I’ve been playing a lot of Historic lately. The card pool is so deep and there are so many brutal decks running around that it feels like Modern, and I am all for that. As a Spike, I like to play strong cards with strong interactions.
Which is why I’m playing control.
But what version of control? Well, to figure it out for myself, I built Sultai, Bant, Jeskai, and Esper, all with similar shells and strategies. The goal is to rob the opponent of resources, and then kill them with something big, either a planeswalker or an extremely potent creature.
I gave each deck a couple of games to impress me on the Historic Bof1 ladder.
And two stood out as the clear best. If you’ve looked at recent tournament results, you already know which ones they are.
Sultai and Bant.
Because green, green is brutal.
Now, I’m not a fantastic deck builder, and I have yet to figure out the proper numbers. Instead, I will go over the key cards, and let you assemble your own Historic brew from it.
Uro/Growth Spiral/Explore/Fabled Passage:
These cards go together because they let you quickly outpace your opponent on every resource. With more mana, you can keep up counterspells and still play five-drops and above. Then, because these spells go to your graveyard, Uro can come back so often. It’s not uncommon to win with more life than you started with. I’m not sure how often Uro will kill your opponent, but it keeps you alive.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria:
The combo of drawing, then having mana up for counterspells is already strong, but Teferi does even more. Occasionally, your opponent will throw something nasty at you, or use a token, and his bounce ability is invaluable. For long games, you can use that second ability to not draw your deck by tucking him. It’s also nearly impossible to lose when that ultimate goes live.
Approach of The Second Sun:
Some versions of the Bant deck use this as the main wincon. Narset and Tamiyo help set this up, as does the next card on the list.
Search for Azcanta:
Don’t underestimate this card. It prevents land gluts. It finds just the right spell when you need it. And, actually way more relevant than you’d think, it feeds Uro.
Elder Gargaroth/Shark Typhoon/Hydroid Krasis:
To kill your opponent with a creature and not just Planeswalkers, these are the three big options. Each draws you cards. Two gain life. Two can keep making more creatures. All are deadly.
Nissa and Ugin:
In Sultai, these replace Teferi as the main engines, but I’ve found them both good in Bant. Nissa makes Ugin easier to cast and is another great way to close out games. Ugin is… well, have you ever gotten to exile your opponent’s entire board? The card is a monster, and you can usually ramp into him too fast to stop.
Thought Seize/Wrath of God/Extinction Event:
Usually, you play four of each of the ones in your colors (Extinction Event is only three in some decks). Goblins and Elves and Mono-White Life Gain have little they can do against sweepers, and Thoughtseize is just a brutal card against certain opponents. In games that go long—if they’re not also control—you win. So, make them go long.
Past that, just mix in whatever removal or counterspells feel the most potent and be sure to play a ton of lands across your various colors (27 minimum). With some combination of these, you have a strong deck that can quickly climb the ladder. At upper Gold, I was beating people in 4 minutes flat.
Consider this article friendly advice from a fellow Spike. Go destroy your opponents.
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