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Eight New Jumpstart Historic Brews!


Today marks the release of Jumpstart, both in paper and on Magic Arena. Normally, supplemental products that aren't legal in formats like Modern, Pioneer, and Standard aren't all that exciting for constructed play, instead being aimed at casual Commander games and limited players, but Jumpstart is an exception for one huge reason: the set is legal in Historic on Magic Arena!

Initially, I was pretty skeptical of Historic, both because of its muddled launch and because the format looked a lot like Standard. But over the past year, Wizards has aggressively pushed new cards into the formats with Historic Anthology sets and now Jumpstart, giving the format its own identity. Today, Historic is by far my favorite Arena format and one of my favorite formats overall. 

As a result, I'm super excited for Jumpstart, which not only adds some interesting new cards into the Historic card pool but also some extremely powerful reprints as well. As such, today, we're looking at some of the Historic decks I'm most excited to play now that Jumpstart is out. While there are many more on my to-do list, and I'm sure we'll play most of these decks in the future for streams or on the YouTube channel, I wanted to get these lists out into the wild in case anyone was looking for sweet new Historic decks to play while we are waiting for Standard to (maybe?) be fixed with rotation. Anyway, here are the Jumpstart Historic decks I'm planning on trying first. If you have some cool Jumpstart decks you've been working on, make sure to let me know in the comments!

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Spirits haven't really been a competitive tribe in Historic, but some huge new additions from Jumpstart might change the equation. While the tribe still really needs a secondary one-drop with flying, the new Jumpstart Spirits—Rattlechains, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner, and Nebelgast Herald—all have a track record of playability in formats like Modern and Pioneer. One of the tribe's biggest upsides is that they have tribe members that fulfill the role of many utility spells, with Shacklegeist, Hanged Executioner, and Nebelgast Herald working as removal; Kira, Great Glass-Spinner and Rattlechains protecting from removal; Spectral Sailor offering card advantage; and Remorseful Cleric for graveyard hate. This allows us to play a massive 33 creatures in our deck to maximize the power of our Spirit lords Supreme Phantom and Empyrean Eagle.

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Kor Spiritdancer is a busted Magic card in the right deck. It's been powering Modern Bogles decks for years, not just offering a steady source of card advantage but also turning into a massive threat on its own once we get some auras attached to it. As such, it might finally be time for Bogles to take off in Historic. All That Glitters and Ancestral Mask offer two strong aura-based payoffs, potentially turning one of our creatures into a one-shot kill that can be unblockable if we are enchanting Gingerbrute or trampling thanks to Setessan Training. Alseid of Life's Bounty and Karametra's Blessing help to protect our payoffs and reduce the risk of loading up one creatures with a bunch of auras, which is especially important in Historic since we don't have cheap hexproof creatures to enchant like we do in Modern. In the past, Historic Bogles has had the ability to pick up fast kills with Gingerbrute and All That Glitters but didn't really have the ability to play a longer game or recover from a wrath or heavy targeted removal. Kor Spiritdancer fixes this problem all by itself while also becoming one of the best creatures in the format to load up with enchantments. It's hard to overstate just how powerful it is or its potential impact on the Bogles archetype in the Historic format.

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The post-Jumpstart version of Historic Elves looks absurd. I wouldn't be surprised to find that it is the best tribal deck in the format and possibly a legitimate top-tier archetype. Combining some previous Historic Anthology cards with the Elves naturally in the Historic format and the new Jumpstart additions, the tribe now has 12 two- or three-mana lords; two new payoffs in Allosaurus Shepherd to turn our Elves into 5/5s (and pumping base power and toughness means the bonus of our lords still applies); Craterhoof Behemoth, which basically just wins the game when it resolves; and Elvish Archdruid, to join Llanowar Elves, Incubation Druid, and Marwyn, the Nurturer to make the mana we need to flood the board with Elves and cast something like Craterhoof Behemoth (or Finale of Devastation to find Craterhoof Behemoth and win the game. There are almost no weak slots in the entire deck. While another one-mana accelerant like Elvish Mystic or Heritage Druid would be nice, even in its current form, there's really nothing stopping Elves from being a competitive deck in the Historic format. The pieces are all there, and they fit together super well.

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Blinking creatures with enters-the-battlefield triggers for value is a popular and occasionally powerful strategy. While we still need Panharmonicon to be released into the Historic format, Historic blink value decks got a boost of power from Jumpstart with one of the best blink targets of all time: Thragtusk! Not only does Thragtusk stabilize the board against aggro by gaining five life when it comes into play, but it's resilient to removal as well, leaving behind a 3/3 Beast token when it leaves the battlefield. The fact that Thragtusk makes a Beast when it leaves the battlefield rather than when it dies is what makes it so powerful in a blink strategy. Let's say we play Thassa, Deep-Dwelling on Turn 4 (maybe earlier with ramp) and then follow it up with Thragtusk the next turn. We get five life when Thragtusk comes into play, and then on our end step, we can blink Thragtusk with Thassa to make a 3/3 Beast and gain five more life, giving us a total of eight power and six toughness across two bodies along with 10 life for just five mana! Eventually, this combo will lead to an almost unbeatable board of Beast tokens, while our opponent will have an incredibly hard time killing us with damage through the lifegain. 

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Apart from Thragtusk, the other big Jumpstart addition to Bant Swagtusk Blink is Wall of Blossoms. While Wall of Blossoms might not look like much, it draws a card when it comes into play, giving us a steady source of card advantage in conjunction with our blink effects. But unlike other two-mana card-draw creatures like Fblthp, the Lost and Elvish Visionary, which are relatively useless 1/1s, Wall of Blossoms is a 0/4, making it a great blocker against aggro decks while we are getting our powerful late-game blink engine online. We also get a copy of Emiel the Blessed, which gives us another way to blink our creatures for value and might deserve to be more than a one-of in our deck, although it's hard to tell just how good Emiel really is without playing some matches with it. Three mana to blink isn't cheap, and it doesn't protect itself from removal. But if it sticks on the battlefield, it can generate a ton of value by blinking ramp and card-draw creatures. 

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Is the combo of Exquisite Blood and Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose the most competitive way to play Vampires in Historic? Perhaps not, but it's the most fun and exciting way for sure! If you're not familiar with the combo, if we can get both Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose and Exquisite Blood on the battlefield together and either gain a single point of life or deal a single damage to our opponent, we start a weird loop where Exquisite Blood and Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose keep triggering each other, gaining us life from Exquisite Blood and then making our opponent lose that much like thanks to Vito (which triggers Exquisite Blood again) until our opponent's life total hits zero!

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We've also got a bunch of other cool tricks to make Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose good even without the combo, with my favorite being Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord and Silversmote Ghoul. Sorin can sacrifice a Vampire to Lightning Helix something, while Silversmote Ghoul returns itself to play from our graveyard on our end step as long as we gained at least three life during the turn. This means we can sacrifice Silversmote Ghoul to Sorin every turn for free, shooting down our opponent's board or just hitting their face. If we have Vito on the battlefield, Sorin's damage is essentially doubled since when we gain the three life, it will trigger Vito to drain our opponent for thee more, hitting our opponent for six each turn, which should close out the game in short order even without Exquisite Blood.

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While not technically a new effect to Historic since Cruel Celebrant has been floating around for a while, the printing of Blood Artist in Jumpstart is a pretty huge deal for sacrifice-based aristocrats decks. Traditionally, aristocrats decks want more than four copies of Blood Artist because they stack well and the deck really needs at least one on the battlefield to do anything powerful. Now, we have eight, which makes building around the sacrifice theme much easier. With two or three Blood Artists (and / or Cruel Celebrants) on the battlefield, it doesn't take that many creatures dying to drain the opponent out of the game altogether. And thanks to Cauldron Familiar and Witch's Oven along with other sacrificial bodies like Hunted Witness and Gutterbones as well as sacrifice outlets, including Woe Strider and Priest of Forgotten Gods, our creatures should be dying a lot. 

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We also have a few other Jumpstart cards in the deck, even though I'm not 100% sure how good they will be in the format. Kels, Fight Fixer offer the flexibility of being a sacrifice outlet and a sacrifice payoff by drawing us cards, but having just three toughness as a four-drop is concerning. Witch of the Moors seems absurd if it sticks on the battlefield since Blood Artist, Cruel Celebrant, Cauldron Familiar, and Witch's Oven make it easy to gain life every turn, so we should be able to consistently make our opponent sacrifice a creature and return a creature from our graveyard to our hand. But five mana is a lot for our deck. Meanwhile, Phyrexian Tower seems great, giving us a land that can sacrifice a creature to trigger our Blood Artist, but since it's legendary, it's difficult to play too many copies, although it should be solid in the games when it shows up.

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While the printing of Conspicuous Snoop in Core Set 2021 already improved Historic Goblins, a couple of new Jumpstart cards have the potential to put the deck over the top in the format. The first is Goblin Chieftain, the best Goblin lord in all of Magic, not just giving our Goblin team +1/+1 but also haste, which allows us to pour on a ton of damage by surprise. The second is Beetleback Chief, which might not look that exciting, but four power and toughness across three bodies is solid for four mana and especially scary when it follows Goblin Chieftain, potentially offering nine haste damage.

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Since we have access to cards like Goblin Matron and Goblin Ringleader to find whatever Goblin we need in a given situation with some consistency, we also get a spicy one-of Jumpstart Goblin in Krenko, Mob Boss. Krenko's ability is extremely powerful but slow since we normally have to wait a turn to use its tap ability, giving our opponent time to kill it before we get any value. With Goblin Chieftain (and to a lesser extent, Conspicuous Snoop) giving us a way to use Krenko, Mob Boss immediately, it gets much better and can win games by itself by making a massive board of Goblin tokens. We also get one Muxus, Goblin Grandee, which might be the most powerful Goblin in our deck. But six mana is a ton for the Goblin tribe; as such, we only have a single copy. Hopefully, we won't draw it early in the game, but later, once we get up to six mana, we can find it with Goblin Matron and potentially dump a bunch of Goblins into play for free!

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Branching Evolution is one of the most exciting new cards in Jumpstart, giving us the +1/+1 counter half of Doubling Season for just three mana. Doubling up the number of +1/+1 counters we put on our creatures can do some absurd things. The hardest part of building around Branching Evolution is figuring out which of the many possible directions to go. While the above take is a straightforward mono-green build, there's potential for green-white (gaining Venerated Loxodon, Mikaeus, the Lunarch, Conclave Mentor, and possibly some Basri cards), green-black (Polukranos, Unchained is a great follow-up to Branching Evolution), Explore (Wildgrowth Walker, Jadelight Ranger, Merfolk Branchwalker, and friends all get super-powered by Branching Evolution), and even artifacts, where Steel Overseer, Chamber Sentry, and Stonecoil Serpent form a solid, aggressive core, possibly backed by Tempered Steel as an additional payoff. 

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Possibilities aside, the Mono-Green build of Branching Evolution—Mono-Green Counters—looks pretty absurd. Remember, Branching Evolution isn't a Hardened Scales giving us one extra +1/+1 counter; it doubles the number of +1/+1 counters we'd put on our creatures, which means Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig comes into play as an 8/8 and gets +2/+2 whenever another green creature comes into play, Vivien, Arkbow Ranger puts four +1/+1 counters on our creatures, Voracious Hydra gets ungodly huge, and The Great Henge gives all of our creatures +2/+2. Basically, our deck is filled with a bunch of cards that are already powerful, but they are just obscene with a Branching Evolution on the battlefield. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. What are you most excited to build and play in Historic with new Jumpstart cards? Let us know in the comments! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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