Today, Wizards of the Coast announced that the Historic format would come to Magic: the Gathering Arena on November 21, 2019. The format’s debut will be accompanied by 20 new (old) cards, a Historic kick-off event, and a Best-of-Three competitive Historic queue.

Read: MTG Arena Will Add Support for Pioneer (Eventually) Through “Remastered” Versions of Old Sets

20 New (Old) Cards in Historic Anthology 1

A few months after announcing Historic, Wizards revealed that they would be adding existing cards to MTG Arena specifically for the format.

Today’s announcement included the first batch 20 new (old) cards that will be added to MTG Arena as part of Historic Anthology 1. According to Wizards, they were “carefully selected to expand the format in interesting ways. Some are nostalgia plays, some are fun build-arounds to enable new archetypes, and some are powerful new tools.”

The 20 cards are:


Kinsbaile Cavalier
Serra Ascendant
Soul Warden


Distant Melody
Treasure Hunt


Hypnotic Specter
Phyrexian Arena
Tendrils of Corruption


Hidetsugu’s Second Rite
Goblin Matron
Kiln Fiend


Elvish Visionary
Fauna Shaman
Imperious Perfect


Darksteel Reactor
Mind Stone


Burning-Tree Emissary
Captain Sisay

According to Wizards, these cards were selected in order to fulfill several goals. Primarily, they do not want Historic to just feel like “old Standard plus Throne of Eldraine,” so they selected cards that support new archetypes, and they wanted to do so by including cards that have a history of competitive success. Additionally, they wanted to include cards that are popular in a variety of formats, from Modern to Cube to Commander,  from the entirety of Magic’s history, rather than restricting themselves to Modern or Pioneer legality.

However, Wizards said that those goals were what drove the card decisions for Historic Anthology 1 and that “future Anthologies may lean more in one direction or another” to achieve different goals.

Each of the cards in Historic Anthology 1 can be crafted for a single Wildcard (rather than the originally announced two) or a bundle of four copies of every card can be purchased for 3,400 from MTG Arena’s store. Wizards plans to add cards to MTG Arena’s Historic format quarterly, with Historic Anthology 2 scheduled for March 2020.

Historic Events on MTG Arena

The launch of Historic on MTG Arena will be accompanied by a launch event that will run from November 21 to November 25. It will be Best-of-1 Historic, cost 1,000 Gold or 200 Gems to enter, and award card styles for Treasure Hunt, Goblin Matron, Serra Ascendant, Hypnotic Specter, and Fauna Shaman.

There will also be a Ranked Historic queue available at launch on November 21 that will run until January 15, the day before the release of Theros: Beyond Death on MTG Arena. The Ranked Historic queue will affect your Constructed rank just like Ranked Standard.

MTG Arena will also host a major Historic tournament just before the release of Theros: Beyond Death where players can compete for “epic” prizes.

After the release of Theros: Beyond Death, Historic will transition to what Wizards is calling an “off-season,” where the Ranked Historic queue will be replaced by a recurring Historic event until the release of Historic Anthology 2 in March 2020. Historic will always have an available Best-of-One casual queue.

The Philosophy of the Historic Format

Wizards also used today’s announcement to discuss the guiding philosophy of the Historic format.

“Our goal is to make Historic a competitive format that pairs with Standard,” they said. Historic is a “digital-first format” that will expand over time, both through the addition of older cards and with each new set, that Wizards will manage “much more actively than is practical for physical Magic.”

For example, if there aren’t enough viable archetypes in Historic, Wizards says that they “might drop a card or two to create new options. Is something dominating the format more than is healthy? Then we’ll step in to address it.”

“That might be a full ban, as players are familiar with,” they continued. “[O]r it might be a suspension, where we pull a card from Historic temporarily to see how things change. We can respond quickly to how the format develops, giving us the freedom to push boundaries.”

Wizards also acknowledged that they’re “aware that players also want play modes that sync up with paper” and that they intend to “deliver on that in the long term.”

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