Historically Speaking: Amonkhet Remastered
The struggle is real on MTG Arena. With the recent bannings/suspensions of Teferi, Time Reveler and Wilderness Reclamation in Historic, the format was already in an upheaval.
Enter Amonkhet Remastered.
Historic is absolutely chaotic now and the number of playable decks has doubled if not tripled from the days of Reclamation decks. The new “best of Amonkhet” set has supercharged the format with dozen and dozens of playable cards and gave previously fringe decks the ability to compete at the highest levels. There’s something for everybody now. In aggro we have mono red wizards, mono black, Auras, mono blue, and UW Spirits to name a few. UW has become the control deck color of choice, but thanks to Thoughtseize UB decks won’t be in the shadows for long. Even combo is still alive in Song of Creation and Kethis decks. Now is a great time to get into format, and it’s only going to get better the closer we get to Pioneer Masters in the winter time.
Back in Fighting Form
At the time of writing this article I finally cracked the numbered ranks of Mythic. I started out this season at Platinum 4, but last weekend I finally made my way back to mythic. It was hard going with all the new decks floating around and not always having the right tools to combat them. I struggled to update the mainboard of my decks and barely made it to Diamond after a few days on the back of my BR Waste Not deck. However, I knew that if I was going to stay at the top I had to figure out the best build of my mono red burn deck. It served me well the previous season, so it was just a matter of maximizing its consistency. It took me about 2 weeks but I finally think I have a definitive list …
Fry Me to the Moon
Jump Start and Amonkhet added a lot of power to the Historic format, and if I wanted to continue being competitive I knew I’d have to go lean and mean. I had refused to use Wizard’s Lightning and Viashino Pyromancer last season to maximize damage through cards like Guttersnipe, but improved removal and faster threats led me to drop it in favor of a wizard based strategy.
The biggest addition and probably the card that single-handedly made a handful unwinnable match ups winnable this season is Soul-Scar Mage. This one drop has made midrange match ups winnable, but also given me an even faster clock against slow decks like control. One deck it’s really shined against is the white Aura deck. Auras is able to make huge creatures and protects them with indestructible effects, but if they get -1/-1 counters instead of damage it becomes irrelevant and can bring them down to size and manageable.
The other losses from last seasons deck were Magma Jet, Bonecrusher Giant, and Risk Factor. I needed cards that were doing to do the most amount of damage and not be conditional, so those 3 spells had to go. I returned to 4 Runaway Steam-Kin to be able to put more pressure on slower decks, but also to keep the combo aspect of the deck alive where I keep casting spells to optimize cards like Light up the Stage. I don’t know how many games I’ve won because I was able to chain card after card with Steam-Kin.
The other advantage of going meaner and leaner meant I could drop some lands, so the deck now has 20 lands instead of 22 so it can focus on drawing more burn or threats instead of flooding out. If you do flood out now, not all is lost. Ramunap Ruins is a great way to use that extra mana, and it gives the deck some much needed reach when it runs out of gas. While risky, I also added in 2 Sunscorched Deserts to help activate spectacle effects when I can’t push damage through, but also to sacrifice to Ramunap Ruins.
Some of the biggest changes came from the sideboard though as I was fine tuning my match ups earlier on this season. Gone are any and all ways to ‘nerf’ Field of the Dead like Blood Sun and Alpine Moon, as well as Sorcerous Spyglass to deal with activated abilities and Planeswalker loyalty abilities. I made the decision to just try and push through as much damage as possible. That’s not to say that cards like Ugin the Spirit Dragon still aren’t a problem, especially in the Sultai lands deck or the Big Green planeswalker deck that uses Karn to good effect. I’m relying mostly on fast hands and cards like Rampaging Ferocidon to put pressure on Field of the Dead decks, but to deal with cards like Ugin I had to get a little creative.
Goblin Cratermaker is a great way to destroy colorless planeswalkers like Ugin and Karn, but it can also do double duty against artifacts like Akroma’s Memorial. If you’re playing against a lot of those type of decks and having trouble dealing with their effects once they stick around on board, I highly recommend this card.
Anger of the Gods is an upgrade to Flamesweep, but I decided to only use one for the Aristocrat decks and to keep the other 2 as the 3 mana instant that can wreck mono red aggro, mono blue, and Goblins. Speaking of Red decks, I had the unfortunate chance to play against Leyline of Combustion in a mirror match against another burn deck, and it absolutely wrecked me in the damage race. While I don’t think 2 copies is correct, I believe at least one is worth playing with, especially against affects like Mayhem Devil’s.
This card is absolutely killer against burn decks, especially if you can clog up the board or just keep them from putting any pressure on you with creatures. If the metagame changes to being burn heavy, I wouldn’t be against having 2 of these in the SB so that they burn themselves out trying to kill you. Also not bad against black decks relying heavily on discard effects.
The other two cards I’ve added to the sideboard are Hazoret the Fervent for control match ups and games that that stall easily, and Redcap Melee.
Redcap Melee is one of those cards I didn’t really think I needed until I came up against tons of red aggro, Goblins, and Chonky Red decks and didn’t have enough ways to deal with 4 toughness creatures like Muxus. I also had it used against me a few times which did a good job of proving its worth. It has a very good damage rate for one mana, and until we get a card like Roast in Historic I think I’ll be using it.
I Thought You Cared
The addition of Thoughtseize in Historic has been amazing. In the previous metagames it would have crushed many of the combo decks but without them many decks struggled. Currently it’s probably the number one reason why cards like Ugin the Spirit Dragon haven’t totally taken over the metagame in the Field of the Dead land decks. It’s also why the land decks have adopted Sultai version so they can extract hate cards from their opponent’s hands.
Having a turn 1 Thoughtseize has allowed me to to change my Waste Not Deck to lean more towards control, but it still has cards like Bonecrusher Giant available to put pressure on slower decks. It has been doing rather well against aggro decks like mono red, mono blue, and Auras, but it still struggles against Field of the Dead decks because it simply can’t deal with 10+ zombie tokens if you don’t draw your hate cards or board wipes. Even with the addition of Massacre Wurm and Anger of the Gods I find myself losing more against this deck than I should be. It’s got a great match up against control though, and can deal with other midrange decks rather handily.
If my mono red deck is a “mythic” level deck that can compete at the highest levels, then my Waste Not Deck is probably more of a Platinum/Diamond level deck. It lacks answers for every deck in the format and until it can consistently deal with problem cards I don’t think it’s something you want to be playing once you reach Mythic. Solid and fun, but not amazing or format changing.
We Got Company!
As my bonus deck today I have Abzan Company. I was beyond ecstatic when the MTG Arena team announced that Collected Company would be in Amonkhet Remastered. Back when I played standard ranked on Arena I had put together an Abzan beatdown deck that did alright, but it wasn’t able to grind out advantage fast enough against some decks. Collected Company was the perfect card for this deck, so I snap crafted 4 of them and slid them into my deck. The only other card I really needed to add to it was Rhonas the Indomitable which more likely than not can attack or block when you play it thanks to cards like Knight of Autumn, Lovestruck Beast, and Jadelight Ranger.
I haven’t played with it too much yet so the deck probably needs a lot of modification before it can be truly competitive, but it’s a fun deck to play. If the metagame shifts to more midrange and control it could end up being rather good. It does a good job of stonewalling other aggressive decks on the ground like mono red, and almost acts like a hatebears deck in some situations thanks to inclusions like Scavenging Ooze, Knight of Autumn, and Remorseful Cleric.
While I think the Aristocrats deck is probably the best Coco deck out there at the moment, as more quality 3 mana or less creatures are printed this deck will only get stronger. Heck, if you add in some Hushbringer this deck should be pretty good against goblins and the Aristocrats deck as well!
Until Next time
If you were a fan of my RW Angel and Dragon deck you’ll be happy to know it’s still doing rather well but until I can earn enough wildcards to update it with cards like Glorybringer and Gideon of the Trials I probably won’t be able to truly test it out. It seems to struggle against Ugin the Spirit Dragon specifically, but once I figure out that match up I think it will be positioned well in the metagame.
Feel free to digitally sleeve these decks up and take them for a test drive. If you like them be sure to let me know here or on my Twitter @yoschwenky, and if you have some tips or suggestions on how to optimize the 75 in any of these decks I’d be more than happy to hear them!