Historic on Arena is about to enter uncharted territory. A new Jumpstart experience: Jumpstart – Historic Horizons – is coming to the platform from August 12 through September 9. This iteration of Jumpstart will contain 46 themed packs. Players will get two packs at random and play them together against opponents who also have two packs. As with he first Jumpstart, all cards released in Historic Horizons will be legal in Historic – Arena’s non-rotating constructed format.
Here is where things get interesting. Jumpstart – Historic Horizons will contain 782 cards, many of which are new to Arena including 31 that are completely unique cards. Some of these cards use mechanics that are only feasible in digital play. One of these mechanics is Seek, which pulls a card that meets the Seek criteria at random from your deck without the player searching their library. Another is Perpetually which alters some statistic on the impacted card (casting cost, toughness) for the remainder of the game and which persists to every zone (somewhat similar to Skullbriar, the Walking Grave). Finally there is Conjure which takes a card from outside the game – a card that may not even exist on Arena elsewhere (Tropical Island was used as an example) and puts the Conjured card into the player’s hand.
In the article, Aaron Forsythe made clear that these cards are exclusively for Historic and are testing the waters of what Arena specific designs could do in Magic. Forsythe reiterated that Standard, limited, and other Arena offerings are not going anywhere. Instead he likened this release to ones for Commander and Modern, giving players yet another way to play Magic.
The community has expressed some concern about the impact of these cards on Historic. This has less to do with the abilities on the cards and more about acquiring them. While they will be available for around one month on Arena and are able to be crafted with Wildcards, the sheer number of new cards entering Historic presents a potentially steep barrier to entry into a platform with an already heavily criticized economy.