Magic: The Gathering’s latest expansion, Guilds of Ravnica, just saw a successful pre-release event last weekend all across the community, and fans are saying that the Limited experience is a lof of fun. We went to our own pre-release and enjoyed what we’ve seen so far.
However, we still have a week to go until all of the cards officially come out and a new season of Magic is upon us. We still have much to talk about in terms of Constucted play, which we will be looking at today.
Here are our favorite cards for Standard, Modern, Legacy, Commander, Cube, you name it!
First, we have the card that already has everyone talking. Assassin’s Trophy is the best removal spell in the game now, able to target anything and everything under the sun and with little downside to speak of.
In Standard, it is easily splashable in Mono-Green Stompy, which suffered fewer losses in the Standard rotation than all of the other top tier decks, and it only helps the Green/Black Saprolings deck become even better.
Slimefoot is due his time in the spotlight, and it shall happen, I swear!
In Modern and Legacy, comparisons have been made to Abrupt Decay, which has the exact same casting cost but can only hit creatures with a casting cost of 3 or less. On the flip side, it can’t be countered, meaning those creatures WILL be removed. Assassin’s Trophy can be countered and gives the opponent a land, but it can hit artifacts, enchantments, Planeswalkers, and even Lands.
The ability to target land makes it all the more valuable in Legacy, but in Modern, it’s strictly going to depend on the meta-game. We’ll have to wait and see, but this card is already slaughtering Fatal Push out of the game, the last removal spell to make its impact on Modern.
And with Green/Black already a force in Magic: The Gathering, we might even see a secondary spell make an appearance. Status / Statue costs a lot to cast it’s better half, but with the ability to hit a wide range of relevant cards for four mana, it might be worth a glance. Vraska’s Contempt is still a better card even though it hits a smaller range of targets, but the versatility Status gives this car plus the easier casting cost could push this ahead.
The Gods have left us, exile is no longer important, and undergrowth sure isn’t going to see play in Standard. Exiling something isn’t as important as it once was. Destroy should be enough to win games again.
Duh, the Shock Lands are being played in Standard. They are the third-most powerful lands in Magic’s history after the Fetch Lands and the original Alpha Dual Lands. Two life is pennies compared to ensuring you have the mana you need in the first few turns of the game.
And these are already being played in Modern and Legacy, so there will be no impact there except a cheaper price tag when you buy them. Thanks Wizards!
The only reason I gave competitive Standard a try these last two seasons was because Llanowar Elves and Steel Leaf Champion made Mono-Green Stompy a legitimate deck. I am traditionally a Green player before all else, and with that deck running the show, I couldn’t sit on the sidelines.
This Standard rotation saw the loss of a few of the deck’s powerhouses, especially the biggest, baddest brute of them all, Rhonas the Indomitable. Magic 2019 delivered Thorn Lieutenant as a solid early-play and Vine Mare as a meta-dependant finisher. However, nothing was able to replace the God as an alternative finisher. Goreclaw is fine, but comes up way short of Rhonas…
What is Green going to do?!
BOOM! Nullhide Ferox is a 6/6 hexproof for just four mana. That’s pushed! Sure, you can only cast creature spells while this is on the field, but with no Blossoming Defense, why bother? Opponents have to pay an extra two mana to get rid of it, costing Assassin’s Creed a much more reasonable four mana. Make your opponent waste a turn to get rid of him!
This vanquishes the need Vine Mare, unless Black becomes a contender, and it is even immune to discard spells. I mean, it’s no indestructible, deathtouch, pumping mana-sink, but this easily could close a lot of games.
Mono-Green Stompy also lost Heart of Kiran, a big early flyer that it had no trouble paying a crew cost for, and it desperately needed another early spell. Here we have one, Pelt Collector.
Those who have gamed with Experiment One know quickly that card can get out of control, and this card is similar, except it gets out of control even faster with an additional trigger for a+1/+1 counter when a creature dies.
Pelt Collector also trades in the resilience of Experiment One for trample, meaning it is a much more offensive card designed to end games quickly.
In Standard, this is an east one-drop to include in any Mono-Green deck. Combined with Llanowar Elves, it almost ensures you can make a quality turn-1 play every single game.
In Modern, Mono-Green Stompy and Naya Zoo might have a place for this, but I don’t see many fans of those decks trading out Experiment One just yet. Being impervious to removal is a little too important to that card’s success.
And with Scrapheap Scrounger gone, everyone wants another two-drop to fill in the gaps. Kraul Harpooner is a solid, aggressive creature with similar stats. Reach makes it stronger than Merfolk Branchwalker, and I would gladly trade Branchwalker’s ability to maybe filter out my deck with Harpooner’s ability to take down a huge flyer later in the game.
Three solid Green creatures, these clearly help Green back to the forefront of Magic, where it naturally belongs you non-believers!
Okay, that makes four solid Green creatures, though I doubt this will see the same level of play as the others in Standard, Beast Whisperer is destined to become an EDH staple in any Green or Elf deck from here on out. A 2/3 for four mana is slightly resilient, but man, that draw ability is out of this world! Even if the creature is countered, you still get to draw that card!
If this does see Standard play, it will be from the sideboard as a superior alternative to Colossal Majesty against control style decks.
This card is just dumb, and I love it to pieces. There are so many ways to abuse this card in Standard right now, most notably tying White Ixalan Vampires and Black Dominaria Saprolings to it. I mean, look at Saproling Migration…
With this card in play, you get two 4/4 flying, vigilance Angels for two mana… and four for six mana. That’s just plain ridiculous!
Legion’s Landing pumps out a 4/4 flying, vigilance Angel every turn for 3 mana. Mark my word, someone will abuse this card in Magic, and most likely in a WG Tokens deck.
Don’t even get me started in Commander.
White’s best removal spell at the moment is Seal Away, which is cheap and has flash… but can only be cast on tapped creatures. Conclave Tribunal is set to overtake this card in any go-wide deck, where it can be cast for free if there are four creatures on the board.
Scary stuff, never forget that this could be in your opponent’s hand.
Some deck out there wants this. Not sure if it’s White Weenies or Boros Aggro or even WG Tokens just yet, but a one-drop that dies and leaves a token behind is always value. Doomed Traveler is traditionally the best, leaving behind a flyer, but I can live with a lifelink creature all the same.
And with Divine Visitation… this dies and leaves behind a 4/4 flying, vigilance Angel, ya know.
Remember Reclamation Sage? Green has long abused the powers of the little elf that could, and it most recently was reprinted in Magic 2019. Well, now it has its match in Knight of Autumn. If you’re playing a White/Green deck, this costs the game amount of mana for a 4/3 creature, a 2/1 creature that kills an artifact or enchantment (aka, a Reclamation Sage), or a 2/1 that gain you four life.
Modal! Versatility! Reclamation Sage that can turn into anything and will definitely be appearing in EDH decks from here on out.
Already this is getting comparisons to Snapcaster Mage, the (hands down) best creature in Modern. They provide the same end result, that being able to recast a card you’ve already cast, but where Snapcaster Mage leaves behind a 2/1 creature to block with or abuse, Mission Briefing allows players to stack their deck or even potentially provide two extra targets in the graveyard to be recast.
Your choice. While Snapcaster Mage is still going to be widely played in Modern, don’t be surprised if this turns up in control decks too.
A reprint from Khans of Tarkir, this is a VERY effective two-drop counterspell that will crush opponents if they lose their win condition. Put them in your sideboard, or don’t even be afraid to maindeck one or two.
While this is a Limited bomb, I can’t see this getting into Standard just yet. However, this card is perfect for all casual forms of the game, be it Commander, Cube, or Brawl. That’s just too many abilities on a card to just outright ignore.
Angler Drake was a superstar in Amonkhet casual play, and this is just a supercharged version of that.
Another common reprint, this one from Shadows Over Innistrad. Clean, effective, cheap removal or strong enough to at least weaken a brute to take them down. Guilds of Ravnica has no delirium to exploit, but that doesn’t stop this from being one of the more versatile removal spells in the set.
Black’s mythic is also destined for some form of play, maybe even Standard. Five mana for a 6/6 flying, trample demon is already a bargain, especially since this can close games on its own. However, the true power of this card comes from digging.
Dig, dig to your life total’s content, find the stuff you need and chuck the rest!
Ugh, watch out for Black’s board wipe spell. This hits so many relevant creatures, it’s disgusting. It cripples Mono-Green Stompy on the spot, hitting Llanowar Elves, Pelt Collector, Thorn Lieutenant (not even leaving behind a token!), Kraul Harpooner, and even Steel Leaf Champion! If played on turn-3 into a perfectly ramped Green board state, your opponent will be absolutely crushed!
No turn-4 Ghalta for you, buddy! (And thank God because Ritual of Soot can’t hit that.)
This also hits tokens, able to wipe out entire armies or Merfolk, Saprolings, and even 4/4 flying, vigilance angels. Given the power of smaller creatures in the meta-game, expect to find this in every Black sideboard you come across.
In Standard, this dude can bring down Karn, Scion of Urza all by himself. He also pays off with two damage anywhere if Karn doesn’t show up. That’s good enough for any Red sideboard, at least.
Rock on, Legion Warboss is one of my favorite cards in the set, a Goblin Rabblemaster with mentor that doesn’t make your Goblins charge into a suicidal attack.
It’s not likely to make an impact in Standard as Goblins aren’t quite strong enough without God-Pharaoh’s Gift to keep bringing them back, but free Goblins are not something you want to overlook. Maybe this works in a Divine Visitation deck, where the opponent is pounded with 4/4 flying, vigilance Angels every turn instead of 1/1 Goblins.
I’m not too big on this one, but it’s getting a lot of attention at the moment. For two mana, you get a 1/1 that can become a 4/4 once you cast three Red spells. Cheap creatures, Shock, Lightning Strike, you name it, it’ll make this guy bigger.
When it’s a 4/4, you can remove its counters and add an immediate three mana to your mana pool. This allows players to cast Red dragons early or even get a free Sarkhan, Fireblood out of it, which naturally lets you ramp into even MORE dragons.
Get the picture? There is a dragons deck in here somehwere, and while I find it a bit slow to setup, others don’t. What do I know?
Another favorite card of mine in the set. 2/3 for two mana is always my favorite deal in Magic, and this guy lives up to a long, venerated history of resilient cheap creatures. I doubt this will appear in Standard in any capacity, since most 1-drop creatures White and Red play already have two power, but as a casual card, it’s second to no other Boros card in the set.
This is a guaranteed fit in each and every Boros Commander or Brawl deck from here on out, and it will easily get put into the next uncommon cube I make, should I ever get around to it.
Likewise, Boros aggro seems like it will be a thing, and these cards will make up that deck. I wasn’t impressed with Boros in Sealed as some were, but in Constructed, with a steady flow of good mentors, there is a deck waiting to be discovered. I really want to try it.
Another card destined for Commander in the future, this one acts as a Sylvan Library attached to a 4/3 body that soaks up removal spells and simply can’t be killed. In standard, I don’t think it will be a thing, but that’s fine. Its shelf life will outlive the current format.
Great, great Magic card.
Yeah, these nerds are in Standard, and there should be an Izzet deck somewhere in there to build around them. I’m a bit down on Izzet at the moment since I’m not to big a fan of it in Limited, but give me some time, and I’ll start looking.