Into the Arena: Back to Rogues in Historic Dawson Reynolds July 26, 2021 Decklists, Historic, Into the Arena As someone who plays a lot of Historic, Arena’s eternal format, I have played with a lot of Arclight Phoenixes the past few months. However, after a recent tournament full of Izzet Phoenix mirrors I started looking for other competitive decks to break the monotony. After some testing, I decided to return to my favourite deck in the format, Dimir Rogues. The powerful tempo deck has fallen in popularity as Phoenix decks have risen, but I think it still has a lot of potential. Rogues easily runs over control decks like Jeskai and Dimir and can also be built to have a good matchup against Arclight Phoenix. Against other opponents like Collected Company and Mono-Black Aggro, Rogues typically has a fairly even matchup. If tuned and played well, I believe Rogues has the capability of being at the top of the metagame, and it has put up some results to support that. My favourite part of this deck is its efficiency. It can win games with just two or three lands because it plays the best one and two-drops in the format. Eight counterspells in the main deck that are even more effective than Counterspell makes it easy to punish slower decks, but aggressive decks are a more difficult matchup. Luckily, playing black provides access to whatever removal is necessary. Unlike the Standard version of the archetype, which focuses on mill, Rogues in Historic is all about tempo and creating an early advantage. The mill aspect is used to power up cards like Soaring Thought-Thief and Drown in the Loch, and only wins a game once in a Blood Moon. Let’s take a look at how the archetype has evolved since the Mystical Archive was added to Historic. Here is the deck Yuta Takahashi used to win the first Insight Historic Open after the release of Strixhaven. Companion1 x Lurrus of the Dream-Den Creature4 x Merfolk Windrobber4 x Thieves’ Guild Enforcer4 x Soaring Thought-Thief Instant4 x Brainstorm4 x Fatal Push4 x Drown in the Loch4 x Memory Lapse4 x Into the Story Sorcery4 x Inquisition of Kozilek1 x Agadeem’s Awakening // Agadeem, the Undercrypt Land3 x Island (335)3 x Swamp (339)4 x Fabled Passage4 x Watery Grave4 x Drowned Catacomb4 x Clearwater Pathway // Murkwater Pathway1 x Castle Locthwain Sideboard2 x Grafdigger’s Cage2 x Aether Gust2 x Tyrant’s Scorn1 x Lurrus of the Dream-Den2 x Mystical Dispute2 x Negate2 x Languish2 x Legion’s End MTG Arena decklist Companion 1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den Deck 4 Merfolk Windrobber 3 Island 4 Thieves’ Guild Enforcer 3 Swamp 4 Soaring Thought-Thief 4 Brainstorm 4 Inquisition of Kozilek 4 Drown in the Loch 4 Memory Lapse 4 Into the Story 4 Fatal Push 4 Fabled Passage 4 Watery Grave 4 Drowned Catacomb 4 Clearwater Pathway 1 Castle Locthwain 1 Agadeem’s Awakening Sideboard 2 Grafdigger’s Cage 2 Aether Gust 2 Tyrant’s Scorn 1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den 2 Mystical Dispute 2 Negate 2 Languish 2 Legion’s End His list was very streamlined and also leaned into a controlling gameplan. Four copies of Into the Story and Brainstorm made card advantage the focus, while Fatal Push and Inquisition of Kozilek held down aggressive decks. The deck was a great way to approach an unknown metagame, but Rogues has evolved from here. One example is that since this tournament I have shifted away from playing Brainstorm in Rogues for two reasons. One, it isn’t that good without Fabled Passage, which is a land that does not fit into the deck very well. Two, this deck wants to spend its mana very efficiently and in a way that impacts the board early. Cantrips don’t fit into the game plan as well as one might assume. Instead, I think Curious Obsession is an even better way to gain an advantage, and multiple flying creatures and counterspells set up Obsession quite nicely. Below is the version of the deck that I am playing these days. There are a few cards that have risen and a few that have fallen out of favour thanks to shifts in the metagame. Fatal Push isn’t quite as necessary in the format as it was, so I have trimmed two of them. Cling to Dust and Thoughtseize both help deal with problematic cards such as uncounterable spells and escape creatures. I also currently play just two copies of Into the Story and a third in the sideboard, because it is too slow in many games. Of course, this is based on the current metagame, and if aggro is less played then Into the Story can be a great way to close the door on long top-deck battles. Companion1 x Lurrus of the Dream-Den Creature4 x Thieves’ Guild Enforcer4 x Merfolk Windrobber4 x Soaring Thought-Thief Instant2 x Cling to Dust2 x Fatal Push1 x Spell Pierce4 x Memory Lapse4 x Drown in the Loch1 x Doom Blade2 x Into the Story Sorcery3 x Inquisition of Kozilek3 x Thoughtseize1 x Agadeem’s Awakening // Agadeem, the Undercrypt Enchantment2 x Curious Obsession Land4 x Swamp (339)4 x Drowned Catacomb2 x Castle Locthwain4 x Clearwater Pathway // Murkwater Pathway4 x Watery Grave5 x Island (335) Sideboard1 x Heartless Act2 x Grafdigger’s Cage2 x Spell Pierce1 x Fatal Push1 x Lurrus of the Dream-Den2 x Crippling Fear3 x Cerulean Drake2 x Mystical Dispute1 x Into the Story Buy This List MTG Arena decklist Companion 1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den Deck 4 Memory Lapse 2 Cling to Dust 4 Swamp 3 Inquisition of Kozilek 3 Thoughtseize 4 Drown in the Loch 4 Drowned Catacomb 2 Into the Story 4 Thieves’ Guild Enforcer 4 Merfolk Windrobber 4 Soaring Thought-Thief 2 Curious Obsession 2 Fatal Push 1 Spell Pierce 1 Agadeem’s Awakening 2 Castle Locthwain 4 Clearwater Pathway 4 Watery Grave 5 Island 1 Doom Blade Sideboard 1 Heartless Act 2 Grafdigger’s Cage 2 Spell Pierce 1 Fatal Push 1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den 2 Crippling Fear 3 Cerulean Drake 2 Mystical Dispute 1 Into the Story The sideboard for this deck has the primary goal of stifling Phoenix decks, while also making room for some extra removal and counterspells to shore up aggro and control matchups. Below is a sideboard guide to use when playing against other top decks. One thing to note while sideboarding is that counterspells are usually slightly better when on the play, and I sometimes trim a few copies of Memory Lapse when going second. Vs. Jeskai & Dimir Control This is the best matchup for Rogues, and it gets even better after sideboarding. Having 12 cheap counterspells to protect an early creature or two will often win games. A well timed Into the Story can help win top-decking battles if you don’t manage to build a battlefield. +2 Spell Pierce +2 Mystical Dispute +1 Into the Story -2 Fatal Push -2 Cling to Dust -1 Doom Blade Vs. Izzet Phoenix The sideboard is largely built to defeat Phoenixes, so seven cards come in. Cerulean Drake can buy a lot of time and usually can’t be interacted with, but it can’t block Stormwing Entities which is something to keep an eye out for. An early Grafdigger’s Cage will also typically put a damper on the opponent’s plan. The key is to trade resources and try and build a small advantage. +2 Grafdigger’s Cage +3 Cerulean Drake +1 Crippling Fear +1 Heartless Act -3 Thoughtseize -2 Curious Obsession -2 Memory Lapse Vs. Selesnya Collected Company This matchup can go either way. Crippling Fear can win games, but playing against Elite Spellbinder is frustrating. The more removal the better in this matchup. +2 Crippling Fear +1 Fatal Push +1 Heartless Act -2 Cling to Dust -1 Spell Pierce -1 Memory Lapse Vs. Azorious Auras It would be nice to have more removal to bring in for this matchup, but usually there is enough to completely pick apart their Kor Spiritdancers and Sram, Senior Edificers. Crippling Fear is an option if the opponent is playing Adanto Vanguard and Selfless Savior. +1 Fatal Push +1 Heartless Act -1 Spell Pierce -1 Cling to Dust I hope this guide inspires you to try out my favourite deck on Arena, or at least gives you an idea of how to defeat it. It’s the perfect list for all the tempo and counterspell lovers out there. I’ll see you all on the Ranked Ladder! Find me on twitter: @dreynolds2727 Check out the stream: twitch.tv/dawsonreynolds Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.