Insider: Top 10 Most Underestimated Cards in Standard

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After talking about the metagame with some friends and playing games against initial version of decks, I believe some cards stick out as currently unloved or underutilized. Some of the cards on this list you may have had similar thoughts about, while with others I’ll hopefully shine some light on the situation. Let’s get right to it.

10. Stubborn Denial

[cardimage cardname='Stubborn Denial']

The burn spells are so potent right now it’s scary. Multiple decks end the game with Stoke the Flames, Lightning Strike or Jeskai Charm and we need to start adapting. Sultai Midrange seems well positioned because not only does it have the black removal spells and the powerful green cards, but also solid reactive spells like this and Negate to cancel the opponent's burn end game.

I don’t think we are to a point where we are ready to see these cards maindeck, but we are closing in on that reality. As of right now, they are potent sideboard cards that are essential to your success as long as you have blue mana available.

9. Brain Maggot

[cardimage cardname='Brain Maggot']

I’ve been playing with Brain Maggot a lot lately and it has really impressed me. I like it most in the Mardu Horde deck I’ve mentioned over the last couple weeks because you can take your opponent’s early plays and then sacrifice it to Butcher of the Horde later on.

For example: I was playing against Sultai Dredge a bit last night and my Maggots would commonly remove their Commune with the Gods or Satyr Wayfinder. Neither of those is particularly threatening in the late game but stunting their board development is a great way to win games.

These types of things come up often with Brain Maggot and it works especially well when you have Despise or Thoughtseize alongside it. More players should be utilizing this tempo creature in their decks.

8. Silence the Believers

[cardimage cardname='Silence the Believers']

You’re going to hear this a couple of times today--players have forgotten about overperformers in Block. Silence the Believers is the perfect example of a card that was extremely good in Block that has not transitioned into Standard. We got Murderous Cut from Khans and that spell is impressively good, but that shouldn’t remove the existence of one of the most impactful cards from Block.

Every midrange black deck that I play is including some number of this card in it. It’s the perfect spell. It may not be super cheap, but in the midrange mirrors using it to remove two or three of their creatures is commonplace. The metagame is evolving with more bestow creatures as well, which makes Silence the Believers even better. The fact that it exiles the creature is really relevant too. Some decks are able to activate their gods, but this spell deals with that problem handily.

Finally, this is one of the few spells that kills Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker. We may have Utter End, but Silence the Believers gets better the further the game progresses. Don’t forget about it when you are brewing.

7. Pharika, God of Affliction

[cardimage cardname='Pharika, God of Affliction']

Hornet Queen is seeing more and more play in Standard and its price should tell you that more than anything. The reason the flying queen bee is so good is because creating an army of guys with deathtouch is hard to fight through for most decks. Outside of Bile Blight, there are not many answers for the killer bees and even if they have that spell, the queen herself sticks around to help you out.

Pharika, God of Affliction functions similarly to Hornet Queen in that they both generate an army of deathtouchers. These tokens do not have to be used only for defense though. Your opponent will not desire to block any of these enchantment snakes and trade their resources for your virtual card advantage. Pharika can be utilized best in a delve style deck, but I think she should even start seeing play in midrange green decks as well because she is very good in midrange battles.

6. Prognostic Sphinx

[cardimage cardname='Prognostic Sphinx']

Here we are again reflecting on the Block Pro Tour. When you add in M15 and Khans of Tarkir, there are still not many ways to deal with the hexproof sphinx. We do have End Hostilities now as well as a few other answers, but Prognostic Sphinx is still extremely difficult to beat. The format has not changed nearly enough to push Sphinx out. If anything, it has shaped up perfectly for Sphinx to take control. How long can this guy live in the shadows of bulk boxes?

5. Herald of Torment

[cardimage cardname='Herald of Torment']

Aggressively costed, check. Evasion, check. Good at different points of the game, check. Herald of Torment fits the metagame like a glove. For the same reason that Mantis Rider overwhelmed the metagame, so should Herald of Torment. I’ve been testing Herald in multiple decks to great effect but I think it could fit in more decks once the metagame settles down. Every deck needs ways to break through ground stalls. There’s no better way to do this than giving your giant green monster +3/+3 and flying.

4. Tymaret, the Murder King

[cardimage cardname='Tymaret, the Murder King']

Alright, I admit I have a problem. Tymaret, the Murder King and I are best buds. I know that being friends with a legendary murderer isn’t that great of an idea, but if you get to know him, he’s really a great guy. Being my buddy, of course I have a better opinion about him than most, but give him a shot. He deserves it.

Seriously though, I’ve been adding Tymaret to more and more decks lately and he has not disappointed me in any list. The combination of a Siege-Gang Commander type sac engine, along with Bloodsoaked Champion or Goblin Rabblemaster tokens to repeatedly sacrifice, is an incredibly potent weapon in Standard. Add in some redundancy and power with Butcher of the Horde and that’s exactly where I want to be in Standard. Now if I could only find room for Purphoros, God of the Forge.

Play Tymaret. He’s really good.

3. Rakshasa Deathdealer

[cardimage cardname='Rakshasa Deathdealer']

Two-cost creatures are at a premium in Standard right now. There are not very many good choices for most decks. There’s no dearth of three- and four-drops. In fact, in deck building, there are many decisions about which three- and four-drops are the right ones to play. Filling out the beginning of your curve is much harder though.

Rakshasa Deathdealer is just what the brewer needed to gain some clarity. The mental wall you need to break through with this innocent looking bear is that you can pump multiple times per turn. That makes Deathdealer not only a great turn two play but also a great turn eight play.

Think about that for a moment. How many two-drops can you evaluate that are great cards to draw no matter the stage of the game? It’s a short list and even shorter if we narrow it to Standard-only cards. The only Rakshasa will be taking the throne shortly and his cheap price tag may not be that for much longer. Most cards in Khans will drop in value, but Deathdealer is one that might bump up instead of down.

2. Garruk, Apex Predator

[cardimage cardname='Garruk, Apex Predator']

With the format consisting of a lot of midrange slug fests, I’ve been looking for ways to go over the top. Garruk, Apex Predator seems like one of the only tools that fits this goal. He may cost seven mana, but with Courser of Kruphix, you will regularly hit that much mana or more throughout the course of most games. Garruk is the stalemate breaker, the planeswalker killer, and the stands at the apex of all finishers.

By saying new Garruk should be seeing more play, I’m not talking about adding him as a one-of in any list that plays both green and black. My intent is that he should be a two- or three-of in one of the best decks in the format. I’m not sure which deck is best suited to utilize him as its finisher, but multiple decks should start with Garruk and then fill in the rest of the deck around him.

This planeswalker is no build-around-me card per se, but once you know that your goal every game is play him and then win the game from there, your card choices will differ from what you might have included before that epiphany. For instance, what deck could beat the end game combo of Elspeth, Sun's Champion or Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker followed up by Garruk, Apex Predator? Think about that when you’re building your next midrange deck.

1. Jeskai Ascendency

[cardimage cardname='Jeskai Ascendancy']

We have only scratched the surface of how good this enchantment truly is. There is an iceberg’s worth of depth to this card and we are only seeing what’s sticking out of the ocean right now. So many lines of play start with Jeskai Ascendancy and veer off from there.

Take Jeskai Tokens for example. As far as I know, that’s not an actual deck, but it probably should be. What about a White Weenie or Boros Aggro style deck using this enchantment to pump your creatures and increase your clock. There is also the possibility we could be playing the only Ascendancy in a heroic style deck. So many possibilities exist based on all the ways Jeskai Ascendancy can affect the game. Start those brewing engines and let’s get to work.

Jeskai Ascendancy isn’t just a combo card in Modern, or just a fringe combo card in Standard, it’s much more than that.

Theros Block Price Updates

In case you haven’t noticed yet, the mythics from Theros block have been on the rise. Impactful Standard cards are increasing in value every day. I’ve been adjusting prices like crazy the last couple of weeks.

[cardimage cardname='Brimaz, King of Oreskos'][cardimage cardname="Elspeth, Sun's Champion"]

These two white cards, Brimaz and Elspeth, have popped up quite a bit the last week or two. I don’t have a line of players lining up to sell me these cards at the new buy price either, so it seems likely the new prices will stick. Elspeth might not be $30 just yet, but soon she will be. This may be the peak for these two cards though, so if you are sitting on extra copies, now may be the time to safely unload them.

[cardimage cardname='Kiora, the Crashing Wave'][cardimage cardname='Xenagos, the Reveler']

With the emergence of Jeskai Tempo plus all the burn spells floating around in the format, I assumed Kiora and Xenagos would dip in value. The exact opposite has happened with Kiora, and Xenagos has held strong. The decks that play these two low loyalty planeswalkers have adapted somewhat to be able to protect their planeswalkers better, but they are still weak to many aspects of the format. Even though both of these impactful planeswalkers are strong plays, I doubt they can increase further in value.

[cardimage cardname='Polukranos, World Eater '][cardimage cardname='Stormbreath Dragon']

The dynamic monster duo Polukranos and Stormbreath have risen to dominant price status as well as filling a prominent role in the metagame. Polukranos is a central pillar of the metagame and although he was in the duel deck, I still believe he has room to grow. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit $20 in a couple weeks. Stormbreath, on the other hand, constantly surprises me that he has risen back to his previous price point.

Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker is the most expensive card in Standard and fills the same spot in decks, yet Stormbreath has gone up quite a bit in spite of that fact. I have unloaded all my Stormbreaths and I would advise you to do the same. I don’t believe in Stormbreath and I don’t think his price is stable.

That's all I have for today. What cards have you found that are underestimated in Standard right now? Next week, more sweet Standard decks and Pro Tour Khans info!

Until Next Time,

Get ready to Unleash the Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter

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