Sacrifice decks in Historic take spotlight at Innistrad Championship

Izzet Epiphany also performed well in Standard.

Image via WotC

The Innistrad Championship gave players a snapshot of how Innistrad: Crimson Vow impacted Standard and Historic since its release in November.

Tournament winner Yuuki Ichikawa and his five teammates entered the top eight with an edge in Historic, each running Golgari Food. The group of Japanese players identified the longtime staple Food archetype as a strong contender against the slew of Izzet Phoenix and Selesnya Humans decks entered into the event.

Their metagame read paid off with a trip to the top eight, and the team earned four invitations to the 2022 Magic World Championship XXVIII. Ichikawa, Riku Kumagai, Yo Akaike, and Toru Saito join their teammate and reigning champion Yuta Takahashi.

Zachary Kiihne and runner-up Simon Gortzen also earned invitations due to their top-six finish.

Standard remained stable with the release of Innistrad: Crimson Vow. While some decks like Zombies and Vampires did receive a few powerful tools, the format’s top-three decks continued to have the lion’s share of entries.

Izzet Epiphany, Mono-Green Aggro, and Mono-White Aggro have been staples in Standard since the release of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and might not be disrupted until Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty enters the format in February.

Epiphany was the most represented Standard list in the top eight. Six Epiphany lists were at the top of the tournament alongside Mono-Black Zombies and Mono-Green Aggro. The addition of Hullbreaker Horror gave Epiphany another top-end finisher if the Alrund’s Epiphany combo doesn’t get it done.

Outside of Hullbreaker Horror, Izzet Epiphany was largely the same as it was before Crimson Vow was released. Tristan Wylde-LaRue ran two copies of Thirst for Discovery in the main deck, making him one of the few players in the top 20 to add an additional Crimson Vow card to his list.

Christian Hauck finished at the top of the Swiss bracket at 13-2, piloting Mono-Green Aggro. His deck was familiar to anyone that’s been on the ladder, running Ranger Class, Blizzard Brawl, and Old Growth Troll to beat the opponent down.

Two Crimson Vow cards made an impact in his list. Two copies of Ulvenwald Oddity // Ulvenwald Behemoth were in the main deck as a strong four-mana play. The 4/4 Creature is an immediate threat with Haste and Trample. The threat of it turning into Night and giving all your Creatures Trample puts the pressure on the opponent to double-spell every turn.

Historic was highlighted by the Japanese players’ Golgari Food list. Golgari Food was the second-best deck in the tournament with an excellent 58.6 percent win rate with 21 entries. Only Rakdos Arcanist had it better, at a 59.7 percent win rate with 13 entries.

It was a strong showing for the two longtime Historic staples. Both Food and Rakdos Arcanist have been key archetypes in the format since its introduction in 2019.

Food is typically split into two archetypes: Jund Food and Golgari Food. Both decks lean on the interaction between Witch’s Oven and Cauldron Familiar to drain the opponent. Jund takes advantage of Mayhem Devil to deal direct damage and destroy enemy Creatures.

Golgari Food uses Ravenous Squirrel, introduced in Jumpstart: Historic Horizons, and The Meathook Massacre from Midnight Hunt to attack the opponent’s life total from multiple angles.

Magic esports won’t be back for a couple of months. The next tournament with Worlds invitations on the line is the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty set championship early in 2022. With the introduction of Alchemy as another competitive format, it’s unclear whether the tournament will feature Historic, Standard, or Alchemy.