In this week’s article, I am going to take a page from my favorite sportswriter, ESPN’s Bill Simmons.
Near the beginning and middle of each major sports season, Bill always writes an article “power ranking” each team from worst to best. This acts as a handy way to get a feel for the relative power level of the entire league. It’s also fun to see how your favorite team stacks up against the competition.
I have decided to do an article power ranking all of the mythic rares in standard.
Since Wizards began printing Mythics back in Shards, the speculation game has changed considerably. While the odd Knight of the Reliquary and Ranger of Eos can make you money, the only way you’re going to buy a $2 card today and sell it for $15 tomorrow is if you ‘hit’ on a mythic that is the Next Big Thing.
While monetary value doesn’t directly correlate with placement on this list, standard playability is the primary force that drives up the price of a mythic. This list is a good place to start if you want to find the next big thing.
Please note that my rankings are flawed. There will be picks that you disagree with. I will rank some cards very high when you would have ranked them lower. I’ve manipulated the list considering raw power, position in tier-1 decks, longevity as a power card in standard, and hype. (And also some artistic license!)
So keep in mind that this is designed to be a discussion piece, not a complete who’s who of standard. So if you disagree with one of my rankings and that leads to us discovering the next financial sleeper, then we’ve all won.
Anyway, without further rambling, let’s get to the rankings:
The “Plan 9 From Outer Space” Division
For criminally insane robots. I mean, unplayable mythics.
70. Demon of Death's Gate
This card is fringe playable in a world where Squadron Hawk is black and costs 0. In our world, however, it’s the worst mythic rare in standard.
I think the reason that Kalitas’ back is turned to us in the card art is that he’s embarrassed by how terrible he is.
68. Eternity Vessel
67. Platinum Angel
If you want to do weird things with your life total, go play EDH. It’s really fun!
At least Lorthos wins the game if you get him into play and can attack with him and not have him die to a piece of removal. Quicksilver Gargantuan is just a really expensive Clone and Cast Through Time literally does nothing.
The reason Avenger of Zendikar is good is that he can create an army the turn he enters the battlefield. While the Liege’s army is much bigger, he needs to connect before you get any extra men at all. Oh - and he costs one more to play than the Avenger. If the liege is not seeing any action right now when ramp is a tier 1 strategy, I doubt his day will ever come.
61. Novablast Wurm
This wurm may have a fine ability, but he sure does have a difficult casting cost. Most decks don’t want to play seven drops, and those that do aren’t going to want to wrath the rest of their team when their great big space wurm attacks. People aren’t even playing Day of Judgment right now – I doubt this guy is ready to shine.
The “Van Down By the River” Division
These guys don’t have a home. They probably never will.
60. Time Reversal
I don’t know what anyone ever expected this card to do that made it worth $40 when it came out. I suppose if the next block were a functional reprint of Urza’s Saga, we could talk. Seriously, though. What would this card need to make it good? Does anyone know?
58. Hellcarver Demon
57. Nirkana Revenant
Powerful abilities, cost-prohibitive bodies.
So much for the level up mechanic in standard. Apparently having a mana sink is good in limited, but in constructed you need to spend your turn playing spells. Who knew?
54. Khalni Hydra
If this didn’t see play when Ranger of Eos was legal, I doubt he’ll find a home now.
This guy actually saw some fringe play as a finisher in Devastating Red pre-rotation. I somehow doubt that sharing a casting cost with Koth is doing him any favors now.
In a titan-driven world, Geth has the look of a bulk mythic. He does have evasion and a useful ability, though, so I would expect him to hang around the fringes and find his way into a few sideboards if a metalcraft deck hits tier-1.
Also, I think I had a dream last night where someone told me this guy was good. So, uh, if you believe in premonitions I guess you could pick some up.
The “Sleepers, but Snoring Loudly” Division
The best ‘sleepers’ usually stir. These guys are intriguing, but right now they’re sound asleep.
49. Chandra Ablaze
The first planeswalker on the list! Big Chandra is too expensive for a burn deck, and she doesn’t quite do what the “big red” decks want to do. (Compared to, say, Inferno Titan.) Still, this is the first mythic we’ve seen so far that I would consider investing in, as she’ll come roaring up in value if she sees ANY play. Remember: she’s a planeswalker that was only printed once. That’s good for a couple bucks right now.
Ob is certainly powerful if you can get him into play with a couple of fetchlands for backup. Considering that he only costs 5, has seen marginal play before, and black is making a comeback as a standard constructed color, Ob’s future is not set in stone as a bulk mythic. If you can pick these for next to nothing, I would.
47. [card]Wrexial, the Risen Deep[card]
A bulk mythic by most accounts, I like Wrexial as a deep sleeper. Blue/black control is a hot deck right now, and this old cephalopod could create some intriguing tech. It’s great against the mirror, unblockable against any deck running blue, might give you some card advantage, and can’t be doom bladed. For 6 mana, it’s a threat that has to be answered. Wrexial won’t wre-define the format or anything, but I can see interest in him start to pick up if things break correctly.
46. Admonition Angel
In my eyes, Admonition Angel is basically a seven drop that kills something until your opponent blasts away at your fragile card with his removal spell. Pass.
Of course, Zvi has been singing this angel’s praises for months, and he’s a pretty good innovator…
And Chapin wrote an article this week saying that Admonition Angel is “completely underrated right now.” So, uh, take note of that. You can pick her up at bulk mythic prices, so even if Chapin isn’t on to something you haven’t lost much.
The “Failed Prospect” Division
You know exactly what I mean if you pre-ordered either of the next two cards when they were first spoiled.
45. Mindbreak Trap
Maybe you’ll get someone to throw a bunch of Summoning Traps at you and this will be a cute answer.
Regardless, I have trouble ranking this card any lower than 54th since it’s still a mythic counterspell. Just like that kid who threw 98 in high school with an ERA of 1.04, part of me will always think this card has got a chance to make it in the majors, even though all play experience is pointing in the opposite direction.
This card is and perhaps always will be just a couple goblins short of being awesome. Keep an eye on the spoilers, and if you see a 3-mana Siege-Gang Commander or a new Piledriver or something, start hoarding these.
The “El Bencho” Division
You don’t want to count on these guys, but they’ll occasionally come through in a pinch.
43. Sorin Markov
42. Liliana Vess
The two black planeswalkers. Powerful. Expensive. With black on the rise, these guys should not be entirely dismissed. But with Sorin already trading at $8-$10 and Liliana being reprinted more times than a fake concert ticket, I doubt they have much room to grow.
41. Comet Storm
I guess “strictly better Fireball” just isn’t good enough anymore. I would rate this card higher if it wasn’t a prerelease foil, but as is the price won’t go up unless it starts seeing play in a deck that everyone wants to build. For a fringe card at best, there are just too many copies floating around for it to be worthwhile.
These guys are on-again off-again in ramp decks, creating tons of beasts on their better days and dying to doom blades on their lousy ones. Flashy? No. But as long as ramp decks are still a dominant force, these Baloths should be reasonably effective and at least warrant a “consider” by big mana deckbuilders.
39. Chandra Nalaar
If the right proliferate cards get printed, I can see original flavor Chandra seeing some real play. Her abilities are all useful and powerful, but her color and casting cost do her no favors.
She probably won’t go up too much, but I can see her ticking up a few bucks if people decide that she’s what they want to go big for.
Of course, she’s had since Lorwyn to make a splash and it hasn’t happened yet…
The “18 And Moving Out” Division
These cards are getting kicked out of their home and being told to find a real job. Will they end up running Google, or living in that van down by the river?
A solid role player without a role. 4/4 flyers for 4 just aren’t what they used to be, but her ability could be strong if the right deck came along. A possible sleeper.
The angry helmet made no ripples in standard last time due to, well, affinity.
Most people have easily dismissed Mindslaver this time around because it seems like a known quantity, but aren’t we living in a different world? I don’t *think* this card is a top mythic, but would you be shocked if someone built a good, fun deck designed to abuse it? Not tier one, probably, but good enough to see a small jump in price.
This sword is markedly worse than those.
‘course, we don’t have Loxodon Warhammer, Lightning Greaves, Bonesplitter, or Skullclamp now, so the sword is one of the best pieces of equipment around. As a 1 or 2 of in just a couple decks, I doubt it is going to be hitting the top 5 mythics any time soon.
35. Lux Cannon
Patrick Chapin wrote up a cool “big red machine” deck list that had Lux Cannons, Voltaic Keys, Koths, and other fun combo pieces designed to machine gun permanents with surprising inevitability….and then I never saw anyone ever play the deck.
At 4 mana, Lux Cannon is tempting. But is it too slow, even with the key? Probably. Of course, if this card *does* end up being good, the price will go way up since it’s the sort of card people will by dying to play with. Keep it on your radar.
The “William Shatner” Division
Once a handsome space captain. Now a grumpy old man. Do these former Standard stars have a shot in the new environment?
34. Ajani Goldmane
Then he got printed twice more and all of his favorite partners rotated.
Can this venerable old cat find a new home, perhaps in conjunction with the new Elspeth? He is clearly a powerful planeswalker with a top-tier standard upside, but he hasn’t been seen anywhere near a game of constructed Magic in a year and a half.
I think the ship has sailed on this guy, at least until a token block is released sometime in the future. (And Wizards keeps reprinting Ajani!)
33. Sun Titan
32. Gideon Jura
During different pre-rotation iterations of U/W, these two cards were featured prominently as the “big white threat” that came out after Jace started working his magic. Since white is no longer the default color to be paired with blue, will either of these cards make an impact any time soon? I expect Gideon’s value to go right back up if he starts making any appearances, while the Sun Titan will need a strong run of dominance to hit $10 thanks to being the prerelease card.
Iona is probably going to be an eternal staple for years, but I doubt she’ll be terrorizing standard players again soon unless new reanimation or polymorph effects are forthcoming. Ramp decks, of course, have Eldrazi to mess with.
30. Nissa Revane
29. Sarkhan the Mad
Both of these planeswalkers have been good in constructed, and I see no reason to think they won’t be again. Funny enough, I actually think Nissa is better now than she was when Eldrazi Green first hit the scene – the deck just didn’t have enough pieces then. She is much easier to protect now and can start generating card advantage or monument fodder much more quickly.
Angry Sarkhan was one of the best cards in the strongest iteration of Jund, and provided either a strong board presence or a mediocre answer to an otherwise impossible to deal with threat. I can easily imagine a new deck coming along to take advantage of his power.
The “Garfunkel” Division
They won’t write Graceland, but they’ll help out on Sounds of Silence.
28. Inferno Titan
Red rarely gets good “dragons” for constructed, and while this guy is no Demigod of Revenge he is still a possible 4 for 1 when he hits the battlefield.
Now that Frosty is a superstar, expect his fiery cousin to take up the mantle of “most underrated titan.” Pay close attention to this guy and start buying if he shows up in some winning lists.
27. Grave Titan
After the releases of M11, the dying giant Jund adopted this “Thrinax Titan” as a way to get bigger in the face of so many new threats. Grave Titan’s price shot up, but then cratered just as quickly – apparently a 5 for 1 (after an attack) is not worth 4BB. He really didn’t see any play outside of a couple Jund builds, and has been more smoke than fire to this point.
Of course, his raw power is off the charts. I imagine most decks that run heavy black are going to at least take a look at this guy. Once the game of “my Frost Titan trumps your singleton giant threat” starts wearing thin, this plus-sized zombie might start looking more attractive.
26. Gaea's Revenge
Hyped up in recent days as an excellent answer to blue decks, the Revenge is possibly the next card to make “the leap.” I am writing this sentience on Friday, October 29th – almost a week until this will be published – and right now the price on this card is $3.96 on Channel Fireball.
This card’s bottom price is around $4, but it will go up to $8-$10 if it starts seeing play. Pick these up if your trading partners value them low, because right now it’s all upside.
Sometimes hype is good enough to make a quick profit.
Linvala’s popularity should fluctuate based on Fauna Shaman’s popularity. Right now, the Night Elf Druid is on a bit of a downswing, so Linvala is sitting in more binders than sideboards. If you start to see Elf/Vengevine start to get dominant again, start picking up Linvalas like they’re going out of style.
The “18 and Going to College” Division
These are the elite prospects. Even if they don’t pan out, they won’t end up under a bridge –they’ll probably just settle in to a quiet life as a claims adjustor. But if they do succeed? Top 10 potential.
24. Elspeth Tirel
At first blush, this Elspeth doesn’t hold much of a candle to the “good” one from Shards, especially considering her higher casting cost. Of course, her abilities are quite powerful, and she can protect herself, which is a necessary quality for a top-tier planeswalker.
23. Skithryx, the Blight Dragon
All the poison cards are really popular right now as casual players want to try a new way to kill their opponent. As the best poison creature yet printed, ol’ Skittles should hold his value well – and look out if poison becomes tier-1 without obsoleting this guy! Skithryx’s price should depend a lot on whether or
not poison gets better going forward, (it will) and whether or not he is going to be a tier-1 card in that deck. (he should).
22. Mox Opal
The marquee card for Scars’ other major theme, the Opal’s only draw back is that you need to play about a billion artifacts for it to be good.
Since we’re getting two more sets of presumably sweet artifacts, expect this tiny stone to live up to its long, venerable pedigree.
That said, is there any room for the value on this one to go up? Only if it is a 4-of in the best deck. Otherwise, it’s probably just a safe hold.
21. Venser, the Sojurner
Unlike Elspeth, Venser has shown up in some very good decks and has started to prove his worth as a powerful planeswalker. His biggest weakness, though, is that he is very narrow and specific in his uses – much like all of the cards in this tier. Will the Venser deck be strong this season? Or the Mox Opal deck? Or the Skithryx deck? Or all three? Pay close attention and buy accordingly.
The “Sink or Swim” Division
Failed prospect, or future sensation?
Alright, Abyssal Persecutor. It’s time to show the world what you’ve got.
First you teased us with enormous potential in the face of a not-that-overwhelming drawback. Heck, I’m sure more than one person traded a Jace, the Mind Sculptor for you at the Worldwake prerelease. You were the next big thing – a “platinum demon” that could start the beats on turn 5 with no assistance.
Then you disappeared. For months and months.
And now you’re back? Being hailed as the “four drop titan” like some kind of savior? You’re like Superman in “Superman Returns.” Does the world really want you anymore?
(Yes. Yes we do.)
In the interest of full disclosure, I just bought two playsets of these on eBay. Gerry T. said this was the next Frost Titan, and I expect people will listen to him and drive the price up regardless of whether or not he’s right.
The “Space Cthulu” Division
You gotta give ‘em their due.
19. Eye of Ugin
Together, these four mythics help make up the core of what is possibly standard’s best deck. While there may not be more than 1 or 2 of each in there, all of them work together to provide diverse, consistent, and proven threats. All the Eldrazi should hold their value as long as the deck is still good, though I can’t see them going up much.
Long term, I think Emrakul is one of the safest cards to invest in. He’s the Best Fatty Alive right now, and casual players for years to come are going to want him. Think Doubling Season and pre-reprint Darksteel Colossus.
Eye of Ugin, interestingly enough, was much more valuable before it saw any play. Now that it’s in a good deck, you can get ‘em for 3 bucks.
Call it the Jace affect, and remember it when you speculate on any cards from Worldwake.
The “Samwise Gamgee” Division
Scottie Pippen. William Riker. Robin. Everyone needs a good #2.
15. All Is Dust
While I suppose I could have put this card in the previous division, I remain unconvinced that its only place is in the Eldrazi ramp deck where it is currently featured.
Many Magic pundits worried that All Is Dust would see less play once more people started playing with artifacts, but so far that dominant Scars-based deck hasn’t yet emerged.
Figure of Destiny? Not quite. In fact, one of the reasons I gave up playing red in standard is that in all of my playtest games I don’t think I leveled this guy all the way even once.
Of course, that’s a very small sample size, and the truth is that the Dragonlord is a very powerful 2-drop in any agressive mono red deck.
13. Garuuk Wildspeaker
Garruk has actually never stopped being good since first being printed in Lorwyn block.
Oh, sure, there are times when he’s awesome and others when he’s merely ok, but the truth is that he does everything a green ‘walker needs to do. If you need bodies, he’ll give you some. If you need to break through the combat step, he’ll do that. If you need to accelerate, he’ll even help you there.
In fact, I would argue that Koth is the red Garruk more than the red Jace. They are very similar in terms of scope, reach, and power level.
I doubt this guy is going up in value anytime soon, since he is in his third printing, but I can’t think of a green mythic that’s more essential for all green mages to have. I’d trade my set of cobras long before I’d trade my Garruks.
Avenger of Zendikar is very much a product of its time.
In any other part of Magic’s history, I doubt this guy would have been played in anything but a couple of awesome Timmy EDH decks. But the fact that fetches and oracle and landfall and Primeval Titan and Lotus Cobra are all around make the Avenger a truly potent finisher.
Look for this card to drop like a rock when ramp falls out of favor, but until then this beast is going to keep building armies and winning games.
11. Jace Beleren
“Baby Jace” pretty much proves that it’s impossible for the original ‘walkers to break $6-$8 anymore, because I doubt any of them are going to be better than he is right now.
At three mana, this dirt-cheap planeswalker is still great value for a blue deck. Some control builds are even running 7 or 8 Jaces total.
(Just don’t play more than one at a time…)
This masticore might not be just a top-10 mythic. He might be in the top 5.
The best masticore ever printed, this guy is a very fast clock that can hold down the ground while still acting as a finisher. If you resolve this early and stick it, you don’t need a second threat. All the card advantage in the world won’t save your opponent from becoming a big pile of molten slag.
While arguably more powerful than several of the mythics I ranked higher, the masticore hasn’t quite put up enough results to climb past #10 - - yet. If you see that changing, you might want to start picking these up at the $20 or so in trade they’re currently valued at.
Which card from Scars saw the most play at states by an absolutely overwhelming margin?
Granted, with everyone planning for Titan v. Titan battles right now, the engine isn’t quite at its best. But it’s still a super powerful card that everyone has access to.
Actually, the fact that it’s doing so well when it isn’t that well positioned should tell you something about the card.
What, you don’t think people will be running this card a year from now when the titans are gone?
8. Frost Titan
Turns out, a hard to kill guy who trumps all the other titans (and most other creatures, and Mimic Vat, and a ton of other stuff) is actually a pretty good card. Who knew?
If you go back and read my Pack to Power blog, you will see me specifically tell people NOT to trade for this card. Why? Because until very recently, he wasn’t in ANY decks. People kept saying he was underrated, but that didn’t mean they were actually going to play him or anything.
Then Gerry T. and others actually found homes for the guy, and proved that he was, in fact, a top-level mythic.
The lesson, as always: I don’t know anything. Why are you still reading this?
7. Lotus Cobra
Lotus Cobra is like that kid you knew in high school. He had a 4.0 GPA, scored 30 points a game on the Varsity Basketball team, and dated the girl you wanted more than anything. Then he went to college, majored in something funky, and ended up putzing around Europe for 5 or 6 years to the bewilderment of everyone who knew him.
“What happened to that boy?” his relatives would say around the table at Christmas. “He had so much promise!”
And then he came back and got a $350,000 a year job at a software company and went on to invent the self-inflating tire.
The point? Powerful enough cards eventually find a home. (See also: Titan, Frost)
The “Falling Star” Division
She needs to find another agent – and soon.
How the mighty have fallen.
For a year, all anyone could talk about is how “Walletslayer Angel” ruined standard by being laughably better than any other creature.
It’s amazing, now, to see how many commonly played threats and answers she dies to. It’s almost like Wizards heard our pleas and decided to only print cards that beat her in a fight.
- Frost Titan taps her down forever.
- Abyssal Persecutor doesn't die to her in combat (though it can never finisher her off).
- Wurmcoil Engine straight up beats her in combat.
- And anything in play when you have an Eldrazi Monument.
- Jace, TMS bounces her.
- All Is Dust kills her.
- So does Ulamog.
- Fauna Shaman goes and gets something that will kill her.
Couple her sudden vulnerability with being re-printed, and that formerly $50 angel is cratering down toward $15.
So why is she still here at mythic slot #6?
Well, she did spent a year basically tearing through standard. And she is still a 5/5 with stacks of awesome abilities for just 5 mana. And with M11 no longer being drafted, I’m not sure too many more Baneslayers are going to be opened anytime soon.
This is a card with a reasonable pedigree and a ton of demand among those who are willing to shell out for standard decks but might not always be after the latest and greatest tech. I recommend picking these up if you can get ‘em close to the $15 price point, because I doubt she’s ever going to fall much lower.
The “Flagship” Division
Cards that spawn decks all their own.
Overrated? Underrated? The jury is still somewhat out on Koth.
True, his raw power is off the charts. Of course, he hasn’t shown up in a truly tier-1 deck yet. (Unless you count him as a 2-of in some builds of RUG ramp.)
He is #5 on this list because I am confident he will find a home where he is the king of the castle. He gives quick decks a whole lot of things that they really want, and as long as people are playing red, this guy will be leading the charge.
Something that Wizards seems to have done lately is to make sure each color has a marquee card – a flagship mythic that defines what it does best. This one is clearly THE card for red.
Remember Koth’s placement on this list if he starts to hit that post-prospect value slump. This is often the best time to pick up cards. There were weeks, if not months, were Lotus Cobras, Eldrazi Monuments, and Abyssal Persecutors were $8 each. Mark my words: Koth WILL be a part of a good deck. And until he isn’t, enough people are going to want to brew with him that he’ll stay in steady demand. A fine pickup at the right price.
4. Eldrazi Monument
Starting out as a bulk mythic when Zendikar was released, I started to pay the monument slight attention when Kyle Sanchez started putting one or two of them in every deck he designed.
I also decided that I wanted one for pretty much every EDH deck ever, but I figured I could pick them up later. Oops.
Then that Eldrazi Green deck made a splash at the SCG 5k, and everyone jumped on the card. It was the first truly innovative deck of the new season, and it didn’t matter that it was kind of a mediocre build. People wanted to play it anyway.
The monument is even better now, as the entire elves strategy has gotten a pretty huge lift with the addition of Scars and the rotation of Jund. Even if Elves disappears, I expect this giant space rock to be a tier-1 card to build around for months to come.
Ironic, isn’t it, that this card has actually been a bigger part of Legacy in recent months than Standard?
While there are certainly cards that seem designed more for older formats, the ‘vine is not one of them. He bashes really hard, there are tons of ways to cheat him out, and the fact that Fauna/Vine decks don’t seem to be at the top of standard this week doesn’t make me want to rate this guy any lower. The
right card or combination will be found, and Vengevine will be at the top of the heap again sooner rather than later.
If you can find someone who will trade you their set on the cheap because they’ve moved on, you should jump on the opportunity.
Fueling standard’s most powerful archetype, Primeval Titan is proving to the world that a 6-drop accelerant is truly a worthwhile threat.
Wizards wanted the entire cycle of titans to make the same sort of constructed splash that Baneslayer Angel did the previous year, and they really hit it out of the park. Primeval is the best creature in the best cycle of creatures ever printed. If your deck cannot beat this guy, don’t take it to battle. And since neither Leonin Arbiter nor Tunnel Ignus has slowed this guy down, I doubt his deck is going away any time soon.
The “Best Card In Standard” Division
If you expected a different #1, I don’t know what planet you’re living on.
What more is there to say about this guy? He’s a very, very safe buy and his value is likely to be stable for the rest of his run in standard. He will probably drop to $50 post rotation, and if he’s not reprinted he’ll likely slowly rise over the next few years as he continues to warp the eternal formats around him as well.
Jace is just one of those cards you need a set of if you want to play the best decks in all formats for years to come.
And that’s it! I am excited for a bevy of posts disagreeing with my rankings, as well as some interesting discussion about which of these cards is going to skyrocket over the next few months. Chances are, at least one of them will.
Stay tuned next week for a shorter article than this one. Breaking 4,500 words last week and 5,500 this week was a bit much.
- Chas Andres