R Koster's picture
By: R Koster, Rob Koster
Apr 01 2021 2:34pm

Two weekends ago we saw a lot of Historic action!  The 5k Strixhaven Championship Qualifier, SCG Tour online satellites, and the Hooglandia Open were Historic, so we get to look at what the format really looks like for the first time since the addition of the Historic Anthology.

Starting out with a new metagame is always really sweet; it's exciting to figure out the best deck, the most successful things, and how things truly shape up behind the random metagame that you see on the ladder.

A lot of this is very reminiscent of other formats like Modern and Pioneer. Much of what you encounter are people playing their favorite cards and just having fun with it while hoping for exciting games. However, now you add incentive. Suddenly, no one cares about how fun it is anymore. People want to win and start playing the best decks. The actual metagame starts showing its head.

You see this in a new Standard every single time as well. It starts up with people just having fun with it and optimizing the best decks. Then the Pro Tour happens, and a lot of what was kind of okay-ish is brutally discarded, and only the best decks remain.

That's what Historic went through, and these are the conclusions that you can pull from that data. Small aside: WE ACTUALLY GOT DATA THIS TIME. Having data makes me so happy. I despise how Wotc hides data.

So what did you do well?

In the 5k, Jund Sacrifice won the whole thing. With another copy of the deck appearing in the top 8. Okay, that's fine. Let's look at the top 16 as a whole. 9th Place is Jund Sacrifice... Okay. 10th Place is Jund Sacrifice... Oh no. What's 11? Jund Sacrifice again. It also got 12th and 13th place.

Oh well, it's just the one tournament. These things happen, right?

So what did win the other ones?

SCG Tour Online – Satellite 1 Jund Sacrifice, with 4 more in the top 8.
SCG Tour Online – Satellite 2 Bant Control, 9 Jund Sacrifice in the top 16.
SCG Tour Online – Satellite 3 Sultai Yorion, 3 Jund Sacrifice in the top 8.
SCG Tour Online – Satellite 4 Jund Sacrifice, 2 more in the top 8.
SCG Tour Online – Satellite 5 Jund Sacrifice.
SCG Tour Online – Satellite 6 4 Color Kaheera Control, 1 Jund Sacrifice in the top 8.
SCG Tour Online – Satellite 7 Mono-Red Planeswalker Control. 2 Jund Sacrifice in the top 8.
SCG Tour Online – Satellite 8 Mono-Blue Aggro. 3 Jund Sacrifice in the top 8.

And the Hooglandia Open was won by Gruul Aggro, with 1 Jund Sacrifice in the top 8.

My first conclusion is a self-explanatory one.

Jund Sacrifice is far and away the most successful deck. We had access to 81 decklists with all of these tournaments combined. Of those 81 known successful decks, 28 slots were taken by Jund Sacrifice. Making it 34.57% of the winner's metagame.

That is absurd. For reference:

Splinter Twin got banned when it was at 11.5%
Eye of Ugin Eldrazi managed to get up to 40+% and was one of the most dominating decks of its format of all time.
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis got to a 21.4% at Mythic Championship IV.

That puts Jund Sacrifice firmly in the camp of somewhere between Hogaak and Eye of Ugin Eldrazi. The two most busted decks and era's Modern has ever seen.

People used to talk about how Hogaak and Eldrazi were like playing Legacy in Modern. I don't think it's a stretch at all to say that Jund Sacrifice is like playing Modern in Historic. I wouldn't be surprised if Jund Sacrifice turns out to be a super reasonable choice to play in Modern. Some obvious tweaks would be necessary, most notably the mana base. But I fully expect to play against it in Modern soon. It's probably a good deck in Pioneer as well. Seeing as how Pioneer and Historic are close but not the same in power level.

What does the deck look like?

I wouldn't ban anything from this deck and give people a month to figure out if they can beat it and see if the meta can adjust now everyone knows what they are gunning for. If the metagame didn't adapt, I would ban a card from it. I don't know which one I would ban. I like the deck's general idea where it has like this sacrifice gameplan that you don't see very often, so I absolutely wouldn't want it to exit the format. Decks like these are sweet and should be given a home where possible, in my opinion. Oh well, good thing it's not my job to figure out what to ban. I'll let other people figure it out.

There were other decks that did well. Let's look at those for a bit. The decks I found that did well are:

Gruul Aggro
Orzhov Auras
UW Control
Bant Control
Selesnya Aggro
Mono Blue Aggro

What I mainly take away from this is that the format is very focused on being on either side of the aggro or control spectrum. Everything is very focused besides the Mono-Blue Aggro deck that's more of a tempo deck than an aggro deck.

So let's look at a few decklists here before I get to some conclusions.

Gruul Aggro by Drew3141 1st place Hooglandia Open

Orzhov Aura's SCG Tour Online – Satellite 1 Top 4 by Yuma Koizumi

Bant Control SCG Tour Online – Satellite 2 1st place by Sam Rolph

Those are some of the decks that have done well this past weekend. But what are the conclusions we can draw from this?

1: Jund Sacrifice is very obviously the deck to beat.
2: Combo decks are non-existent.
3: When in doubt, try to make their life total zero. Aggressive decks, on average, did a lot better than control decks.
4: There are a few Ramp decks, but they aren't a big part of the metagame at all. I will be shocked if there won't be a good ramp deck in the Explore and Growth Spiral format in a few months. There's also Lotus Field to mess about with, it has the pedigree in Modern and Pioneer, so I'd be amazed if it doesn't get there in Historic. I know that power level is context-based, but there is a breaking point once you get enough power. The context will follow, I believe Lotus Field is on that level of power.

The final thing that I want to mention is that the Hooglandia Open should be the gold standard of what MTG coverage should hold itself to. Minimal downtime. No intentional drawing. 2 Losses, and your out. No cut to top 8 where people get massive feelsbadded because they have .00001% of a tiebreaker difference because their opponent from round 1 got hungry and dropped. Keeping it Stupid Simple, love it. Had a blast watching.