This week in Magic: Standard Jeskai Tokens


Welcome to another edition of This week in Magic. For this week, we’re going to take a beak from Modern UR Delver and take a look at a deck I’ve been playing in Standard, Jeskai Tokens. As for my experience, I’ve played the Jeskai Ascendancy combo deck as well as the Jeskai Control deck. Both were fun to play, but I actually had more success with the combo deck. I’ve always felt that the control (or “Midrange”) deck was lacking something. Thanks goodness for the Japanese and Yuuya Watanabe.


At the World Magic Championship we got our first look at the new Jeskai Tokens deck. As I watched it in action, it occurred to me, “Why didn’t anyone else think of this sooner.” It’s almost as if this is how all of the cards were designed to work together. Here is the list that Yuuya played for reference:


Main deck:
3 Battlefield Forge
2 Chandra, Pyromaster
3 Flooded Strand
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Hordeling Outburst
1 Island
4 Jeskai Ascendancy
2 Jeskai Charm
4 Lightning Strike
2 Mountain
4 Mystic Monastery
2 Plains
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Seeker of the Way
3 Shivan Reef
4 Stoke the Flames
2 Temple of Epiphany
4 Temple of Triumph
4 Treasure Cruise


Side board:
1 Anger of the Gods
4 Disdainful Stroke
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
3 End Hostilities
2 Erase
2 Glare of Heresy
2 Magma Spray


Some strengths of the decks

This deck has a really great flow, and feels like it curves out better than the midrange version. The midrange version had some awkward moments. There were times when you just couldn’t get a 2cc body onto the battlefield. This left you open for numerous attacks. With the addition of Raise the Alarm you can freely run you Seeker of the Way onto the battlefield. Even if it gets removed via a Lightning Strike or other removal spell, you can rest assured because you can count on Raise the Alarm as a confident back up plan.


The token generators plus Jeskai Ascendancy combine for some silly plays. You literally get the best of both the combo deck and the midrange deck. In one playtest sessions, I came across the scenario of drawing into three copies of Stoke the Flames. Of course, on the battlefield, I had both White Soldier tokens and Red Goblin Tokens. So, convoking Stoke the Flames was certainly an option. In fact, I needed to stop the game and get help to assess the situation in order to clearly see what my best plan of action was at this point.


Needless to say, while the deck does have it’s amazing offensive moments, the deck still has it’s weakness like any other.


Some weaknesses of the deck

Something you need to remember is that the effects of Jeskai Ascendancy only last until the end of the turn. When the effects end, your tokens go back to being 1/1’s. With 1/1’s, there is not much you can do against Sylvan Caryatids, Coursers, and Sige Rhinos. Did I mention that 2/2 Zombies can be a problem as well?


I think at this point, we all get how ridiculously powerful Stoke the Flames is. However, something that I think people forget is how expensive that spell is to cast. Sure, it has convoke, but you sometimes need creatures on the battlefield for this to work. It’s not the downfall, but it doesn’t help that it costs four mana to cast. I wonder if it’s at all possible to cut the number of Stoke the Flames down to two or three copies. What would this do for the us in the long run? Well, it could alleviate some mana issues I’ve seen the deck have.


That leads me to this next point. Jeskai Tokens is very greedy when it comes to mana. I want to do so much, especially on turn three. I think by cutting down on the number of hard casting cost spells, we might be able to combo off earlier. I know I said this deck was the best of both worlds, but let’s face it, we want to be able to utilize the Ascendancy as much as possible. Could it be possible to cut down on the Lightning Strikes as well? I’m not saying to cut them entirely, but down to a number like two.


So far, I’ve cut two copies of Stoke the Flames and two copies of Lightning Strike. Now let’s introduce some new additions to the deck. Here’s a small list of cards that may be viable:



Okay, I admit that Triplicate Spirits will probably not make the cut. However the first two cards are realistic possibilities. Another card I’ve had suggested to me was Defiant Strike. The first thing you’ll notice is that the card doesn’t have Convoke. However, it does draw us a card which might be huge. One mana cantrips are always very enticing.


Some final thoughts
I was watching Paul Cheon streaming the deck last night and he brought up a very interesting thing about the deck. He felt that this was a deck that didn’t need to run four copies of Treasure Cruise. Some people may call him crazy for thinking this, but what if he’s right? I guess the only real way to find out is to actually do it. However, let’s take a minute to reflect on this.


If you think about it, the only real time you maximize the power of Treasure Cruise in this deck is when you’re able to delve for the full amount. You’d also need to have Jeskai Ascendancy in play to sweeten the deal. This is not always the case though. I mean, you don’t always get the chance to delve for the full amount. In some situations, I’ve had to wait a turn or two in order to fill my graveyard to the delve depth.


With this in mind, let’s put back some of the Lightning Strikes. This way we can still burn our opponent out if needed. After all of the changes we’ve talked about, the deck would look something like this:


2 Chandra, Pyromaster
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Hordeling Outburst
4 Jeskai Ascendancy
2 Jeskai Charm
4 Lightning Strike
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Seeker of the Way
3 Stoke the Flames
2 Treasure Cruise
2 Defiant Strike
1 Crowd’s Favor


Well, that’s it for this week. Go out and try some of the changes we’ve talked about and let me know what your results were. See you next time!


About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


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