling Fear
  • Second, maybe the biggest issue we had with the deck is that our curve is so two-drop heavy. We had a lot of games where we did nothing on Turn 1, played a two-drop on Turn 2, and then played another two-drop on Turn 3. In theory, we have six mana to spend across the first three turns of the game, but we were usually only spending four, letting two mana go to waste. Adding more one-drops would help us use our mana more efficiently and help to smooth out our curve.
  • But what one-mana plays might we want? The big answer is Thoughtseize. Thoughtseize might be the best card in Historic, and it's also an old Standard trick for maximizing the potential of Pack Rat. If we can Thoughtseize on Turn 1, take a removal spell, and follow it up with Pack Rat on Turn 2, the odds that our Pack Rat will live and snowball itself into a game win will go up significantly. 
  • Last but not least, we have our mana base. While the current mana base is perfectly fine (especially for a budget mana base) and allows us to cast our spells, we can get a lot more value out of our lands if budget isn't a concern. Going up to four copies of Castle Locthwain seems like an easy upgrade. Another exciting possibility is playing Snow-Covered Swamps and adding Faceless Haven to the mix. The land seems oddly perfect for the deck, not just because we can easily afford a few colorless lands but also because it's a Rat, so it pumps Pack Rat and Rat Colony and gains menace from Piper of the Swarm.
  • Putting this all together, here's the version of Rats I would run (assuming budget isn't a concern):

Loading Indicator


Anyway, that's all for today! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

More in this Series

Show more ...

More on MTGGoldfish ...

Image for Historic 101: Spooky Scary Spirits historic 101
Historic 101: Spooky Scary Spirits

Its time for these spoooooky spirits to haunt Historic!

Apr 10 | by TheAsianAvenger
Image for The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy Viewer Decks (April 4-10, 2021) fish tank
The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy Viewer Decks (April 4-10, 2021)

What sweet decks did viewers submit this week? Let's find out!

Apr 10 | by SaffronOlive
Image for Commander 2021 Spoilers: Witherbloom Witchcraft New Cards & Decklist commander 2021
Commander 2021 Spoilers: Witherbloom Witchcraft New Cards & Decklist

Witherbloom Witchcraft New Cards & Decklist!

Apr 10 | by mtggoldfish
Image for Much Abrew: Toski Tokens (Modern) much abrew about nothing
Much Abrew: Toski Tokens (Modern)

Can cards like Lingering Souls, Spectral Procession, and Bitterblossom maximize Toski's potential in Modern? Let's find out!

Apr 9 | by SaffronOlive

Layout Footer

Never miss important MTG news again!

All emails include an unsubscribe link. You may opt-out at any time. See our privacy policy.

Follow Us

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Twitch
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Discord
  • YouTube

Price Preference

Default Price Switcher