Rare cards trump all in Magic: The Gathering. Well, most of them do, at least. There are a few duds in every Standard expansion, and for all the power that Ravnica Allegiance is bringing along with it, the set is no exception.
Today, we’re just talking about rare and mythic rare cards. No numbers or limitations. These are just the best that you’ll want to take and open in every pack you see.
This Angel will save your life the turn she comes into play and will often take out a small attacker or trade or something huge. If she survives, you have a huge threat in the air opponents will have to deal with.
And even if she does meet her end the turn she comes into play, she’s still a threat from the graveyard since she can gain half of your starting life at instant speed. Man, if you run into this card, you’d best exile it.
What a fun card. Exile a few creatures, turn this into a 6/7 or an 8/9 vigilance and jam for a few turns. Once it gets killed, or if it gets killed, you get your creatures back! Just hope that it doesn’t get arrested by Lawmage’s Binding.
Always be careful of Azorius decks when playing this card as it’s the only card in this set that truly deals with both the card and all of the exiled creatures.
I’ve already played against this card in Magic Arena, and I don’t wish to again. Those Illusions easily pinned down my Nullhide Ferox and Ripjaw Raptor, leaving me with no weapons to fight back for two turns. In the meantime, I found myself pounded by another card we’ll talk about soon
Trust me, find ways to deal with those Illusion tokens because you can’t let them scare you for too long. A hexproof 4/5 is no joke, and this card will run away with the game if you let it.
A 4/4 flyer for four mana is always a great card in Limited Magic, and the added ability is… ahem… FREE! Yes, free value is everything that Magic players love, and this card essentially lets you choose how your game is going to get started for the first three turns!
You’re already at a huge advantage with this card just by having it in your opening hand. By turn-4, when this comes down, don’t be surprised if you’ve already won.
Black only has one true bomb, and what a bomb it is! If you cast this for three mana, you win the game, no problem. A 4/4 flying trample will easily be the strongest creature on the battlefield at that point.
That’s not even the end of it. This pressures the opponent (and yourself, don’t forget) by hitting everyone for a single life point every turn. Naturally, this triggers spectacle, which will allow you to cast impressive spells every turn, further keeping up the pressure.
And if the game goes on too long, Spawn of Mayhem only gets bigger! Great in both aggressive and mid-range decks.
This card is fun, especially in a Gruul deck. Go through your deck, find a Wrecking Beast, and this guy becomes a 12/12! Even if it merely becomes a 4/4 or a 6/6, you’re still getting nothing but gas from this card.
Losing nothing and gaining everything from this ability is pure value. Don’t think that you have to build around this card to make it valuable. Even revealing a 2/2 makes it a threat.
Kerchow! kerchow! This card is one of the best rare’s in the set. Casting it for six mana is the most ideal situation, taking out a big creature or a decent chunk of life from an opponent. After that, you get to play your own four-mana threat for absolutely free! Like I said, nothing beats free in Magic, and this card allows that to happen.
Like a 4/4 Dragon for five mana would be bad. Ugh, this one is stupidly back-breaking, jamming in for 4 damage the turn it comes into play *coughGlorybringercough* or holding back as a 5/5 that divides damage as it sees fit around the board.
This easily clears chump blockers, hits hard, evades everything, and will likely win a ton of games.
While playing against Mezmerizing Benthid, this was the other card that beat me down. The turn this comes into play, you’ve already gotten two 3/3 creatures on the board for five mana. Not so bad, that’s a Crested Herdcaller.
However, those oozes get bigger and bigger each turn. When this untaps, it gets to create another ooze, and then another ooze, and then another ooze, all while both itself and its ooze tokens get bigger and bigger each turn. Stop this card in its tracks, hopefully the turn it comes into play. Otherwise, it will win the game. One of the best cards in the set, no question.
If you get to eight mana, this will win you the game even with just two or three creatures on the board. No question. Why even bother adding vigilance? Your opponent won’t survive to crack back. Somewhat redundant on this card.
A mana dork that becomes a respectable 3/5 body and a Gilded Lotus? Sign me up!
Destined more for modern play in a Bant Collected Company deck, this still will be very good in Limited, stealing one or possibly two creatures at the same time. As a creature, it’s a bit flimsier than an enchantment in Limited Magic, and I’d rather have a Lawmage’s Binding in my hand.
Don’t overthink yourself though. Rare-draft this every time since it will be a value staple in an eternal format. Then, still feel good when you take away your opponent’s best stuff.
Our first planeswalker is the return of the original badass, Domri Rade. The kid returns to Magic with enormous power bestow upon him by the Bolas himself, and as a planeswalker, he’s naturally great. You’d never turn him down in a pack, let’s just say that.
His +1 ability ramps you into big creatures and gives those big creatures riot. I’m down with ability ability 100 percent. His -3 ability digs up two creatures for your hand, which I’m also pretty fine with. If you miss, I bet it feels bad.
And his -8, well, an infinite stream of 4/4 trample creatures will likely win you the game… in time. Not on the spot, but the pressure will definitely overcome and opponent. Domri is a bit slow for a Planeswalker in terms of closing the game, but as a four-man one, he’s rock solid and my kinda guy. Love Gruul!
Dovin is fine also. Not nearly as powerful as Domri, but three-drop Planeswalkers can impact the game in a huge way if cast early enough. His +1 ability ramps him nicely if you’re interested in getting to that ultimate earlier, even if it does nothing else.
However, that -1 ability seems somewhat weak if you’re behind. Gaining life and creating a thopter can protect him for a turn, but what for? That ultimate ability also won’t win you the game on the spot, and it also seems useless unless you’re desperate to refill your hand.
For three mana, this low cost Planeswalker feels just… okay. He’s no Nissa, Voice of Zendikar. My guess is you’ll want to play him early, make him huge, and create Thopters until your opponent simply can’t get anything through. If that’s the case, he’ll likely win you the game through strength in numbers alone. Those Thopters won’t hold back trample Gruul beasties though.
Rock solid enchantment that immediately puts your creatures ahead and their’s behind. When you attack the turn this comes into play, an opponent will likely be forced to throw their weakened army in the way of your boosted one, creating unprofitable blocks that result in huge graveyards.
From there, you get to sap away and eat their creatures, creating 2/2 flying tokens. This will win you the game after a turn or two. I also like how this essentially bans opponents from creating their own afterlife tokens since they are immediately 0/0 when they hit the board.
Another card that has put Gruul at the forefront of everyone’s mind. It’s better in Standard, especially since it puts our least favorite Magic card, Settle the Wreckage, in its place, but in Limited, Gruul Spellbreaker is a solid beater that protects both you from direct damage spells and itself from instant speed removal.
Hydroid Krasis most likely comes down likely as a 4/4 flying trample beast that also draws you two cards and gains you two life. If you’re ramping and can sink ten mana into this card, you get an 8/8 flying trample, four cards, and 4 life!
Where is the best balance? I’d say aim for eight mana and go for the 6/6 flyer, but never feel bad casting it for six.
Boosting your creatures immediately makes this an aggressive Rakdos player’s best friend. Then, you throw those creatures into the fire, pressuring your opponent to take an absurd amount of damage or make unprofitable trades while still losing life in the process.
Just what Rakdos wants. Torture, inevitable death, slow suffering.
Our last Planeswalker is Kaya, finally appearing in Standard. The afterlife assassin is another three-drop Planeswalker, so we’ll have to see if she has enough upside.
Immediately, her +1 is a tough call since if you play this on turn-3, the opposing player will likely not have any cards in their graveyard. Since the wording is “up to” though, you don’t need legal targets to trigger it, a saving grace.
Her -1 lets you exile something. Something small, of course, but something nonetheless.
That ultimate ability is also fine so long as you’re actually hitting cards in the graveyard and not just ticking her for loyalty points. My guess is, unlike Dovin, who you want to play early, you’ll want to play Kaya late, when a graveyard is already loaded. You’ll gain a ton of life off of her +1 ability and deal loads of damage if you keep her safe.
Boom… boom… boom…
I especially like this in an Orhzov deck, when you are left with afterlife tokens and have pure dominance of the board afterward.
Gruul at its finest! This is a 4/5 haste the turn it comes into play OR a 5/6. Either way, it can then swallow a creature with relative ease OR blow up a land. So many choices, though you are ten times out of ten going to eat a creature in Limited. This set doesn’t have anything like Adanto, the First Fort or Azkanta, the Sunken Ruin that you’ll want to deal with.
Save that for Standard.
A lovely 4/3 flying threat that breaks down into afterlife tokens when she dies. Sure, you have to pay to make her a full-blown Serra Angel, but she’ll fulfill her purpose early, trade late, and leave behind some followers in her sacrifice. Solid card all around.
In a dedicated Simic deck, you’re likely to draw that card the turn Zegana comes into play. From there, she’ll battle strong as a 4/4 for four mana… until you have the ability to turn her into an 8/8 trample. Then the game is all but wrapped up.
In all likelihood, you won’t even make it that far since your riot and adapt creatures will have already finished the game at that point since they benefit from trample, as well.
Countering an ability is fine, especially if you’re stopping afterlife or riot from triggering. That’s a nice escape route for an otherwise powerful top end, which copies your best creature. In a Simic deck, you’ll have plenty of options.
The lower end is actually more useful since the set, especially Orzhov, has plenty of creatures you’ll want to get back. As for the top end, that can create quite a huge lifeswing, especially if you’re playing Orzhov and you’ve secured your life total already. Going up to 40, 50, or 60 life while dropping them to 10, 8, or even 6 life is more of a psychological win than a blunt force one.
The best of these split cards. Traditionally, Green removal can be considered a dead draw if you have no creatures to use it with. Aside from being an instant speed Rabid Bite, which is the deadliest card imaginable, this ensures that you’ll at least get some profit out of your card.
This is an interesting one because the top end is actually the escape pod. Always use the removal spell side of this unless you have nothing to target.
Similarly, this will force your opponent to both draw and cast their biggest attacker again, which can be a solid move if that creature doesn’t have an “enter the battlefield” ability. On the flip side, the 4/4 sphinx is a solid play, probably what you want to be doing with this card.
Don’t be stupid. Rare draft these even if they aren’t in your color. They are more valuable than anything in the set, and they’ll last you a lifetime of Modern and Legacy play.
We’ll close with a multicolor lord. For two mana, I’ll happily play this. Afterlife tokens become 2/2, your riot Gruul and adapt Simic creatures get even bigger. This works with everything you want in the set for a very cheap price. Easy inclusion in any deck.
TechnoBuffalo LLC (dba TheNerdy.com) has affiliate partnerships with various companies. These do not at any time have any influence on the editorial content of The Nerdy. TechnoBuffalo LLC may earn a commission from these links.