A Little Historic, a Lot of Modern

Time Warp was Banned in Historic Last Week

Time Warp… Clearly the problem

… But we recorded this episode before that was announced.

So opener is discussion on a now-defunct Jeskai Turns deck. Hopefully everything else on that topic (structure of the deck’s engine, other key cards) makes sense though!

Speaking of which…

Commence the Endgame is a key over-performer

Commence the Endgame
Commence the Endgame

Forget about how folks are ultimately abusing their Izzet-engines for a second. Yes, yes… Time Warp itself might not be legal any more but the rest of the Jeskai Turns deck — which shares 50% or more of its DNA with Jeskai Control or even Izzet Phoenix — works just fine.

On that note, Commence the Endgame is a perfectly positioned sideboard card.

  • With Fry such an important sideboard card, the fact that Commence the Endgame makes a black Zombie turns off Fry.
  • Cycling a Shark Typhoon is a two-for-one. Commence the Endgame is a three-for-one! Key for grinding.
  • Speaking of which, sideboard games are all about grinding. Commence the Endgame is great for that while ignoring the opponent’s Aether Gust (again the creature is black) and Mystical Dispute (while the spell is blue, it can’t be countered)

Modern Horizons 2 is Already Making Huge Waves in Modern

  • Should Counterspell be played in the main deck of Merfolk?
  • Tron was NOT a big winner. Modern Horizons 2
  • Domain Aggro is one of the most exciting new-old archetypes. Vigilant Knight of the Reliquary and the many tricks of Scion of Draco are killer incentives
  • Damn or Damnation? Damn or Go for the Throat for that matter!
  • Chaining The Underworld Cookbook
  • Gingerbread Cabin in Urza decks?
  • Cursed Totem is the coolest catch-all sideboard card

So there is a LOT going on in Modern thanks to Modern Horizons 2. Consequently… The format is fresher than it has been in long months.

Direct Download

Egon, God of Death in Historic

So What Makes Egon, God of Death so Good in Historic StOmPy?

Egon, God of Death
Egon, God of Death
  • Starting on Llanowar Elves, Historic StOmPy is already optimized to hit three drops, so Egon, God of Death is 100% on-plan
  • In fact, already welcoming Rotting Regisaur, StOmPy has an established black splash
  • Between its size and deathtouch, Egon is a great mid-combat Collected Company hit
  • Egon makes The Great Henge cheaper (of course)… But after, The Great Henge can keep Egon going. This is kind of weird since The Great Henge loves hand and Egon devours graveyard, but maybe you’ll be playing so many cards that the opponent will have to react or die anyway
  • Its a nice new addition to a Pelt Collector’s evolution… Think Steel-Leaf Champion; Egon, God of Death; Rotting Regisaur for 5-6-7
  • Finally, Egon is a table-snapping combo with Rhonas, the Indomitable. Or, “they always take seven”. Trample + deathtouch and all that.

Throne of Death (the opposite number to Egon, God of Death) is Part of the Range, too…

Egon, God of Death // Throne of Death
Throne of Death

Typically, the mill doesn’t matter.


Sometimes you’ll hit your own Resilient Khenra.

Throne of Death is an excellent tool for grinding an opponent with a lot of one-for-one removal. Essentially, they kill your creatures; you draw a ton of extra cards… They run out waaaaay before you do.

And the rest of the emerging Historic Decks

We start on StOmPy… But hit a ton of other archetypes this week. So many burning questions will be answered, like:

  • Is Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose in Historic Angels just a meme deck?
  • Why does Mike hate about Historic Jund?
  • Is the heretofore-unmentioned Captain Sisay deck just sweet, or possibly good?
  • What makes Dreadhorde Arcanist the deck of the week?
  • Which version of Bant Collected Company is more exciting? Angels or Party?
  • Can there be even more in-depth discussions of even more decks? Spoiler: Yes.

Check out the latest episode now!

Direct Download

The Rest of the Historic Decks

These Historic Decks Make Mike’s Favorite Kind of Format

Historic right now is “Mike’s favorite kind of format.”

That is, a format with a generally agreed-upon and relatively dominant best strategy… But still some room. The best of the Historic decks give you something to aim at.

The dominant Historic decks of course revolve around:

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

And to a lesser extent…

Yasharn, Implacable Earth

In the past, we might talk about Rock-Paper-Scissors.

When Rock is dominant… Can you be Paper that sideboards into Scissors?

What about Paper that wins the Paper mirror?

How might you prepare for the current Historic, knowing what we know?

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (again)

Cynically, both Mike and Patrick would err on the side of making the best Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath deck.

Uro is card advantage, beatdown resistance, and a way to win all at once!

It makes grinding difficult; and has inherent resilience against both permission and removal. Fair decks? No thanks! (probably)

Here’s something they respect, though:

Commit // Memory

Commit can interact with cards like Uro without actually putting them into the graveyard (where they can set up card advantage). But more than that, the Memory back-side can actually zero out the opponent’s graveyard, blunting future Escape shenanigans.

Don’t forget the sweet interaction with Torrential Gearhulk!

Don’t Sleep on…

  • Simic (or Sultai) Paradox Engine – Super high ceiling on this archetype, which has a Kethis, the Hidden Hand feel. None other than GOAT Kai Budde is an advocate!
  • Forsaken Monument – A powerhouse colorless deck with a Mirari’s Wake feel. Like many, it may just be better with Uro, though.
  • Gruul Aggro – Or “Main Phase Collected Company dot dec” according to Patrick. Probably the sweetest deck outside of the Uro archetypes, it can lean on Klothys, God of Destiny or the awesome power of Embercleave.
  • Golgari StOmPy – Great internal plans and synergies; though it might just not be the right time.
  • Dimir Control – Another Hall of Famer favorite! For those who want to re-run Commit // Memory at instant speed. With Narset, Parter of Veils in play, natch.

Check out “The Rest of the Historic Decks” now!

Direct Download

What’s So Exciting About Yasharn, Implacable Earth?

Yasharn, Implacable Earch

Yasharn, Implacable Earth: Not Just for Standard Any More

The last time we saw Yasharn, it was a novel 4/4 for four mana… A little bit of card advantage, but a lot of resistance specifically for the toys surroundings Doom Foretold.

We liked it back when we first saw it in Standard… But it turns out this Legendary Elemental Boar might have more value in Historic!

Let’s Break Down Yasharn’s Rate of Return

  • Yasharn, Implacable earth is a 4/4 creature for four mana – “I’m listening.” Noting to write home about, though.
  • Search your library for a basic Forest and a basic Plains… Mages various have been paying four mana for two cards since Inspiration. In Standard, Hieroglyphic Illumination, Glimmer of Genius, and countless other variations have all been Staple. At sorcery speed (and only ever getting two basics) Yasharn is in a weaker pure card drawer than any and all of those cards. Counterpoint: This ability is attached to what’s already a 4/4 for four mana.
  • And then there’s that last line. How do you evaluate the rate of return on that sacrifice hating ability? It’s a bonus against some of the cards in a Doom Foretold deck in Standard… But what if people aren’t trying to get you by sacrificing permanents?

Yasharn, Implacable Earth in Context

Mike seems kind of fixated on getting down a body to block. And we suppose you could do worse than four toughness to defend yourself. But as potentially effective against creatures Yasharn is… It seems like the card in Historic has a more specific enemy:

We like Yasharn great; and the versions with extra copies of Yasharn in the sideboard even better.

The white splash for the Historic Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath decks seems justified, if only for a single spell; this one is so good.


  • Tons of Standard
  • Azorius in Historic
  • The uncommon artifact that made Autumn’s Goblins deck so advantageously exciting.

Listen now!

Direct Download

Aetherworks Marvel is the Biggest Game in Kaladesh Remastered

Remember Aetherworks Marvel?

Aetherworks Marvel…
coming to a Historic near you!

Aetherworks Marvel is going to shake up Historic.

But it’s important to realize that this card’s mischief is highly contingent on what Energy cards get printed alongside it.

But don’t worry about that! Staples like Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot and Aether Hub are going to be ready to power up that Energy.

So What are You Going to Do with Your Aetherworks Marvel?

The “traditional” approach is to get powerful permanents onto the battlefield. Some examples include Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.

Ugin, in particular, seems like a great hit [for four mana]. In particular, you can use Ugin’s “minus” ability and leave your Marvel!

But the “new” approach might be even more exciting. Modal Double-Faced lands are amazing includes. Almost any of them can potentially be useful (because they allow you to play untapped mana while reducing the number of potential “misses” with your Aetherworks Marvel)… But the blue and green versions are simply awesome.

Your’re playing Rogue Refiner anyway, aren’t you?

Remember: Turntimber Symbiosis is taking the place of a Forest

Turntimber Symbiosis is a card that might come up if you didn’t hit Ulamog in your top six cards. Now you have another seven to find the powerful Eldrazi. And even if you miss the giant monster, an extra big Rogue Refiner (that powers your Energy and provides card advantage) isn’t the worst.

… But Turntimber Symbiosis is nowehere near as exciting as:

Hit this with Marvel? How can you lose?

It’s crazy how little Mike liked Sea Gate Restoration out of the gate, relative to how pervasive the card has already proven, especially in combo decks. This is card that is essentially taking the place of an Island. It’s going to be awfully hard to lose if you resolve this with a turn four Aetherworks Marvel.

“Emeria’s Call is clearly not very good. Doesn’t matter.”


The Best of the Rest…

… Awaits:

Direct Download

Teferi, Time Raveler BANNED

Teferi, Time Raveler headlines a TON of surprise bans this week!

Teferi, Time Raveler Headlines an Unexpected — but not unwelcome — Series of Bans

There were kind of A LOT of cards banned — or banned and suspended — this week.

In Standard alone…

  • Growth Spiral (probably the best card in Standard) was banned.
  • Wilderness Reclamation was FINALLY banned. This was a card that has been flirting with a ban since its first Pro Tour
  • In a surprising move, Cauldron Familiar [a bookkeeping challenge] was banned as well!

But Teferi, Time Raveler found himself banned not only in Standard and Brawl… But suspended in Historic as well!

So… Cauldron Familiar… Really?

This one was less about format balance and more about player experience in a digital-first world.

Most Importantly: What’s Up Next?

What are the best cards [left] in Standard?

What are the top decks that players should consider with so many of the pillars of the format knocked on their sides?

One easy way to find out:

Direct Download

A HISTORIC Episode of Top Level Podcast

Historic is basically all the cards that are legal on Magic: The Gathering Arena.

We’re gaga for this “whole new format”!

Historic is not just brand-new, it’s gotten an even fresher coat of paint due to the recent release of Jumpstart.

Let’s dig in to some of the cool new decks.

Fire Prophecy in Naya Tinker Tokens

Craterhoof Behemoth is the only green card — and the only creature — in “Naya” Tinker Tokens

One of Historic’s distinct decks is “Naya” Tinker Tokens. It’s really a Boros deck with a pair of Craterhoof Behemoths. Craterhoof Behemoth is not only the only green card in the seventy-five… It’s also the only creature!

The deck has plenty of token producers… Legion’s Landing from Ixalan gets the party started, but there is no shortage of great token producers in red or white.

Theoretically you go wide with any number of Vampires, Dinosaurs, Goblins, or Human Soldiers. Then bam! Turn four you can hit one with a Transmogrify (or turn five sub in Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast) and you’ve got that Craterhoof Behemoth.

At 5GGG this isn’t the kind of card you can really cast with red or white mana, so cheating the Beast into play is the only way to go.

So what’s up with Fire Prophecy?

Fire Prophecy serves two important functions in Historic Naya

Fire Prophecy serves two functions in this deck. If you draw your Craterhoof Behemoth, it can conveniently get it out of your hand and beck into your library where you can safely “Tinker” it up. In addition, it does exactly three damage, which is important against this deck’s greatest enemy.

Phyrexian Tower in Rakdos Sacrifice

Phyrexian Tower

Rakdos Sacrifice isn’t just one of the best decks in Standard… It’s arguably the best deck in Historic, too!

The deck has all the same incentives as the Standard version — Witch’s Oven plus Cauldron Familiar in particular — but gets a huge upgrade in the mana department. In addition to Dragonskull Summit to fix your colors, this deck exploits the Urza’s Saga classic Phyrexian Tower as an extra sacrifice outlet… And one that doesn’t cost you a spell slot.

What are you setting up with these sources of “sacrifice” text?

Mayhem Devil is one of the key payoffs to Rakdos Sacrifice

If Rakdos Sacrifice has Mayhem Devil on the battlefield — as long as they have any source of “sacrifice” — this deck can keep Naya Tinker Tokens pinned. Mayhem Devil can kill a token in response to targeting it with Transmogrify or Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast, preventing Craterhoof Behemoth from making its mischief.

… Not to mention the fact that a persistent source of dealing one damage is just fantastic against 1/1 token creatures, anyway.

Go Go Goblins!

Another deck that might just be the best in the format is Goblins. Both Mono-Red Goblins and Rakdos splashing for Call of the Death-Dweller pack a ton of power and synergy in a tight offensive package.

In a deck of [almost] all Goblins, Muxus, Goblin Grandee is a one-card army.

Yes, they go directly onto the battlefield. What the!?!

And Lots More Historic Decks and Discussion!

Direct Download