Picking Jumpstart Packs on Arena

Hallie Santo Strategy

Jumpstart has arrived on MTG Arena, and it’s proven to be a fast and fun way for players of all levels to get some games in. For just 2,000 gold or 400 gems, you can jump into a queue, open two packs, and start playing!

In the Jumpstart queue, you’ll choose each of your two packs from three possible options. Each pack is labeled with its theme, but since most packs have multiple configurations, you won’t know what’s inside until after you’ve made your selection. After you’ve picked your packs, you can review the contents before hopping into the play queue.

But, you may be wondering, what’s the best way to choose your Jumpstart packs? Should you pick the strongest individual packs or the best combination? The ones most likely to have cards you want? The themes that seem the most fun?

The choice is ultimately up to you, but if you’re like me, you’ll want to be prepared to make informed pack choices. Here’s what I took away from my first weekend in the Jumpstart queues.

What’s in a Pack?

Tinybones, Trinket Thief - Jumpstart MtG Art
“Tinybones, Trinket Thief” by Jason Rainville

If you’re looking to build your Arena collection, you might be a bit choosy about your Jumpstart packs. Perhaps there are cards you want to open for a Historic deck you’re looking to build, or you want to try that Gladiator format that our friend Benjamin Wheeler’s been raving about.

Either way, you’ll want to identify which Jumpstart packs have the cards you want so you can give yourself the best chance to open them. Fortunately, MTG Arena Zone has put together a helpful matrix of all the possible rares and mythics you can open in Jumpstart packs.

Most Jumpstart packs have several possible configurations, while some have guaranteed rares and mythics. “Common” packs have four possible configurations, “rare” packs have two, and “mythic” packs only have one.

Among these “mythic” Jumpstart packs are the Planeswalker packs, which contain a Planeswalker card and showcase-frame lands. If you still need the Core Set 2021 Planeswalkers for your collection, I’d suggest taking these packs whenever you see them. And, if nothing else, these powerful packs will help you get two wins and two new cards quickly so you can re-queue and do it all over again.

Here are all the Jumpstart pack themes grouped by rarity for quick reference:

Mythic

  • Basri
  • Chandra
  • Garruk
  • Liliana
  • Milling
  • Phyrexian
  • Rainbow
  • Seismic
  • Teferi
  • Unicorns
  • Walls

Rare

  • Angels
  • Cats
  • Discarding
  • Dogs
  • Dragons
  • Elves
  • Enchanted
  • Lands
  • Lightning
  • Minotaurs
  • Pirates
  • Rogues
  • Spirits
  • Under the Sea
  • Witchcraft

Common

  • Above the Clouds
  • Archeology
  • Devilish
  • Dinosaurs
  • Doctor
  • Feathered Friends
  • Goblins
  • Heavily Armored
  • Legion
  • Minions
  • Plus One
  • Predatory
  • Reanimated
  • Smashing
  • Spellcasting
  • Spooky
  • Tree-Hugging
  • Vampires
  • Well-Read
  • Wizards

Putting Packs Together

Bruvac the Grandiloquent - Jumpstart MtG Art
“Bruvac the Grandiloquent” by Ekaterina Burmak

Once you’ve chosen your first pack, you may be wondering what should go with it. Again, the choice depends on your goals and personal taste. You could pick the two themes you like the best or the two names that sound the funniest together. (Tree-Hugging Dragons, anyone?)

But if you want to get the most out of your gameplay experience, it’s best to pick two themes that complement each other. Aim to combine packs that play at a similar speed (like Smashing + Goblins) or that are thematically similar (such as Wizards + Spellcasting).

Combining two creature tribes might get a bit dicey, especially if they have completely different strategies (like Minotaurs and Vampires). If you start with a creature type, try pairing it with another pack that will provide good support. “Plus One” will make all your creatures stronger – which is what most tribal decks want, anyway – while “Reanimating” will bring your creatures back from the dead so you can maintain a critical mass of them. If you’re lucky, you may even get two of the same tribal creature pack and end up with a consistent 40-card deck.

When in doubt, I’ve also found it’s best to pick two packs of the same color. At its core, Jumpstart is a beginner-friendly product intended to demonstrate what certain colors in Magic do well. Packs of the same color share strategic elements that allow them to blend well together – red turns up the heat, black uses the graveyard, and green builds up the biggest creatures possible.

Jumpstart Your Tabletop Play

Sethron, Hurloon General - Jumpstart MtG Art
“Sethron, Hurloon General” by Jason Rainville

Jumpstart will only be available on Arena until August 16, 2020. But once it’s gone, you can still apply these principles to choosing packs for tabletop play. Sure, you won’t know what’s in a pack of Jumpstart until you open it, but if there’s one thing I learned this weekend, it’s that this set has tons of replay value. If you’ve been enjoying Jumpstart, you can always separate your packs out after a game and store them away so you can re-combine them in new ways in the future. I hope these tips will continue to serve you well as you play.