Jumpstart: Historic Horizons Set Review & Decklists Part 5 – Green

Chatterfang, Squirrel General Art by Jason A. Engle
Chatterfang, Squirrel General Art by Jason A. Engle
Jumpstart: Historic Horizons

Hopefully everyone is doing well! Watching the Challenger Gauntlet has got me especially excited for the release of Jumpstart: Historic Horizons. The Gauntlet metagame was almost entirely Jeskai Control with 10/24 players playing it. A couple Jund Food, Mono-Black Aggro, Orzhov Auras, and Rakdos Arcanist also showed up.

It’s important to keep these archetypes in mind in addition to considering what new archetypes will be spawned by the release of Historic Horizons. Let’s see what new archetypes these powerful new green cards can create and how they potentially slot into or invalidate some of the existing decks that are currently dominating Historic!

Here’s the scale I’ll be using to rate the cards:

  • 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 or too weak to consider.

Freyalise, Skyshroud Partisan (3/5)

Elves have ranged from mediocre to solid throughout the history of the format. The deck’s success hinges almost entirely on what the rest of the metagame is because you goldfish so quickly that you’re able to easily overrun decks that don’t interact with your creatures.

However, Mayhem Devil and Wrath of God strategies are just too efficient at stopping hyper linear decks like Elves. Freyalise, Skyshroud Partisan could be a huge step in the right direction to combating some of that. If you ever untap with an Elvish Archdruid and then slam Freyalise, Skyshroud Partisan and untap it, you get to dump your hand on turn three which is crazy powerful. Obviously that’s the best case scenario, but all three of her abilities are very solid. 

Untapping and buffing a Llanowar Elves and another random elf in your hand is a really powerful +1. Making your elves bigger before they even hit play also helps a lot in stopping Mayhem Devil from machine gunning your board down. Having a powerful Planeswalker in play that draws elves, pumps them, and has an insanely powerful ultimate allows Elves to shift their gameplan in a way that makes them way less soft to one Wrath of God.

Plus have you ever faced an Elves opponent who stuck a Regal Force? You just die! I have high hopes for Freyalise, Skyshroud Partisan and I hope that it puts Elves back on the map.

Elves 

Planeswalkers (4)
4
Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury
Creatures (32)
4
Allosaurus Shepherd
4
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Llanowar Elves
4
Dwynen's Elite
4
Elvish Clancaller
4
Elvish Warmaster
2
Skyshroud Elf
4
Elvish Archdruid
2
Imperious Perfect
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Lands (20)
3
Castle Garenbrig
15
Forest
2
Lair of the Hydra
Cards (60)

Longtusk Stalker (.5/5)

One of the worst mechanics of all time is unfortunately rearing its ugly head again. Fortunately, it came in the form of the fairly weak Longtusk Stalker. Temur Energy might have dominated Kaladesh standard, but Historic is a whole different ball game. Longtusk Stalker is not powerful enough and is not what energy decks were missing to become competitive.

Aetherworks Marvel is a powerful energy sink and could one day make its way into the format, but Longtusk Stalker won’t be the reason for that happening.

Voltaic Brawler is an Energy card that sees play in random aggressive decks like Gruul, but Longtusk Stalker simply lacks the raw power to see universal play in aggressive green decks.

Pool of Vigorous Growth (.5/5)

A two mana free discard outlet can only be so bad I suppose. I’m a sucker for some old-fashioned Momir Basic, but that effect is just too inconsistent to be competitive. So enjoy the sweat of summoning nonsense from Pool of Vigorous Growth, but please keep it out of your MIQ and Arena Open decklists.

Skyshroud Lookout (2.5/5)

Skyshroud Lookout is often more powerful than Elvish Visionary in Historic Elves since with that deck you often only need a few lands to function. That means that guaranteeing an elf spell 100% of the time will usually be better than getting a random spell 60% of the time, which is what Visionary provides.

The Reach plus the guarantee of always drawing a spell makes me believe that this will probably be a decent role filler in the dedicated Elf deck. The strategy loves to go wide and kill the opponent with Allosaurus Shepherd and Skyshroud Lookout plays very well into that sort of strategy.

Ayula, Queen Among Bears (0/5)

I’m calling it now, Tribal Bears will be the best deck. Ayula, Queen Among Bears into Owlbear is going to be one of if not THE most powerful plays in Historic. Five mana 6/6 Trample that draws a card. C’mon that’s just game right there.

Savage Swipe (.5/5)

Primal Might is just a way more powerful version of this effect for the decks that want it. If an aggressive green deck with all two power creatures ever surfaces though, then it will be happy to run a set of these.

Scale Up (1/5)

You can meme pretty hard with Minion of the Mighty into Scale Up and then kill your opponent by putting in Terror of Mount Velus. That’s definitely asking a little too much for my liking, but any time a deck can kill on turn two it’s for sure worth mentioning. Unless Infect and Blighted Agent ever make it to Historic, I doubt Scale Up will ever see competitive play.

Springbloom Druid (1/5)

Blinking Springbloom Druid with Ephemerate and Soulherder does ramp really hard and go a long way towards getting every basic land out of your deck. That sort of interaction seems too cute for Historic, but I try not to discount any creature with a good ETB when there’s so many good blink effects in the format.

Winding Way (1/5)

Decks that want this sort of effect are just going to stick with Grisly Salvage. If for some reason that isn’t enough, then Winding Way can act as copies 5-8. Getting a critical mass of these effects could help fuel some sort of graveyard based nonsense, but I’m not really not sure what that sort of strategy would look like.

Chatterfang, Squirrel General (3/5)

Not only is this design sweet, it also synergizes really well with some of the most powerful cards in Historic. Chatterfang, Squirrel General gives you a Squirrel token every time you loop Cauldron Familiar with Witch’s Oven since ANY token entering the battlefield triggers Chatterfang’s ability.

Woe Strider, Gilded Goose, and Prosperous Innkeeper all also work super well with Chatterfang and can all be put into play with Collected Company. Blood Artist plays nicely with all the squirrels and Chatterfang’s ability to sacrifice as many as you want to kill a pesky creature on the opponent’s board. 

Last but certainly not least, having all these tokens around and gaining all this life from Blood Artist and Prosperous Innkeeper means that Chatterfang works perfectly with Bolas’s Citadel. Jund Citadel has gone up and down in popularity but I have high hopes that Chatterfang, Squirrel General could give the archetype the power boost needed to compete with Jeskai Control, Jund Food, Izzet Phoenix, Auras, and whatever new archetypes that arise from this Historic Horizons card dump.

Jund Citadel 

Creatures (32)
4
Gilded Goose
4
Llanowar Elves
3
Shambling Ghast
2
Blood Artist
4
Priest of Forgotten Gods
4
Prosperous Innkeeper
3
Chatterfang, Squirrel General
4
Mayhem Devil
4
Woe Strider
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Artifacts (4)
4
Bolas's Citadel
Lands (22)
1
Blood Crypt
4
Blooming Marsh
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Darkbore Pathway
4
Overgrown Tomb
2
Phyrexian Tower
3
Stomping Ground
Cards (62)

Chatterstorm (.5/5)

There is some Storm support in Historic, but I would much rather have Mind’s Desire than Chatterstorm as a win condition.

Chitterspitter (0/5)

Insanely good limited card, but way too slow and way too little good squirrels for this to make any waves in Historic.

Glimmer Bairn (1/5)

Too adorable of a card not to mention. Potentially works well in some sort of Golgari Tokens or Citadel deck. One mana creatures with unique effects can only be so bad (Unless they’re Jade Leech) so I always like to keep these cheap enablers on my radar.

Sanctum Weaver (2/5)

Setessan Champion, Sythis, Harvest’s Hand, Sterling Grove, and Sanctum Weaver give the glimmer of hope that Enchantress could make its way into Historic. Without the prison element of Solitary Confinement, I doubt the deck will ever be competitive, but Sanctum Weaver is a powerful enough card in that strategy that with one or two powerful enchantments it will really shine.

Squirrel Sanctuary (2/5)

This is a really hard card to evaluate, but you get two pieces of cardboard for one mana so that’s pretty neat! Not triggering off token creature deaths stops this card from going nuts, but Blood Artist, Chatterfang, Squirrel general and Woe Strider shenanigans definitely work really well with Squirrel Sanctuary so I’m excited to try the card out at some point.

Sylvan Anthem (1/5)

A green Honor the Pure with some Scry action thrown in? Now that’s a pretty powerful anthem. I’m not sure if Elves, Gruul, or Mono-Green Aggro are really interested in this sort of effect though considering how important it is to keep creature counts high with Collected Company. Regardless, it’s a cool card to be entering Historic and I’m excited to see if a deck can make good use of it.

Timeless Witness (2/5)

Super clunky Eternal Witness is still a really powerful effect to have with Ephemerate and Soulherder in the format. You can create some brutal locks by repeatedly blinking this, but it not being three mana means that it’s really awkward with Collected Company. Regardless, if Bant Blink gets enough tools to make it in Historic, it will almost certainly be playing some number of Timeless Witness.

Verdant Command (1/5)

I can’t think of any deck that wants this sort of effect. I’m not optimistic that a tokens or squirrel deck will make it in Historic, and the abilities are so middling that I doubt any strategy could make use of this as a board card either. Cool card, but they can’t all be format defining.

Hardened Scales (3/5)

We may not have Arcbound Ravager or Nissa, Voice of Zendikar but we do have a bunch of solid counter creatures and my trusty buddy Vivien, Arkbow Ranger.

Both Winding Constrictor and Conclave Mentor being legal means that lots of different counter decks can exist across the Abzan colors. I fear that Jund Food and Jeskai Control are still way too good at dismantling these sort of decks, but Hardened Scales is an unbelievably powerful card so I wouldn’t be surprised if it spawned an entirely new competitive archetype. This is a rough idea of where my head is at but there’s definitely something here!

Historic GW Counters 

Planeswalkers (4)
4
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
Creatures (20)
4
Pelt Collector
4
Swarm Shambler
4
Conclave Mentor
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Scavenging Ooze
Spells (4)
4
Dromoka's Command
Artifacts (6)
4
Stonecoil Serpent
2
The Ozolith
Enchantments (4)
4
Hardened Scales
Lands (22)
4
Branchloft Pathway
5
Forest
2
Lair of the Hydra
3
Plains
4
Sunpetal Grove
4
Temple Garden
Cards (60)

Servant of the Scale (.5/5)

It’s cheap and plays well with counters. Awful card, but way worse cards have seen play.

Manaweft Sliver and Predatory Sliver (1/5)

Like I said before, no Aether Vial means no Slivers. These are both some of the more cheap and powerful Slivers to ever be printed though, so if we get Vial and a good one drop Silver then there could be a chance that the archetype gets there.

Green seems surprisingly underwhelming when compared to the other colors. Elves definitely picked up some goodies, but I don’t really see most of these cards competing with the hyper efficient and powerful strategies that are currently dominating Historic. 

Thank you for reading!

Chris Kvartek

While Chris Kvartek technically kicked off his career in 2012, he burst onto the scene in 2019 like few before him. With an early season Top Finish at Mythic Championship II and narrow miss for his second at Mythic Championship IV, Kvartek earned invitations to two more Mythic Championships through online qualifiers. He secured his second Top Finish of the season at Mythic Championship VII, and now this rising star must prove he can stay among the elite of professional Magic.

2 Responses

  1. M.W. says:

    I really liked the format of this article

  2. Phill Gaston says:

    Quote me, Ochre Jelly + Hardened Scales = infinite sacrifice fuel. Your welcome boys!