The current Innistrad second set, Crimson Vow, gave the one-drop suite another option in Hopeful Initiate, which played a bit from time to time, depending on the baseness of the deck. One of my favorite cards in Orzhov Humans Decks has been Can`t Stay Away recently, and while it hasn`t made a push in lists for people yet, I try to guide people who play Can`t Stay Away. I think it`s a strong representation of people in fantasy environments, and it`s a representation that translates well into magic. Humans have historically been printed en masse in all five colors, were both heroes and villains, and had a wide range of skills without being tied to a major theme. Ikoria also brought another card that some human decks would put to good use, even one like General Kudro. Obviously, this card is Lurrus of the Dream-Den, another format warp card that is on the ban lists in all Magic formats. But Orzhov and Mono White were two of the many decks that used Lurus, with a variant shown in a 5-0 league by MTGO user MarcioMatthew. 1 – 60 of the 9,439 legal cards in the 2021 Pioneer Core Set came and went without much fanfare as far as people were concerned, although I will give Seasoned Hallowblade an honorable mention that appeared in a few different decklists such as a list of FujiColor400 challenges. In humans, just like in real life, there are endless possibilities in all shapes, sizes, mana values, and colors. There are ways to fit each metagame within a single archetype, and I think my favorite part is that while there are people of different skill levels – whether it`s Innistrad or New Capenna – they still fit together stylistically, although the differences in the world they live in are drastic. You`ll see Thalia in most of the human decks that have been built since it became legal in this format – and rightly so, as there has been no speculation about the quality of Thalia.
But now you also see Thalia transform into another legendary midnight hunter into Adeline, Resplendent Cathar. Adeline was another big boost for human decks, although it took an extra domino to fall for it to really take off. Adeline creates a small army of humans on her own, and with four tenacies, she can`t be killed easily. Both cards have given human decks (especially Mono White and Orzhov) a big boost lately as they work in tandem. Sungold Sentinel also gets a bit of reputation here, as you`ll see Thalia and Sentinel in another Conorman listing below. Midnight Hunt also gave us Brutal Cathar and Graveyard Trespasser, which added even more options instead to three drops. Despite the fact that some of the cards that now give people their identity are missing, the core of today`s decks remains the same, with cards like Thalia`s Lieutenant and Thraben Inspector still seeing in almost every human list today, regardless of the color combination. Humans are a playable D&D race that people always notice as the seemingly most mundane option in the players` race.
But I`ve always been a fan of playing people in D&D because of the versatility they offer. In fact, the fifth edition player`s manual states that people are “the innovators, the performers and the pioneers of the worlds” and “do not lean towards a particular direction. The best and the worst are among them. Curiously, a refined and intriguing non-human psychic has created a new archetype of humans bearing her name. It`s an Esper deck that uses Refine as a source of card advantage, and we also see newcomer Tenacious Underdog in this list, which is another incentive to play Black. In the first return to Innistrad, Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon, we received two of the cards that absolutely defined the pioneer people. You`ll find Inspector Thraben and Thalia`s lieutenant almost without exception in almost every human bridge. One of the key cards presented at Pioneer for Humans was, of course, a reprint, as Thalia`s lieutenant was accompanied by the original Thalia itself: Thalia, guardian of Thraben. Thalia was one of the most important maps separating pioneer humans from moderns, and Thalia`s focus gave Pioneer a huge boost. However, Zendikar Rising would arguably represent one of the strongest people of all time and was the latest example of the trend that every fall outing consistently offers incredibly strong support to people. Luminarch Aspirant is perhaps not only one of the best human cards ever printed.
It could very well be one of the strongest white creatures of all time. Aspirant has become a mainstay of mono-white humans and Orzhov, although 5C Humans doesn`t usually play it. There is also an honorable mention of Zendikar in Expert Acquisitions which saw some fringe games compete with Kitesail Freebooter for the “Two-Drop Disruption Human” slot machine. At the MTGO Challenge on October 28, 2019 – just one week after the format debuted – in a world where Oko, Thief of Crowns, Veil of Summer and Felidar Guardian are still legal, the MTGO MinCash user piloted a list of five tickets to a record 6-2, good for 28th place in this challenge. Ikoria also brought another powerful human – but not one who is powerful in the decks that only humans have. On the contrary, Winota, Joiner of Forces, needed a tactical mix of humans and non-humans to reach their full potential. And this potential was not wasted, as Winota was one of the most powerful cards in the format, able to cheat with cards such as Agent of Treachery, Angrath`s Marauders (and more recently Tovolar`s Huntmaster or Blade Historian) as early as the fourth round. Winota was powerful and, according to Wizards of the Coast, even too powerful. Winota was banned from Pioneer on June 7, 2022 and went where only one human had been before when she joined Undercity Informer as the second human creature on the list of banned Pioneers. I`ll always have a soft spot for humans, and as one of Magic`s most printed creature types, we`ll continue to grow over time, and I can`t wait to see the deck evolve as other options come up. However, with the upcoming expansion – Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths – humans have received some pretty significant improvements in General Kudro of Drannith and Dire Tactics.
Suddenly, there was a pretty good incentive to play Black in your human decks, which wasn`t necessarily the case before. Kudro and Dire Tactics can be seen in a list piloted by UrbanPope in a pioneer preliminary on June 10. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms added a strong option for 5C decks, or at least encouraged you to splash the green, depending on how sweet you want to be with your mana base.