Strixhaven hasn’t made very big waves in Standard but it sure changed Historic, especially in this week’s Power Rankings.
The set has only been out for a few days, but this weekend already featured the first big tournament, the Historic $5k from Insight Esports.
Don’t take these Historic Power Rankings as something definitive, as things are surely going to change in the upcoming weeks, but this first tournament already showed some of the most promising decks.
1. Dimir Rogues
The format seems much more combo-oriented now, which is a metagame where Rogues should thrive. Flash threats backed up by discard and counters is a always a great way to counter a combo deck. Look for the deck guide coming soon!
2. Opus Hulk
There are many ways to play Magma Opus from the graveyard after making a Treasure with it on turn two or discarding it to Faithless Looting on turn one. The most common one is going to be Torrential Gearhulk in straight Izzet or Jeskai control shells, but there are also decks like Temur Midrange that are trying to do the same thing. Another way to abuse Magma Opus is with Mizzix’s Mastery. It’s unclear to me which of these decks are the best, but they’re all showing a lot of potential.
3. Gruul Aggro
I say this every time a new set comes out. When everyone is trying out new decks and brews, playing aggro is always a safe choice, especially if its an already well-tuned deck like Gruul.
4. Orzhov Auras
This deck might not seem like it’s doing something extraordinary when compared to some of the other combo decks, but thanks to it’s card draw, it’s extremely consistent and these types of decks already got Faithless Looting banned in Modern. The downside of this deck at the moment seems to me that it mainly just focuses on doing it’s own thing and drawing a lot of cards, but the combo-ish nature of the format will probably need you to interact a lot more. Perhaps a three-color version with black for discard could be the answer?
I haven’t really seen a lot of Dreadhorde Arcanist decks around just yet, but don’t sleep on it. The combination of Inquisition of Kozilek or Thoughtseize into Arcanist is exactly the kind of opening that should set a combo deck very far behind, especially followed by Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger on turn four. Well, that is unless they’re playing Phoenix, in which case you better put some Leyline of the Void into your sideboard.
7. Taking Turns
I greatly enjoyed playing this deck on release day and it showed a lot of potential, but in my opinion it needs a little bit more tuning. My feeling was there should be more four-mana cards like Tamiyo, Collector of Tales and perhaps even Teferi, Master of Time to take full advantage of the eight Explore effects. I’ll certainly be trying to find the best build of this deck because time and time again, we’ve seen that the green ramp spells combined with bombs like Nissa, Who Shakes the World always make for a very powerful deck.
I’m not going to completely disregard Jund Sacrifice just yet, but it’s certainly true that at the moment, most players are trying out the new cards instead and I haven’t really seen much Jund anywhere. Both Jund Company and Jund Food are pretty slow, making them weak against combo decks, so you have a good reason to not worry about Jund in the new format too much.
I’ve seen a lot of players do well with Goblins in the new format and it seems reasonable. There aren’t very many Jund players and it’s great at playing Muxus, Goblin Grandee on turn four, which will often win the game on the spot for you.
10. Boros Aggro
Clever Lumimancer seems like a solid addition to this deck. Boros Aggro is another great way to punish all the new, slower and untuned decks that everyone will be trying in the upcoming days and weeks.
Honorable Mention: Selesnya Company
Hatebear-style decks with cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben tend to do well in a combo-oriented field as well, and this one even picked up a new tool in the form of Elite Spellbinder. Without a lot of Jund in the format, it seems that playing creatures is a fine strategy again!
Right now, the possibilities in Historic seem truly endless and I’m pretty sure we haven’t even scratched the surface. Strixhaven doesn’t seem to have changed Standard very much, but Historic is the most fun it’s probably ever been and right now is a great time to try to break the format with a new deck!