J:HH Combos – New Turn 2 Kill in Historic
See also: Infinite Death Triggers in Historic
The upcoming direct-to-Arena set Jumpstart: Historic Horizons will be bringing a slew of cards from Modern Horizons and Modern Horizons 2 into the Historic format on August 12, along with 31 cards that are brand new to Magic and designed specifically for digital play.
With Historic brewers thinking about how all of these new cards will interact with existing cards in the format, there are bound to be a few new and interesting combos and interactions that come forward. Combo decks haven’t been popular in Historic since the banning of Thassa's Oracle and later Time Warp, but perhaps Jumpstart: Historic Horizons can bring combo decks back into the format.
One such combo that players have already noticed is an improvement to a potential turn 2 combo that players noticed in Standard during the previews for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Minion of the Mighty is a relatively new card from AFR that can cheat a dragon into play if its controller attacks with total power 6 or greater.
Some players noticed that casting two copies of Infuriate targeting Minion of the Mighty was enough to get its power to 6, allowing the player to cheat out Terror of Mount Velus– resulting in a total of 22 damage in one attack on turn 2. The problem with this combo was that it required having four very specific cards in hand, two of which being Infuriate, and it was nowhere near consistent enough to be a competitive deck.
Now however, Jumpstart: Historic Horizons is about to add a new, Historic only piece to this combo: Scale Up. Scale Up is a one mana sorcery that essentially does all of the work of both copies of Infuriate from the original combo, setting Minion of the Mighty’s power to 6 with just one card.
Whether this combo turns out to actually be a viable strategy is still very much up in the air; even with one card less than the Standard version, it still requires three specific cards in hand to execute the turn 2 kill. It seems likely that a deck built around this combo will need to have a backup plan that is strong enough to compete with other decks in the Historic format, as it will be virtually impossible to execute the turn 2 kill every game.
Perhaps the biggest argument for trying this combo in Historic is the fact that Scale Up is a much more playable card on its own than Infuriate. Gruul decks have been popular on and off in Historic thanks to the power of cards like Burning-Tree Emissary and Atarka's Command. While Minion of the Mighty still seems like a pretty bad card on its own, Scale Up is decidedly a significant upgrade to Infuriate.
It’s also worth noting that Gruul decks in Historic sometimes play other powerful dragons that might potentially play well with Minion of the Mighty, such as Glorybringer. However, Gruul hasn’t been very popular in Historic in recent weeks, and the decks that do well have been much more focused on small, aggro creatures rather than midrange threats like dragons.
Perhaps a hyper-aggressive, low to the ground shell makes more sense for this combo anyways, as Scale Up pairs best with small creatures that don’t have much attacking power on their own. Only time and many games played will tell if this combo is something that’s worth playing on the ladder or more competitive venues. Either way, it definitely seems like fun to jank an opponent out on turn 2 with this ridiculous interaction.