Week 1 Jumpstart Historic - Lukka's Return
We are about a week into the release of Jumpstart on Magic Arena, and we already are seeing a shift in the meta game. With a few archetypes new archetypes creeping up, and some existing ones getting bolstered, Jumpstart has helped to usher in a new era of Historic. The deck we will be covering today features one 5 mana planeswalker from Ikoira, but the shell looks rather different from its domination of standard.
When Agent of Treachery got banned in Standard, Jeskai Lukka as a deck basically went the way of the Dodo.
People tried to continue to play the deck briefly afterwards to mixed results, and it was also tried in Historic, replacing Agent with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Unfortunately, the deck failed to gain any traction as the power level of the deck went way down and we haven't seen a Lukka deck in a few months.
Enter the Hoof. Very shortly after the formats launch, a couple of Lukka decks surfaced, but they looked very different. These decks dropped the blue and removal suite all together in favor of taking advantage of the many token generators that are available to us in Historic. Their top end was no longer Ulamog, but rather Craterhoof Behemoth! The deck looked to go fast and go tall to end games seemingly out of nowhere! I saw this and had to give it a spin.
The first list that showed up in my radar is Amazonian's Best of 1 deck, which she piloted to Mythic. Its truly is the quintessential Best of 1 deck. A linear strategy that looks to beat face and steal games to help progress the ladder with a great amount of consistency. Here is the list:
Our goal is to curve out into one of our 2 polymorph effects, in Transmogrify and Lukka, Coopercoat Outcast. Our ideal draws should be something like this
Turn 1: Legions's Landing
Turn 2: Token making spell
Turn 3: Token making spell (History of Benalia is best) attack to flip Legion's Landing
Turn 4: Lukka or Transmogrify.
Now that's our ideal situation. This deck is a deck that, as I mentioned a bit earlier, has a very linear game plan. That being said, it is possible to grind out a few turns with tokens alone. Amassing a board of 7 or 8 power over a few turns can often keep things in check. Of course the deck is soft to mass removal, but sometimes it doesn't take a ton of hoofed up tokens to get the job done.
Playing around 20 or so best of 1 matches with the deck, I currently have a 17-3 record across a couple of days of games. The deck feels great to play and some very nice card choices by Amazonian allow us some minor card selection in 4 copies of Fire Prophecy. With only 2 Hoof in the deck, we don't expect to draw it, but the card is actually uncastable so being able to put it on the bottom to hopefully find something better is great. It also allows for great combat tricks if we need to grind out a little bit against our opponent. Minor note, Kaheera is a free companion for the deck, which can help smooth out some odd draws, but its benefits are marginal, with the only "creatures" benefiting from its buff are the dinosaur token from Forbidden Friendship and Craterhoof itself.
The second list that we will look at here is a Best of 3 List that did decently well in Jeff Hoogland's Hooglandia Open event over the past weekend. The interesting thing about this event is that it was Historic with Teferi, Time Raveler and Wilderness Reclamation being banned for the event. This list was piloted by Steven Sherwin to a 7-2 finish, taking 4th place overall! Here is that list:
As we can see, very similar card choices but this list opts to play a slightly more resilient token package, with cards suck as Glorious Anthem and Satyr's Cunning. Of note here as well is the decision to only have 2 Lukka in the deck, which makes the polymorph package a little less of a main plan, but rather something you can truly steal games with while working with a really solid core of tokens generating spells.
The sideboard adds a suite of removal options that are generally good against the decks that beat this deck. The one match up that I think might be the worst for the deck is Rakdos Sacrifice. If they stick a Mayhem Devil, the game is essentially over. You cant keep a threat on the board long enough to really take advantage of the hoof plan (which is the way you have to win in the match up). Yes Redcap Melee does deal with Mayhem Devil nicely, most of the time you have to make them have it and try to steal the game. You have to hope that they stumble even for a turn, which will allow you to get the edge you need to win.
The deck is truly a blast to play. I highly recommend the Best of 1 version and either adding a side or just jamming Best of 1 ladder. That does leave us with 1 question. Is this deck actually going to stick around? Or is it just a deck that will be a flash in the pan, so to speak? Well, I'd say the answer has 2 parts. As far as the ladder goes, I think that it will be a great Best of 1 Laddering deck. I don't know that the deck has enough answers and resiliency to hold up in post board matches, at least not yet. I expect that if this deck continues to pick up steam on the ladder, you will probably be facing down a fair bit of sideboard hate which can make life difficult. As for tournaments, I think that it might not be the best tournament deck to play right now. With a lot of the competitive tournament meta (as far as we know it now) being Rakdos Sacrifice, you are queuing into generally unfavorable match ups a larger potential percentage of the time. When the dust settles and a proper meta game develops, this deck could be great to try and take down an event. That being said, with the Arena Open coming back on August 1st, barring some massive meta shift against this deck, I think that this would be an awesome Day 1 deck. I do think that there is a better aggro deck to play for Day 2, which is between Mono Red Goblins, or Deathwhirler. Our resident Red Mage Shinogi will be covering Mono Red Goblins this week in his Article so be sure to check that out!
Well this deck is a blast. I'm super excited to see new decks like this one come up in this crazy meta game. The time of this meta will be short though as Amonkhet Remastered comes out in about a month and that will definitely shake things up! Drop a comment down below on your thoughts on this deck and what you're jamming in Historic. Are you planning on competing in the Arena Open? If so, what are you going to be playing? Be sure to stay tuned for more articles here on the site, and be sure to check out the Tin Street Journal's Youtube Channel for our first Podcast!