Jumpstart: Historic Horizons will be launching two weeks later than expected, as Wizards of the Coast has decided to push the set back in order to finish developing some infrastructure for Magic: The Gathering Arena’s digital client.
Publisher Wizards of the Coast announced the delay in an August 9th news post, saying work on some of Arena’s “backend systems” had pushed past initial estimations and the company had elected to give developers more time to finish the necessary preparations, whatever they might be.
Unfortunately for those anticipating the release of MTG’s first designed-for-set, Jumpstart: Historic Horizons apparently relies on those aforementioned updates, necessitating a new release date of August 26th - two days after the new Arena client changes are scheduled to go live. “As we've continued iterating and testing those changes, we've decided that we need a bit more time to get them ready for release,” said game director Jay Parker.
Another casualty of the calendar shuffle is the Historic Brawl queue that would have taken advantage of the several hundred new cards being introduced via Jumpstart: Historic Horizons unlockable packs. Akin to the mega-popular casual Commander format, Historic Brawl asks players to bring a 100-card deck containing no more than one of each Historic-legal card, along with a legendary creature at its helm.
A placeholder Historic Brawl event, which temporarily opens a free-to-play mode with the same rules will be available through the Arena client during the two-week interim, beginning August 12th and running up to Jumpstart’s release. Because this puts the Historic-focused batch of cards mighty close to the release of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt - the first of two sets comprising the latest return to the monster-infested plane - players will be able to access Jumpstart’s specific mode until October 14th so that the already cramped Magic: The Gathering release schedule isn’t contracted even more.
Jumpstart: Historic Horizons lets players choose two preconstructed packs themed after creature types, certain mechanics (Evolve, Modular or Cycling) or dominant strategies, such as pumping up the power and toughness of creatures or bringing them back from the graveyard. The two packs are mixed together to form a semi-randomized deck, and the cards are added to that player’s collection afterwards.
Jumpstart will introduce a few new mechanics on many cards that will not be printed on physical cards, due to their relying on video game capabilities. Further, the packs will contain some randomized slots that change up the components each time, which provides the event with more playability than its previous incarnations.
In order to assuage the disappointment of its players, Wizards will be allowing all players to access each in a series of three rotating Premier Historic Drafts for free. Amonkhet Remastered will be available from August 10th, followed by Kaladesh Remastered on August 15th and wrapping up with Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths on August 20th.
Fan reaction to the delay has been decidedly positive, with many hoping the extra time ensures the rollout will be smooth and effortless without having to push the Arena developers through a period of last-minute crunch. Players on the Arena and MTG subreddits, along with Twitter, often refer to what they assume is a tiny, overworked staff keeping the client running with sympathy. While Wizards of the Coast does not provide staff numbers nor talks openly about work conditions inside, providing more time to its workers is generally considered the better, more humane option.