Rant of Valakut: New Treasures Ben Iverach-Brereton September 13, 2021 Rants of Valakut Jump/Start Historic Horizons is a lot of fun, and the additions to Historic are proving to be quite interesting. I’ll admit, I’m not sure that I’m looking forward to playing against every new archetype (I’m looking at you, Slivers!), but even so it’s hard not to get excited about all the new options. Mind you, I would be a lot more stoked about it if I had the wildcards to spare. I only have myself to blame, really. A couple of weeks ago I spent some rare wildcards to put together a Standard deck for the Jankyard League. I was pretty happy with how the list came together, but it did deplete my resources for the foreseeable future. Looking at the new archetypes in Jump/Start Horizons, I’d need at least six to ten rare wildcards to put together anything remotely playable, and I’m down to a paltry three. Given that the Jankyard League playoffs are Historic, I decided to fall back on something I’d already built for those matches. Thankfully, I’m pretty happy with how my Historic Treasures deck has been performing recently. The synergies are solid, and I’ve got a good feel for how to sequence everything. Even so, I didn’t want to show up to the playoffs with the exact same list as before. With a bit of polish I knew I could improve on it, and there was bound to be a common or uncommon from Jump/Start Horizons to help with that. New Treasures Historic Creature2 x Blood Aspirant3 x Captain Lannery Storm1 x Havoc Jester3 x Immersturm Predator4 x Kalain, Reclusive Painter2 x Magda, Brazen Outlaw4 x Mayhem Devil4 x Ravenous Squirrel3 x Wily Goblin Instant3 x Village Rites Sorcery3 x Strike It Rich4 x Thoughtseize Artifact2 x Witch’s Oven Land4 x Blightstep Pathway // Searstep Pathway4 x Blood Crypt1 x Canyon Slough1 x Castle Locthwain1 x Cragcrown Pathway // Timbercrown Pathway5 x Mountain (343)1 x Overgrown Tomb1 x Stomping Ground2 x Swamp (339)2 x Treasure Vault Sideboard2 x Abrade1 x Agonizing Remorse1 x Assassin’s Trophy1 x Bloodchief’s Thirst1 x Cling to Dust1 x Chandra, Awakened Inferno2 x Fatal Push1 x Feed the Swarm1 x Field of Ruin2 x Heartless Act1 x Soul Shatter1 x Witch’s Vengeance Buy This List Deck by Ben Iverach-Brereton “New Treasures” is the ninth iteration of my Historic Treasures deck. The Real Treasures Were the Acorns Along the Way Actually searching through the Jump/Start card pool is surprisingly tricky on Arena, since there isn’t a convenient way to display everything all at once. Thankfully, I remembered playing against a certain squirrel that would fit nicely into my deck: Ravenous Squirrel, that is. I had to look it up by name to find it, but I got there. At its most basic, Ravenous Squirrel is a cheaper Blood Aspirant: it grows when I sacrifice other creatures and treasure. It’s one mana less, however, and that difference in cost is quite noticeable. Being able to play the Squirrel as soon as turn one speeds up my game plan considerably, and that low mana value allows me to effortlessly play it alongside another spell later in the game. Ravenous Squirrel and Blood Aspirant are also sacrifice outlets, but unlike the Aspirant, the Squirrel doesn’t need to tap to use its activated ability. My new chittering friend is also a source of life gain and card draw, which is significant; being able to convert treasure or food tokens into cards gives this deck a lot more options when games go long. Now, that’s not to say that I plan on cutting all of my Blood Aspirants; having more than four of these growing threats is quite nice, and the ability to ping down creatures and remove blockers is nice to have around. Nevertheless, I definitely want to skew my numbers in favour of the Squirrel. The only catch with this new addition is that its activated ability requires green mana. This means stretching my mana base a bit, though thankfully only a little; between my collection of Shocklands and Pathways, I have plenty of untapped options to choose from. Besides, the deck is full of treasure producers, so making a third colour of mana is already pretty easy. At least as a splash for an activated ability. On the plus side, if I’m adding actual green sources to my mana base, I can justify adding a third colour to my sideboard. In particular, Assassin’s Trophy is an efficient, versatile removal spell, and gives me a clean answer for the various prison decks floating around the format. It deals equally well with The Book of Exalted Deeds, Solemnity and Serra’s Emissary, not to mention the myriad of other powerful permanents one can expect to encounter. A part of me wants to try out Status // Statue as well, since giving Mayhem Devil deathtouch sounds really sweet, but I think it’s fair to say that it would be more cute than good. I’ve only added the one card because, again, I don’t want to stretch my mana too thin, but I think I can get away with a single green mana pip out of seventy-five cards. For the matchups where I need an effect like this, I can plan my land drops accordingly. Otherwise I can largely ignore that third colour. Alternate Sources of Income There are a few other options to consider from Jump/Start Horizons. Strike It Rich is a pretty good alternative to Shambling Ghast, though it’s hard to say which is actually better. I’ve tried both now, and I’m still not sure if I prefer 1/1 body and the option to shrink a creature or the flashback and immediate treasure token. Strike It Rich does make powering out big threats like Immersturm Predator more reliable, and having access to a permanent that can sacrifice itself right away (for effectively zero mana, no less) is often better when paired with an early Ravenous Squirrel or Blood Aspirant. Facing a turn one Llanowar Elves or Fervent Champion makes me miss the Shambling Ghast, but I didn’t always have a way to sacrifice the zombie anyway. While it didn’t make the final cut, Tireless Provisioner is on my short list, especially since I’m already dipping into green. It’s a strong card, to be sure, and pairs nicely with the likes of Ravenous Squirrel and Mayhem Devil. Still, it’s hard to make room in this list for another three drop. The Provisioner fills a similar role as Captain Lannery Storm, so I could see swapping it in for the pirate, but even so, the elf scout doesn’t double as a big damage payoff like the Captain. That’s not even to mention how awkward my mana base would end up being if green was more than just a splash. If this were Modern, with access to fetchlands and three-colour lands in Jund colours, I’d be more comfortable with it. As it stands, I would have to give up on my utility lands and risk slowing the deck down, or do mental gymnastics to figure out which side of a Pathway I need to play. I don’t think it’s worth the headache. Realistically, if I was going to use Tireless Provisioner in a treasure deck, I’d be better off doing a complete overhaul of the list and start by building around it. Prosperous Innkeeper would go in it for sure, and I might even try Xorn again. At that point, though, it would end up being its own thing. A good thing, I think, but a completely different one than what I’ve put together. No Shortage of Toys Beyond that, there were plenty of other artifact-centric cards in Jump/Start Horizons that caught my eye, like Slag Strider, Breya’s Apprentice and Goblin Engineer. Even Kuldotha Flamefiend looked fun, albeit a bit too clunky at six mana to be viable in Historic. I could see each of these cards working with the general core of what I’m doing, though to get them to really shine I would likely do a similar overhaul as Tireless Provisioner. I think there’s something to these cards, and they would work well with treasures, but for now I’ll have to stick with what I’ve got. At least they’ll give me something to think about while I restock my wildcard supply. 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