Jumpstart: Historic Horizons Set Review & Decklists Part 4 – Red
Jumpstart: Historic Horizons
Hello everyone! I’m working with Chris this spoiler season to bring you accurate reviews and cool decklists for Historic. There’s a lot of new and powerful cards entering the format so this is an extremely exciting time for anyone who is entrenched in Historic! Before I continue, here’s the rating scale I will be using.
- 0/5 – Unplayable in every sense.
- 1/5 – Extremely niche play or very unlikely to see play.
- 2/5 – Niche to no play, maybe playable in certain conditions.
- 3/5 – Reasonable playable. Not format breaking, but has the power level to see play in some strategy (or strategies).
- 4/5 – Very strong card, but not the best the format has to offer. Has the power level to see a lot of play.
- 5/5 – The very top of the format. This card will create a huge impact going forward on the format.
As a quick note, I’m only reviewing the new to Arena cards that might have any potential impact on Historic and ignoring cards that are clearly just for Limited.
RECKLESS RINGLEADER (1.5/5)
Although this does have interesting applications with Muxus, Goblin Grandee or Prime Speaker Vannifar, this is a pretty weak card otherwise. Maybe there’s a creature you could pair this with that I’m missing, but I’m assuming this isn’t going to be a format breaker.
SARKHAN, WANDERER TO SHIV (1.5/5)
I love Sarkhan’s design. I hate his power level. First, he’s pigeonholed into a Dragons deck specifically, something that seems impossible to make work in a format as strong as Historic. Secondly, he’s a 4 mana walker in a format where Chandra, Torch of Defiance is barely good enough.
He does have a solid -2, but with his other abilities not coming close to cutting it, I can’t imagine Sarkhan seeing play.
MANAGORGER PHOENIX (2.5/5)
Managorger Phoenix is a weird design, but does seem potentially powerful despite how restrictive it seems. So you have to play this in a Monored or mostly Red deck, but one that’s not looking to go super fast as you’d have better options than a 2 mana 2/2 Flier. With that, I’m thinking maybe some sort of Monored Hollow One or Monored Phoenix could potentially make use of this as it seems at it’s best combined with
STATIC DISCHARGE (2.5/5)
The final perpetual designed card (which did not have to be a perpetual design at all realistically), this is a cool design but is mostly going to be too low to justify play in existing red decks. However, Burn would be more than happy to pick up a growing Lightning Strike, even if it is a Sorcery.
If you’re looking for a Burn list with Discharge, here’s where I’d start.
Since Static Discharge isn’t on Streamdecker yet, Lightning Strike is the placeholder.
GOBLIN ENGINEER (3/5)
On the surface, Goblin Engineer may look weird for Historic. However, once you consider that we have Faithless Looting, Thrilling Discovery, Trash for Treasure, and Refurbish, suddenly Engineer is way more appealing.
I mentioned when Trash for Treasure got spoiled that some sort of Combo deck was likely on the cusp of playability, and Engineer may have made that a reality.
Combo decks are obscenely hard to build, but I would start with something like this.
PASHALIK MONS (2/5)
That being said, I would be surprised if Goblins didn’t play this as a 1-2 of regardless as it does have some great applications with Skirk Prospector or racing in general.
SEASONED PYROMANCER (3.5/5)
Ol Pyromancer is in an interesting spot as it is an extremely powerful midrange card, but it has to compete against Lurrus of the Dream-Den for decks that would realistically want this effect.
This works really well with the new Madness cards and if you’re trying to fill the graveyard in general so I’d be pretty surprised if this didn’t see play. Like a lot of cards on the list, this is awesome with Hollow One so you’ll be seeing this later on in a deck list.
BLAZING ROOTWALLA (2.5/5)
Is Blazing Rootwalla a great card? No. Is it a way better Memnite in some amount of decks? Yes. This is a powerhouse in eternal formats as it works so well with Vengevine, but it’s definitely a bit more placated here.
Similar to Managorger Phoenix, I can see this being in some sort of Hollow One strategy or any new Madness archetypes that potentially are spawned from Jumpstart in general, but it’ll be far from an all star.
BLOODBRAID MARAUDER (3.5/5)
It’s hard to believe we have this, Dragon's Rage Channeler, and Unholy Heat all in Historic now, but here we are. My concern with these cards off the bat is Delirium is not going to be the easiest to trigger in Historic as we lack Mishra's Bauble, Manamorphose, and fetch lands (beyond
DRAGON’S RAGE CHANNELER (4.5/5)
The second of the Delirium crew, Channeler is an extremely powerful card taking over eternal formats. Like I said with Bloodbraid Marauder, triggering Delirium is not going to be the easiest, but if you do, you can easily reap the rewards.
A 3/3 Flier that scrys with every non creature for ONE mana is an absurd rate and could potentially be better here compared to Modern as we don’t have Lightning Bolt to help deal with this.
FAITHLESS SALVAGING (2.5/5)
Salvaging isn’t amazingly powerful, but it does work extremely well with specifically Arclight Phoenix. With that, this is a pretty nice boost to the archetype since it lost Brainstorm and could help put it back in the limelight.
If you’re a Phoenix stan, you can try this build of it.
HARMONIC PRODIGY (2.5/5)
So this was a hard one to evaluate. Looking through all the Wizards in Historic, there weren’t too many that had triggered abilities and even fewer that were remotely exciting. You do have Naban, Dean of Iteration so you can double up on this effect and have a cool deck spawned from that, but that seems really unlikely to be good.
However, Harmonic Prodigy works with Shamans as well. There aren’t too many powerful Shamans, but there is Thermo-Alchemist, Young Pyromancer, Burning-Tree Emissary, and even Guttersnipe. This has Prowess as well so there’s definitely a reasonable chance some weird spells deck can be spawned from this and actually be pretty good. That may be too cute for what Historic is cooking up, but you could do worse than putting powerful and synergistic cards together with cheap spells.
Here’s what a sample list could look like.
Quick foot note, Goblin Ruinblaster is also a Shaman, do with that what you will.
UNHOLY HEAT (5/5)
The second 5/5 in our reviews (the first one being Esper Sentinel in the White review), Unholy Heat is Unholy good. The floor on the card isn’t even low, a functional Magma Spray is far from embarrassing.
However, if you manage to get Delirium, this card is insane. This will kill functionally every creature and Planeswalker in the format so it will never be dead in any matchup. I would say this is going to reshape Historic, but it’s not like other decks can build themselves in a different way to make them better against it, so they’ll mostly be hoping to dodge it.
With that in mind, here’s what a list with Unholy Heat could potentially look like.
FIERY TEMPER (4/5)
Fiery Temper is a simple and old design, but still holds up really well. Any deck that’s interested in discarding cards is going to snap play 4 of these and it won’t be a consideration.
FOUNDRY STREET DENIZEN (2.5/5)
Foundry Street Denizen is an old Monored favorite, and although Monored Sligh is not really a deck in Historic, this could help make that a reality. You have to specifically play this in a Red deck looking to flood the board which severely limits it’s play applications, but it will be one of your best one drops in that deck if you do.
GOBLIN DARK-DWELLERS (2/5)
Ol Dark-Dwellers is super cool, but compare it to the 5 drops that see play in Historic: Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. It’s not impossible that this might see play, but this is hardly your best option.
HORDELING OUTBURST (2/5)
I love Hordeling Outburst, but this is too weak for the Sligh decks considering Stoke the Flames isn’t legal. There may be some applications with this and Indomitable Creativity, but I think there are better options where that is concerned.
INSOLENT NEONATE (2.5/5)
Ol Neonate needs a really specific strategy to work, but if you’re playing that, it’s quite good. Initially played in Modern , Neonate is great when you only care about discarding cards which does limit it’s applications, but it does do that job quite well. I smell a lot of turn 2 Hollow One in the future.
Now that I got to the end of all the cards I could see in Hollow One, here’s what I’m thinking the deck could look like.
Last time I tried to make Hollow One work I was struggling to fill out the deck with enough playables, now it was hard to find room for everything!
KRENKO’S COMMAND (2/5)
We already have a similar options available in Historic so I’m not excited about Command, but this does slot into the Boros Transmogrify deck well so I guess there’s that.
RAGE FORGER (2/5)
Oh Rage Forger, you’re breaking my heart. I got really excited when I saw this and Harmonic Prodigy together, but I don’t think there’s enough Shamans to really get the dedicated Shaman archetype rolling.
Harmonic Prodigy works better since it already combines with good cards, but you’d have to start playing some suspect cards to get the count high enough to justify Rage Forger in my view. However, this and Prodigy do work disgustingly well together, so maybe I’m undervaluing how good it can be and Fanatic of Mogis is legal.
This almost certainly isn’t going to get there, but it may be worth a try.
THUNDERBREAK REGENT (2/5)
Thunderbreak Regent was a very strong midrange threat in Standard when it was legal, but even then it wasn’t the best thing you could be doing. Like I keep saying, the bar for 4 drops is extremely high in Historic and although Regent is far from being a bad card, I don’t think it makes it either.
It is a good day to be a Red mage as it has heater after heater coming out! I’m am beyond excited to play a lot of these decks and I’m sure you are too!
Thank you for reading!