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By: Gameben23, Ben Leemaster
Aug 29 2007 1:04pm
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Tenth edition was released not too long ago on Magic Online and the standard format changed just as everyone expected. Persecute getting the boot means black is getting much less play. The removal of Seething Song means Dragonstorm is extinct, and Troll Ascetic combined with Red Deck Wins old friends Mogg Fanatic and Incinerate have made Gruul the best aggro deck in the current environment. The current metagame now seems to consist or Gruul and Angelfire Control. Solar Flare and other decks like Narcobridge try to put up results but nothing is on par with Angelfire and Gruul.

Why is that? I took a deep look at Tenth and I'm seeing a lot of cards that are quite obviously powerful but are going to waste. Terror seems to be what the doctor ordered for black based control but when playing on Magic Online the only swamps I see are played are in limited decks. So anyway I wanted to compile a list of cards that I have seen going unused right now that came out of Tenth and some that are from other sets in the current standard format.

1. Terror: Kills Tarmogoyf, enough said. It actually kills a lot more than that, but Tarmogoyf is the most pressing threat. It kills Numot and Teferi too? Yeah, it kills a lot of the key cards in the format.

2. Last Gasp: Its no terror given, but you know what? It’s about as good as it gets at the mana cost of two.

3. Nightmare Void: I remember this card, do you? Well, if you don't let me remind you that not many control decks can take this card coming at them EVERY turn. Strip their hand to the point of top deck mode and as long as you can finish the job before they top deck you win.

4. Seize the Soul: I have nothing to say. This card can easily clear the opposing board at instant speed and leave you with a 1/1 flier. What more do you want?

5. Beacon of Unrest: I cannot think of any better way to end a control on control matchup than with this card. I utilized this card in Solar Flare and I wish I had a third copy in my sideboard at regionals for the control mirror. It absolutely wins games and yet no one uses it. Makes sense to me. Well, not really.

6. Grim Harvest: Have you ever played this card? It's insane. Bringing back Angel of Despair three or more times within a given match...well you get the picture. (Editor’s note: Grim Harvest is a powerhouse in Pauper, it sees a lot of play in that format.)



Ohran Viper

7. Stonewood Invocation: Is four mana too much to ask for the guarantee that the creature won’t die plus adding 5 damage? That has to be a great deal right?

8. Ohran Viper: This card is nine tickets for a reason. I won't lie, it seems awkward in a format with Incinerate, but it is one of those cards that if not dealt with it can easily just win the game for you via card advantage. Oh yeah, I hate trading anything with this card. If it does not get to draw cards, and creatures are thrown in front of it, at the very least you are getting rid of a man.

9. Moldervine Cloak: Yeah, how does a 6/5 Troll Ascetic sound to you. That is a pretty good deal right? I thought so. (Editor’s Note: Moldervine Cloak does see play in Mono Green Aggro.)

10. Dryad Sophisticate: A 2 power creature for 2 mana that is unblockable in just about match up. Why isn't this card played?

11. Repeal Ever seen an aggro player try to figure out whether or not to sacrifice a Mogg Fanatic in response to this? It’s hilarious! The decision to kill a guy or to let you return it and draw a card is a decision that aggro player can agonize over early on when life totals are still twenty.

12. Spell Snare: I looked at the Standard Top 8 results for 10 tournaments and officially saw 1 deck that played this card. I cried, seriously. The card counters more than you’d think, in control it counters the very important signets and aggro you get Incinerates and the monstrous Tarmogoyfand the card advantage machine that is Dark Confidant.

13. Foresee: This card is capable of digging six cards down. You know how many cards do that? NONE! Not even Fact or Fiction digs that deep. Not saying fact is better but you can not doubt that Foresee is the best sorcery speed card draw in the format.

14. Persuasion: This card says "Hello Tarmogoyf want to work for me" and you know what the Tarmogoyf says "Yes Boss". You could say that he is persuaded to join my team.

15. Pyroclasm: Ever notice that all the aggro creatures everyone’s trying to kill right now have only two toughness, Tarmogoyf being the exception. This card is very powerful and nothing has used it since Magnivore. Why?

16. Martyr of Ashes: Red Based Control deck not possible? This is the second Wrath effect on the list. I know it is a little out there, but I’m just thinking outside the box.

17. Sulfur Elemental: This is the reason Martyr of gaining a crap load of life isn't being played right now. It's also a 3 power uncounterable creature that can be played at instant speed. Sneaks in after Wrath and trumps that Remand. What more do you want?

18. Demonfire: Did I miss the meeting where the card was banned from standard? No? Because last I checked this card is an uncounterable red x spell. The loss of tron hurts but aggro and control can still benefit from it. I feel that this card can still be a very powerful finisher.

19. Calciderm: You guys know that Blastoderm used to be played in legacy before Flash ruined things? Yeah it’s that good.

20. Condemn: It’s the closest thing we will ever get to Swords to Plowshares in standard. Is there any better way to explain this card?

21. Griffin Guide: Hmmm...There’s Incinerate Troll Ascetic and Mogg Fanatic. I can understand cards getting forgotten among all the old favorites getting reprinted. One thing I want to say is that aggro doesn't need red. (Did I just say that?). The truth is Green White aggro sacrifices some game against control but not as much as you would think. Putting Griffin Guide on Troll forces one to Wrath or the one on the receiving will die quite quickly.

22. Mobilization: Sacred mesa has an upkeep. This doesn't. In a white based control deck not much can end the game much quicker than this. (Editor’s note: Mesa does not an upkeep that much is true, however, the creatures that it produce have a form of evasion.)

23. Shadowmage Infiltrator: It's Finkel! Shadowmage Infiltrator here has shown up in the block scene lately and for good reason. A well played Finkel can quickly storm you ahead in card advantage. The only trouble is Incinerate and even then you are fine with having it serve as a lightning rod. At least it is one less burn spell being aimed at your face.

24. Mystic Enforcer: Another star from block season. This card is a beating no matter the matchup. Can't be targeted by Terror or Sudden Death and by itself it serves a big threat.

25. Teneb the Harvester: This is easily the best of the three dragon legends and given the color combination is rough to make a "powerful" deck this card is one to watch out for.

26. Putrefy/Mortify: Let’s not kid ourselves. They do the same thing. When did killing ANY targetable creature go out of fashion?

27. Razormane Masticore: I'm curious why I never saw this creature played in any games I watched. Can you think of anything that just sets aggro behind faster? Especially with the decks boasting signets, raw dogging Masticore on turn 4 has a "Hi, thanks for playing" kind of feel to it.

28. Coalition Relic: This card can do some very absurd things as block has shown. I realize being dependent on it can leave you open to artifact removal, but you cannot forget its power.

Razormane Masticore

29. Zoetic Cavern: This card is good. Especially in a pickles deck you can play many tricks. I have seen plays done with bouncing it with a karoo and playing another morph (Vesuvan Shapeshifter or Brine Elemental) and it goes unanswered because people NEVER want to remove a land.

30. Tolaria West: Every blue based control deck should run this card. This tutor searches for (Urza’s Factory) any other land you need. (Editor’s Note: Tolaria West is a top card in Block Constructed as well, since it fetches Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.) It also searches up useful tools such as Pacts or Tormod's Crypt.

31. Faerie Conclave: I am not sure why this card isn't in the control decks. “Manlands” are just as good if not better in control. They shine here because you have a threat on the board, which is very good against control. This land is not going to get countered.

These are just some of the cards that I feel are going unused. Why? Their power level is clearly high and could easily find a home in decks in the current Standard format. The lack of innovation could be attributed to multiple factors, but I feel the most pressing factor is the fact that there are very little high level events coming up in the near future to use the format. Sure, there are some Nationals going on still, and the OTJ tournaments are about to start up again, but there is nothing that is deserving of new tech. I would not be surprised if someone could build a completely new standard deck right now that would earn them a good amount of product before this standard season rotates. Lorwyn doesn't hit for another month, so get on MTGO and play standard while you can. Tech wants to be free, and the risk takers will be rewarded with their innovative deck lists.

Now to the reason I actually created this list. For those completely in tuned with what's going on in MTGO knows that the OTJ Qualifiers are coming up. I'm hoping that these tournaments will bring down the price of some the current Extended staples, like Burning Wish, Cunning Wish and Psychatog, however, I am not going to be holding my breath on this. Tournaments can be easy to won with decks that people simply don't expect. I was a part of the clan Manhattan Project when Dredge was just getting built (this was before Bridge from Below). The deck easily won four to ten tournaments. It took about 4 before people began hating it out. That is four tournaments, placing well in those tournaments netted us nearly 100 packs in prize. To go into tournaments with tech that absolutely "wins" is a great feeling.

I will definitely be testing for the upcoming OTJ Qualifiers and I can guarantee that I will not be running Gruul or Angelfire Control. I won't lie; this is somewhat due to a lack of cards. It also comes down to thinking I would like winning more if I actually had a deck that is more thought-out than one that I ripped off of the internet. Not to say I won't do it if the decks enjoyable or is clearly unbeatable. I just like putting input into what I do. I will be playing the OTJ Qualifiers and I will be bringing you coverage of those coming soon. Before I go I am going to leave with some ideas for those of you going into the qualifiers.

1. All control decks, especially those with signets should have Razormane Masticore in the sideboard. You realize that you can bring that in for just about anything to surprise your opponent. I am brainstorming with Dralnu to board in Plague Sliver and Razormane Masticore and just raw dog them versus control.

2. Try the Pickles deck with Zoetic Cavern and bounce lands. It adds in so many tricks it isn’t even funny.

3. Tolaria West is the best transmute card printed. If you are sporting a blue control deck then don't leave this behind. I literally play one Tormod's Crypt in my sideboard knowing I can tutor for it. Also, by playing with Tolaria West, I can afford to run fewer copies of my tutor able cards. This allows me to free up sideboard space for more copies of the very important cards.

4. If you a sporting a Solar Flare deck of any kind you definitely need to test out Beacon of Unrest and Grim Harvest; both are absolutely ridiculous in the long game.

5. Don't rule out Rock. With a great list of cards that are playable to the deck it would be foolish to count it out at any point. It has access to Mortify and Putrefy against aggro along with playing up to a possible 8 wraths. It has Nightmare Void and other cards that absolutely crush other control decks. Remember, no matter what anyone thinks, Rock always looks good on paper. TEST IT!

Have fun and good luck!


Do I apologize or what? by Gameben23 at Wed, 08/29/2007 - 20:27
Gameben23's picture

I'm not sure whether I should I apologize or what. I came up with the article idea when approached to write for the site. I had absolutley no idea that Karsten wrote a similar article not to long ago. As far as the research, it consisted of checking out standard top 8s and quite a few 8 mans. What I saw was not alot variation, just Angelfire or URW(considering some version's dont even run Firemane Angel) and Grull. My purpose was to do something that I thought was a new idea and not just another draft article. The cards I listed were cards I believe to powerful and I saw very little of. It's not to say they were unused, just not as used as they should be. For a good example, I knew of the UR Storm decks with repeal but that use felt very, for a lack of a better word, silly. In the time I was working on this article I may have had these spells cast, at most, once or twice against me. In hindsight I wish I spent more time on the article, as it I believe the idea is a good one. I suppose to good to take on as ones first article. I very much appreciate everyones feedback, even if the majority was negative. I hope that what I write in the future will be much better. I had hoped to bring coverage of the OTJ Qualifiers starting all this week. Until then...have fun and good luck out there.

keep em coming by mtgotraders at Thu, 08/30/2007 - 09:59
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Just keep trucking man.  You gotta start somewhere and sites like this are a good place to start and learn the ropes.  Bad feedback is better than no feedback at all right?  I look forward to your next article and i'm sure you will learn a lot from this one.

 -gnawph-  I know what you mean but so far it has stopped all of the scripts that were hitting is up.  If they get around it again i'll make it an image.

Well... by gnawph (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 08/29/2007 - 19:45
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I promised I wouldn't comment anymore unless I was either nice or constructive.  We'll here the best constructive critisim I can do.  Hope its not too desctructive to your ego. ;)

When I look at "card evaluations" the first thing I notice right away is whether or not somebody is convinving me that they know the difference between "good cards" and "current good cards".   I barely play Magic right now but I'm 100% sure I could of written the same card evaluation article after looking at a couple of premier events.

What I couldn't write is an article explaining how these cards could be the gaps in the current metagames armor.   Thats what makes a card evaluation article great.

Besides the spelling mistake in the first paragraph there are a couple of points where you really make me doubt your magic knowledge. 

1. I was into reading about Legacy before Flash and I never remember seeing Blasoderm in any top tier decks.

2. I have never seen Marty played in anything outside of PDC because its effect is so clunky.  You have to have red cards in your hand to make it work.  Sometimes you can't guarentee that.  I'm pretty sure PDC players have a 12-16 red cards rule of thumb for running Marty, anything less and it just becomes worse than Pyroclasm. 


To Heath: A security code or "captcha" on a website only works because its hard for spam bots and spiders to read images and decifer the text.  By putting your code in the actual HTML your doing nothing to prevent spam.

by Urzishra (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 08/29/2007 - 19:35
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the thing I don't like most about this article, is that the author stole the idea from Online Tech a couple weeks ago.. where Frank mentions 30 cards that should see play or are "under the radar" type cards, many of those cards show up here, (off the top of my head Condemn and Ohran Viper)

 Not that I think the article is bad, It is just poorly organized and not researched enough. To me, there is more then just the Top 8 decks of any given PE in standard, using that as your only "measuring stick" is a little redundant to me, (time of day, skill of players, amount of players.. all factor in) It also seems to me that you should use "General" arguements rather than specific ones. For example, "Terror and take out Tarmogoyf" .. about 5 lines down "Persausion can steal Tarmogoyf".. rather then stating the rather obvious, why not switch it up, say something like, "Terror is a fast simple way to deal with most targetable creatures in standard." I think anyone who plays can figure out Terror can target Tarmogoyf or if that pesky Birds of Paradise with a Blanchwood armor on it. .. I felt reading the article that you assume everyone knows the decks backwards and frontwards. If I didn't know anything about the current metagame, it would seem to me, from reading your article, that Tarmogoyf pretty much means I have to concede, even though there are plenty of ways to deal with one (Tormod's Crypt, Feldon's Cane, Terror... and so on)

 I also don't think 10th has been out long enough to make judgements on cards from it yet. Considering Standard season is basically over (it won't really kick up again seriously until Lorwyn drops.. and that kicks out a lot of archetypes, or severely weakens them) Faerie Conclaves are great, until they get Terror'd, Incinerate'd or Darkblasted. . you're out a threat and a land.. and those aren't uncommon removal sources either..

 Finally, I frankly don't care why you put this list out.. the entire outro to the article meant absolutely nothing to me. I don't care what you are playing in the OTJ qualifiers. Don't assume your readers care about personal crusades.

Here's why I don't buy it. by runeliger at Wed, 08/29/2007 - 19:00
runeliger's picture

Haven't done a rebuttal comment in a while, so let's start. (Oh , PS, qualifications come from the fact I in fact do play Standard PEs alot (pronounced once every 2 days) *which is why you almost never see me on runeliger nowadays... Darn those 1 account restrictions!!*, oh and I top 8 regularly enough)

1. It is seeing play. It's called UB decks (as well as some solar flare versions), that said, it doesn't gain life unforunately.

2.  See Above

3. It's prohibitive color cost worked well against the old UB Dralnu deck mirrors and heavy control decks like mono blue snow, however in the current meta of mid-range Angelfire variants, and the burn intensive Gruul and RDW variants... it's outclassed and out metaed.

4.Seize the Soul, see #1 (And add use in Solar Flare decks, and some Rack decks I hear)

5. Explain why you say not really. That said, see Explaination for #3, and add the fact, I think it should see play eventually.

6. Um, there are better card advantage engines out there, and the current meta doesn't really care if you recur your Angelfire. You'd have to pay a great deal, and with slot intensive decks out there, better used having another threat instead of recurring one (also a dead card if you have no dead creatures).

7. If UG aggro or Mono Green Aggro becomes popular, you'll see this card come back. Unforuantely, you nailed it. 4 mana is too much for 5 damage especially if you rely on creatures ~_~... There is just so many better burn spells that finish it up, that only decks without red need such a card.

8. Mono Green runs it. But guess what, Mono Green is hated out. Enough Said.

9. See Above

10. See above again.

11. What are you talking about? about 10% of the Meta even in PE top 8s uses this card. Ever heard of Perilous Aussie Storm? Or UB variants? This is a vital card against many matchups and an amazing utility card that sees TON of play.

12. UW variants and other U based hard control decks play 4 of these (mostly maindeck). You're right they're good. That's why they see play.

13.Foresee sees play in UW variants. However, the cost takes a bit too long to cast. If you're digging 6 cards, you want to get the card you want. If it's WoG, you probably want to cast it the turn you play Foresee. That's why the 3 mana Compulsive Research is the best card drawing sorcery at this moment. But it'll rotate out in a few months.

14. Ok so Persuasian tells Tarmogoyf to work for me.. Good stuff.. Now watch tarmogoyf's old master burn you for the rest of the mana it took you to get to the 5 mana to persuade that tarmogoyf. There aren't enough huge bombs in the format to warrant the use of this card. That said, it's very powerful and may see play.

15. Pyroclasm (which is a very powerful card I sideboard myself) is claimed under teh justification "the only exception is Tarmogoyf". Hmm let's see...

So let's look at Frank Karsten's Standard meta list. Check. Choose all the aggro decks. Check. Check how many non tarmogoyf creatures have more toughness than 2. Let's see the list.

Mogg War Marshal (survives it leaving a 1/1 token), Greater Gargadon, Keldon Maruders, And a ton of pendelhavens to pump the 1/1s to 2/3s, sacifricing red 1/1s (Mogg Fanatic), Serra Avenger, Troll Ascetic (he can regen, so pyroclasm is rather pointless most of the time), Loxodon Hierarch, Watchwolf, Selesyna Guildmage (can pump all the 1/1s 2/2s and itself to survive everything), Griffin guide (does it for a creature), Call of the Herd Tokens, 2/2s + the Llanowar Reborn tokens, scab-clan mauler. And that's just decks with  more than 5% share of the Metagame.

So I'm going to take a pause at the 1/2 way point, and simply ask that next time, do some more research, and detail your arguments better. A lot of these just don't make sense if you play Standard.


Not True by Gameben23 at Wed, 08/29/2007 - 14:31
Gameben23's picture

This list based off the Premier Event Top 8's in MTGO. The fact remains that yes some of these cards may be in use, but none are very popular. The red section, I admit, was awkard due to some RDW builds out there. The fact remains that the cards dont see enough play in competitive decks. Anyway, this list is to indicate cards that are underused, from what I can tell, in the current standard metagame on MTGO.

by SpikeBoyM at Wed, 08/29/2007 - 18:06
SpikeBoyM's picture

I think you misunderstand the Mortify/Putrefy dichotomy.  The do not do the same thing.  Besides from destroying differnet non-Creature permanents, Putrefy prevents creatures from regenerating.  This seems like in certain environments, it could be an important factor.  Similarly, I can see fields where one is preferrable to the other (since I do not follow Standard, I can not say for certain).



In retrospect... by Cashew at Wed, 08/29/2007 - 18:15
Cashew's picture

Maybe not in the top 8 decks but it seems bizarre because I see Calciderm, Coalition Relic, Pyroclasm, or Shadowmage Infilitator almost every other game I play. Would never call them unpopular cards.

One thing you need to realize on Terror - Condemn - Mortify - Putrefy is they are 4 cards that all fit the same slot.  The problem isn't people aren't playing removal it's there's for a change vast choices.  Not like in Kawigama where we had what Rend Flesh/Spirit.

The other thing that I can say about Condemn - Why would anyone play it in serious games right now?  One word - Teferri.  Hard to condem attacking creatures with him in play. This is a card that rightly should not be played since the release of Time Spiral. There are too many far better options.

WTF? by iceage4life (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 08/29/2007 - 14:12
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The number of cards on this list that are seeing play boggles the mind.  Also your breakdown of the meta as Angelfire, Gruul, and some random decks is pretty far off base.


I'd go on but three paragraphs here offer more solid standard advice then this article. 


I don't mean to come off as negative but it just doesn't seem like you are in touch the the standard metagame (and this is coming from someone who is not in touch with it).