Historic Jeskai Creativity Deck Guide: The Most Feared Deck in Historic

Serra’s Emissary Art by Nils Hamm
Serra’s Emissary Art by Nils Hamm

Hello everyone! Today I’m going over what many consider to be the best deck in Historic currently: Jeskai Creativity. A natural evolution from the banning of Time Warp to Temur Koma to now, Jeskai is making use of the broken Indomitable Creativity shell that has been popular for a few months now. Before I continue, let’s look at the list I’ll be referencing today.

(H) Jeskai Creativity 

Planeswalkers (2)
2
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Creatures (2)
2
Serra's Emissary
Spells (27)
4
Hard Evidence
4
Expressive Iteration
1
Fire Prophecy
3
Lightning Helix
4
Memory Lapse
2
Anger of the Gods
4
Indomitable Creativity
4
Prismari Command
1
Commit/Memory
/
Enchantments (4)
2
Search for Azcanta
2
Shark Typhoon
Lands (25)
4
Dwarven Mine
4
Fabled Passage
1
Island
3
Mountain
1
Plains
4
Raugrin Triome
4
Sacred Foundry
4
Steam Vents
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Unholy Heat
4
Rest in Peace
2
Mystical Dispute
2
Narset, Parter of Veils
2
Wrath of God
1
Shark Typhoon
1
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1
Nezahal, Primal Tide

There are plenty of ways to build this deck, but we’ll go with the original version popularized by Zan Syed.

What makes this deck so frightening to play against is how many angles of attack it has. The original Jeskai Creativity deck was very powerful, but one note. It really needed to attack with a Velomachus Lorehold to win or go for the back up plan of casting a Magma Opus in some capacity. This was still more than good enough to get the deck banned, but it was almost easier to attack then. Now, not only does this deck have a great proactive game plan, it has a great reactive one as well!

First of all, Jumpstart introduced two of the best possible cards going into this archetype. Serra’s Emissary is an unbelievably powerful creature that can easily lock out many decks in Historic by naming creature! This makes it one of the best Creativity targets as it can actually win the game when it comes down rather than other options which puts you ahead, but doesn’t outright win. Furthermore, it being a 7/7 makes it dodge Unholy Heat which is a premiere removal spell in the format, something that Koma, Cosmos Serpent doesn’t do!

Second, although Hard Evidence looks innocuous, it’s actually a super important card for this deck. Despite it being a one mana card, it provides 2 tokens for Creativity (and in this deck, getting 2 Emissary out is great), a blocker, a source of card draw, all in one card!

Next, we have the Indomitable Creativity package itself. The previous 2 cards are important pieces to the combo, but we also have Prismari Command and Shark Typhoon to help us out as well. Prismari Command is disgusting in these strategies as it’s an instant speed way to make a token and generally interact by either killing a small creature or artifact! Next, there’s Shark Typhoon which can both be an early game token with a card attached or even a win condition later in the game either through the token or hard casting it if you’re super cool.

Lastly, we have the Control elements that comprise the rest of the deck. We have a pretty standard suite of interaction with Anger of the Gods, Fire Prophecy, Lightning Helix, Commit // Memory, and the very broken Memory Lapse. These are relatively par for the course for Jeskai decks barring Anger which substitutes Wrath of God since it’s easier on the mana base and a singleton Fire Prophecy which can shuffle a Serra’s Emissary back in. Then, you have the card advantage with Expressive Iteration, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, Shark Typhoon, and Search for Azcanta (with all of these besides Iteration also being alternate win conditions!).

This deck does a great job at working every available angle to have game against anything it faces and it’s win rate certainly shows it. However, it doesn’t have the standard issue of “drawing the wrong half” like other decks that can generally be good against anything as the deck is neatly divided into interaction or win conditions! For this reason, it’s clear why it’s one of the best decks in Historic (if not the best).

MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE

Prismari Command Art by Johannes Voss
Prismari Command Art by Johannes Voss

MIRROR/JESKAI CONTROL

INOUT
+2 Mystical Dispute-2 Serra’s Emissary
+2 Narset, Parter of Veils-2 Anger of the Gods
+1 Shark Typhoon-1 Indomitable Creativity
+1 Nezehal, Primal Tide-1 Fire Prophecy

Whether you’re in game one or the sideboarded games, treat this as a classic Control matchup. You almost always don’t want to be the player who blinks first as if you tap out and the opponent can successfully answer your play then deploy their own, you’ll be massively behind. You’re looking to slow roll the Creativity as you really want to get Nezahal out, but it’s not absolutely mandatory to win.

There are slightly alternate board plans you could try going into this matchup like keeping in some amount of Emissary if you believe that the opponent is tapping out too often or isn’t bringing in Wraths. You could bring in Unholy Heat as a means to kill Shark Tokens and Teferi, but I’m not the biggest fan of that.

Lastly, you could board in Wrath of God as a hedge against someone keeping in their Emissary, but I wouldn’t do that unless you see them keep them in. Focus on hitting your land drops and slowly developing your threats, there’s no rush to win the game here.

MONO WHITE HUMANS

INOUT
+2 Unholy Heat-2 Expressive Iteration
+2 Wrath of God-1 Commit // Memory
+1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite-2 Search for Azcanta

This matchup is definitely rough as they’re very fast and most of their creatures are good at disrupting you. In the post board games you have to watch out for Containment Priest as that can be a brutal answer to a Creativity. You really need to keep the board clear as much as possible so you can set up a strong Creativity turn.

I would very rarely Creativity for 1 in this matchup if you can help it as most lists play main deck Giant Killer so you need to get 2 threats out ideally to not get blown out by it whether it’s double Emissary on creatures and instants or an Emissary on Instants and Elesh Norn. You can x=1 to get an Emissary on Instants if you’re desperate or you’re really far ahead, but I would prefer to wait otherwise.

A small note for this matchup specifically, keep in mind that Esper Sentinel is an artifact for Prismari Command can blow that up and still deal 2 to another creature.

SIMIC MERFOLK

INOUT
+2 Unholy Heat-1 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
+2 Mystical Dispute-2 Expressive Iteration
+2 Wrath of God-1 Commit//Memory
-2 Search for Azcanta

This can be another rough matchup as Merfolk has a fast clock backed up by counter magic, but their clock isn’t as fast as Humans nor is there counterspell suite super fleshed out. You need to disrupt their aggression long enough that you can land an Emissary as most lists have very few to zero ways to meaningfully interact with it.

Don’t keep clunky hands as you’ll be run over before you get anything going by the average Merfolk hand.

MONO RED HOLLOW ONE/MADNESS

INOUT
+1 Unholy Heat-2 Serra’s Emissary
+2 Rest in Peace-4 Indomitable Creativity
+2 Wrath of God
+1 Narset, Parter of Veils

Game 1 you should focus on going for the combo as although this deck is fast, it can’t really interact with a Serra’s Emissary game 1. Game 2 though, and this may be a contentious opinion, but I think you should cut the combo entirely. A good Hollow One/Madness list will have plenty of ways to circumvent an Emissary either through negating it’s ability for a turn with the Stomp half of Bonecrusher Giant or stealing it with The Akroan War. With that, I think you’ll have more success just playing a Jeskai Control game plan and grinding them out rather than trying to stick the combo and praying they can’t punish you for it.

JUND CITADEL

INOUT
+2 Unholy Heat-2 Expressive Iteration
+1 Rest in Peace-2 Search for Azcanta
+2 Wrath of God-2 Shark Typhoon
+1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Game 1 an Emmisary on Creatures will make it much harder for the opponent to kill you, but not impossible as Bolas’s Citadel doesn’t target you so they can assemble enough permanents to kill you through it, especially if you’re at 10 or less life. Game 2, you just need to keep their board clear as best as possible and do anything you need to keep Citadel off of the board. You have a lot of answers to Citadel so try not to tap low on a turn before they can cast a Citadel, even if you can resolve a Creativity.

Key note for this matchup, when you have an Emissary on creatures, the opponent can’t target you or your creatures with Mayhem Devil, Priest of Forgotten Gods, Blood Artist, nor Yawgmoth, Thran Physician!

SELESNYA HELIOD COMPANY

INOUT
+2 Unholy Heat-2 Expressive Iteration
+2 Wrath of God-1 Commit//Memory
+1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite-2 Search for Azcanta

Same boarding as Humans with a very similar game plan, keep their board clean and resolve a Creativity when you have an opening to do so. Don’t rush into doing it as a lot of lists have various answers to Emissary like Declaration in Stone, Devouring Light, or Giant Killer.

RAKDOS ARCANIST

INOUT
+4 Rest in Peace-4 Memory Lapse
+1 Shark Typhoon-1 Commit//Memory
+2 Narset, Parter of Veils-2 Search for Azcanta

This matchup is mostly the reason this list plays 4 Rest in Peace in the sideboard. Arcanist is very reliant on their graveyard being around to be impactful so generally drawing a Rest in Peace will come pretty close to outright killing them. If you don’t find a RIP, going for the Creativity plan and looking to get an Emissary out on Instants should generally insulate yourself pretty well from most of their plays.

I would avoid going for just one Emissary and putting it on creatures unless you’re desperate as they’re extremely likely to have enough removal to kill it.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Indomitable Creativity Art by Deruchenko Alexander
Indomitable Creativity Art by Deruchenko Alexander

It’s ok to sandbag Teferi, Hero of Dominaria until you have a 2 mana spell to help protect it. Too many players run him out hoping to draw into one and then it dying for next to no value.

If you think your opponent has multiple ways to interact (in terms of different card types) with Serra’s Emissary and you want to put one on creatures, but can’t decide on the other mode, you could just put both on creatures to help play around one removal spell instead of 2.

A lot of players are averse to chump blocking with the Crab token or cracking the clue from Hard Evidence, but this deck has amazing late game so any play that lets you get further into the game is generally a strong line.

Most of the time you’re casting Expressive Iteration later in the game, but if you are desperately looking for a card and need to do something else on turn 3, consider casting this on 2 as an Anticipate.

You can cast Indomitable Creativity for more than x=2 if you’re playing around your tokens getting removed and also use it as a psuedo removal spell against the opponent as well! For example, against Jeskai Control this can be a 4 mana answer to a large Shark token!

I very rarely use the Looting ability on Prismari Command as it’s card disadvantage. Use it only if you’re very desperate to find something in particular or you’re fueling your Search for Azcanta.

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

4 Responses

  1. This deck is so fun to play, several strong lines to choose from!

    I assembled a budget version of it swapping Elesh Norn for Massacre Wurm as I still don’t have the praetor and some lands to complete the deck, but it’s been working fine so far, I have almost 70% win rate with 30 or so matches, I even feel this win rate could be way higher, but I need more practice with the list…

    Most difficult matchup til now was Mono W Humans as they can absolutely demolish this deck by curving out with stuff like Esper Sentinel, Thalia, PV and Reidane

  2. Jonathon Tinsley says:

    I love this deck shell but I use locus god instead of emissary. I feel like the win on the spot is better and the opponent is expecting to be able to deal with the angels and bam locus god / sage of falls. Why is emmisary considered better ?

    • Stephen Lilico says:

      If they remove one token you still get something good, you can go off from 1 less mana and 1 less token in the fast matchups where they won’t have answers and the speed matters more. And anyway 2 angels is incredibly hard to answer, short of a wrath (and those matchups aren’t good for the combo line anyway)

      • Jonathon Tinsley says:

        Those are all good and fair points. I do like they that expect to be able to wrath me after combo vs control and realize after they lost on spot lol. Thanks for info