The Main Phase – The Ten Most Underplayed Cards in Standard

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Monday, October 27th – When a new set is released, people are excited about the new cards, and understandably so. In this set alone, we have been introduced to several new key words, the mythic rarity, and some awesome new interactions and combos. All of this new enthusiasm leaves some older cards out in the cold, forgotten and unappreciated even when they are still Standard legal. Well, not anymore…

When a new set is released, people are excited about the new cards, and understandably so. In this set alone, we have been introduced to several new key words, the mythic rarity, and some awesome new interactions and combos. All of this new enthusiasm leaves some older cards out in the cold, forgotten and unappreciated even when they are still Standard legal. Well, not anymore. I am going to turn the light back on these underrated unsung heroes in the hope that they may one day return to seeing play alongside the new breed. I encourage all of you to do the same in the forum for this article.

#10 — Mistmeadow Skulk

All of you folks who are ready to click away from this article because the words ‘Mistmeadow Skulk’ appeared on your screen, just give me a second to defend myself. The reason that Bush Baby is up here is not because I believe it should be seeing more play right now, but that it will start seeing play in decks in the coming weeks for a few reasons. One, it is the best attacking creature for the Exalted deck because it has protection from just about everything, meaning it can get past Doran or Reveillark with no problem. Second, it has Lifelink so you can afford to keep going on the offensive with it and not worry so much about the creatures coming your way. Outside of the Exalted deck, it’s possible that the Bush Baby could see fringe play as technology against Rhox War Monks, Chameleon Colossi and what not. Just because he looks cute doesn’t mean he should be underrated.

At this point I want to make a quick rundown of all the nicknames for cards I use on a regular basis in Standard. I hope you enjoy them.

Mistmeadow Skulk — Bush Baby
Salvage Titan — Trash Man
Tattermunge Maniac — Nom Nom
Wren’s Run Packmaster — Michael Vick
Puppet Conjurer —Baby Daddy
Savor the Moment — “Savor the Flavor”

I’ll think of more later.

#9 — Pithing Needle

A lot of people say things to me along the lines of, “Yeah, control is really good against creature decks but they have trouble with man lands.” This is true; outside of Bant Charm and Condemn, the Five-Color Control decks have a bit of a tough time dealing with man lands. This is why I’m a bit surprised that Pithing Needle doesn’t see more play. Even with a double-Vivid hand, the Five-Color Control deck can cast a turn 2 answer to any future Treetop Villages, Mutavaults, and Ghitu Encampments that may come down in the future.

#8 — Troll Ascetic

I love me some Troll Ascetic. It seems that targeted elimination is a whole lot better right now than it was even just a few short weeks ago. Eyeblight’s Ending, Bant Charm, Nameless Inversion, Unmake, Naya Charm, and not to mention any number of burn and bounce spells… Troll avoids them all. Wouldn’t you rather have a nigh invulnerable 3/2 over something as delicate as an Imperious Perfect? I know I would, especially if I have Loxodon Warhammer in my deck.

Twelfth Place Elves

4 Thoughtseize
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Wren’s Run Vanquisher
4 Troll Ascetic
4 Nameless Inversion
3 Civic Wayfinder
3 Chameleon Colossus
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
3 Bitterblossom
2 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Birds of Paradise

4 Treetop Village
4 Llanowar Wastes
4 Gilt-Leaf Palace
4 Forest
3 Swamp
3 Mutavault
1 Twilight Mire

Mmmm… Troll Hammer…

#7 — Clone

Here’s the thing: there’s no replacement for Body Double in Reveillark. We all have to come to terms with that, and I’m sure most of you already have. This means that there’s no combo finish anymore with either Mirror Entity or Greater Gargadon. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t get to cheat more Reveillarks into play. Clone is a perfect fit. Not only do you get to copy a Reveillark if one happens to be on board, but you can also take advantage of any Demigods or some such nonsense on the other side of the table. And of course, when Clone is in the bin it’s a 0/0, which is just the kind of thing that Reveillark likes to be in the graveyard. Furthermore, if you happen to be running Kitchen Finks or Murderous Redcap, you can copy those fellows with a Clone. Then when your Clone dies, the persist trigger goes on the stack, allowing your Clone to return to play as the creature of your choice with a -1/-1 counter on it. That’s just madness.

#6 — Root Maze

I so badly want this card to be good in Standard. Slowing down Wrath of God, Firespout or Cryptic Command for a turn is good. Making every land as slow as a Vivid is even better. Making everything Esper come into play tapped? Well, that’s just gravy. Combine with some of your favorite control elements like Thorn of Amethyst for even more frustration on your opponent’s faces. There may not be a good deck for Root Maze right now (and it’s certainly no Kismet), but it’s certainly fun to dream.

#5 — Raven’s Crime

How is there not a deck for this card in Standard right now? I don’t get it. Oh, you say that there is a deck for it? No, I’m not counting the Kelpie deck because I have yet to see anyone play that deck in person. Either way, this card is too strong to ignore. I imagine something along the lines of this:

4 Ad Nauseam
4 Raven’s Crime
4 Crucible of Worlds
48 Land

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Being able to completely dismantle the hand of a Fae or control pilot is insanely good. So you guys go out there and find a way to make this card work!

#4 — Plumeveil

If Flametongue Kavu were in the format, would you play it? What if it were in the same color as the best spell in the format? Well, that’s what you have in the form of Plumeveil (alongside Cryptic Command). I have a long standing obsession with this card, way back to the very first articles that I wrote for StarCityGames.com, and I still stand by my claims. Plumeveil is the best creature with Defender since Drift of Phantasms, and is in many ways the best Wall ever printed. The fact that Plumeveil isn’t seeing very much play at all is nearly criminal in my book, particularly with the absence of four-power creatures outside of the Red deck in Standard. Consider Plumeveil for your next deck, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

#3 — Fulminator Mage

Quick quiz: what do Five-Color Control, Faeries, Kithkin, Furystokens, Doran, Elves and 90% of the other decks in Standard right now have in common? They all have a decent amount of non-basic lands! Even against the Red deck Fulminator Mage isn’t a dead card, able to take down a Ghitu Encampment with damage on the stack from a chump block or some such nonsense. Land destruction is just what the doctor ordered against many of the decks in Standard, and with cards like Makeshift Mannequin, Reveillark and Clone (yes, Clone) available to abuse the Mage, it’s befuddling to me that it doesn’t see more play.

#2 — Bitterblossom

Remember when this was the best card in Standard? Well, now it’s been relegated to just the Fae and Furystokens, neither of which are as powerful as they used to be. Can you imagine if we forgot about Tarmogoyf mid-dominance just because a new set had come out? Blasphemy! I think that every deck can use a 1/1 flier every turn for the low low cost of a single point of life during your upkeep, especially if you’re packing Kitchen Finks or some other form of life gain.

Although maybe this deck will change your mind…

Sprouting Tokens

4 Bitterblossom
4 Dragon Fodder
2 Elvish Visionary
4 Nantuko Husk
4 Sprouting Thrinax
2 Goblin Assault
4 Marsh Flitter
3 Hunting Triad
4 Torrent of Souls
2 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Predator Dragon

4 Forest
7 Mountain
4 Savage Lands
6 Swamp
4 Vivid Crag
1 Vivid Marsh

#1 — Gaddock Teeg

Cryptic Command. Wrath of God. Torrent of Souls. Mirrorweave. Flame Javelin. Makeshift Mannequin. As long as you are the controller of one Mr. Gaddock Teeg, these are not your concern. It astounds me that there isn’t a home for Gaddock Teeg. Even the decks that can afford to play him like Doran often choose not to. It seems odd that the decks that depend on spells that cost four or more don’t even have to have a sideboard plan against Gaddock Teeg, much less have to worry about him main deck. I would suggest to those of you out there looking for a way to defeat the current metagame and do well at States to try to work Gaddock Teeg into your builds. I suspect that you’ll be happy that you did.

Well, that’s my list. What’s yours?


Reuben Bresler
Reubs in the forums
[email protected]
CleverMonikerMan on AIM

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