Historic is a fun format that includes all available cards on Magic Arena, including those sets in Standard, the four sets that rotated out of Standard in October 2019, and the Historic Anthologies. There is a small ban list.
JT gets to play one of his favourite cards from Historic in this new deck that is all about life gain. The card is Crested Sunmare. If you can get the life gain engine online, you can start pumping out indestructible horses every turn. This deck is a blast to play.
This deck has gone through a great deal of evolution ever since Truefire Captain came on the scene in the fall of 2018 in Guilds of Ravnica.
After someone pointed out the interaction between the Captain and Ixalan’s Star of Extinction, I have been in love with the combo. It’s a simple combo, really. Get your Captain out and then drop 20 damage on it with a Star of Extinction. The Captain, which deals damage to target opponent equal to the amount of damage done to it, then does 20 damage to your opponent and, voila, victory.
After some fits and starts I had put together a deck, in both paper and Arena, last summer that showcased the combo. The issue has always been the fact the Captain costs four mana and the Star costs seven. So, I have always built a deck to compensate for this high mana cost, deal with the early game and still make the combo possible.
To pull this off, the deck has essentially become a Boros control deck (yes, I said it.) I know that Boros (red and white) is the one colour combo most associated with aggro, but there are a lot of strong control pieces available to those colours, allowing you to slow down your opponent to get the two key pieces of the combo out.
However, despite this effort to build an effective Boros control deck, it just wasn’t that good. A few times I did glorious things with it, but most of the time - even with its targeted removal, board wipes and two copies of Lyra, Dawnbringer to get you back in the game - it still fell too far behind, way too quickly and often.
And then Ixalan rotated out of Standard last October and the deck was shelved. When Historic started to become a thing on Arena, I would periodically dust it off, but it was still one of those decks that would go off only sparingly. Most of the time, it just got run over.
Recently, however, a couple of things have happened that have now led me to the point where I was able to use the deck to rip through Gold level and start climbing through Platinum on Arena.
The first step was the arrival of Brash Taunter in M21. The Taunter is just a better version of the Captain. Sure, it costs one more mana and it’s only a 1/1, but it’s indestructible. And the importance of that keyword cannot be understated. Just because it’s indestructible doesn’t mean it is invincible. Sacrifice edicts and exile effects still get rid of the Taunter but he is so much harder for an opponent to dismiss than the Captain.
But still it wasn’t quite enough.
And then one night, recently, I faced off with someone in Arena’s Historic ranked queue. While I had my Bant Butts deck, they were playing a similar version of the Truefire/Star of Extinction combo. But what I saw were two cards I had not yet used in the deck and with their additions, this deck is now ready to sing.
Lyra, Jaya Ballard and extra copies of the Shatter the Sky are now gone from the deck. They have been replaced by Stormwild Capridor and Storm’s Wrath.
Storm’s Wrath and Deafening Clarion are the board wipes you want because they do damage to all creatures (four from the Wrath and three from the Clarion). Shatter the Sky does not do damage, it just destroys. So, this means that if a Taunter is hit by the Clarion, it still lives but it also does three damage to your opponent.
The effect of the Capridor is not exactly the same as the Taunter and the Captain, but the outcome is the same. In the case of a Storm’s Wrath, the Capridor takes four damage but because it is non-combat damage, it doesn’t die and instead gets four +1/+1 counters to become a 5/7. And now it is smashing in for five in the air.
Sometimes you don’t even need to get out the Star to get the job done. With a Capridor and Taunter out, a couple of Clarions or Wraths are enough to get 20 off the board quickly, through direct damage from the Taunter and combat damage from the Capridor. Now, the Captain also does the same amount of damage as the Taunter, but it only does it once and then it is dead. So, I would try to keep the Captain alive until the Star did its job. Now, Taunter can take multiple hits for 3 or 4, turn around and deal the same amount of damage to the opponent, and keep on trucking.
And the Capridor just keeps getting bigger and smacking in from above. With Taunter and Capridor just being strictly better, they are four-ofs, while the Captain is now a three-of.
I also have three Revitalize to keep your life total and hand size in decent shape early on, as well as some spot removal. There is still one Shatter the Sky and two Settle the Wreckage, because you still need to deal with your opponent’s board while setting things up. But that being said, it is now much easier to set up the board and keep it alive to do the crazy stuff you want to do.
The land base is pretty much the same, although you could add a couple more Clifftop Retreats if you want to do so.
Give this deck a try in the Historic Ranked queues and let me know how you do. Also, feel free to share any tweaks you might have in mind.
This Red-White deck features a two-card combo that is completely janky and also delightfully fun. When Truefire Captain is dealt damage, it deals that much damage to target opponent. So what happens if the Captain is on the battlefield and you drop a seven-mana Star of Extinction, that does 20 damage to every creature? Yep, you do 20 damage to that opponent. This is a delightfully janky deck that is a Boros control deck (yes, I know Boros decks are usually aggro) at its heart. I played it in Standard before rotation and it is so much fun to play, especially when it works. This is the pre-M21 version. With the arrival of Brash Taunter, this deck is getting even better. Watch here for the updated version soon.