Historic Power Rankings – 12/15/2020

Last weekend was the Historic Arena Open, which included split entries for Best of One and Best of Three. With that, I’ve decided to do Power Rankings for both Best of One and Best of Three of the Historic format separately. If you aren’t sure about why and how the formats differ, read this article about the differences between Best of One and Best of Three.

Changes since last week:

1. Sultai Midrange

If you want to give yourself the highest chance of winning, play Sultai. Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is the best card in Historic and this is the best deck for it. Enjoy playing it while it’s still legal. 

2. Paradox Engine Combo (Sultai/Simic)

This was the biggest winner of the weekend in my opinion. Llanowar Elves and Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy give this deck an explosive start and Uro gives you something for the grindy matchups while having nice synergy with Emry. One of the best features of this deck is that your opponents often have no clue what’s actually going on and how you can sometimes win seemingly out of nowhere. I like that, thanks to Uro and Tamiyo, Collector of Tales, this deck is attacking from a lot of different angles.

3. Jund Sacrifice

Less Yasharn, Implacable Earth in the format means that Jund Sacrifice should be an even better choice than last week. I was also expecting some amount of players to bring the same deck for Best of Three on Day Two as they used in Best of One on Day One, which means a lot of Auras and Goblins, both of which are good matchups for this Jund deck.

4. Azorius Control

This deck seemed very popular this weekend and is always going to be a solid choice if you’re a control player, but I would be worried about losing to Uro and Hydroid Krasis from all the Sultai players.

5. Goblins

As usual, Goblins is also always a solid choice, especially when it seems to be less respected by the top decks and there are less cards like Witch’s Vengeance, Disdainful Stroke and Grafdigger’s Cages in everyone’s sideboards.

6. Four Color Midrange

I moved this deck down here thanks to Sultai being the better choice of these two decks and there being a lot less decks where Yasharn is important.

7. Rakdos Sacrifice

Similarly, I moved Rakdos down because it seems a lot less important to have a lot of Yasharn answers if almost no one is playing it anymore.

8. Dimir Control

I feel like this deck is still very unexplored and more work needs to be done to see if it can move higher in the ratings. It certainly had a good showing at the Zendikar Championship, even though the sample size was very low.

9. Azorius Auras

Less sacrifice decks also means that I would probably put Azorius Auras back in the “playable decks” department, though it still wouldn’t be my choice if I was trying to win. 

10. Rakdos Arcanist

I feel like this deck is missing just a little bit to be one of the top decks in the format but I’m not quite sure what it is. Cards like Spark Harvest can be extremely clunky if you don’t draw Dreadhorde Arcanist, and you have to play a lot of those kinds of cards to have something to target with Arcanist, thanks to the self-mill part of the deck. 

The biggest difference is that you don’t get to sideboard between games, meaning that decks that are weak to certain high-impact sideboard cards get a lot better. Graveyard strategies don’t need to worry too much about cards like Leyline of the Void or Grafdigger’s Cage and Goblins doesn’t have to face cards like Tocatli Honor Guard out of the sideboard. 

You can still build and have a sideboard though, so decks like Paradox Engine Combo have a little bit of an edge thanks to Karn, the Great Creator

Before every game, make sure you pay attention to your opponent’s potential companion, as this can help you with mulligan decisions. Lurrus of the Dream-Den usually means Azorius Auras, Jegantha, the Wellspring means Jund Sacrifice and Kaheera, the Orphanguard is usually the Nine Lives combo or some kind of creature-less control deck.

1. Azorius Auras

I’m not a huge fan of this deck myself thanks to it being extremely weak to Jund Sacrifice, but I have to admit that it just constantly delivers the results in Best of One. With the Sultai decks only playing two Fatal Push and two sweepers in the main deck to make room for cards that are better in the mirror like Narset, Parter of Veils, things are a lot easier for the Auras deck. Main deck Hushbringer can give you a flying creature to put some Auras on while completely stopping Goblins as well.

2. Jund Sacrifice

Thanks to Auras and Goblins being extremely popular, the Jund Sacrifice deck would actually be my pick for what to play in the Best of One format, thanks to Mayhem Devil, the Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven combo and Claim the Firstborn giving you an amazing matchup against all the creature decks.

3. Goblins

Goblins is a deck that only gets worse in games two and three, thanks to it having a very weak sideboard and other decks getting to bring in more cards like Aether Gust and sweepers. In the Best of One format, you don’t need to worry about any of that stuff though, which makes Goblins a very good choice.

These first three decks are, in my opinion, the Tier 1 of Best of One. If you want to win, play one of them.

4. Sultai Midrange

The best deck in Best of Three is still a great choice even if you’re playing without a sideboard. Cards like Thoughtseize and Maelstrom Pulse mean you have answers against everything.

5. Azorius Control

Similarly, if you’re enjoying playing Azorisu Control in Best of Three, it’s perfectly reasonable to also play it without a sideboard. Thanks to Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Cast Out and Absorb, you also have answers to everything your opponent might be trying to throw at you.

6. Paradox Engine (Sultai/Simic)

This deck has evolved into a very strong choice for Best of Three and the only reason why it isn’t higher on the list here is that the metagame is a little different in Best of One, where you can get overrun quickly by Auras and Jund Sacrifice. 

These three decks are what I consider Tier 1.5. They’re good choices, but I would rather play one of the top three decks if I want to have the highest chance of winning.

7. Nine Lives/Solemnity Combo

This deck is trying to beat creature decks and usually gets worse after sideboarding when your opponents bring in cards like Reclamation Sage, but that’s not something you have to worry about in Best of One. Unfortunately for this deck, cards like Maelstrom Pulse, Karn, the Great Creator and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria can still break up your combo and are all widely played in the format, making this deck a very risky choice.

8. Green-White Lifegain

I’m only including this deck because it was very popular this weekend. I would strongly recommend playing any of the decks above if you want to win, but if you’re playing for fun or don’t mind rebuying the entry fee six times, you can definitely give it a try. 

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