Less than a week ago I was competing in the Strixhaven Championship. I managed to make Top 8 with Jeskai Control as my Historic deck, and while a whopping five of the other Top 8 players were also on Jeskai, none of them had gone with Control.

They were busy playing the most dominant Historic deck of the tournament.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Jeskai Turns by Sam Pardee

'Jeskai Turns' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Sam Pardee

Event: Strixhaven Championship

Rank: 1st

Historic

Market Price: $335.76

Cards

Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171463_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/171463/magic-commander-2018-island-296

Fabled Passage

Market Price: $4.63

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Mizzix's Mastery

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $6.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/107844_200w.jpg

Exile target card that's an instant or sorcery from your graveyard. For each card exiled this way, copy it, and you may cast the copy without paying its mana cost. Exile Mizzix's Mastery.
Overload {5}{R}{R}{R} (You may cast this spell for its overload cost. If you do, change its text by replacing all instances of "target" with "each.")

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Magma Opus

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $1.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235600_200w.jpg

Magma Opus deals 4 damage divided as you choose among any number of targets. Tap two target permanents. Create a 4/4 blue and red Elemental creature token. Draw two cards.
{U/R}{U/R}, Discard Magma Opus: Create a Treasure token.

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Fry

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192595_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Fry deals 5 damage to target creature or planeswalker that's white or blue.

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Dwarven Mine

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199542_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)
Dwarven Mine enters the battlefield tapped unless you control three or more other Mountains.
When Dwarven Mine enters the battlefield untapped, create a 1/1 red Dwarf creature token.

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Commence the Endgame

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188626_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Draw two cards, then amass X, where X is the number of cards in your hand. (Put X +1/+1 counters on an Army you control. If you don't control one, create a 0/0 black Zombie Army creature token first.)

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Raugrin Triome

Color Identity:R,U,W

Market Price: $12.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212695_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}, {R}, or {W}.)
Raugrin Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Prismari Command

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $6.77

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233273_200w.jpg

Choose two —
• Prismari Command deals 2 damage to any target.
• Target player draws two cards, then discards two cards.
• Target player creates a Treasure token.
• Destroy target artifact.

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Velomachus Lorehold

Color Identity:R,W

Market Price: $2.94

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235572_200w.jpg

Flying, vigilance, haste
Whenever Velomachus Lorehold attacks, look at the top seven cards of your library. You may cast an instant or sorcery spell with mana value less than or equal to Velomachus Lorehold's power from among them without paying its mana cost. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

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Perilous Voyage

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145748_200w.jpg

Return target nonland permanent you don't control to its owner's hand. If its mana value was 2 or less, scry 2.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Anger of the Gods

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145342_200w.jpg

Anger of the Gods deals 3 damage to each creature. If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

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Aether Gust

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192535_200w.jpg

Choose target spell or permanent that's red or green. Its owner puts it on the top or bottom of their library.

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Brainstorm

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236208_200w.jpg

Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.

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Expressive Iteration

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $4.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235845_200w.jpg

Look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand, put one of them on the bottom of your library, and exile one of them. You may play the exiled card this turn.

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Sulfur Falls

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $4.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162122_200w.jpg

Sulfur Falls enters the battlefield tapped unless you control an Island or a Mountain.
{T}: Add {U} or {R}.

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Time Warp

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $14.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/32744_200w.jpg

Target player takes an extra turn after this one.

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Indomitable Creativity

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $5.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126431_200w.jpg

Destroy X target artifacts and/or creatures. For each permanent destroyed this way, its controller reveals cards from the top of their library until an artifact or creature card is revealed and exiles that card. Those players put the exiled cards onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Memory Lapse

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118731_200w.jpg

Counter target spell. If that spell is countered this way, put it on top of its owner's library instead of into that player's graveyard.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215722_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Shark Typhoon

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $10.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212133_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying, where X is that spell's mana value.
Cycling {X}{1}{U} ({X}{1}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Shark Typhoon, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying.

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Steam Vents

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $14.63

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175202_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {R}.)
As Steam Vents enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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This is Sam Pardee's winning list, but there were a number of versions of this deck that were successful, with the entire Top 4 of the tournament being Jeskai Turns. A deck being so dominant is unusual, and helps prove how good the deck is. There is absolutely no doubt this was the best deck in Historic—was, because Wizards of the Coast surprised us yesterday with a mid-week ban.

Time Warp Is Banned in Historic

As of today, Time Warp is no longer legal in Historic.

Though we often like to see how the metagame adjusts to tournament results like these, when the deck involved has play patterns that prevent the opponent from playing the game and when our data suggests that it lacks a significant number of bad matchups, we favor acting quickly. For these reasons, Time Warp is banned in Historic.

WotC knew they had to do something about the format. While the Jeskai Turns deck was quite new, due to many of the cards only being recently added to Historic, it would have only become more pronounced how good and oppressive the deck was had it been allowed to continue to exist. I do believe that banning something in this case was better than nothing.

The Mystical Archive Problem

When WotC introduced the Mystical Archive to Historic there was definitely was some apprehension in relation to how many of these cards would affect the format. Indeed, a number of the Mystical Archive cards were banned before they even had a chance to be played in Historic. While Tainted Pact itself was not banned, it directly caused the banning of Thassa's Oracle not that long ago. The format went from one dominant deck to another—Jeskai Turns didn't only play one card from the Mystical Archive, it included many.

Memory Lapse, Brainstorm, and Mizzix's Mastery are all also part of the Mystical Archive. Even outside of these there are still some very powerful cards in the Mystical Archive, like Faithless Looting, a card that has been banned in Modern. There was a big risk introducing so many powerful cards into Historic at one time. It's true that WotC said they would be willing to ban cards rapidly in order to keep the format healthy, and that's now what we are seeing.

Some people have suggested the Mystical Archive itself was not a good fit for Historic, and that the cards are simply too good for this format. There's a strong argument to be made that if you need to ban 5+ cards from a 63-card set, it just shouldn't be legal in the format at all.

Going back to the Strixhaven Championship, the vast majority of the Historic field consisted of blue decks, and even within that well over 60% of the field was playing Brainstorm. The format has been quite lopsided once you get to the highest levels of play. This isn't healthy. Creature-based aggressive decks that once felt good enough to compete feel much worse than they used to. Goblins (once the best deck in the format) is now no longer seeing play, which should help show how much the format has shifted in one direction.

Historic Isn't Going to Change Much

While I have said banning something was the right move, I'm not sure that Time Warp was the correct choice if you are only going to ban one card. Jeskai Turns wasn't the only oppressive deck in Historic. The most-played deck in the Strixhaven Championship was actually Izzet Phoenix, and that deck is extremely strong against almost every aggressive deck in the format. Banning Time Warp only affects one deck, so other popular blue builds like Jeskai Control and Izzet Phoenix should remain just as good as ever, if not better.

While banning Time Warp may stop the "taking turns" aspect of the Jeskai Turns deck, there are still cards from this deck that can find homes elsewhere. We likely won't see Alrund's Epiphany anymore, but we will definitely see Mizzix's Mastery plus Magma Opus. That combination is absolutely busted, and we will continue to face Magma Opus on turn three.

My concern, shared by many others, is this ban was not enough to change the format in a big way. It will potentially kill off one deck (or force it to shift a bit), but that doesn't mean you can suddenly start bringing back aggressive decks to Historic and expect to do well. The other blue decks still had much better win percentages when looking at the matchup data from the Strixhaven Championship.

Brainstorm Needs to Be Banned

Let's start with the obvious. The card I think everyone thought would be the first to go in terms of a ban is Brainstorm. I'm still baffled as to why Time Warp was chosen over Brainstorm. Brainstorm is a Legacy staple, but Historic is not Legacy. Brainstorm would be too good for Modern. There is a very solid fetch land in Historic in Fabled Passage. The top three archetypes in the Strixhaven Championship all include Brainstorm. These points all add up.

There were actually 31 copies of Brainstorm in the Top 8 of the Strixhaven Championship, and no, I'm not going to try and justify my choice to only play three copies. Brainstorm feels like a ticking time bomb. We know it will be banned at some point, and until it happens the format won't shift in a big way.

tweet:1402724821759270912

Luis's take is shared by many others in the community including myself. This decision to ban Time Warp came as a surprise, considering there are other seemingly more powerful and widely used cards that could have been chosen instead of Time Warp. Mizzix's Mastery, Faithless Looting, and Memory Lapse are all cards I have my eye on from the Mystical Archive. That being said, WotC has said they may very well ban more Historic cards in the future.

If we're right that the Time Warp ban won't be enough to shift the format in a big way, then we should expect some of the cards listed above to get banned in the near future. The Time Warp ban likely is only a temporary band-aid.

What To Play in Historic Now

It stands to reason that the current best deck in Historic is Izzet Phoenix. This is a deck that I have been incredibly impressed by, and was about a third of the field in the Strixhaven Championship. If it were not for the Jeskai Turns deck this would have been the best Historic deck from the event. Here is Matti Kuisma's list:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Izzet Phoenix by Matti Kuisma

'Izzet Phoenix' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Matti Kuisma

Event: Strixhaven Championship

Rank: 5th-8th

Historic

Market Price: $275.95

Cards

Pillar of Flame

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216467_200w.jpg

Pillar of Flame deals 2 damage to any target. If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171463_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Aether Gust

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192535_200w.jpg

Choose target spell or permanent that's red or green. Its owner puts it on the top or bottom of their library.

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Arclight Phoenix

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $9.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176685_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
At the beginning of combat on your turn, if you've cast three or more instant and sorcery spells this turn, return Arclight Phoenix from your graveyard to the battlefield.

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Ox of Agonas

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $3.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206651_200w.jpg

When Ox of Agonas enters the battlefield, discard your hand, then draw three cards.
Escape—{R}{R}, Exile eight other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Ox of Agonas escapes with a +1/+1 counter on it.

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Stormwing Entity

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215582_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2}{U} less to cast if you've cast an instant or sorcery spell this turn.
Flying
Prowess (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
When Stormwing Entity enters the battlefield, scry 2.

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Expressive Iteration

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $4.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235845_200w.jpg

Look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand, put one of them on the bottom of your library, and exile one of them. You may play the exiled card this turn.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Sprite Dragon

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $0.87

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212044_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, put a +1/+1 counter on Sprite Dragon.

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Beacon Bolt

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176857_200w.jpg

Beacon Bolt deals damage to target creature equal to the total number of instant and sorcery cards you own in exile and in your graveyard.
Jump-start (You may cast this card from your graveyard by discarding a card in addition to paying its other costs. Then exile this card.)

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Anger of the Gods

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145342_200w.jpg

Anger of the Gods deals 3 damage to each creature. If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

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Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $8.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122645_200w.jpg

+1: Exile the top card of your library. You may cast that card. If you don't, Chandra, Torch of Defiance deals 2 damage to each opponent.
+1: Add {R}{R}.
−3: Chandra, Torch of Defiance deals 4 damage to target creature.
−7: You get an emblem with "Whenever you cast a spell, this emblem deals 5 damage to any target."

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Steam Vents

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $14.63

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175202_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {R}.)
As Steam Vents enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Opt

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215840_200w.jpg

Scry 1.
Draw a card.

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Tormod's Crypt

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215346_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Tormod's Crypt: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.

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Brazen Borrower // Petty Theft

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $20.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199387_200w.jpg

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Faithless Looting

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236106_200w.jpg

Draw two cards, then discard two cards.
Flashback {2}{R} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215722_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Soul-Guide Lantern

Market Price: $2.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206867_200w.jpg

When Soul-Guide Lantern enters the battlefield, exile target card from a graveyard.
{T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Exile each opponent's graveyard.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Draw a card.

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Sulfur Falls

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $4.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162122_200w.jpg

Sulfur Falls enters the battlefield tapped unless you control an Island or a Mountain.
{T}: Add {U} or {R}.

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Spirebluff Canal

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $13.89

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122672_200w.jpg

Spirebluff Canal enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or fewer other lands.
{T}: Add {U} or {R}.

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Crackling Drake

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236188_200w.jpg

Flying
Crackling Drake's power is equal to the total number of instant and sorcery cards you own in exile and in your graveyard.
When Crackling Drake enters the battlefield, draw a card.

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Brainstorm

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236208_200w.jpg

Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $4.63

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Lightning Axe

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233921_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, discard a card or pay {5}.
Lightning Axe deals 5 damage to target creature.

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Fry

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192595_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Fry deals 5 damage to target creature or planeswalker that's white or blue.

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Negate

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222130_200w.jpg

Counter target noncreature spell.

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Finale of Promise

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.83

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188509_200w.jpg

You may cast up to one target instant card and/or up to one target sorcery card from your graveyard each with mana value X or less without paying their mana costs. If a spell cast this way would be put into your graveyard this turn, exile it instead. If X is 10 or more, copy each of those spells twice. You may choose new targets for the copies.

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Riverglide Pathway

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221822_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

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This is just an incredibly efficient deck. If you are not playing Izzet Phoenix, then you need good graveyard hate like Rest in Peace to try and combat it, which is what my version of Jeskai Control tries to do. Still, Matti beat me in two straight games in the Top 8 of the Stirxhaven Championship.

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We are in a stage of rebalancing the Historic format at the moment, and I don't believe this ban fully gets the format to where it needs to be. What this means is you should try not to get fully invested into one deck, especially if it plays one of the cards from the Mystical Archive. While the Jeskai Turns deck may disappear completely, the format likely will remain dominated by Brainstorm.

That being said, if you are playing on the ladder oftentimes the metagame will be very different than a high level tournament, and you are likely to see a wider variety of decks. The higher the stakes, the more the metagame condenses, which is what we saw at the Strixhaven Championship. For this reason we will likely need to wait until the next major event featuring Historic before another ban can take place.