Hey saltines, how’s it going? I don’t know about you guys but the Ixalan release is going to hit me hard. Not just because they are freaking dinosaurs, but because we have an oddly large rotation happening. Well, it’s four sets but it feels like a long time since we have had a rotation of standard.
As I’m sitting here at my PC I can’t help but think of all of the awesome, terrible, over-powered, and under-rated cards that we will be losing once Ixalan comes out. So I’m going to talk about the five cards I’m going to miss from standard, and the five cards I’m happy to say good riddance to!
The Ones I’ll Miss
The cards I am about to discuss all have a special place in my salt driven heart. I either played with these cards, or loved them but they never found a place anywhere.
Number 5; Arlinn Kord
Ah, the werewolf planeswalker from Shadows Over Innistrad. She appeared to have so much potential at the beginning of spoiler season, but was quickly snubbed by the lack of supporting hairy mutts, and the overwhelming influence of zombies. I had quite high hopes for this flip-walker, but alas it was never meant to be.
Number 4; Ishkanah, Grafwidow
The queen of spiders from Eldritch Moon has been a breakout card in standard. Before all of the graveyard hate that came with the release of Amonkhet, delirium decks were still running around. The inclusion of all of her spider babies made her essentially five mana for six power and eleven toughness, and the added ability to drain an opponent every turn was nothing to shake a stick at…. or spin a web at…EH? EH? I’ll see myself out…
Number 3; Traverse the Ulvenwald
Cards that allow you to search your library for a specific card are called ‘Tutors’. Tutors have been around for what seems like forever, and the effects are generally pretty strong ones. Traverse the Ulvenwald was not unlike the as for mentioned powerful tutors. Its’ early game capabilities to fetch a basic land made it decent, but the ability to search for any one creature once delirium is achieved put it a little over the top. Opponent playing zombies? Tutor for Kalitas. Lots of fliers? Grab Ishkanah. Got lots of mana and nothing to do with it? Ulamog is your boy. I didn’t realize the genius of this card until a few months ago and it’s a shame because I really enjoy playing with it.
Number 2; Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
My second planeswalker on the list but the first walker in my heart. I love Nissa as a character and I thought her Oath of the Gatewatch incarnation was super good. I used to play her in my Jund Midrange list as a sort of way to pump out tiny blockers until I hit my end game, but now adays she is being forced to put counters on snakes. I have never in the history of my life seen a Voice of Zendikar ultimate on a live stream from an event.
Number 1; Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Was this even a question? Was there any other possibility as to what my favourite rotating card could be? Honestly the art for this card is my desktop background. When they dropped this card in Battle for Zendikar I lost it. I love the eldrazi and I love big stompy creatures. Now when Kaladesh came out and they allowed me to put my boy Ulamog out on turn four, I said sign me up. I played Sultai Aetherworks, until Marvel’s much needed ban. When I had to put the Aetherworks away, I decided if I could cheat him in one way, I would do it another, thus my current Marveless Sultai list! I will be very sad to see him rotato out of standard….BUT HEY I GET TO STILL PLAY HIM IN MODERN…SO I’VE GOT THAT GOING FOR ME WHICH IS NICE!
The Ones I Won’t
So these are the cards I’m not sad to see go. The ones that I normally rant and grind about. I bet you’ve got those cards too. These are the cards your opponent plays and you just go “YUP” or “SURE” in the most sarcastic tone possible because you’re sick and tired of your opponent resolving their THIRD GIDEON IN A FREAKING ROW!…. sorry I just went to a very dark place… let’s run through the list….
Number 5; Spell Queller
“But Bradley, didn’t you play this card?” Yea…well…shut your face. Spell Queller was an amazing card when I was deep into my blue/white spirits list. It still is an amazing card, it is a flash flier. With a two four body, that stops Gideon for pete sakes, the card is super oppressive, and that’s also why I’m happy to see it go. I would have continued to play spirits however Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation had zero spirit support. A super good card, but well passed its’ prime, Rest in Binders.
Number 4; Crush of Tentacles
A surge sorcery from Oath of the Gatewatch that really sucks. If you’ve been reading long enough you know I’m a big fan of establishing a board state, and a big one at that. My most hated card of all time is Cyclonic Rift, and for good reason. It’s bad enough having all of your stuff bounced to your hand, but surging it out for five mana and them getting an eight power, eight toughness octopus. This card didn’t see much play, but it saw its’ fair share of play at my LGS. Bye bye tentacle guy!
Number 3; Elder Deep-Fiend
Two octopi in a row? Yes. This emerge eldrazi from Eldritch Moon was super oppressive when it had its’ run of the meta. People comboing Elder Deep-Fried with Sanctum of Ugin, to chain these bad boys at an opponent’s upkeeps, essentially keeping them bogged down and choked out of resources. Audios calamari face!
Number 2; Cryptbreaker…and everything else…
So with rotation comes the inevitable death of a pro tour winning deck, Mono-black zombies. Cryptbreaker, Relentless Dead, Diregraf Colossus and Dark Salvation are all hitting the binders, never to return. Of all these, Cryptbreaker, in my opinion, is the strongest. Able to churn out massive amounts of card advantage, with the added benefit of turn dead cards in hand in zombies makes this card a one mana powerhouse. I will be happy not to see this on turn one any time soon. Rest in pieces Mr. Zombie!
Number 1; Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
FINALLY! THE DAY WE HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! People have called for his ban in standard multiple times, but WotC decided against it. In the height of his competitive appearances, this walker was seen as a playset in nearly every deck in the top eight. Being able to ultimate the second he enters the battlefield is what puts him over the top. A permanent boon to your board is nothing to scoff at. Gideon in combination with cards like Heart of Kiran made Mardu Vehicles a top tier deck, and one of the most aggressive decks standard has ever seen. SEE YOU LATER CHAD!
That’s all she wrote folks. Stay tuned next week when I reveal my special guest for my Ixalan Rare Set Review!
Stay salty my friends…