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Undervalued Cards in Standard (Part 4 – Core 2019)

Welcome back, readers!

This is the fourth and final part for this series leading up to the Guilds of Ravnica release. We have seen some of the Guilds spoilers so far, but we still have a lot of unknowns currently. While that may not be good for competitive players looking to prepare for a new format, it is great for speculators, as it means that if we can isolate the current undervalued cards leading into a new Standard format we can make a good bit of money.

You can find my review of Ixalan here, Rivals of Ixalan here, and Dominaria here. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the series thus far and have found value in it. Today we will focus on the mythics of Core 2019, continuing to use our four factors for determining if a card is undervalued:

  1. There is a superior alternative currently available.
  2. There is currently a more powerful archetype that makes the card unplayable.
  3. The card lacks necessary support (either color or archetypal).
  4. The card has been misevaluated.

Core 2019


  1. There isn’t another mono-white planeswalker in Standard at the moment, so no direct competition.
  2. Unfortunately, there isn’t a mono-white aggro deck strong enough in the format to compete with the R/b Aggro deck currently dominating. We can be pretty confident of this as even good ol’ Craig Wescoe, perennial white weenie player, has given up on the archetype currently (and when he won’t play it because it’s too weak, you know it’s not viable). White in the current Standard is relegated to helping players cast Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and providing efficient wrath effects like Fumigate.
  3. As mentioned, the biggest problem with Ajani is that he doesn’t have the necessary aggressive white weenie cards to make the archetype work. He is clearly designed for that type of archetype (providing recursion and creature pumps with his first two abilities).
  4. The card is still sitting at around $7.5 despite seeing almost no play. If we get enough aggressive creatures from the Boros or Selesyna guild, I could easily see this card doubling in price. However, I wouldn’t start buying in until said cards are spoiled.

  1. While there isn’t anything exactly like this currently, the mana cost and “bang for the buck” is just clearly lacking on this card. It seems destined to remain a bulk mythic unless we get a card that happens to combo with it to win the game.
  2. This is a 10-drop that doesn’t automatically win the game upon resolution (which is already difficult to do in a world of Disallow and occasional Supreme Will). It’s fair to say that UWx Control decks establish control of the game before this card could ever hope to resolve, and R/b aggro decks would kill you before you got to 10 mana to cast it.
  3. As stated in the first point, this card would require another card to “combo” with it to ever have a real chance at seeing play in the format; it’s just too slow and does too little for the cost.
  4. This card has been properly evaluated given what we currently have available.

  1. This is a unique card that made a lot of waves in Commander, but hasn’t done anything in Standard.
  2. Bant is currently the color combination for the Bant Nexus decks that try to win with Teferi, who seems like a far more powerful win condition for just one more mana (and less color-specific mana).
  3. Arcades’s biggest problem is a lack of good defender creatures. This is definitely a card that could develop an archetype around it with support. There are currently 11 creatures in Standard with defender, none of which are really playable to begin with. For a viable Arcades deck, we would likely need a card like Assault Formation to act as an additional way to make your defender creatures threats, as well as a couple creatures with defender that are worth playing on their own like Wall of Omens.
  4. This card requires a lot to succeed. It’s worth keeping on the radar, but currently needs too much to go right to be worth buying now.

  1. We currently have Rekindling Phoenix as a powerful recursive threat in the format, and it doesn’t require a mana investment and seven creatures in the yard to recur itself (though it does get removed with two pieces of removal).
  2. The current environment has black as taking more of a splash or minor role in decks, providing efficient removal, but not really threats.
  3. Black as a whole has a lot of support cards (mainly in the way of removal spells like Cast Down and Vraska’s Contempt), but no good finishers.
  4. This card seems destined for bulk rare status as it’s recursion is more like a one- to two-shot use. You’re only likely to have a lot of cards in your graveyard in very long games, and you’re unlikely to be able to recur this card back to back. It also hurts that one of the top removal spells in the format (the previously mentioned Vraska’s Contempt) exiles at a mana less than Bone Dragon’s initial cost.

  1. This is an excellent control-vs.-control trump card, and there isn’t anything else quite like it at the moment. Some might argue that Nezahal, the Primal Tide is pretty close, however, flash is a huge part of the power level of this card (as control decks prefer to play spells on their opponents end step).
  2. At this time, straight UW Control seems to be preferred over Esper variants (likely due to the mana base). If we get some powerful Dimir cards in Guilds of Ravnica I could see Esper becoming the color combination of choice.
  3. Esper control decks do have plenty of solid support cards currently. The manabase isn’t quite where you want to be with a control deck, though once we get Ravnica Allegiance and we get Godless Shrine and Hallowed Fountain, it will be almost perfect mana for such a deck.
  4. As stated, this card is currently a good trump card in a control mirror, as it’s extremely difficult to deal with. The archetype just doesn’t have the mana to support it currently.

  1. There isn’t any other Zombie-themed planeswalkers to compare this to in Standard.
  2. This planeswalker was clearly designed for a Zombie tribal deck. She would likely have been very good in the Zombie deck that won PT Amonkhet at the hands of Gerry Thompson, but no such deck exists in the current Standard.
  3. There are a fair number of decent Zombies in Standard, but a lot will rotate out and we don’t have any spoiled yet that look to coalesce into a Tier 1 strategy. I do feel like Liliana might be a bit of a plug for the Golgari tribe (which is known for Zombies), so if we see some aggressively costed Zombies spoiled she might be worth picking up.
  4. Liliana seems like a more casual planeswalker at this time, but her second and third abilities could be quite powerful and provide a fair amount of card advantage in a grindy game, so I won’t count her out entirely. Her first ability, though, almost comes off as nerfed at the last minute by the design team for its overall weakness.

  1. This is definitely a card that can form a very powerful janky FNM style deck (and obviously a potent Legacy one), but there isn’t anything quite like it in Standard.
  2. This is an extremely powerful card—if it resolves and you survive long enough to cast it. However, neither of those two options seems likely with the current Standard environment. This card didn’t really find any homes the last time it was Standard-legal, and I don’t expect it to now.
  3. There isn’t much to support this type of card, save cheating out an even bigger bomb for free, which again seems like something you build for a janky FNM deck and not a Tier 1 Standard deck.
  4. This card existed before and it never found a home in any competitive Standard decks. I do think it’s a great Commander pickup (if it can dodge any more reprints) as the original version was almost $30 before this reprint (which can be had for under $5).

  1. There isn’t anything else quite like this card in the current Standard environment (it has a whole lot of relevant keywords on it though).
  2. There isn’t any Naya-based deck in Standard (and this card’s been around for a few months already) so I don’t know if one will emerge.
  3. It is important to note that we get both Boros and Selesnya with Guilds of Ravnica so there will likely be some support coming. The “hexproof until” clause is a bit odd (and something I don’t think we’ve seen before). If we get a way to blink her at instant speed (thus regaining hexproof) I could see this card possibly finding a home somewhere, as it’s definitely a very powerful six-drop.
  4. Currently it’s a bulk mythic, but as I said above if we get a way to reset the hexproof (by blinking her) I could see her being the top end of a Naya midrange deck.

  1. We already have Lyra Dawnbringer as a powerful Angel who doesn’t require additional mana investment for to gain lifelink.
  2. Most competitive players tend to shy away from cards that are mediocre at the start and require a significant additional mana investment to be decent (as a removal spell in response is basically a Time Walk). There is just too much efficient removal that turns the six mana +3/+3 and lifelink into a blow out to really make someone want to play this card.
  3. Ironically, there is a fair amount of support for this card in the current Standard. The ideal combo is this and the previously mentioned Lyra, who when it deals damage will trigger the Angel at the end step, with no additional mana required.
  4. This card was one of the most expensive mythics in the set at release and it’s gradually tanked to one third that price. It is important to consider that if we get any good playable lifegain spells (that can ideally be cast at instant speed on turn four, the turn after you would play this Angel) it may see a price increase…but that’s a pretty big if.

  1. There currently isn’t anything else like this in Standard.
  2. There isn’t any land like Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle to combo with this card to make an archetype.
  3. There are no significant efficient ramp spells available to support this style of archetype.
  4. This card seems like it was simply thrown in at mythic to help reduce the cost of the original for Modern players.

  1. Currently we have an extremely powerful five-drop blue planeswalker (Teferi, Hero of Dominaria) that is better than Tezzeret in pretty much every way.
  2. We have a very powerful UW Control deck in Standard that doesn’t seem to want to play this card (and it could). To be honest I’m actually a bit surprised, as Tezzeret protects itself with the plus ability. Because he creates blockers, he can force the opponent to overcommit to the board, which makes wrath effects better. I’ve played him on MTGArena and really like him as a two-of in UW Control.
  3. There is a fair amount of support for this card at the moment. Honestly he just seems to be overshadowed by Teferi. The fact that we will be rotating out of a heavy artifact-based Standard likely means his 0 ability will get worse rather than better (as the Ravnica plane isn’t particularly known for having lots of artifacts).
  4. I actually really like this card as a speculation opportunity. I’d buy these all day in the $4-$5 range, though its current price of $7 is a bit higher than I’d like. That being said, if UW Control decks pick him up as a support card for Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, he could easily double up to $15.

  1. I’d argue that Vraska’s Contempt is simply a better card than this (despite the fact that this is a creature). They both likely serve the purpose of getting rid of planeswalkers, except Contempt does so instantly and for two less mana (and without requiring three different colored mana sources).
  2. There isn’t a Jund archetype in the format, though with recent spoilers from Guilds of Ravnica it does seem possible. That being said, even if a good Jund deck emerges I really don’t see this card finding a home.
  3. Currently this card lacks support to make it better, but it would require a very specific type of support card to really be playable.
  4. This card has been properly evaluated as a bulk mythic.

  1. Vivien’s second ability is very similar to Vraska, Relic Seeker, except its ultimate is likely a bit worse (though not by much). Where Vivien shines is that she doesn’t require black as well to be played (though with Assassin’s Trophy spoiled, we are quite likely to see BGx decks be Tier 1, so that issue may be minor.
  2. Vivien’s biggest problem is that she can only sometimes protect herself (if your opponent has a flyer as their only creature), and while her plus ability is perfectly reasonable, it doesn’t effect the board at all.
  3. I think we will see a resurgence in green with Guilds of Ravnica, as we get both Golgari and Selesnya guilds. Along with the previously mentioned Assassin’s Trophy, which is eternal-playable, green could definitely become Tier 1. I don’t foresee Vivien Reid being a four-of in such a deck (perhaps a one- or two-of, possibly in the board).
  4. This card is currently a bit weaker than Vraska, Relic Seeker, but could definitely find a home in upcoming Standard.


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David Schumann

David Schumann

David started playing Magic in the days of Fifth Edition, with a hiatus between Judgment to Shards. He's been playing Commander since 2009 and Legacy since 2010.

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