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Historic Power Rankings – 3/23/21

Welcome to the pre-Kaldheim Championship Historic Power Rankings!

In the past couple of weeks, things were mostly revolving around Standard so we didn’t have a lot of data to work with to see how Kaldheim and the banning of Uro really changed the format. 

Now, we’re finally starting to see more Historic tournaments. Most of the Pro teams and other qualified players have to devote their time to the format, so we have a much clearer idea of how the format changed.

For me, there are two main takeaways I was able to see during my testing for the Championship.

  1. There are a lot more viable decks now.
  2. Jund Sacrifice is still the best deck in the format.

Decks like Elves, Angels, Sultai Ultimatum or Death’s Shadow Aggro are some of the new perfectly viable decks. Some of them are better if you expect a certain metagame rather than in a wide open field, but the fact that we got a lot of new decks is great.

On the other hand, after playing quite a bit of Historic in the past two weeks, I do have to admit that Jund is still the best deck in the format.

Most recent changes: Angels and Elves entered the metagame by storm. There’s a rise in popularity of Jund Food and some unexpectedly good results from Gruul Aggro and Sultai Ultimatum.

 

 

1. Jund Sacrifice

Mayhem DevilDreadhorde ButcherCollected Company

 

The fact that Jund Sacrifice got no new cards in the last couple of sets didn’t stop it from keeping the top spot in the Power Rankings. Sure, there are some small upgrades like Pathways, but the mana was absolutely fine before them as well.

This deck still works like a well-oiled machine, has a very high win rate and there aren’t really any new cards or decks that would be capable of single-handedly stopping it. If you aren’t sure what to play in the Qualifier, Jund Sac is always going to be a good safe choice.

 

2. Jund Food

Korvold, Fae-Cursed KingTrail of CrumbsCauldron Familiar

 

Well, guess what, not only is Jund number, it is also currently at number two!

This deck is a little bit different. The Collected Company version above focuses more on aggression with cards like Dreadhorde Butcher, Priest of Forgotten Gods and Claim the Firstborn. The Food list is more about the mid game, where you get value from Trail of Crumbs and then finish the game with Korvold, Fae-Cursed King usually in one big swing.

Korvold is amazing in the mirror because he can’t be stolen by Claim and overall there are very few cards that get rid of it, even after sideboard. This list also picked up Binding the Old Gods, which is a nice answer to cards like Yasharn, Implacable Earth or opposing Korvolds. Binding also has nice synergy with Mayhem Devil, where giving it deathtouch with the Saga’s third chapter means that it can shoot down any creature with just one ping, something that can be very relevant against Korvold or decks like Angels.

 

3. Azorius Control

 

This deck is extremely hard to play and you need perfect knowledge of the metagame to know exactly when it’s safe to tap out and when you need to absolutely hold up open mana. On the other hand, it greatly rewards patience, practice and experience. So, if you like control and you have a lot of time to dedicate to learning the format and practice deck, this deck is a great choice.

Thanks to Grafdigger’s Cage in the main deck, you have a great card against Jund Company and all the sweepers are excellent against all the other Company decks like Elves, Gruul or Angels. The only problem this deck has is that games often take very long and you only have Teferi, Hero of Dominaria as your one big card that you need to protect at all costs. Sometimes you can run away with the game with a quick flipped Search for Azcanta, but this deck could really use another good planeswaker or something else that would grant it continuous advantage without having to spend more resources on it every turn.

 

4. Elves

Elvish ClancallerLlanowar ElvesElvish Warmaster

 

This deck got a huge upgrade from Kaldheim with Jaspera Sentinel and Elvish Warmaster. Sentinel lets you more consistently cast Collected Company on turn three and Warmaster lets you go wide, which is great with all the lords that pump your team.

This deck is very explosive and sometimes “just wins,” even against it’s bad matchups, which include decks with sweepers like U/W Control. Sometimes, you can just play out your hand on turn three and attack for lethal next turn before your opponent even has a chance to cast Wrath of God.

 

5. Gruul

 

I’m not entirely sure about the future of Gruul, since Jund Sacrifice should have a good matchup against it, but it has been putting up good finishes in the last couple of days.

The recent metagame shifts had a lot of Jund players move from the Company version to the Trail of Crumbs version, which is good for this deck. The more time you take to durdle around, the more likely it is that Gruul will be able to stomp you with a fast draw with Embercleave before you can set up all your slow synergy pieces.

 

6. Angels

Righteous ValkyrieResplendent AngelCollected Company

 

I thought this was a meme deck at first, but wow, is this deck for real! It’s probably the best Collected Company deck out there and one of the few decks that actually seems like it can have a good Jund matchup, despite being completely full of creatures!

I would normally tell you that any deck built around life gain is not going to be a good competitive choice, but this seems to be the one percent case where the deck is actually very cohesive and strong. It does have some issues though, mainly a bad mana curve, where most of your cards cost three mana and also sometimes an awkward mana base. Look out for a deck guide in the next couple of days!

 

7. Goblins

Muxus, Goblin GrandeeSkirk ProspectorGoblin Ringleader

 

I haven’t really seen many Goblins around on the Arena ladder, but the deck still remains very strong, consistent and powerful. Any deck that is capable of turn three or four kills with very high consistency is a good deck in my book. There are currently not very many Aether Gusts around and no Tale’s Ends, which were previously two cards that held this deck back. If you’re a fan of linear aggro-comboish strategies, this deck is also always a fine choice.

 

8. Sultai Ultimatum

Emergent UltimatumNissa, Who Shakes the WorldMastermind's Acquisition

 

I’ll be honest, I thought this deck was a bit too slow for the current metagame. It’s a little bit too focused on just hoping it gets to resolve Ultimatum in time, which can be very limited thanks to all the fast decks like Elves around, but it’s also been putting up good finishes over the past weekend, so I want to give it some respect.

Also, time has proven that any deck with Growth Spiral, Explore, sweepers and some expensive cards that win the game is very capable of doing well in Historic, so it’s better to not underestimate this deck and make sure you have to play and sideboard against it.

 

9. Rakdos Arcanist

Dreadhorde Arcanist (Timeshifted)Thoughtseize (Timeshifted)Bloodchief's Thirst

 

The best Thoughtseize deck in the format can be a good choice for the right metagame. Additionally there aren’t very many Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void around right now, which are normally this deck’s biggest nightmare to play against after sideboarding. It also picked up a Death’s Shadow now that works nicely with Claim // Fame, so definitely keep an eye on this deck moving forward.

 

10. Death’s Shadow Aggro

 

This deck is perfectly fine, but unfortunately it’s not very well suited for the current metagame full of Jund. Beating Claim the Firstborn is a very challenging task alone, as they don’t even need a sacrifice outlet to get rid of your Death’s Shadow (it’ll simply just die if they’re above 12 life). Overall, just running an aggro strategy with a lot of one-drops is just poorly positioned against Jund Sacrifice. This Death’s Shadow aggro deck is perfect if you expect a metagame full of control and combo, so decks like Azorius Control, Neoform or Paradox Engine, where a well timed discard spell like Thoughtseize and Duress backed by a fast aggressive draw is too hard for them to deal with.

 


 

Overall, I’m glad that there are some new decks to keep the Historic format fresh. At the same time, it would be nice if there were some new tools to help dethrone Jund Sacrifice from the top of the metagame, where it’s been sitting for a really long time now.

Good luck in your Arena qualifier this weekend and make sure to tune in to www.twitch.tv/magic on Friday at 8 a.m. PST to watch some top-level Historic and Standard action in the the Kaldheim Championship!

 

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