Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath caught a deserved ban in Standard at the tail end of September. But as the card suggests, you can’t keep a Titan down for long. Uro is still legal in Pioneer, Modern, and Historic, and I’m determined to make Wizards regret that decision.

Uro dominated the Standard metagame due to his resiliency and the way he supercharged Omnath, Locus of Creation. While I think the Omnath build is worth exploring in Historic and Pioneer, the deck can stumble over its mana too readily. That’s a common theme as I try to build three-colored decks for Historic—particularly as I gravitate towards a Sultai Uro deck.

The good news is that this will change with the release of Kaldheim and the U/G and B/G Pathways. The exact number of Pathways will require some significant playtesting, but being able to cast Thoughtseize on turn one is as important as being able to cast Lotus Cobra on turn two. The Pathways have been very impressive in testing so far—they feel most like fetch lands prior to the printing of the shocklands, circa 2002-2004. We’re also missing a Mana Confluence in Historic that would solve some of our problems, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar in the next few sets. It’s been a while since we’ve had a chromatic rare land to drive up sales.

Before the advent of Inverter of Truth combo, I ran The Gitrog Monster as my pet Pioneer deck. It was explosive but fragile, and I haven’t picked it up since Wizards gave Inverter the boot. Now, with the addition of more mana-fixing and Uro, I think it’s time to give it another shot. Not in Pioneer—it’s basically dead in the water at the moment—so I’ve pivoted to Historic.

Historic right now is nothing but Goblins combo and Rakdos Sacrifice, and once you’ve played against those decks a dozen or so times, they become stultifying. Rather than exiting the format or joining the enemy by crafting a set of Muxus, Goblin Grandee, I’ve instead accepted that I won’t be scaling the ladder this month, and am instead focused on having fun. Uro may have been dull in Standard, but with a larger card pool, he becomes an engine card, rather than a value card, and it’s a breath of fresh air.

Unlike in Standard, where you would drop it turn three, and then have turn after turn to build up your graveyard; in Historic, the faster pace of games means you have to work for the payoff. Uro’s escape cost is quite reasonable, but it does enforce some minor deck-building costs. You either need a touch of self-mill or a critical mass of cheap spells and fetches to fully maximize it. I’ve seen decks running Stitcher’s Supplier and Creeping Chill, or Zombie Infestation to drop fuel into the yard. My tactics are slightly different, and are geared around churning through lands.

In Historic, we have The Gitrog Monster, Crucible of Worlds, and Ramunap Excavator, plus Zendikar Rising’s modal double-faced lands—plus the sheer power that is Nissa, Who Shakes the World. Here’s where I am, post-Zendikar:

The History of Uro

Creatures (17)
Lotus Cobra
Ramunap Excavator
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
Wayward Swordtooth
The Gitrog Monster

Planeswalkers (4)
Nissa, Who Shakes the World

Spells (12)
Search for Azcanta
Assassin's Trophy
Hagra Mauling
Crucible of Worlds
Lands (27)
Murkwater Pathway
Fabled Passage
Zagoth Triome
Breeding Pool
Watery Grave
Overgrown Tomb

Sideboard (15)
Kaervek, the Spiteful
Ancient Greenwarden
Bloodchief's Thirst
Malakir Rebirth
Maelstrom Pulse
Casualties of War

I’m pretty harsh on Zagoth Triome generally, but it is an instant speed Divination with The Gitrog Monster out, and it does double up on mana with Nissa in play. A full half of our deck is lands, but the Zendikar Rising double-faced lands means we can sneak an extra couple in without losing any velocity.

The sideboard is self-explanatory—you have situational removal, two bombs to come in versus slower decks, and Malakir Rebirth, which doubles up on your Uro triggers. Kaervek, the Spiteful has been useful for me against Goblins, shutting down their Lotus Petal-mimicking Skirk Prospector and blanking the obnoxious Krenko.

Once our opponent starts sideboarding against us, we run into other issues. Uro’s enemies aren’t especially numerous, but he folds to pretty common cards—Grafdigger’s Cage, Torpor Orb-style cards, Leyline of the Void—as well as cards that are more popular on Arena than in physical play. Humorously, Hushbringer is one of the best cards against Uro decks—I ran into a Historic deck that was main decking the Spirit with Lurrus, and it shut down my entire deck.

Scavenging Ooze is also potent against the big man—it skims fuel out of the yard, and can cherry-pick Uro himself if you’re foolish enough to play him when they have a green mana open. I’ve been sideboarding Bloodchief’s Thirst for the Ooze, which has been working out well.

My experiences fighting through Scavenging Ooze made me want to test out a +1/+1 counters deck—again, this isn’t for climbing the ladder, but it’s a blast to play.

Historic Counter Strategy Deck

Creatures (22)
Stonecoil Serpent
Swarm Shambler
Pelt Collector
Scavenging Ooze
Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Planeswalkers (3)
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger

Spells (12)
The Ozolith
Vastwood Fortification
Branching Evolution
Inscription of Abundance
Lands (23)
16 Forest
Crawling Barrens
Blast Zone

We’re missing Winding Constrictor and (tragically departed) Walking Ballista, but the addition of Branching Evolution offers us a very explosive supplement. This plays like a Hardened Scales deck, and there’s enough flexibility in the shell to accommodate black for disruption or blue for Hydroid Krasis and Uro.

Right now, it’s too fair for Historic—trying to deploy singular above-rate threats—in a metagame where Muxus, Goblin Grandee is coming down on turn four. That’s the Historic metagame right now in microcosm, and I’m looking forward to change coming to the format.

Magic as a whole right now is a bit anaerobic, between Standard’s current crisis and the speed of Historic, but I think that’s a factor of housebound Arena grinders solving the format, and Wizards’ foolhardy design tactics. It’s easy to figure out the best deck when you start with four to eight slots in your deck chosen for you. One day, we’ll find a format that’s more of a puzzle; but until then, I’ve been enjoying my 6/6 cantripping, life-gaining Rampant Growth, especially when he’s tag-teaming with an enormous Legendary frog.

A lifelong resident of the Carolinas and a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Rob has played Magic since he picked a Darkling Stalker up off the soccer field at summer camp. He works for nonprofits as an educational strategies developer and, in his off-hours, enjoys writing fiction, playing games, and exploring new beers.

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