Last updated on August 26, 2022

Stifle - Illustration by Eric Fortune

Stifle | Illustration by Eric Fortune

The digital-only formats on MTG Arena have certainly gone through a lot. With all the new Standard sets, the countless Alchemy releases nobody plays, and the release of a third digital-only format in the form of Explorer, it can be a little tricky to keep track of everything.

One of the many releases that might confuse new players are the Historic Anthologies that have come out since the start of the format. They’re basically just a flat release of a dozen or so cards that the MTGA dev team feels the Historic format could use in an attempt to liven it up a little bit.

Today I’ll be doing a bit of a dive into the anthologies, going over what cards are included, and answering some commonly asked questions. Let’s go!

What Is a Historic Anthology?

Chalice of the Void - Illustration by Mark Zug

Historic Anthologies are sets of cards that you can buy on the MTG Arena store, meant to supplement Historic with a variety of cards from across Magic’s history. They’re a sort of booster to the format that’s otherwise subject to having any cards printed onto Arena.

The MTG Arena devs monitor their digital-only formats pretty consistently and do their best to figure out which cards the format needs to bolster certain strategies or nerf others.

List of Historic Anthologies

Historic Anthology 1

Release Date: November 21, 2019

Historic Anthology 2

Release Date: March 12, 2020

Tranquil Thicket

Historic Anthology 3

Release Date: May 21, 2020

Historic Anthology 4

Release Date: March 11, 2021

Historic Anthology 5

Release Date: May 27, 2021

Historic Anthology 6

Release Date: July 28, 2022

What’s the Purpose of Historic Anthologies?

The Historic Anthologies are a way to introduce new and important cards to the Historic format that would otherwise never be added to MTG Arena. It makes sense to release sets of cards that help maintain the health of the format this way since Historic is a digital-only format that consists of, well, whatever’s on Arena.

How Do You Get a Historic Anthology?

Historic Anthologies are released on MTG Arena via the Store where they can be bought for a limited time on release. Buying the Anthology gives you a complete playset of every new card, and can be bought with either gold or gems.

But they don’t stay in the store too long and eventually get rotated out permanently. The cards are still available, though, and can be crafted as normal using wildcards.

Is it Worth it to Buy a Historic Anthology?

Historic Anthologies are worth buying if you’re interested in actually playing a variety of decks in Historic. The format is always evolving with each new Standard and Alchemy release, but the cards introduced in these Anthologies often become format staples and widely-used.

But if you’re just going to be playing a mono-blue spirits deck then the Anthology with a Tarmogoyf and Laelia, the Blade Reforged might not be worth buying.

Crafting an Anthology vs. Buying One

It’s (almost) always be worth buying it if you’re interested in playing Historic and an Anthology is releasing or currently in the Store. The Historic Anthologies sell for 25,000 gold or 4,000 gems, about 25 packs, which means it’s more worth it if there’s more than one rare card that you’d like a playset than to buy an equivalent number of packs and use the wildcards to craft them.

From a strictly value-oriented perspective, buying an anthology with either gold or gems is cheaper than opening packs until you earn enough wildcards to craft the entire Anthology.

Do You Get Four Copies of Each Card When You Buy a Historic Anthology?

Yes, you get four copies of each card whenever you buy an Anthology of any kind. I can’t imagine the outrage from the Historic and Explorer community if the Anthologies, which cost about $25, were to give singleton copies of the new cards. What a waste that would be.

Can You Still Buy Old Historic Anthologies?

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite - Illustration by Igor Kieryluk

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite | Illustration by Igor Kieryluk

No, you can no longer buy old Historic Anthologies. The only way you can get the new cards once they leave the MTG Arena Store is to craft them with wildcards.

Honestly, this is a pretty unfortunate scenario. These Anthologies are a great deal assuming you’re going to use more than one playset of the cards, and it greatly increases the barrier to entry to these digital-only formats if you need to drain 50 rare wildcards for a new deck.

Are Historic Anthology Cards Legal in Historic Brawl? What About Explorer?

Yes and no. Historic Anthology cards are legal Historic Brawl, but not necessarily Explorer. They’re intended primarily for Historic, but some of the cards in these anthologies happen to be already Explorer legal. A card in an anthology is only legal in Explorer if it was already legal in Pioneer.

When’s the Next Historic Anthology?

The most recent release for the line of Historic Anthologies was on July 28, 2022. It contained 20 new cards for Arena, including some major players like Tarmogoyf and Chalice of the Void.

With this recent release, and keeping in mind the previous one was well over a year before, it’s unlikely we’ll be getting another Historic Anthology anytime soon. But we’ll keep this updated with the newest Historic Anthology news, so if you don’t see it here then there’s nothing new yet!

Wrap Up

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur - Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur | Illustration by Eric Deschamps

That concludes all the details I’ve got for you today regarding the Historic Anthologies. I think that the Anthologies are a great series of releases, but I wish that they’d stay around in the Store permanently, or have an alternative to spending more of my precious wildcards.

What do you think of the Anthologies and the Historic format as a whole? Are they a great way to spice up and breathe new life into the format, or are they an easy cash grab that further increases the barrier to entry? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or over in the official Draftsim Discord.

Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!

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  • Avatar
    Pooh August 25, 2022 1:53 pm

    “No, the Historic Anthology cards aren’t legal in either Historic Brawl or Explorer. They’re solely for the Historic format” — however, many cards from Anthologies 1-5 ARE legal in Explorer.

    • Avatar
      Dan Troha August 26, 2022 3:43 pm

      Corrected this, thanks.

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