A short and rather cryptic message from Wizards of the Coast just announced that no less than 20 Jumpstart cards will be changed or replaced from their paper printing to the digital Magic Arena versions. The community is running wild with speculation.
The little article on the MTG website is straight-forward and the title says it all: “Jumpstart cards being replaced in MTG Arena”. It simply reads that not all Jumpstart will be the same in the paper and digital versions of Magic - something that’s happening for the first time since the video game’s release. A follow-up tweet explained that this is done for “various reasons”:
Jumpstart is coming to MTG Arena in July, but we had to swap out a handful of cards for various reasons (look out for those reasons in the July State of the Game).— MTG Arena (@MTG_Arena) June 17, 2020
As those cards are previewed, we'll post them here: https://t.co/DNtrFXIyjd
Out of the full list of 20 cards, we were shown just 4 alongside a promise for more info to follow soon. The spells in question are:
- Exhume - a black Urza’s Saga resurrection sorcery.
- Reanimate - a black Tempest resurrection sorcery
- Scourge of Nel Toth - a Commander 2015 Zombie Dragon.
- Time to Feed - a green Theros removal spell.
At a glance, these card changes are really weird - only one is Rare, and they all have been reprinted at least once in the history of the game.
However, looking a bit further makes it clear why Wizards are careful. It’s clear what some of these “various reasons” are - and Historic is at the top of the list.
Both the recent Historic Anthology III and the banning of Winota, Joiner of Forces showed that Wizards are taking Historic really seriously and groom it to be a leading MTGA format.
It’s easy to see why they are careful around spells that mess with graveyards and summon creatures directly on the battlefield - the Eldrazi titan Ulamog is running rampant in the Formats and we all know there’s plenty of tools to cheat him early in the game already.
It will be really curious to see what other cards will be changed, but until then one thing is crystal-clear - Wizards are pushing Heroic so hard, they are willing to change their very sets.
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