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Theorycrafting Historic Anthology 3

With the release of Historic Anthology 3, a ton of new things are coming! First off, Historic Ranked queues are now a permanent thing and I couldn't be more excited as Historic is the non-rotating format for MTG: Arena players. Before this, Historic Ranked was on and off every few months. On top of that? We got a ton of new cards added to Arena! With that, it's time to start brewing and seeing what new tools some archetypes got in Historic.

See all of the HA3 cards here.

Upfront, we've got one of my favorite tribes and definitely one of the ones that drew me in when I first started playing MTG.... 

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 Gempalm Polluter was a powerful card when I last played with it in standard and it probably helped that zombies had Undead Warchief and Shepherd of Rot but being able to draw a card while burning the opponent's health down is definitely something worth looking at. Especially since we have cards like Cryptbreaker, Stitcher's Supplier and Call of the Death-Dweller to reanimate. There are even enough things like Liliana, Untouched by Death and Gray Merchant of Asphodel for the late game. Zombies are slowly creeping up on the power level and could be a Gravecrawler away from being a powerhouse but even without that card, the deck seems pretty strong as long as we dodge Cry of the Carnarium

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Goblins Also got a Gempalm of their own in Gempalm Incinerator. Giving goblins another form of removal is sweet. It may be correct to go Rakdos goblins to get access to cards like Call of the Death-Dweller and add Obosh, the Preypiercer but right now this is where I'd start as I feel like losing access to something like Goblin Ringleader could be a mistake. The biggest weakness for goblins is the noticeable lack of lord effects outside of Goblin Trashmaster and adding green for Grumgully, the Generous. The tribe needs something like Goblin Chieftain or even a Goblin King but for now, this list will be my starting point.

This is sort of my attempt at an Affinity style deck but there's gotta be some kind of cheap artifact creature aggro now that Tempered Steel is here!

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The deck is going to play very all-in and try to dump it's hand early and then close with Tempered Steel and All That Glitters aka our attempt at Cranial Plating. Out of the sideboard we can bring in cards like Mystic Forge to pop off and fire off tons of spells in a turn. It may be possible the Mystic Forge could be in our main deck but I'm leaving it in the SB as I feel we'll need to grind out games two and three. I'm currently liking Depose // Deploy as a way for us to tap things down and draw for tempo or to get ourselves two 1/1s at instant speed. This could change and could potentially lead to Dovin, Grand Arbiter but I'll have to test this deck out a bit more. For right now, I really like this list as a starting point.

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Of course, with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger arriving, I'm sure we're going to be seeing a ton of him as the ramp package is insane and on top of that, we got Maze's End. I'm not entirely sure Maze's End is better than Field of the Dead but for right now, it seems fun to try. But because of the guildgate package, we're going to have weird colors due to the off-color guildgate requirements.

Ramp not looking like your game? What about an Enchantress deck?

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Spawn your army of 4/4 Angels and Sharks just by playing enchantments? That sounds like a killer deal! It's also extremely beneficial that Calix, Destiny's Hand to dig through our 80 card deck for more enchantments. It's also entirely possible that we go up to about 25+ enchantments to really get the value off of Enchantress's Presence. Although the deck can generate value, we had to trim a few corners and we're choosing to ignore aggro and that could be entirely wrong as Gruul is still in the meta and who knows what new aggro decks could spawn? If the meta is extremely aggro, then we'll have to durdle a lot less and play the respectable amount of sweepers.

Who would I be if I didn't try to build a Solar Flare deck to celebrate standard's past?

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The deck plays a tap out control gameplan long enough to reanimate their big threats but in standard's past, we were reanimating cards like Elesh Norn Grand Cenobite and Sun Titan. We don't have those cards but Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Agent of Treachery will do just fine. Currently, filling up our graveyard is the only thing we need to figure out as we don't have cards like Forbidden Alchemy or Jace, Vryn's Prodigy so I'm looking to cards like Stitcher's Supplier, Discovery // Dispersal, and Thirst for Meaning. However, Unburial Rites getting added into the format is huge and the fact that it has Flashback is what pushes it over Bond of Revival. Oh and one last thing, this deck being in Esper gives us access to better answers for graveyard hate should we need it as cards like Leyline of the Void and Soul-Guide Lantern are backbreaking!

Lastly, we have one of my favorite Phyrexian cards of all time!

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Since the announcement of Phyrexian Obliterator, I'm sure everyone's minds went right to mono-black devotion as the four additional black mana symbols will make a Gray Merchant of Asphodel hit for six damage upon entering the battlefield. Obliterator will also put a damper on most of Gruul's attack force as they'll have to sac a ton of permanents to move past our wonder blocker. We'll see if Obliterator is strong enough for Historic as cards like Teferi, Time Raveler can just bounce it and we have a ton of sweet removal in Elspeth Conquers Death, Heartless Act, and Cast Down. Lets just hope nobody plays Justice Strike.....


The cards added into the format from HA3 continues to separate Historic from being Pioneer and Modern which is really cool as Arena has been needing a nonrotating format. I'm not sure that Historic needed more ramp targets and payoffs when the ramp package is already potent enough so we'll have to see how the meta evolves. I couldn't find any uses for any of the Shrines as most of the enchantments we've gotten are just strictly better and do something immediately upon hitting the board. It also doesn't help that the Shrines are legendary. Most of the flashback spells felt kind of weak in comparison to a lot of what is going on in the format. 

However, cards like Ratchet Bomb and Swan Song can be huge players in the meta if the meta moves in a specific direction. I think Ratchet Bomb is already good as a sideboard card and is potentially something I'd look to adding into the main deck of some control decks. 

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On top of Historic becoming its own thing, it's nice to see ranked queues for Historic on all year round as opposed to the quarterly thing. Did I miss anything? Are you the one that can break a Shrines deck into Historic? Either way, I'm excited to have new cards and I'm looking forward to Amonkhet remasters! Let me know what you're excited to play and if you've found ways to tune any of the decks mentioned above.

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-Your Friendly Neighborhood AsianAvenger

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