Historic is in an exciting place right now, and the effects of Jumpstart: Historic Horizons are very apparent. With so many new cards and archetypes it is still too soon to say what the format will look like once the dust has settled. However, one old deck that seems to be sticking around is Jeskai Control. Although control decks often struggle in turbulent and unpredictable metagames it seems that Jeskai is still able to put up results just as it did before the introduction of Historic Horizons.

Jeskai Control has been the control deck of choice in Historic for a while now, but after losing Brainstorm the archetype lost some steam. With some new additions, most notably Archmage’s Charm, Jeskai is back on the menu. At the recent Star City Games Championship Qualifier, Jeskai showed its power by getting 4 copies in the top 10 decks of the event. While most of the exciting decks in Historic these days are fairly aggressive, including Merfolk and Humans, Jeskai is still managing to find answers for them while continuing to hold down older threats like Jund Sacrifice and Orzhov Auras. 

As a control deck, Jeskai will continue to evolve as the various threats in the format change. At the moment there are two clear subsets of Jeskai decks, and neither is clearly better in the current metagame. Approximately half of Jeskai Control decks are more traditional, using planeswalkers such as Teferi, Hero of Dominaria to close games without much need for creatures. The other half use a package of Magma Opus, Torrential Gearhulk, and Mizzix’s Mastery and take a more proactive approach. It is presumable that at some point one of these decks will prove itself to be superior, but in the shifting state of Historic neither has taken a clear lead.

Magma Opus Control

by Craig Stanl



This list, which took sixth place at the SCG Qualifier, is a good example of a Jeskai Control deck using Magma Opus to add some aggro to end games, combat opponents’ boards, and create an advantage. There is a lot of power higher up the curve in this deck but what is just as important about Jeskai decks in Historic is their cheaper cards. Thanks to Unholy Heat, a new addition, control decks finally have an appealing one-mana removal spell. Assuming aggro decks continue to proliferate, I expect Unholy Heat to be a common inclusion in control decks. Lightning Helix and Memory Lapse are the two-drops for this deck, and both do a great job of stalling opponents. Further up the curve there’s Archmage’s Charm, the addition that does everything this deck needs. Although it can be pretty slow against aggressive decks, those matchups are also where the third mode of the charm is most powerful. To help out against aggro, the other key three-drop in Jeskai is two copies of Anger of the Gods. The red sweeper carries a lot of weight in this deck as the only board wipe, but it is backed up by Torrential Gearhulks and Mizzix’s Mastery to bring it back. Later in the game this deck has access to a couple copies of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Shark Typhoon, and the “combo” package with Magma Opus.

The mana base for this deck is mostly straightforward and includes one copy each of Castle Vantress, Castle Ardenvale, and Hall of Storm Giants to add some utility. It can be difficult to cast a Lightning Helix on turn two and Archmage’s Charm on turn three and sometimes the mana base can cause stumbles, but for the most part Jeskai is consistent in this area. Expressive Iteration almost always ensures that the deck has the right lands in the mid to late game. Overall this list looks quite tuned, but also potentially top-heavy and clunky for a format that is only getting quicker. On the other hand, with the lack of tempo-based counterspell decks, going over the top may be the right strategy at the moment.


Jeskai Control

by William Jackson

This list, which came in seventh at the SCG event, is a more traditional control deck. It forsakes the use of Magma Opus and Torrential Gearhulk to make room for more board wipes and planeswalkers. The most efficient and consistent cards remain the same. Expressive Iteration, Lightning Helix, Archmage’s Charm, and Memory Lapse are all still four-ofs. However, the gameplan of this deck is completely different with the main win condition being a late game Shark Typhoon or simply decking an opponent using Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. Having so many instants as well as four copies of Shark Typhoon can make this a dangerous draw-go deck, but five planeswalkers and five sorcery-speed board wipes also provide this take on Jeskai some powerful moves to make on its own turn. The mana base for this deck cuts the creature-based lands in favour of an extra Castle Vantress and a pair of Irrigated Farmlands. This specific build of Jeskai also includes a few one-of cards. One copy of Commit // Memory can be found, to combo with Narset, Parter of Veils. As well there is one copy of Search for Azcanta, an old favourite from U/W Control decks in Standard that can still work to provide a lot of card advantage. This deck as a whole is quite cohesive and particularly uses the white wraths to their full potential by not playing any creatures. However, if the deck can’t fully answer what an opponent is doing then it can struggle to find any traction of its own. 

Going forward I believe that either of these two archetypes could become the preferred choice for control players. The more proactive Magma Opus version will likely be more effective in an open metagame where having a gameplan other than playing defense will be helpful. The more traditional control version of Jeskai could be better if the metagame narrows into a few archetypes that can be targeted and prepared for. Either way, Jeskai seems to be a powerful deck since the addition of Archmage’s Charm and a few other pieces. As well, Jeskai will have the tools to fight against whatever decks become popular in the metagame. Rest In Peace and Grafdigger’s Cage are available to fight graveyard decks, Negate can help with spell-based combo decks, and of course there is a lot of removal available to red and white. If you are looking for a consistent deck that has been around for a long time and isn’t going anywhere soon, Jeskai Control is a great option to take into tournaments or the ranked ladder. The only question for now is what flavour of Jeskai you prefer.


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