It's here tomorrow: the Strixhaven Championship begins Friday June 4 at 9 a.m. PT, featuring all members of the Magic Pro League and the Magic Rivals League, as well as top players from qualifying events held on MTG Arena and Magic Online, and will broadcast live at twitch.tv/magic.
This weekend, there are 250 competitors battling in both Standard and Historic formats. Yesterday, I provided the Standard metagame breakdown. Today, I'll go over the Historic metagame. I'll cover the most-played archetypes and the most-played new cards at the Strixhaven Championship. For a more in-depth introduction to the format, check out Mani Davoudi's article from earlier this week.
Historic's Constant Flux
Before getting to the metagame breakdown, allow me to set the stage. Two months ago, at the Kaldheim Championship, Jund Food and Orzhov Auras were the most popular archetypes, and
Strixhaven introduced many powerful cards to the format through both the main set and the Mystical Archive—a supplemental set containing some of the most iconic instants and sorceries of all time. Amongst them was
Soon after, on May 27, Historic Anthology 5 was released, featuring 25 new-to-Historic cards. That was only one week ago, leaving a frantic week of exploration for the Strixhaven Championship competitors to figure out the new format. Where did their deck choices end up?
Historic Metagame Breakdown
At the Strixhaven Championship, the first three rounds on Friday, the first four rounds on Saturday, and all Top 8 matches are (best-of-three) Historic. The metagame breaks downs as follows.
|Deck Archetype||Number of Players||Percentage of Field|
The two most-played deck archetypes from the Kaldheim Championship, Jund Food and Orzhov Auras, have fallen by the wayside. The two most-played nonland cards from that event,
Instead, in this exciting new Historic format, over half the field opted for base blue-red decks.
Steam Vents Is the Second Most-Played Card
At the Strixhaven Championship, the most-played nonland cards are all red or blue: there are 647 copies of
What's more, the most-played land is not even a basic land or
By analyzing decklists submitted to various MTG Melee events over the last week, I compiled a representative aggregate for these two archetypes.
With the current build of the deck, a typical game might involve casting
So, the archetype is fast and consistent, and it posted impressive win rates over the course of the last month. It does not surprise me that it's the most popular strategy at the Strixhaven Championship, although I hadn't expected a metagame share as high as 35.2%.
While Izzet Phoenix is powerful and well-rounded, one weakness is that it doesn't have all that much disruption in the first game of a match, especially in matchups where
Jeskai Turns is an
So, to get enough blue sources, the deck heavily relies on
In any case, the deck contains a rather large number of enters-the-battlefield-tapped lands that can sometimes get in the way of early-game development, but those are the sacrifices you must make.
As I explained, it's not trivial to have untapped lands on both turn two and turn three. But when you do, a potentially very powerful opening is to chain
With multiple explosive synergies and a game plan that is unlike anything else in Historic, Jeskai Turns makes up 18.0% of the field. I expect that it will become the breakout deck of the event. It has the right combination of speed, power, and threats to prey on Izzet Phoenix and—bold prediction—it will put two players in the Top 8.
The most impressive aspect is that Jeskai Turns is basically brand new. Just a few weeks ago, at the May Strixhaven League Weekend, Matias Leveratto was the only player to register
While Jeskai Turns could not exist without all of these newly released cards, it was not the only archetype that benefited from the new set releases. Let's zoom in on the impact of these new releases in a bit more detail.
The Impact of the Mystical Archive
I already mentioned the 647 copies of
Taken together, the total number of copies of new-to-Historic cards from Mystical Archive registered for this event (which is excluding reprints like
The Impact of Strixhaven: School of Mages
The four most-played cards from the Strixhaven base set—
There were also 56 total copies of
The list of new Strixhaven cards that were registered for the Historic portion includes many more, of course. My favorites, albeit at only four copies each, are
The Impact of Historic Anthology 5
Historic Anthology 5 has not had the same impact that Strixhaven had, but it still added multiple relevant cards to the format. Since the set is brand new, let me give a complete overview of every single Historic Anthology 5 card that was registered for the Strixhaven Championship.
First of all,
The Command cycle has also found some homes. Across decklists submitted for the Strixhaven Championship, there are 21 copies of
But the most impactful card from Historic Anthology 5, because it spawned an entirely new archetype, is
In the most common version, the plan is to discard
Finally, there are eight copies of
Historic has been in a state of constant flux over the last month, and the metagame looks completely different than even just a few months ago. Over half of the field is now relying on
Another change is that
As I mentioned, I expect that Jeskai Turns will be well-positioned, especially when there are so many Izzet Phoenix players around. But we'll have to see the rounds in action to find out.
Don't miss the live broadcast, June 4-6 beginning at 9 a.m. PDT each day at twitch.tv/magic!