Playing Magic Arena is a great way to have fun and pass some time, and this is especially true for the Historic format. Arena’s ‘eternal’ format, Historic is home to loads weird and wild decks, and is probably my favourite way to climb the rankings. However, it can be a bit daunting for anyone that has only just started out, as with so many different decks and staples to collect, it can be a minefield of a format to get into.
This is not helped by Arena’s crafting system (which is literally the only thing I don’t like about the client) as most competitive decks need a fair number of Rare and Mythic Rare playsets to be viable. This means you either need to dump enough money into the game to grantee getting the wildcards you need, or grind and hope to open the right cards in packs. But what would you say if I told you that you could play a deck that is not only semi-competitive, but also contains zero Mythic or Rare cards? That’s right, today we are going to show you the power of the Common and Uncommon, with Budget High Alert.
High Alert is an enchantment from Ravnica Allegiance that reads “Each creature you control assigns combat damage equal to its toughness rather than its power”. It also has some other text, but that’s not important for now. What is important is that this card makes all those blockers you drafted because they were cheap to cast and had such a high toughness, into massive game ending threats. Let’s take one of these types of creatures as an example, Aegis Turtle.
A 0/5 for a single blue mana is not a bad creature in a slower draft deck, as it will hold off most other creatures from getting through to your precious life total while you look for your bombs. But with High Alert on the battlefield, it becomes a 5/5 for a single mana, which is quite simply ridiculous value. And the thing is there are a ton of these creatures in the format, ranging from 0/4 Merfolk Secretkeeper to the beefy 0/6 Giant Ox.
Now I know what you are thinking. “Only four payoff cards won’t get the job done”, and you would be right. Luckily, we have another card with the same effect in Huatli, the Sun’s Heart, as well as a targeted form with Gauntlets of Light. Combined this gives us enough payoff cards to make this strategy viable, and very lethal.
So, the idea of the deck is simple. Play out a bunch of cheap, high toughness creatures. Then resolve a High Alert or Huatli, the Sun’s Heart and swing in for the win. Or failing that, attach a Gauntlets of Light to one of those creatures and smash in over the course of a few turns. Sounds easy enough. Now just to assemble our big-bottomed beaters.
Starting as we always do with our one drops, we have full playsets of Merfolk Secretkeeper, Yoked Ox and Aegis Turtle. For the two drop slots we have Nyx-Fleece Ram (which won a pro-tour don’t you know) and Giant Ox. We then run playsets of both High Alert and Huatli, the Sun’s Heart, as well as two copies of Gauntlets of Light for our win conditions. Throw in a twenty-two land mana base of eight Plains, six Islands as well as playsets of Tranquil Cove and Azorius Guildgate and that gives us a solid base for the deck.
The last two cards are some great tech to make the deck just that little bit more lethal. First up, we have a playset of Dive Down to provide protection from removal. It also works as a nifty pump spell thanks to the construction of our deck. Lastly, we have a playset of Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive. Thanks to the wording on High Alert and Huatli, the Sun’s Heart, the strength of our creatures never increases above zero. This means that even though they will hit like a freight train in combat, they can still benefit from Tetsuko ability, making them unblockable. How do you like me now chump blockers!
4 Merfolk Secretkeeper
4 Yoked Ox
4 Aegis Turtle
4 Giant Ox
4 Nyx-Fleece Ram
4 Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive
4 Huatli, the Sun’s Heart
4 Dive Down
2 Gauntlets of Light
4 High Alert
4 Tranquil Cove
4 Azorius Guildgate
4 Banishing Light
1 Spell Pierce
2 Essence Scatter
2 Deafening Silence
2 Tormod’s Crypt
Keeping to the budget theme, the sideboard gives us a decent sway of answers without breaking the bank. Spell Pierce, Essence Scatter and Negate give us a decent counter spell package, while Disenchant and Banishing Light make up our removal spells. Deafening Silence works as a way of stopping anyone going nuts and casting a ton of spells back-to-back, and finally Tormod’s Crypt takes care of any graveyard shenanigans.
And that is Budget High Alert for Historic. Zero Rares, zero Mythics, and a lot of fun to play. In testing I’ve been able to get wins against Angels, Goblins, CoCo decks and many more. It won’t get you to the Mythic Championship. However, it will get you started in the format while you find your footing and at the end of the day isn’t that all you can ask for from a deck that is basically free? But tell me, is this a deck you want to try out in Historic? Or have you a different brew you want to try out? Please let me know in the comments below, and while you’re there you could like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.
We also have a Patreon so if you want to support future content for the site consider becoming one of our Patrons. Just a $1 a month would do so much to help us create more of the content you enjoy. If you have any ideas for new and exciting decks you want me to look at you can contact me directly @TenguPlaysGames over on Twitter. But until next time remember no matter the game you play or where you play it, Good Luck and Have Fun.