November 21, 2020 marked the one-year anniversary of Historic's launch on MTG Arena. It was a year that saw multiple product releases, several suspensions and bans, plus the format's debut at pro-level play. Today I'm going to delve into a brief history of the format and how it evolved to its current state, followed by looking at what Kaladesh Remastered brings to the table and what it could mean for Historic at the upcoming Zendikar Rising Championship.
The Early Days
In the beginning, Historic was what many people expected it to be—a "Standard Plus" format that looked much like the Standard that just rotated away before Throne of Eldraine. The plan to build a new format and give it a unique identity involved rolling out supplemental products and remastered versions of old sets, beginning with Historic Anthology 1 that launched alongside the format. While some cards from this initial batch, such as
Freshly rotated Standard decks like Azorius and Esper Control, Gruul Aggro, Nexus of Fate Combo, and Kethis, the Hidden Hand Combo quickly rose to the top of the Ranked Historic Queue alongside Throne of Eldraine newcomer Jund Food, which evolved similarly into Jund Sacrifice. Despite the familiar faces, the first Ranked Historic season was a success; between providing a second ranked Constructed queue option and culminating in the high stakes Historic Challenge, there was a lot to love for players.
Unfortunately, January 2020 brought the release of Theros Beyond Death and an "offseason" of sorts for Historic: no ranked queue and no tournaments for two months meant many competitive players set the format aside at the time.
When Historic returned to play options in March 2020, it was to more of the same.
Players continued to love Historic, but once again rotated out of play options when Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths arrived. Competitive Historic was settling into on-off cycle centered around new set releases, and each iteration left players asking for more. Fortunately, they did not have to wait long.
In May, the Historic Ranked Queue returned as a permanent play choice on MTG Arena. This news came alongside the announcement that the format for the upcoming 2020 Mythic Invitational would be Historic. The combination of these two things ignited Historic's rise to mainstream popularity in what would be a three-act summer.
The Summer of Historic
Post-Ikoria Historic was a close reflection of Standard at the time, with
In June, the first act of the summer arrived in the form of the companion mechanic rules change—weakening, but not eliminating those strategies—alongside suspensions for
The second act began in mid-July, kicked off with the banning of
Historic in the wake of this second act was entirely different. Jumpstart created new archetypes such as Mono-Red Goblins, Azorius Auras, Mono-Green Elves, and Burn, while
The third act began the day after August's Arena Open with the suspension of
That changed with Amonkhet Remastered, and it took one week of
The Mythic Invitational and the Grand Finals
In September, Historic made its way to the biggest stage in four incredible days of competitive Magic. The 2020 Mythic Invitational field was an accurate representation of the metagame at the time, with Goblins leading the way followed closely by Sultai Midrange and Jund Sacrifice. Amonkhet Remastered made its presence known with the addition of
The format continued to evolve with the release of Zendikar Rising, seen at the 2020 Season Grand Finals. The dream team of
The event made one thing clear: Omnath was too good to ignore. In the final ban announcement before the Zendikar Rising Championship, Omnath was suspended and
Now: Kaladesh Remastered
Historic's evolution through the year brought us to today and the release of Kaladesh Remastered. Combining two of the most iconic and powerful expansions of the last five years promises to have a lasting effect, with upgrades to existing archetypes and the creation of new ones. Looking ahead, these are the new cards and decks we can expect to find a home in Historic:
The powerhouse control finisher
Narset prevents opponents from drawing extra cards.
Check out a sample list of Dimir Control from Grzegorz Kowalski:
Similar to Sram for Auras,
Aggressive red decks are always looking for good one drops, and
A two-mana 3/2 is fine rate for a creature, and the cheap instant speed recursion on
The Zendikar Rising Championship
Players have only just started exploring the new options that Kaladesh Remastered offers Historic, and I can't wait to see how the format shapes up at the Zendikar Rising Championship.
Join me—and the rest of the broadcast team—as we watch how Historic evolves again at the Zendikar Rising Championship, December 4-6 beginning at 9 a.m. PST each day at twitch.tv/magic!