Magic the Gathering: Arena received a major new product recently with the release of the largest ever Historic-focused set. Jumpstart: Historic Horizons is essentially a “masters set” style product for Arena’s eternal format, but in the form of a Jumpstart set. In case you haven’t played Jumpstart before, that means the set is released in the form of 46 different themed packets and in order to play it you will receive two of these packets and combine them into a deck which you can play in Limited. The cards from each packet are also added to your collection so that they can be used in Historic and Historic Brawl decks. Historic Horizons features 787 different cards, which is over twice the size of a normal set. Almost half the cards are new to Arena, and over 30 of them have never been printed in paper before, making them exclusive to Arena. This makes the set a lot to handle, and even potentially overwhelming. However, after playing it for a few days there are some clear takeaways that I have made.

Let’s start by looking at the most exciting cards that have been added to Arena with this set! Many of the new cards are already Modern staples and will certainly make an impact on Historic. A few others have yet to prove themselves but are clearly very powerful. The card that I am most excited for, out of all 787 cards, is Seasoned Pyromancer. The three drop shaman is a Modern staple and also looks like it will fit great into Historic. Not only is it a great red midrange card, it also provides another great discard outlet for Faithless Looting decks. With Pyromancer and Looting in the format it seems very likely that a graveyard-based deck or a midrange deck similar to the old Mardu Pyromancer decks in Modern will be good. 

In a similar vein to Seasoned Pyromancer, Managorger Phoenix is another great new card that should help create a strong red-based graveyard deck. This brand new phoenix looks decent as a 2/2 flyer for two that can consistently come back from the graveyard and grow in size in a deck with enough devotion to red. I believe that some sort of mono-red phoenix deck could be really powerful, utilizing Arclight Phoenix, Faithless Looting and these two new red creatures as an extremely consistent core. Mono-red phoenix decks have typically lacked consistency but now it seems that the cards are in place for them to take shape.

On the other side of the archetypal spectrum, Archmage’s Charm is another new Historic printing that has a lot of promise. Although the triple-blue casting cost is restrictive, the charm is still played a lot in Modern. I think Archmage’s Charm will be a great upgrade for blue control decks, where the only counterspell that’s really played right now is Memory Lapse. Although it doesn’t have the highest power level, the amount of consistency and choice that Archmage’s Charm provides to control players makes it scary to play against. As well, the third mode should be quite powerful in a format of Llanowar Elves and new one-drops such as Esper Sentinel and Dragon’s Rage Channeler

There are obviously many other new cards out of the 787 that will impact Historic but I don’t think any of them have as clear a place in the format yet as the three I’ve mentioned above. Overall, Historic will likely look very different in the coming weeks, as various archetypes rise and fall and new brews take hold. It’s also very possible that with so many new cards, some of them will go too far and need to be banned. For this reason I’ll be waiting to use my wildcards until the metagame has settled down a bit. 

Aside from the constructed ramifications, the Jumpstart set is also great on its own as a Limited experience. Since participating in the Jumpstart event is the best way to collect cards from the set, I have been playing a lot. To start each event you pick one themed packet out of three, then repeat this process to end up with a 40-card deck of two packets. The deck could be anything from “Energy & Merfolk” to “Enchantments & Flickering”. Typically you will want to select synergistic packets, or just ones that pique your interest. However if you’re looking to collect cards that are useful for constructed you may want to select packets based on what cards may appear inside them. For example, if you’re looking for Seasoned Pyromancers then you should take the packs called “Spellcasting” and “On the Draw” because that’s where they are likely to appear. You can find lists of which cards can appear in each packet from various sources online, in order to hunt down the cards you want most! “Raredrafting” packets is also especially tempting in Jumpstart since your rewards in the event are not tied to your win rate. As long as you win two games with your deck eventually you will receive the maximum prizes. If you’re not worried about collecting cards for constructed, I still wouldn’t worry about selecting packets too strategically. Jumpstart is really about exploring odd combinations and having fun, so enjoy it!


Gameplay with Jumpstart has been quite fun so far. If you’ve played Jumpstart before, you already know that playing a deck made of two random halves is quite novel, and the interactions between different themes can lead to some super fun games of Magic. Jumpstart: Historic Horizons is a little more powerful than the original Jumpstart release as well, which only adds to the fun. This is especially true since many of the most powerful cards in the set are efficient but not “bombs” in Limited that win a game all on their own. For example, Archmage’s Charm is a great card but when your opponent plays it in Limited it doesn’t feel like the game is lost. It really feels like this set was designed with the Limited play experience in mind more than anything else. 

It has been great to have the opportunity to play a set as unique and exciting as Jumpstart: Historic Horizons over the last week. As an avid Historic player, each new rare I open entices me towards brewing decks, and I have been opening a lot of them. While the ramifications for competitive Magic are yet to be seen, the casual fun of playing Jumpstart has also been a great way to enjoy the game in a simpler way. While my “Reanimator & Humans” deck may not have had the best win rate while bringing back two- and three-mana creatures from the graveyard, it sure was fun to try. And I am still impressed with my 2-0 with “Artifacts & Merfolk”. Hopefully you get the chance to throw together some odd combos of your own!


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