The Top 5 New and Most Improved Historic Decks with Jumpstart: Historic Horizons

Ranger-Captain of Eos Art by Ryan Pancoast
Ranger-Captain of Eos Art by Ryan Pancoast

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to do something for those of us who are (not) so patiently waiting for Jumpstart to release! My favorite days of the year are when a new set just drops and everyone is trying out their new strategy in Constructed, a sentiment I’m sure many share with me.

With that, it can also be scary to put Wildcards in a deck you’re unsure is even functional much less a good investment. That’s what I’m hoping to help with. I collated ten lists, five improved and five new, on what I believe are going to be strong options moving forward.

Remember this isn’t a complete list or excluded decks aren’t going to be good, just ones I identified. Let’s dive right in!

MOST IMPROVED DECKS

ELVES

(H) Jumpstart Elves 

Planeswalkers (4)
4
Freyalise, Skyshroud Partisan
Creatures (32)
4
Allosaurus Shepherd
4
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Llanowar Elves
4
Dwynen's Elite
4
Elvish Clancaller
4
Elvish Warmaster
2
Skyshroud Lookout
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)
Sideboard (15)
4
Shapers' Sanctuary
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
2
Heroic Intervention
3
Scavenging Ooze
2
Reclamation Sage
2
Toski, Bearer of Secrets

Elves was already a very solid archetype in Historic, but it always had an endemic issue with decks looking to interact with it. If the opponent had just a few pieces of cheap removal, the Elves deck would fall apart half of the time which was a super awkward spot to be in. However, with the introduction of Freyalise, Skyshroud Partisan, that dynamic is going to shift greatly. Now instead of just Collected Company to grind through removal, you have a Planeswalker that can accelerate you, buff your Elves, draw a card, or create a huge Regal Force to win the game with!

On a smaller note, Skyshroud Lookout is also quite the addition for Elves. Elvish Visionary was always a solid card and drawing a random card is all well and good, but getting a guarenteed Elf each time is quite nice.

A lot of decks that had an excellent matchup against Elves now will have to reevaluate with Jumpstart in the mix.

IZZET PHOENIX

(H) Jumpstart Phoenix 

Creatures (14)
4
Sprite Dragon
4
Arclight Phoenix
1
Crackling Drake
1
Ox of Agonas
4
Stormwing Entity
Spells (25)
4
Faithless Looting
1
Lightning Axe
4
Opt
2
Pillar of Flame
4
Expressive Iteration
4
Faithless Salvaging
2
Finale of Promise
4
Fiery Temper
Lands (21)
2
Fabled Passage
2
Island
3
Mountain
4
Riverglide Pathway
2
Spirebluff Canal
4
Steam Vents
4
Sulfur Falls
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
2
Aether Gust
2
Fry
2
Negate
2
Anger of the Gods
1
Beacon Bolt
2
Brazen Borrower
1
Mystical Dispute
1
Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Phoenix has had quite the tumultuous ride in Historic from one of the by far best decks to a middling option. Although we still don’t have Brainstorm, the deck is poised to make a comeback Faithless Salvaging makes getting a Phoenix back trivially easy, and at worse, it’s just a slightly worse Faithless Looting.

By itself that wouldn’t be enough to let Phoenix make a comeback, but throw Fiery Temper in the mix and all bets are off. Now that Phoenix has multiple ways to accrue value from discarding, the deck is going to be much tougher to grind out as they get value from their discards and will require fewer spells to actually recur Phoenix.

One of the main issues with Phoenix was the amount of cards you’d have to spend to get your Birds back at some points, but these additions will significantly lower that threshold on average.

RAKDOS CAT

(H) Jumpstart Rakdos Cat 

Creatures (27)
4
Cauldron Familiar
4
Shambling Ghast
4
Dreadhorde Butcher
4
Priest of Forgotten Gods
4
Mayhem Devil
4
Woe Strider
3
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
Spells (4)
4
Claim the Firstborn
Artifacts (6)
4
Witch's Oven
2
Scrapheap Scrounger
Lands (23)
4
Blightstep Pathway
4
Blood Crypt
1
Castle Locthwain
4
Dragonskull Summit
2
Fabled Passage
2
Mountain
1
Phyrexian Tower
5
Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Soul-Guide Lantern
4
Thoughtseize
3
Abrade
2
Angrath's Rampage
1
Fry
2
Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Rakdos Cat was an extremely powerful Historic deck that got quickly overshadowed by it’s Jund Company and Jund Food counterparts. It was hard to imagine a card that would justify someone to return to their Rakdos roots, but if there is one, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician is it.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of playing Yawg, the card is absolutely nuts. It’s really easy to decimate an opponent’s board and draw a bunch of cards even with a smaller board state, a pretty insane deal for 4 mana.

Although it’s not a new card, Shambling Ghast is extremely powerful with Yawg to either ramp into it early or make Yawg’s sacrifice ability even more important on a creature dense board.

With these two in the mix, I’m envisioning that Rakdos is going to be the premier anti-creature deck in the format.

JUND CITADEL

(H) Jumpstart Jund Citadel 

Creatures (30)
4
Gilded Goose
4
Llanowar Elves
1
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 (60)
Sideboard (15)
4
Claim the Firstborn
1
Cling to Dust
1
Soul-Guide Lantern
4
Thoughtseize
1
Fry
2
Klothys, God of Destiny
2
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

Similarly to Rakdos, Jund Citadel was mostly overshadowed by it’s counterparts, but it’s high time it came back into the mix. Why? Chatterfang, Squirrel General.

Citadel cares about the amount of permanents you can generate, and Chatterfang makes an insane amount of tokens, 1 extra for every one you create. This makes it extremely easy to combo off with Citadel in one turn as a big inhibitor in Citadel was always the amount of scries you could get with Woe Strider.

Although both not new cards, Shambing Ghast and Prosperous Innkeeper go far to make the archetype even more powerful. Both can ramp early, and like Chatterfang, can be hit off of Collected Company!

I always had mixed feelings about this deck as it seemed so powerful, but lacked the consistency to make it. I no longer think consistency is going to be an issue.

TEMUR KOMA

Historic Temur Koma 

Creatures (2)
2
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Spells (28)
4
Hard Evidence
2
Expressive Iteration
4
Fire Prophecy
4
Memory Lapse
4
Indomitable Creativity
4
Prismari Command
2
Mizzix's Mastery
4
Magma Opus
Enchantments (4)
4
Shark Typhoon
Lands (26)
4
Dwarven Mine
4
Fabled Passage
2
Island
4
Ketria Triome
5
Mountain
4
Steam Vents
2
Stomping Ground
1
Sulfur Falls
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
4
Lava Coil
1
Mystic Subdual
2
Perilous Voyage
4
Mystical Dispute
3
Commence the Endgame
1
Nezahal, Primal Tide

It’s weird to say a deck got vastly improved when just one new card enters the mix, but that’s how powerful Hard Evidence is in Indomitable Creativity decks. Getting an early blocker to help preserve life and a Clue for Creativity or drawing a card is an absolutely insane deal for 1 mana.

When I played it, I always felt Temur had two main issues: it lacked enough meaningful early plays and getting the first token could sometimes be difficult. Well, with Hard Evidence, both of those problems seemed to have been cleared up at once.

I’m excited to get back to cheating Koma in ahead of schedule.

BEST NEW DECKS

ORZHOV SHADOW

(H) Jumpstart Orzhov Shadow 

Creatures (23)
4
Death's Shadow
1
Faerie Guidemother
1
Giant Killer
4
Knight of the Ebon Legion
1
Selfless Savior
4
Adanto Vanguard
4
Ranger-Captain of Eos
4
Ranger of Eos
Spells (16)
4
Agadeem's Awakening
3
Fatal Push
3
Inquisition of Kozilek
4
Thoughtseize
1
Feed the Swarm
1
Heartless Act
Lands (21)
4
Brightclimb Pathway
1
Castle Locthwain
4
Concealed Courtyard
4
Godless Shrine
3
Ifnir Deadlands
1
Plains
3
Shefet Dunes
1
Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Fatal Push
3
Giant Killer
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
1
Despark
1
Feed the Swarm
1
Legion's End
4
Vanishing Verse
2
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Since Death’s Shadow was introduced into Historic, many tried to get it to work, but all efforts came up short. The deck was just too inconsistent to enact it’s game plan consistently which made the life loss too much of a detriment. However, now that the deck has Ranger-Captain of Eos and Ranger of Eos, getting a Shadow into play should be extremely easy.

The deck was already really close as it performed well when it drew Shadow, so having more ways to actually do that is a huge bump in the deck’s power level. Beyond that, having 8 tutor effects also make the 1 ofs less embarrassing as you can grab them more often when you actually need them rather ahead of time to hedge against something that wasn’t played yet.

I’m not positive at what Tier Shadow will end up at, but it seems like an extremely solid option and has definitely improved substantially.

MONOWHITE HUMANS

(H) Jumpstart Humans 

Creatures (29)
4
Dauntless Bodyguard
2
Giant Killer
4
Thraben Inspector
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Thalia's Lieutenant
3
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Ranger-Captain of Eos
Artifacts (4)
4
Esper Sentinel
Enchantments (4)
4
Rally the Ranks
Lands (23)
4
Faceless Haven
19
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Reidane, God of the Worthy
2
Giant Killer
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
4
Baffling End
4
Containment Priest
1
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Monowhite Aggro did already exist, although it was a very niche archetype. However, a few new cards have entered the mix to make the archetype way more viable.

Esper Sentinel is a huge headache for any deck looking to play non-creatures as it will keep taxing them until they kill it or you draw a bunch of cards. Secondly, Ranger-Captain of Eos is a fantastic 3 drop as it’s solid in it’s own right, great against spell-based decks, and will fetch up one of your mana 1 drops to boot.

Since the deck now has a Humans theme and gave up no power to do so, it also can play Rally the Ranks as an Honor of the Pure for free as well! You could also go for the Black splash to get General Kudro of Drannith and Dire Tactics, but losing Faceless Haven is a hard pill to swallow.

I already liked Monowhite before, but I think this new Human theme will definitely power the deck up significantly.

SIMIC MERFOLK

(H) Jumpstart Merfolk 

Creatures (32)
4
Kumena's Speaker
2
Mistcaller
4
Shoreline Scout
4
Master of the Pearl Trident
4
Merfolk Mistbinder
4
Silvergill Adept
2
Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca
4
Merrow Reejerey
4
Svyelun of Sea and Sky
Spells (4)
4
Collected Company
Lands (24)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Botanical Sanctum
4
Breeding Pool
4
Hinterland Harbor
8
Island
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
2
Mistcaller
2
Soul-Guide Lantern
3
Spell Pierce
4
Decisive Denial
4
Mystical Dispute

Rejoice Merfolk players! Your God is here! Merfolk was one of the saddest storied in Historic as it was always close to playable, but could never cross the finish line. However, it’s gotten so many new cards there’s no chance that the deck can’t make some traction now.

First off, Svyelun of Sea and Sky is absolutely nuts. It’s hard to kill, makes other things hard to kill, draws cards on attack, it’s a hit off of Collected Company. This is one of the best Lords in Historic, if not the best one.

I would say Merfolk is likely to see play if just Svyelun came to Historic, but that wasn’t the only addition! Master of the Pearl Trident is an iconic card and an excellent addition to Merfolk to bump them up to 8 2 mana lords. Lastly, Shoreline Scout looks a bit innocuous, but I believe it’s going to be a pivotal part of Merfolk by being both insanely aggressive and smoothing out your draws when necessary.

I’m warning all of you right now, Merfolk may be insane so be ready for it.

RAKDOS DELIRIUM

(H) Jumpstart Rakdos Delirium 

Companion
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Creatures (12)
4
Dragon's Rage Channeler
4
Knight of the Ebon Legion
4
Bloodbraid Marauder
Spells (16)
2
Claim/Fame
/
2
Inquisition of Kozilek
4
Thoughtseize
4
Unholy Heat
2
Heartless Act
2
Kolaghan's Command
Artifacts (4)
4
Bomat Courier
Enchantments (4)
4
Brain Maggot
Lands (24)
2
Barren Moor
4
Blightstep Pathway
4
Blood Crypt
4
Fabled Passage
2
Forgotten Cave
4
Mountain
4
Swamp
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Claim/Fame
/
3
Dead Weight
3
Soul-Guide Lantern
1
Abrade
1
Angrath's Rampage
1
Legion's End
2
Noxious Grasp
1
Bedevil
1
Call of the Death-Dweller
1
Lurrus of the Dream-Den

I didn’t know we were allowed to play Modern decks in Historic, but I’m not complaining! Let’s be clear, Dragon’s Rage Channeler and Unholy Heat are in conjunction for the best one mana creature and removal spell respectively, so building your deck around them is a no brainer.

Although we lack some of the best Delirium enablers like Mishra’s Bauble and Manamorphose, Historic still has a relatively good selection. The deck has a nice mix of permanents with creatures, instants, sorceries, artifacts in the form of Bomat Courier, enchantments with Brain Maggot, and lands with the Cycle lands and Fabled Passage. I’m sure the ratio can be worked on, but getting Delirium should not be a problem most games.

There’s not much more to say beyond that playing all relatively good cards together so you can play two broken ones seems like a wise choice for those who like this style of deck.

HOLLOW ONE

(H) Jumpstart Hollow One 

Creatures (20)
4
Blazing Rootwalla
4
Flameblade Adept
4
Insolent Neonate
4
Seasoned Pyromancer
2
Hazoret the Fervent
2
Ox of Agonas
Spells (12)
4
Faithless Looting
2
Lightning Axe
2
Faithless Salvaging
4
Fiery Temper
Artifacts (6)
2
Bomat Courier
4
Hollow One
Lands (22)
4
Den of the Bugbear
14
Mountain
4
Ramunap Ruins
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Soul-Guide Lantern
3
Abrade
1
Fry
4
Goblin Chainwhirler
2
Phoenix of Ash
2
Chandra, Torch of Defiance

I’ve been trying to make Hollow One work for awhile, and the closest I was able to get was playing it in Cycling. However, there’s now definitely enough pieces to make the deck extremely viable.

Out of all the decks on the list, Hollow One definitely uses up more new cards that anything else. In terms of enablers, Insolent Neonate, Seasoned Pyromancer, and Faithless Salvaging all work towards making a cheap Hollow One extremely possible.

In terms of payoffs, we have Blazing Rootwalla for a free body when we discard and Fiery Temper for our Lightning Bolt surrogate.

The deck looks to have a lot of power, a lot of synergy, and has one of the best mana bases I’ve ever seen. I don’t think this deck is the best on the list, but it’s the one I’m definitely most excited to play.

What decks are you most looking forward to playing? Let me know in the comments.

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.

7 Responses

  1. Chrysologus says:

    Very excited for Merfolk. I’m afraid my old decks, Selesnya Company and Angels, may not be viable anymore.

  2. Battlegrizz says:

    some pretty cool decks. Im most excited to play Reanimator. Also I’m hoping Zombies turns out to be the best tribe when we get Champion of the Perished.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Champion of the Perished is nuts so I wouldn’t be surprised if Zombies is nuts after that releases.

      Reanimator is super exciting but not having Unmarked Grave definitely makes it a bit tougher to be consistent

  3. Sam says:

    What about using a deck with Serra the Benevolent and Shadow? Your life can stay at or close to 1 without worrying as much as getting killed.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Definitely an interesting idea but realistically you shouldn’t have too much trouble winning after ulting a Serra and what is she doing in the meanwhile if you’re looking to ult her?

  4. DoctorLekter says:

    I am wondering why folks aren’t playing Kroxa in delirium. Card is nuts, and we have faithless looting as both a sorcery for Delirium, and an enabler for Kroxa. As a bonus, it doesn’t even keep you from playing Lurrus and is a huge part of Modern Rakdow Delirium rock.

    Personally, I skip out on Lurrus altogether to play Seasoned Pyromancer. Lurrus is incredible, but I don’t think it’s as impactful as modern where you can recur things like Bauble and even Dress Down to keep drawing cards. Pyromancer is a delirium enabler, can fill up the yard for Kroxa, gives us value even from the yard, and allows us to refill our hands in the late game.

    My list is below:
    Deck
    4 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger (THB) 221
    4 Mountain (AFR) 277
    2 Swamp (AFR) 273
    2 Village Rites (STA) 35
    1 Kolaghan’s Command (DTK) 224
    4 Stitcher’s Supplier (M19) 121
    2 Inquisition of Kozilek (STA) 31
    4 Thoughtseize (AKR) 127
    4 Fatal Push (KLR) 84
    4 Faithless Looting (STA) 38
    4 Blightstep Pathway (KHM) 252
    4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
    2 Den of the Bugbear (AFR) 254
    4 Dragonskull Summit (XLN) 252
    3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
    4 Unholy Heat (MH2) 145
    4 Dragon’s Rage Channeler (MH2) 121
    4 Seasoned Pyromancer

    Looting and supplier give us lightning fast Kroxa or Delirium. Village rites helps us refill in the late game, provides an instant and a creature in many cases for delirium, and is an all around solid card. Mana base still needs some work, but I like to have all untapped sources for our myriad one drops.

    Exclusions, I ditched Bloodbraid Marauder really early on as it’s just not all that great, IMO. If you don’t have delirium it’s just a crappy vanilla 2 drop, and with delirium it’s still only decent. I find Knight is only OK. It doesn’t really help us get delirium without dying, and it isn’t that exciting even if it sticks. DRC and Kroxa are more than threatening enough to take us to the promised land without random aggro stuff that doesn’t fit our midrange gameplan. Courier is only really good if you have a critical mass of burn spells to keep it swinging early and refilling your hand. It does help with delirium, but delirium is comically easy with supplier and looting.

    Overall this list has been REALLY good for me. It has game against most decks in the format, while having some of the most potent threats available really early into the game. It has no problem grinding, and no problem beating you down if you can’t answer the threats.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      This is an extremely reasonable take on the archetype as far as I can see. I would say this hasn’t caught on like the Lurrus version since, as you functionally already said, without stuff like Bauble it can be a lot harder to achieve Delirium so playing a card that can get rid of it is definitely a bit awkward. Nevertheless, I like your build!