Jumpstart Restarted

Jumpstart 2022: Jumpstart Restarted

Tom AndersonProducts, Standard

During last week’s WeeklyMTG video, Wizards of the Coast Communications Director Blake Rasmussen confirmed Jumpstart 2022 will be out on Dec. 2 after being announced waaay back in August 2021. We’ll finally get a deserving sequel to Magic’s best new idea since Commander precons.


JumpStart 2022 release info

Jumpstart 2022 signals a return to the strongest points of the original concept. This new WeeklyMTG announcement confirmed we’re back to 46 different pack themes and a total of 121 unique variations, giving us the exact same replayability and variety as the original set. 

Each pack will feature the original’s winning mix of all-new cards (which will be legal in Eternal formats) and useful reprints. Some of these cards will feature manga-style artwork, with at least one such card appearing in every pack. 

WeeklyMTG also gave us our first detailed previews of the set, showcasing the “Snow” and “Speedy” pack themes. While these forgo the Standard-legal cards of the original Jumpstart, they still look like they’ll be intuitive and teachable for neophytes while having a few chase rares to help sell them to veterans.

Isu the Abominable and Ardoz, Cobbler of War
Isu the Abominable | Ardoz, Cobbler of War

Isu the Abominable and Ardoz, Cobbler of War look like great new Commander choices. As for the manga-art reprints, previewing Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Coldsteel Heart has certainly set the bar high!


However, Jumpstart is for new players, and you might be confused without a bit more explanation. So, for those of you who might have missed the original run, Jumpstart was a July 2020 set that offered the lowest barrier-to-entry of any Magic product ever (hence the name). 

By offering booster packs that randomized themes instead of the contents, players could mash two Jumpstart packs together and play a full game of Magic. What’s more, since themes had a few variations, every “deck” would feel different. This has the upside of being actually fun for invested players as well (which precon starter decks usually aren’t) and also does much more to get new players more interested in Magic.

The devlish and wizards themes from original jumpstart
The Devlish and Wizards themes from original Jumpstart.

The themed booster packs give every Jumpstart deck an obvious, fun and cohesive identity. There’s a reason why Commander and tribal decks are two of the most popular entry points for Magic. When you’re playing with a “Dogs” pack and you draw a card that says “dogs get +1/+1,” you can be confident you’re about to make a big play!

I also think the process of opening two sealed boosters and slamming them together is sneakily genius. It means even if I’m helping a new player with their first Jumpstart game, they still feel a sense of ownership. The experience of being the first person to touch that deck, to understand at least on a basic level its identity, and to then play a match where that deck is effective (since it’s preconstructed for them)? That’s how you sell people on Magic.


As you can tell, I was a huge fan of the original Jumpstart, and I’ve obviously been on the Jumpstart 2022 hype train since it first left the station. But the journey hasn’t been entirely worry-free. The first few follow-ups to Jumpstart seemed at risk of missing what made the idea work so well in the first place.

Released in August 2021, Jumpstart: Historic Horizons was an MTG Arena exclusive, and it served mostly as a mechanism for selling new digital-only Alchemy cards. Rather than the simple, Standard-legal cards that comprised the core of Jumpstart packs, these cards were useful only to a very small and invested portion of the player base.

Dominaria United Jumpstart booster
A Dominaria United JumpStart Booster.

Then, this year, we saw an experiment with tying Jumpstart releases to a specific Standard set, similar to how we now get regular Commander precons. Jumpstart: Dominaria United had the opposite issue to Jumpstart: Historic Horizons — it was made up of only those Standard-set cards, plus a couple of mediocre rares.

I have myself seriously argued that Jumpstart sets should replace the annual Core Set release, but trying to build packs from only a single set (as opposed to the whole year’s cards) was way too ambitious. Jumpstart: Dominaria United ended up having only 10 different pack themes, and the packs themselves were far less exciting than the original set.


I’ll be keeping a close eye on more Jumpstart 2022 news over the next month or so, but the early reveals already have me much more confident it’ll be a winner. If, like me, you ever find yourself needing to teach newcomers the game, I heartily recommend buying a couple of boxes to have packs on hand. 

Heck, even if you don’t usually see yourself as an evangelist for Magic, consider doing this an investment in your hobby — in growing the local player base for all the other formats you play. If you don’t feel like you’ll need a whole box of packs, you can still have a fun evening cracking the spares for one-off duels with experienced players — and you can keep the unique mythics and manga-art printings!

If this set is any kind of precedent, then Jumpstart products could well end up being the replacement for Masters sets. I think I could live with that pretty happily.