Wizards of the Coast announced another addition to the Historic Anthology series on May 17th, adding over two dozen digital cards for Magic: The Gathering Arena. Most notable is the inclusion of the five Praetors from a nearly decade-old set.
Historic Anthology 5 will release on Magic Arena as a timed bundle beginning May 27th. As the number would imply, this is the fifth such grouping of cards pulled from older sets meant to diversify and enrich the current Historic format, first introduced in 2019. It enjoys a spot on a short list of formats Magic Arena officially supports - Commander, pauper and other fan favourites don’t share that spotlight.
A new Historic Anthology can be a big deal, depending on what’s included. The array of available cards from which players can craft decks currently stretches back to 2017’s Ixalan block - plus the two Remastered sets - but Historic Anthologies bend the rules by injecting specifically chosen cards from further back. A single card can upturn the meta by empowering an otherwise middling deck or otherwise shutting down what used to be a format-dominating construction.
Two cycles - groups of cards related in design or flavour - in Historic Anthology 5 might be that hot button. The command cycle from 2014’s Dragons of Tarkir comprise five instant-speed spells that, like other commands, provide the caster a choice of two effects from a list. Combining broad functionality with all five sporting allied Mana colour pairs means Historic players will likely see or use these cards fairly often.
Also making a grand appearance from outside Historic’s normal legality are the five praetors from New Phyrexia, wholly evil war leaders debuting in 2011 as the last piece of the Scars of Mirrodin block. Powerful and costly creatures representing each of Magic: The Gatherings five colours, the Praetors have continued to see play mostly as deck-defining commanders. Their effect on Historic will likely differ by card - the white Mana Elesh Norn and blue-aligned Jin-Gitaxis have traditionally been the most impactful.
An aesthetic variant for the whole crew of villains will be available, translating their card text into the Phyrexian language. Wizards of the Coast did not say how Magic Arena players will be able to acquire these styles, nor what their cost will be. Past bundles have offered card variants as incentive for the more expensive premium package.
In a final bit of news, the post shared that the Phyrexian-language praetor cards would be printed in an upcoming Secret Lair drop. It’s not yet clear whether players will be able to collect all of them from a single box or see them spread across multiple Secret Lairs - a la Kaldheim’s alternate art giants. Regardless, the reprinting will likely lower the cost of existing physical cards in this style, which were previously only available as promotional gifts to Magic: The Gathering judges. Those singles now sell for as much as $400 (£282).
Historic Anthology 5 will be available to purchase on Magic Arena from May 27th through August 12th.