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The Player Haters Ball: Return to Ravnica Edition.

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard

This is not the article I wanted to bring to the site today. I had grand plans of recording the Polymorph deck from Grand Prix Kobe that finished in the top thirty two. I had borrowed four Mox Opal and two Hurkyl’s Recall from a friend (thanks Rayban! You’re the real MVP!) and was in the middle of recording when my computer made the most awful noise. While I was recording, I took off the cover and saw that my CPU fan was no longer spinning. I tried as hard as I could to make it work, but in time my computer overheated, and it shut down.

Nothing kicks off a day like seeing the words CPU fan failed on your monitor as you try to restart the machine to make sure you do not time out of a two man. After my efforts failed, I went to an old laptop, and struggled with it to work. It worked long enough to make my duties at Puremtgo.com make me want to pull out my own teeth. Recording was just not going to happen.

Thankfully I have several back up computers, and by backup, I mean I am going to take parts from them until my main PC is back up. A few sticks of ram and a CPU fan later, I got my computer back up, but this thing is as old as my son, and clearly on its last legs. Time to save up for a new machine I reckon.

Instead of coming up with an awesome recording for you all, I ran out of time, and that is why I am bringing a think piece to the site today. Khans spoilers are going strong, and while we may not get one for the site this go around, I’m working on getting us one for the next set. I have played a ton of Standard, and while I have moved my focus on to other formats, I will still be happy to see Return to Ravnica rotate out of Standard. It gave us some great Modern cards, but most importantly in my mind the block and its core set contributed a ton towards the Modern format. The ten shocklands helped new players lessen the cost of their mana base, Scavenging Ooze was a much needed addition, as was Mutavault, considering that the sets they originally had been printed in had not seen print in some time! Pack Rat gets work down in Modern! It was a key card to a PTQ finals appearance by my good friend Andrew Nelms in his neat Red White Black brew. Abrupt Decay sees play in Vintage and Legacy! Voice of Resurgence sees play in Birthing Pod lists.

It’s time to move on though. Return to Ravnica and its core set has been around Standard for two long. It’s time to look at the ten cards I will not miss at all when the format rotates soon!

Honorable Mention

Ok, fine, it’s 11. I hate Hidden Strings, and all the time that was wasted during my paper testing with it trying to make it work with the Inspired Mechanic. This was a playable in Limited, but it had no right going into seventy five card lists. It was one of the best Cipher cards though, maybe Wizards just punted the Cipher mechanic. It seemed exciting, but was never good enough for Constructed play.

10. Young Pyromancer: I really like how this card plays in Modern, but not so much in Standard. Of course whenever the Standard version of the Pyromancer deck uses it and a ton of burn spells it feels a lot less inspired. While the Modern deck may have some burn in it, stuff like Sleight of Hand and Serum Visions helps it out. To me, it just feels like a more skill intensive deck, whereas the Standard deck is just a point and click burn deck.

Yes I know, burn is hard to play, I’m not knocking it, I’m just happy to see one of it’s centerpieces go away.

9. Unexpected Results: I spent more time than I am willing to admit to make this work. When I finally saw the results of the hours and hours of testing that I put in to the deck, I would not say it was entirely unexpected. It was a neat card, one that rarely got there, and made me waste a ton of time, because I wanted to do the cool things. I forgot how cool winning is sometimes!

8. Burning-Tree Emissary: When this card was first spoiled, I thought it was hot hot garbage. One of my teammates (Will Lutes) would not keep singing the praises of the shaman though, but I dug in my heels and declared that this card would see no play at all. Of course while some people failed to see the power behind cards like Necropotence, Tarmogoyf, and Skullclamp, I just failed to see the power in the card. I thought the insane turns that my friend was dreaming about was just a dream, and it turned out that even a second creature on turn two is pretty good. Attacking for six on turn thing is a great thing!

I watched Tommy Graves cast multiple Emissaries in the same turn with his Rabble Red deck on his way to winning the most recent Starcitygames.com Open in Saint Louis. Congrats Tommy! I was wrong about the Shaman. Still it’s time to go!

7. Azorious Charm: Bounce is fine, putting back on the top of the library and slowing down the draw is the worst. Every single time this card was cast against me, it felt like a Time Walk. Drawing a card is fine, the little used lifelink mode is fine, but getting my best guy bounced, or a wurm token bounced, or the guy I returned with Whip of Erebos bounced was almost always an unneeded blowout.

6. Scavenging Ooze: This card is on the list because it was good while I was playing graveyard based decks. It’s a fine card, but come, with Rest in Peace nuking the yards already, was this really needed? While I recognize its importance to fight the very things I just mentioned, and it is a nice Modern reprint, I groaned every time the card was cast against me because it meant I was going to miss out on cool stuff!

5. Voice of Resurgence: This card was great for a short while, went under the radar, and then became great again. The times it was great, I was playing UW control. While it fills an important role in the Birthing Pod decks of Modern, it was just an annoyance for me during the time I played against it in Standard.

4. Obzedat, Ghost Council: Another card that seemed to be more played while I was casting Supreme Verdicts than when I was casting Hero’s Downfall, this dork was pretty hard to deal with. I think the most offensive part of the guy was the life gain he granted when he came on to the battlefield. Sure a 5/5 with haste that phases out is nothing to sneeze at, but really he was attacking for seven each turn. Quite the beating!

3. Rakdos’s Return: Every game that I needed an extra turn to draw a land to do amazing things this card would be cast against me and I would lose the chance to do something great. Every. Single. Time.

2. Sphinx’s Revelation: While I hated Charm for the Time Walk it seemed to grant, I hated this card for the multiple Time Walks it would give. Lethal Damage on the stack? Not so fast my friend! Game pretty even? Let me cast this to blow you completely out! It was a completely unfair card that kept deck creativity down I feel. You had to ask if you were good against Revelation while building, and if not, it was time to turn to another deck. While it was capable to race, if the game went long there was a palpable feeling of dread. When is it getting cast? Will I have an answer? Why oh why does this card even exist?

1. Pack Rat: I hope all the bad things in life happen to you, and nobody else but you. This card was a bulk rare limited format ruiner when it was first printed, and then it became a format all-star when Theros rotated in. I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier for a two drop to rotate out than I am for this guy to go, and I have played in Standard formats that saw two drops banned!

For that most part the cards on this list ever never overly dominate. I liked most of them, played with all of them even! Outside of Revelation and Rat, none of them seemed truly unbeatable, they were very good, very powerful cards. While the Standard format may have been dominated (notice the lack of cards like Boros Reckoner and Domri Rade, while annoying those cards were pretty fair in my opinion.) by Devotion decks and UW control, I felt like Return to Ravnica gave us a fairly balanced format where anything was playable, and capable of winning.

What cards will you not miss in Standard when Khans comes out? Feel free to sound off in the comments, and have a great day!

Joshua Claytor

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