I have played Magic: the Gathering through many experimental periods. The first big shake-up I recall was changing the card face: everybody feared it would be the death of Magic. Then there was Time Spiral with the timeshifted sheet, followed by planeswalkers, duel decks, Commander products, and Masters sets. I’ve seen an awful lot of experiments that were very good and others that were not. And when Jumpstart was first announced, I had no idea what to make of it.

Jumpstart preview seasons has been a whirlwind, coming dirextly on the heels of Core Set 2021 previews—a set we’re just know getting to play with this weekend. And yet a few interesting Jumpstart cards have caught my attention, of both the legendary and normal varieties. The biggest standout for me is Sethron, Hurloon General, who looks like the perfect starting point for Minotaur tribal decks. This callback to Alpha is a general that really got me excited during this last preview season, finally feeling like a card that could push minotaurs into the mainstream.

This week’s deck is a first draft based on a newly-previewed general. It will require a good amount of playtesting to hone it for success in Commander metagames. First and foremost, we’re looking to highlight the minotaur tribe, but we also get to take some of the new themes coming out of Ikoria, like playing with menace-matters. Throw in some other goodies and we have today’s deck.

General: Sethron, Hurloon General

Creatures: Bloodrage Brawler, Deathbellow Raider, Felhide Brawler, Labyrinth Raptor, Lightning Visionary, Adaptive Automaton, Ahn-Crop Crasher, Blood-Chin Fanatic, Cursed Minotaur, Felhide Petrifier, Frillscare Mentor, Neheb, the Worthy, Rageblood Shaman, Ragemonger, Sonorous Howlbonder, Taurean Mauler, Venomous Changeling, Anaba Bodyguard, Anaba Spirit Crafter, Borderland Minotaur, Changeling Berserker, Graveshifter, Hostile Minotaur, Nyxborn Marauder, Ogre Battledriver, Ravenous Chupacabra, Talruum Minotaur, Garna, the Bloodflame, Kragma Warcaller, Boldwyr Intimidator, Hamletback Goliath

Planeswalker: Angrath, Captain of Chaos

Artifacts: Shadowspear, Sol Ring, Fellwar Stone, Rakdos Signet, Talisman of Indulgence, Thought Vessel, Darksteel Ingot, Hazoret’s Monument, Herald’s Horn, Icon of Ancestry, Obsidian Battle-Axe, Door of Destinies, Nevinyrral’s Disk, Whip of Erebos, Obelisk of Urd

Enchantments: Cover of Darkness, Goblin War Drums, Phyrexian Arena, Molten Echoes, Berserkers’ Onslaught, Revel in Riches, Rage Reflection, Warstorm Surge

Instant: Tears of Rage

Sorceries: Read the Bones, Disrupt Decorum, Tentative Connection, Kindred Dominance, Deathbellow War Cry

Lands: 19 Mountain, 11 Swamp, Akoum Refuge, Blood Crypt, Bloodfell Caves, Dragonskull Summit, Foreboding Ruins, Shizo, Death’s Storehouse, Smoldering Marsh, Temple of Malice

Minotaur Tribal

It surprises me that Minotaurs as a tribal archetype hasn’t taken off before now, what with our two trips to Theros. Even before we made our way to Magic’s Greek-inspired world, a Minotaur tribal deck had been the topic of conversation with a lot of Commander players that I either knew personally or followed closely—for the novelty and to play Didgeridoo. Neheb, the Worthy was the strongest push for this archetype to break into the mainstream, and it’s certainly a good second-in-command for this deck. Granting first strike to a team of creatures that will likely have menace makes it very hard for others at the table to compete in combat.

Minotaur are not lacking for lord effects, though they admittedly are stacked in the three-mana slot. Rageblood Shaman is a nice set-up before Sethron comes down and starts pumping out tokens. Felhide Petrifier pairs well with the Shaman, giving us the layered interaction of trample with deathtouch. Then we can top our curve off with Kragma Warcaller, setting up everything before making all of our attacking minotaurs huge.

Of course we will need a few changelings to fill out our deck—Changeling Berserker, Graveshifter, and Taurean Mauler being some of my top picks. What’s nice is that we can have effects like Gravedigger in our deck that still benefits after recovering one of our creatures. Any of these three are also going to be nice to have around when we cast Deathbellow War Cry and need to find a fourth card to toolbox out.

Finally, I recommend getting Adaptive Automaton, Door of Destinies, Icon of Ancestry, and Obelisk of Urd into the deck, so that we don’t ever feel outclassed. Honestly, if we have any combination of our tribal cards in play, we should be positioned well. And since we aim to have giant monsters in play, it’s going to be important that they become as menacing as possible.

Menacing Charisma

The timing of Sethron, Hurloon General is really advantageous now that Ikoria has introduced mechanical tribal effects. This suddenly changes the context of a lot of creatures with different keywords and in this deck, and will ensure that our creatures are be primed for battle in ways they couldn’t have been even three months ago.

Angrath, Captain of Chaos is an important card in this deck, acting as some redundancy so that we’re not always activating Sethron. That redundancy carries over into my choice to include Goblin War Drums as well. While I would like Sethron to be leading the charge, I think it’s more important to expect that he can’t always be in play; and this particular package of cards should be active as much as possible.

I see Frillscare Mentor as a very strong pseudo-lord for this deck, through the lens of my experience with Steel Overseer. If we find ourselves in a stalled board state, this could be a tie breaker, making it only a matter of time before our forces can out rank the rest of the table. Combined with Sonorous Howlbonder—my favorite mechanic matters card to come out of Ikoria—suddenly our opponents will need many more blockers if they want to slow us down. Add to that Felhide Petrifier could be granting our creatures deathtouch, and suddenly we’re strongly dictating the flow of battle.

Lastly, the untested Labyrinth Raptor not only can act like a second copy of our general during the middling parts of the game, but the way it warps combat in situations where we have our menace theme going at full speed will catch players off guard. I’m very happy to be able to push menace this hard—it gives the mechanic the exposure I think it’s been lacking since being solidified in Magic Origins, and give me all the more reason I think Ikoria will be remembered fondly.

Weapons and Warriors

Like with any tribe that hasn’t been essentially “solved,” it will be critical to include cards that can buff our entire battlefield to ensure we keep up with the rest of the table in a typical game. Whip of Erebos, Berserkers’ Onslaught, and Rage Reflection are three of enchantments that I consider for any deck that fits into their color identities. Since we don’t have any lords that can grant keywords abilities to our creatures, they could do a lot of good work for us here.

We can add a small warrior subtheme into the deck, because many our creatures happen to be warriors. Boldwyr Intimidator jumps to mind: it works well with the established warriors while still being able to augment others. It’s a shame though, that the tokens that Sethron makes are not warriors, because I think then we’d really be onto something. In a similar vein, Obsidian Battle-Axe should help us to recover from a board wipe or change the combat math when we top-deck a warrior. The best warrior for this deck might be Hamletback Goliath, who is going to benefit from our nontoken minotaurs creating tokens. Make a few creatures cowardly alongside this thing could wreck the board by itself.

All in all, I really like the start here. This deck sits in a fairly low power level category at the moment, but I think that it has a lot of little interactions that should surprise people who are expecting something that is trying to brute force its way to victory. That can definitely be one of our paths to victory. Intertwining minotaurs with bonuses like the warrior subtheme bring a dynamism to games and should be fun to play.

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH and the EDH community. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.

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