- Jund Sacrifice
- Sultai Ramp
- Monoblue Tempo
- UW/Bant Control
- Monoblack Gift
- RB Kroxa
- Gruul Aggro
- UW Auras
You can now also find out what Team CFB Pros would recommend for a Historic tournament this week at the end of this article!
A lot has happened in Historic since last week. 161 of the world’s best players are going to compete in the Mythic Invitational, starting Thursday 9AM PST (at twitch.tv/magic) and the deadline to submit everyone’s decklist was yesterday. This meant that everyone and all the big teams were spending all their available time testing the format, trying to figure out what to play.
I played my fair share of Historic over the last couple of weeks, and I would say that the two best decks of the format are pretty clearly Jund Sacrifice and Goblins, with Sultai Ramp in close third. After that, I feel like there is a dropoff in power level, although I still briefly considered some of the other decks as well as my deck of choice for the tournament.
There are many players who believe Goblins is one of the strongest decks we have seen in a really long time and they are right, Muxus single handedly wins games on it’s own, you essentially have 8 copies of it thanks to Goblin Matron and the rest of the deck is basically built to enable casting it on turn 3 or 4. This deck is very resilient and gets to play both Phyrexian Tower and Thoughtseize, two of the strongest cards in the format.
I cannot stress enough how good Phyrexian Tower is. Every land that gives you two mana usually ends up being banned or only playable in eternal format, and in Historic, getting to sacrifice your creature is even usually an upside.
I have Jund Sacrifice at the top of the list, because I believe it has a good matchup against Goblins. The power of Mayhem Devil + Cat/Oven is just too good against a deck with almost no removal and interaction, at least in the maindeck. I also don’t think Jund actually has a bad matchup, whereas Goblins tend to lose to Jund, Monoblue Aggro and decks like UW Auras that get to play Hushbringer.
I have to credit Crokeyz here, who came up with a really strong Jund Sacrifice shell last week. A deck guide is right on it’s way. The reason to drop green, which was previously in the deck for mana creatures like Llanowar Elves, Paradise Druid and Llanowar Visionary is that Bolas’s Citadel is just not as exciting anymore now that every deck in the format got better and faster. Early on, when players were still just exploring the format and trying to figure out all the synergies and interactions, the idea to ramp into Citadel was great, because you were often at 20 life when you played it. This is no longer the case and your mana creatures also tend to die very often now that Jund is one of the most played decks. Bolas’s Citadel is still really strong against Sultai though, but I would only play it as a sideboard card.
Another reason to not run Citadel is that you need a critical mass of creatures in these CoCo decks. You simply cannot play a bunch of Ovens, Claim the Firstborns, Companies and Citadels and expect to hit 2 creatures in your Company.
Sultai ramp is the best Uro deck and has access to Thoughtseize and exile effects, which is very strong in this format. When I played Jund Sacrifice against Sultai, I did not enjoy getting my Dreadhorde Butchers and Midnight Reapers exiled by Cry of the Carnarium and Extinction Event. Pro tip: Your Cauldron Familiars will get exiled even if you sacrifice them in response to the Cry of the Carnaium, so try to play around it.
The reason why I like Monoblue Tempo is that I kept beating Goblins with it, in addition to all the slow control decks. Not only do you have Curious Obsession to put on 12 one-drop flyers, you also have access to Curiousity and Sea-Dasher Octopus for additional card draw to pull you further ahead while sitting on cheap counters.
Monored, as usual, is still a fine deck to run because of how fast it is. You have game against anyone, you just need to figure out what the top of your curve should be. It could be either Hazoret, Embercleave or Experimental Frenzy. You can also play this deck as pure burn, but I like to have more creatures to do the work.
UW and Bant Control are fine decks to play if you are into that kind of strategy and you can’t go too wrong with it. You will have trouble with Cat/Oven and end-of-turn Collected Company into something like Midnight Reaper, combined with Thoughtseize though.
I didn’t love Monoblack Gift too much when I played with it, but it does go around Grafdigger’s Cage, which is a big upside. I tried to find a different top end creature, but Massacre Wurm is still probably the best you can do in this format, because you can also easily cast it using Phyrexian Tower, which really shines in this deck.
R/B Kroxa is one of the most powerful game 1 decks and probably the best Thoughtseize deck in the format (thanks to Dreadhorde Arcanist), but it really struggles against graveyard hate after sideboard and there are just too many Leyline of the Voids and Grafdigger’s Cages right now.
I was really close to playing the Gruul Aggro deck at the Mythic and very likely would have if it wasn’t for Crokeyz showing the world the Jund Sacrifice deck which turned the metagame around. I was beating most decks using Embercleave and Control decks after sideboard by switching the Embercleaves for Collected Companies, giving my deck something to do right after they played Wrath of God. I was also beating the monocolored aggro decks like Monoblue and Monored fairly easily, with Goblins being close to a coinflip. There has recently been a list doing really well with Company main that is also worth a try.
I wouldn’t personally recommend playing U/W Auras, because Jund is everywhere right now and you really don’t want to see Priest of Forgotten Gods on the other side of the table, not to mention cards like Claim the Firstborn and Thoughtseize. On the other hand, this deck is really strong against Goblins, thanks to Hushbringer and them usually having no interaction.
That’s it for the rankings and now let’s take a look at some of the biggest sleepers and cards with the biggest potential.
Sleeper deck with the biggest potential: Monogreen Walkers
This deck runs 4 Karn, the Great Creator which stops Witch’s Oven and gives you maindeck access to Grafdigger’s Cage, which stops Muxus. Ugin at the top of your curve is great against many decks as well, but it does cost 8 mana, which isn’t always easy to get to. I haven’t had too much success with the deck myself, as I often found my mana guys dead in the early game and then got stuck with a lot of expensive cards in my hand, but I also believe the best version of this deck is probably still out there. One card I really liked in the deck which I believe should be a maindeck 4-of in the current meta, revolving around Goblins and Jund Sacrifice, is Voracious Hydra.
Hushbringer stops Blood Artist, Mayhem Devil and Goblins from resolving their triggers, which means that all the important cards like Muxus and Goblin Matron don’t really do anything. You need to make sure you don’t die to the haste lords + Krenko though. Containment Priest stops Muxus, Collected Company and Cat from coming back from the graveyard.
What would Team CFB Pros play in a Historic tournament this weekend?
Martin: Jund! I don’t actually think this deck has a bad matchup, though it could be really close with Goblins depending on their sideboard.
Reid: Goblins – Powerful, Resilient, Consistent, MonoColor Creature Deck.
Gabe Nassif: Jund Sac, just the deck I had the best results with.
LSV: Jund Sac, I like it against Sultai and think it’s solid against Goblins.
Huey: Goblins for me too, because Reid said so.
Andrea: Sultai. I like to play Uro decks.
Wish us all luck in the Mythic Invitational and see you guys next week!