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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jul 30 2020 12:00pm
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JUMPSTART

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 The latest in Wizards of the Coast's never-ending attempts at exploring new ways to sell products play the game Jumpstart is a fascinating mix between a sealed-like Limited environment and an improved Starter Deck set. It involves smashing together two preconstructed 20-card boosters, each created about a specific theme, for a total of 46 themes in 121 fixed variations. Most of the featured cards are reprints, but a few dozens are brand new, and deserves proper recognition of their impact (or lack thereof) on Vintage, Legacy, Pauper, Commander, and Historic. For one, there's a cycle of common "build your own dual" lands that might come in handy in the less cutthroat among the mentioned formats.

    

 Let's have a look at the new creatures and their tribes, then. As always, the main focus is on all the Constructed applications, the tribes are presented alphabetically, and you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 460 (+35 duplicated basic lands, +169 M21 reprints with the M21 logo, including 15 M21 basic lands)
  • New cards: 37
  • New creatures: 28
  • Reprinted cards: 423
  • Reprinted creatures: 256
  • New Legendary creatures: 10
  • New Snow creatures: 0
  • New artifact creatures: 1
  • New enchantment creatures: 0
  • Triple-subtype creatures: 0
  • Creature types affected: 28
  • Tribes with more than one addition: Human (+5), Devil (+3), Shaman (+3), Dog (+2), Minotaur (+2), Rogue (+2), Sphinx (+2), Unicorn (+2), Warlock (+2), Warrior (+2)

Advisor: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 56, online: 44

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Does the incremental milling of the opponent ever work as a gameplan? I feel like it firmly resides in the casual territory. It's like trying to burn them out, except you need to total, say, 50 instead of 20. Anyway, well, if milling ever came close to working, now Bruvac (who of course is part of the Mill pack) is doubling the odds of the endeavor being a success. The money price this guy already commands on the secondary market (although the scarcity of the first run of Jumpstart in paper must be taken into account) would make you think it's a new dawn for milling. On top of that, I like the flavor of a politician so tediously prolix, he literally bores you to death.


Azra: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 8

 Related Tribes: Warlock

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The race of purple-skinned demon-like humanoids from Battlebond returns for a second time in an innovation product, after Azra Smokeshaper in Modern Horizons. The lovely Kels is not a Ninja, though; she's a game fixer, which somehow translates into a Warlock. She has a decent body (I mean, mechanically speaking; most Magali Villeneuve characters look like they used to model for a living), a reasonable midrange cost, a relevant keyword, and a sacrifice outlet activation which reminds us a bit of Falkenrath Aristocrat, but with card-drawing attached. In short, she's a good commander (the hybrid mana in the activation cost is essentially only there to give her access to a second color), less evasive and immediately impactful than the hungry Vampire, but also less picky about her fodder, and better positioned for a strategic game, especially within a sacrifice shell. And the flavor is great, too: the Azra don't actually have supernatural powers, so the indestructibility comes from Kels shielding herself behind some dumb goon. People literally die for her!


Bird: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 266, online: 253

 Related Tribes: Soldier

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The attack trigger is powerful, but five mana for a 3/3 doesn't fit too well a regular Constructed environment. Maybe if it granted the bonus to itself, too.


Cleric: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 408, online: 383

 Related Tribes: Kor

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: In the deck where you want to play this guy, he'll probably be able to attack as a 3/3 lifelinker every single time. It still doesn't make him a very playable card, particularly in a Cleric tribal deck, since he'll be a vanilla 2/2 at any other time outside of your own combat phase.


Devil: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 31, online: 30

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Jumpstart has four monored packs that are all about the Devils, with strong reprints like Hellrider as well as a trio of new additions, which is more than most tribes got from Jumpstart. And the two uncommons are both fairly playable. Chained Brute can take some work to untap, but it's a 4/3 for two, can block, and the sacrifice outlet might not be available in the opponent's turn, but can still be used multiple times in our turn, to burn the opponent out via Mayhem Devil and the likes. Speaking of which, Spiteful Prankster has a similar death trigger that can ping the opponent or their planeswalkers, and generally cares about the death of creatures, not just sacrifices (so it doesn't work with, say, fetchlands, but it does with creature removal). On top of that, it attacks as three-powered first striker for three.

 And then there's the rare Zurzoth, Chaos Rider, the first legendary Devil in black border. He's also a three-drop, but his abilities are a bit harder to evaluate. Natually drawing in the opponent's turn is a common occurrence these days, but it can be easily played around, so I'm not sure how many of those Devil tokens Zurzoth will actually get to create spontaneously (my instinctive guess is zero). But that's where the second ability steps in, forcing the opponent to draw alongside you every time you attack with your Devils. So that's one little sucker getting born, plus the random discard might be more detrimental to an unprepared opponent, and it has only upsides the momenty you're attacking someone who's empty-handed. Granted, we'll still have to discard at random, too, but we're the ones who ride the chaos!


Djinn: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 47, online: 46

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Inniaz's base stats aren't that impressive – he's just an Air Elemental. The firebreathing (airbreathing?) for flyers is useful to increase the damage output, but kind of expensive. What really pushes this Djinn over the top is his last ability. It takes a moment to parse all the permanent-shifting business, since it's worded with multiplayer in mind. The crucial words here are "of your choice", which means that, in a two-player game, you'll get to switch one of the opponent's permanents for one of yours. You can give them a useless dork, or you can give them something harmful, like Treacherous Blessing, and potentially even game-losing, like an almost spent Nine Lives. Of course you need to have a triplet of flying attackers, but that's not going to be an issue in a Djinn tribal deck, or more likely in an Azorius Flyers deck with Inniaz as an honored guest.


Dog: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 85, online: 81

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The Dogs keep enjoying their transformation from Hound, although the two new puppies found in the Dogs packs aren't very exciting. Supply Runners is way too expensive for that body and effect, and Trusty Retriever's recursion ability is rarely going to matter in a White Weenie type of deck. All in all, the best Dog card in Jumpstart is the sorcery Release the Dogs. Unlike the two actual tribal creatures, those four mismatched mutts are at least worth their cost.


Elemental: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 457, online: 450

 Related Tribes: Shaman

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: I'm sure there are better ways to retrieve an instant or sorcery that don't involve running a subpar four-drop and then have it die.


Elf: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 394, online: 381

 Related Tribes: Shaman

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Only one new Elf in Jumpstart, but boy is he a doozy. Allosaurus Shepherd (who I guess is from Dominaria? I'm not sure in what plane Elves commune with Dinosaurs) is currently worth almost as much as an entire box of Jumpstart boosters. It's all due to its first due abilities impacting Vintage and Legacy in a very serious manner, as they allow to play both the Shepherd and any subsequent green spell (think power plays like Channel, Oath of Druids or Natural Order) in spite of any Force of Will or Force of Negation the opponent might be holding. And yes, this is huge for just one mana. In the tribal world, the Shepherd is also a mana sink, with a beefing ability that makes him akin to classic Elf finisher Ezuri, Renegade Leader. It's not quite the same, though. Let's do some simple math. We can assume most Elves on the board will be 2/2s – some are native 1/1s, but it's likely there'll be at least one Elvish Archdruid in play when you go off. If that's the case, then turning them into 5/5s means giving them a +3/+3 boost, which is exactly what Ezuri does for one more mana. Except Ezuri also provides trample, and that's crucial. Also crucial, Ezuri can be activated multiple times, and the bonus will stack, whereas a second activation of the Shepherd does nothing. This said, the Shepherd is just one mana (which makes him even fetchable by Ranger of Eos, for that matter), he's non-legendary, the protection against countermagic is always relevant, and the boost might well be enough to win the game. Bottom line, maybe he's not worth an entire box of boosers, but he's worth being played in Elf decks, as well as any green deck that's afraid of counterspells. Man, remember Gaea's Herald? Things really have changed for creatures in the 19 years since Planeshift released.


Giant: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 165, online: 159

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: I'm not sure why this Giant (found in the unique Walls pack) is classified as a mythic. Making her very large and giving her trample require a lot of preparations and a very specific board state. I guess in a Wall deck, she's bound to drop as a 12/12 at least? And then you sac that Wall of Blossoms and swing? Maybe she's not so bad. The punny name is great, too, and I like that she's a giantess, possibly in reference to Into the Woods.


Goblin: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 352, online: 339

 Related Tribes: Noble

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Goblins hit the Jumpstart jackpot! Muxus is the Goblin King you didn't know you needed. He's essentially a Goblin Ringleader on steroids, with some Goblin Piledriver attack trigger added for good measure. He singlehandedly makes Skirk Prospector a requirement of all Goblin decks, because you don't want to play Muxus on turn six, you want Muxus out on turn three, cheating four or five Goblins onto play off the top of the library, and one of those will probably be Goblin Chieftain or Goblin Warchief, so Muxus will be able to attack right away, the summoned Krenko, Mob Boss will immediately create a ton of tokens that the Prospector will turn into more mana to cast more Goblins, and so on and so forth. It has already taken over the Historic format on Arena, where the Jumpstart cards have been made legal. You can take a look at what he can do in that meta. Of course Legacy Goblins are a more cutthroat affair, but I'd personally give the grand Muxus a vote a confidence.


Golem: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 116

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: For some reason, even with literally hundreds of reprint slots available, Jumpstart still felt the need to print brand new Limited filler.


Human: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 2416, online: 2233

 Related Tribes: Advisor, Pirate, Warlock, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Irrelevant

 Highlights: There are five new Humans in Jumpstart. Yup, that's all I'm going to say about it.


Kor: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 56

 Related Tribes: Cleric

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: It's nice to reacquaint ourselves with the Kor in preparation for Zendikar Rising, even if this guy is not exactly a memorable member of the albino tribe of artifact whisperers.


Minotaur: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 88, online: 87

 Related Tribes: Shaman, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: A common, two-powered two-drop prowess beater could perhaps prove useful in Pauper, but the Minotaur enthusiasts are definitely looking forward to playing with Sethron, Hurloon General, who nicely calls back to the original, iconic Hurloon Minotaur. Sethron is awfully midrange as a 4/4 for five, but there's a bonus Hurloon in the deal, and a new one attached to each subsequent Minotaur, plus an activation that makes them all more threatening and harder to block. All this adds up to one precious tribal card, as well as legitimate commander for Minotaur Tribal.


Noble: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 35

 Related Tribes: Goblin

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: It turns out a "grandee" is a Portuguese nobleman, so now you know you should address Muxus as "Sua Majestade". I'm afraid he doesn't work well with other Nobles, though (none of which is a Goblin), and that is probably fitting for the tribe.


Phoenix: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 25, online: 24

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: This is one cool little Phoenix. The initial mana investment is reasonable for a two-powered hasty flyer (it's the same as Chandra's Phoenix, Flamewake Phoenix and Phoenix of Ash, but more splashable), and the reviving clause is very easy to satisfy – the damage doesn't even need to be red, or of noncombat variety. The Phoenix returns to the battlefield during the end step, so if it dies in a turn where you failed to reach the quota, it won't be able to attack the following turn; but overall it's a solid addition to the tribe's roster.


Pirate: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 93, online: 83

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Well, both Pirate packs come equipped with a new anthem lord. Typically, this kind of tribal boost works better as a two-drop, but Corsair Captain contributes his own Treasure to the cause, so that's a bit of ramp that makes up for the slightly higher CMC. I'm all for the Pirates getting more and more linked to Treasure tokens, it's flavorful and gives them a better identity.


Rogue: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 265, online: 250

 Related Tribes: Skeleton, Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: The generic flyer Nocturnal Feeder is marked as common, but I don't think even Pauper will have much use for him. More noteworthy is the mythic Tinybones, Trinket Thief, a cutesy skeletal burglar that acts as a centerpiece for discard decks, adding card advantage to each instance of disruption, which usually bears the flaw of just being a one-for-one exchange. The six-mana activation might come into play in the late game as a finishing blow, making a topdecked Tinybones less feel-bad at that point.


Shaman: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 399, online: 394

 Related Tribes: Elemental, Elf, Minotaur

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Nothing particularly illuminating for the Shamans, but of course the Elf-based superstar Allosaurus Rider is happy to lend his anti-counter services to his other tribe as well.


Skeleton: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 53, online: 51

 Related Tribes: Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Are Skeletons better equipped to support a discard theme than Rogues? I'll go out on a limb and say no, they aren't, but now they at least have gotten a reason to try.


Soldier: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 691, online: 633

 Related Tribes: Bird

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Steel-Plume Marshal is not a great card by any stretch of the imagination, but if it's going to work at all, it'll be when played within a flyer shell – therefore with Birds, not with Soldiers.


Sphinx: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 58

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Sphinx is one of only three non-Human tribes in Jumpstart (the other two being Warlock and Warrior) to get two new rares. In the case of the Sphinges, they're both curve-topping 5/5 flyers. The legendary Ormos, Archive Keeper appears in two of the Well-Read packs, whose theme is card-drawing. This mad librarian has a unique ability that protects from decking, so not exactly something you can casually see in action every game, plus a zany form of activated looting that seems best-suited for singleton formats, although even there it can't be too easy to pick three different cards to get rid of – I guess one of those is often going to be Island. She's a bit expensive for the command zone, too.

 Scholar of the Lost Trove is found as the centerpiece rare in two of the artifact-related Archaeology packs. It's essentially a seven-mana Snapcaster Mage. To make up for the five-mana gap, you don't pay for the flashback effect, so you better be using it to cast an Ultimatum, or something along those lines. The most interesting aspect is perhaps the fact that the Scholar is also able to target artifacts (hence the Archaeology affiliation), so you could put Blightsteel Colossus on the battlefield for seven mana, which is not exactly Tinker, but it's still a discount – with a bonus 5/5 flying body. And if you resurrect fellow Sphinx Sharuum the Hegemon, you'll get yet another expensive artifact for free once Sharuum's own trigger is in turn resolved.


Unicorn: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 24, online: 21

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Forgive me if I overlook entirely Brightmare's little lifegain trick, because we're in the presence of the first ever legendary Unicorn, who's also the first ever mythic rare Unicorn. In fact, Emiel the Blessed is the first Unicorn to ever go past uncommon rarity! (The lore is on point: Emiel is as fabled to unicorns as unicorns are to humans). Finally the tribe is starting to get the flavor of uniqueness it deserved. Emiel is a flicker engine, halfway between Soulherder, since the flicker is meant exclusively for our creatures, and Eldrazi Displacer, as it can be activated multiple times per turn, at three mana per iteration, all generic. But one thing Emiel can do that neither of his predecessors could is commanding a deck, offering ETB exploitation galore to a Selesnya-colored ensemble, thanks to his hybrid trigger cost, which is also where the hint of Unicorn tribal is incidentally rewarded. We had flicker-prone legendaries before, like Brago, King Eternal and Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, but none that could repeat his blinking at will – and none that could flicker Wood Elves and Knight of Autumn for that matter.


Vampire: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 241, online: 237

 Related Tribes: Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Do I really need to mention the amount of better three-drops a Vampire deck can field in lieu of this guy? Suffice to say it's an overwhelming amount.


Warlock: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 11

 Related Tribes: Azra, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: The beautiful Kels, the movie-star-looking Azra that appears in two of the Minions packs, was sort of randomly given the Warlock type (seriously, shouldn't a booker who fixes matches naturally be a Rogue? What part of that activity requires the use of dark magic?), but the black spellcaster tribe also gets a more appropriate witch from both Witchcraft packs. And Witch of the Moors is actually an extremely powerful card, capable of turning any incidental lifegain into, simultaneously, an edict effect and creature recursion, potentially starting from the very turn she dropped. At five mana, she's almost more effective than a seven-drop like Sheoldred, Whispering One! Sure the Praetor would directly put the returning creature onto the battlefield, but it would take an entire turn cycle to accomplish the same degree of advantage the Witch offers right away, for the negligible opportunity cost of including some lifegain in the deck. And as a 4/4 deathtoucher, her personal board presence is not too shabby, either, and it takes more than a bolt to get rid of her.


Warrior: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 733, online: 716

 Related Tribes: Human, Minotaur

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Sethron is a Warrior, but all his abilities are specifically linked to Minotaurs, so he's not very helpful to the Warrior cause. Fortunately, the tribe gets a second rare, a more open-minded member of the same cycle of monocolored legendaries with dual-colored commander identities. Neyith of the Dire Hunt is certainly a magnificent commander for Gruul, providing a whole lot of card advantage every time one of two very Gruul thing happens, either a fight or a block – the latter even ensured by the combat trigger, with some additional power doubling a la Xenagos, God of Revels attached. Imagine playing a strived Setessan Tactics on Neyith's watch!


Wizard: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 739, online: 721

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Pretty straightforward retriever of artifacts, with average body and cost. Being a common, she could see play in Pauper – strangely enough, blue didn't have this effect on a common creature before, while white had it multiple times, in Jumpstart alone we've seen Trusty Retriever, while the Archaeomender herself is a colorshifted Trusty Packbeast from Core Set 2019.


SUMMARY

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 Check the Complete Creature Types Reference Table here.


THE DESIGNATED COMMANDERS
(click on any them to go to their review)

  

 

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KUMA'S TRIBAL EVALUATIONS