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(Author’s note: The con­tents of this arti­cle reflect the views of the author, not SuperNerdLand as a whole)

In just a few days, the newest Magic: The Gathering set will hit the shelves for play­ers to expe­ri­ence.  While we’re excit­ed to have new cards to build around, we’ll have to say good­bye to two sets that have been the back­bone of the last few Standard: Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged.  The new block struc­ture will mean that the third set of the Tarkir block, Dragons of Tarkir, will rotate out with Magic Origins come October 2016, so play­ers will still have access to their favorite Dragonlords until then.

Of course, not every card will be missed from Khans and Fate, but some will.  We’re tak­ing a look at the top ten of those cards, and rank­ing them accord­ing to the impact they’ve had specif­i­cal­ly on Standard – any affect they’ve had on oth­er for­mats will be ignored, and saved for future arti­cles.

Honorable Mentions – Wild Slash

Wild Slash, an instant from Fate Reforged, rep­re­sents a now-bygone era of cheap burn spells.  With Wizards of the Coast indi­cat­ing that they wish to move Red as a col­or away from Lightning Bolt clones, Wild Slash will prob­a­bly be the last of its kind for quite a while.  The only oth­er cheap burn spell in Standard right now is Exquisite Firecraft, which – as a sor­cery – is lim­it­ed in its flex­i­bil­i­ty.  While it didn’t bring any­thing new to the for­mat, or break any ground that hadn’t been bro­ken before, we still salute Wild Slash and it’s con­tri­bu­tions.

#10 – Rally the Ancestors

Sometimes cards don’t real­ly get noticed until much lat­er in their Standard life­times.  Rally the Ancestors was one of those cards.  Originally, it didn’t see much play out­side of Black/White Warrior Tribal, an inter­est­ing niche deck that used cards like Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale to pump Warriors that you con­trolled – and the Khans block con­tained quite a few of them.  In 4Color Rally, the tit­u­lar spell is the deck’s win con­di­tion, using a mul­ti­tude of cheap crea­tures to return to the field and over­whelm the oppo­nent, or in com­bi­na­tion with cards like Zulaport Cutthroat to drain the opponent’s life.  Being thrust into the lime­light so late in its Standard life­time is a shame, but it had a major impact on the metagame in a very lit­tle amount of time and has to be rec­og­nized for that.

#9 – Abzan Charm

Abzan Charm was a part of the cycle of five wedge-colored instants present in Khans of Tarkir, and saw a lot of play in Standard via Abzan Midrange/Control decks.  Much like the sim­i­lar cycle of Charms from Shards of Alara, the Khans cycle offers a selec­tion of options for you to choose from, which are the­mat­i­cal­ly relat­ed to the clan whose col­ors you’re play­ing in.  Abzan Charm is spot removal, card draw, and coun­ter dis­tri­b­u­tion, all of which are immense­ly use­ful in every stage of play – it’s even been sug­gest­ed that Abzan Charm is one of the rea­sons why Abzan Midrange/Control decks were so pow­er­ful in this Standard.

#8 – Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Another card from the pow­er­house that were the Abzan decks, Sorin, Solemn Visitor was also one of the only planeswalk­ers that saw play in the Constructed for­mats (the oth­er we’ll be dis­cussing lat­er).  An easy-to-cast card with imme­di­ate upsides, this print­ing of Sorin was one that favored aggres­sive play, turn­ing your crea­tures into life-gaining machi­nes, and had an ulti­mate that could be achieved very rea­son­ably.  The pres­ence of cards like Hero’s Downfall from the Theros block did mean you would have to bring some coun­ter­spells along for Sorin’s vis­it to Tarkir.  As Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch cards start­ed becom­ing part of Standard, Sorin did fall out of favor, but the impact it had on Abzan Midrange/Control can’t be for­got­ten.


#7 – Monastery Mentor

Prowess was one of the most favor­ably received mechan­ics from this set, and it’s easy to see why with Monastery Mentor.  Not only does he become a mas­sive threat once you’ve got enough mana open to chain spells togeth­er, but he also sta­bi­lizes your board with tokens that also have Prowess.  Sadly, this Mentor didn’t see much play out­side of Jeskai Control, unlike our next card with Prowess.

#6 – Anafenza, the Foremost

One of the only Khans to see Standard play, Anafenza‘s com­bi­na­tion of cheap cast­ing cost and excel­lent pow­er and tough­ness made her imme­di­ate­ly appeal­ing.  Add on to that her abil­i­ty to put +1/+1 coun­ters onto oth­er crea­tures, and you end up with a way to make your threats even more threat­en­ing.  Against decks like Mono-Black Aggro, which focused on Raid mechan­ic crea­tures like Bloodsoaked Champion, Anafenza’s abil­i­ty to exile crea­tures destroyed in bat­tle is help­ful – and in oth­er cas­es, it pre­vents Delve mechan­ic cards from func­tion­ing.

#5 – Monastery Swiftspear

Lovingly referred to as Taylor Swiftspear by her fans, this love­ly lit­tle lady is one of the author’s favorite cards from the Tarkir block.  Not only does it have Prowess, but it also has Haste, mean­ing that it can be imme­di­ate­ly used on Turn 1.  Many a groan was had when “Mountain, Swiftspear, take 1” was the open­ing play.  Yeah, it doesn’t give you tokens like Monastery Mentor did, but when you have cheap com­bat tricks like Titan’s Strength and Slip Through Space, it’s not that much of a loss.  Swiftspear was seen in quite a few dif­fer­ent decks, rang­ing from Jeskai Control, to Mono-Red Aggro/Red Deck Wins, to Atarka Red, to Izzet Prowess, mak­ing her con­tri­bu­tions to this Standard imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­niz­able.


#4 – Treasure Cruise // Dig Through Time

Our num­ber four spot was a draw (pun very much intend­ed) between two Delve-mechanic cards; Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time are so sim­i­lar, and so impor­tant in gen­er­at­ing card advan­tage, that it was too hard and too close to put one above the oth­er.  Delve is an incred­i­bly use­ful mechan­ic that works regard­less of play-style; aggro decks appre­ci­ate it because it’s cheap late-game, con­trol decks appre­ci­ate it because it gives them cheap card advan­tage.  The loss of the­se two cards means that card draw won’t be as rep­re­sent­ed in the new Standard – while the new Investigate mechan­ic allows for card draw, not many cards with that mechan­ic will be viable in Standard, nor will it be as cheap as Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise.

#3 – Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

What’s bet­ter than drag­ons, you ask?  Why, a drag­on planeswalk­er of course!  Big dad­dy Ugin was this block’s focal point, with Nicol Bolas seek­ing to destroy him in Tarkir’s past, and the dragon-worshipping Sarkhan unknow­ing­ly work­ing to save him.  Ugin’s got some great abil­i­ties – his pos­i­tive is a free Lightning Bolt, his minus is absolute­ly amaz­ing removal in a Standard focused around multi-colored cards, and his ulti­mate is a win-condition all on its own as you don’t have to pay for the cards you’re putting onto the bat­tle­field.  Ugin’s one of those cards that works in what­ev­er deck you’re play­ing

#2 – Siege Rhino

Taking our num­ber two spot is everyone’s favorite Abzan war-beast.  It’s hard to imag­ine that a 4 con­vert­ed mana cost card – with three col­ors required to cast it – tak­ing such a high spot on the list, but the affect Siege Rhino has had on this Standard is impos­si­ble to ignore.  A six point life swing can make a world of dif­fer­ence, no mat­ter how well you’re doing in the game, and it’s tough enough to weath­er any­thing out­side of direct removal.  If you’ve got Anafenza, the Foremost, or Sorin, Solemn Visitor on the board as well, then it won’t be long before your oppo­nents are star­ing down some very, very scary rhi­nos.

#1 – Fetch lands

Was there any doubt as to what would top the list?  The reprint­ing of Onslaught‘s fetch lands was seen as a good thing by the play­ers, and a bad thing by devel­op­ment.  Fetch lands allowed for easy mana fix­ing, and were the rea­son why three col­or decks like Jeskai Control and Abzan Midrange have been as suc­cess­ful for as long as they have been – and why four col­or decks like Jeskai Black, Abzan Blue, Mardu Green, and 4Color Rally were even fea­si­ble in the Battle for Zendikar era of Standard.  The loss of fetch lands means that mono-colored decks will be much more preva­lent in the Shadows Over Innistrad Standard – which is a shame, as the lev­el of inge­nu­ity we’ve seen in this Standards multi-colored decks is some­thing that doesn’t hap­pen very often in the for­mat.


All things must come to an end, and this Friday marks the end of one of the most inno­v­a­tive and inter­est­ing blocks we’ve seen in Standard for a while now.  We’ll be sad to see Tarkir go, but our thoughts are already on the con­tri­bu­tions Shadows Over Innistrad will be bring­ing to Standard.  Stay tuned, because this Friday we’ll be tak­ing a look at some poten­tial­ly inter­est­ing cards from the newest Innistrad set.

(Update 4÷7÷2016 5:30 EST: A pre­vi­ous ver­sion of this arti­cle was post­ed with the wrong fetch­lands pic­tured. Whoops!) Card GamesTraditional GamesMagic The Gathering(Author’s note: The con­tents of this arti­cle reflect the views of the author, not SuperNerdLand as a whole) In just a few days, the newest Magic: The Gathering set will hit the shelves for play­ers to expe­ri­ence.  While we’re excit­ed to have new cards to build around, we’ll have to…