With the Rivals of Ixalan release on the horizon, the eyes of all players turn to the spoilers being dropped leading up to the new set, and my own eyes are no different. However, I have been reading the discussion around certain cards from the set and what they mean for standard and their playability. I have been given multiple opinions on the state of these cards, and what they mean for the format, and after some careful thought, here are a few cards that in my opinion are either overrated, or underrated in black from the newest set, and why I came to that conclusion.
- Tetzimoc, Primal Death
Tetzimoc is a card that has piqued my interest for quite some time. While I personally am not quite sold on it being a card that will immediately see standard play, the implications of this card are so wide reaching that it certainly will see play in its lifetime during standard. The mindgame of revealing it versus cards like harsh scrutiny and countermagic is palpable, and the pressure an aggressive deck can feel with this on the other side of the field staring them down is not to be downplayed. I can see a world where Tetzimoc hangs around putting counters on creatures, followed by a swift turn five The Scarab God into a turn six Tetzimoc, destroying one to two creatures in order to really start pressuring the opponent. Keep this on your radar for standard going forward.
- Reaver Ambush
I don’t what we did to brainwash people into thinking such a mediocre text line was worth the trouble in standard, but this card really isn’t that good outside of limited. We are living in a standard with harnessed lightning and fatal push. There isn’t a world I can see where this sees play with kaladesh block in the format, along with all of the spells that will see print by then. I don’t know why people think this card has a real place in standard, but it is a frightening proposition to run this instead of something like essence extraction.
- Dire Fleet Poisoner
Now this is a pirate I can get behind. I truly haven’t been too impressed by the givings of the pirate tribe up till this point, but this is the kind of card that makes me want to give the tribe a fair shake. Good on offense and arguably even better on defense, along with other powerful aggressive pirates being released in the coming set make me excited to see the kind of work this card is geared and ready to put into a standard full of giant monsters. Having deathtouch in a world of 9/9 and 12/12 dinosaurs and having flash in a world with glorybringer isn’t something that is easily overlooked. The ability to play well with the removal in black, push damage or advantageous trades in combat makes the card incredible, not to mention the toughness boost means it can save the likes of hostage taker from removal such as abrade after attacks. This card is a sleeper for the pirates of the set, and should be taken seriously as a threat going forward.
- Twilight Prophet
Look guys, I like my 2/4 creatures with sweet abilities as much as the next guy, (See Courser of Kruphix) but this card just isn’t cutting it for standard. Ascend as a mechanic seems difficult to achieve in a standard full of 2 for 1 cards and topping off at five mana for a 4/4 haste that kills a creature (for example, it kills this creature!). The text on the card might as well say “if you are flooding on lands on the seventh turn or you have an overwhelming advantage, gain some advantage.” The fact that the cap for permanents is ten means that you have to have a deck that is willing to pull that kind of count off with tokens or other effects, which means a conditional dark confidant look alike that can’t rumble in the air with everyone’s favorite dragon, nor can attack through a whirler virtuoso with any amount of energy counters means that this card is really not cutting it currently. Maybe in the fall, but for now, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
- Ravenous Chupacabra
Holy crap, this card is so good it’s sickening.
Patrick Sullivan had a wonderful rant about this card this past weekend on the first day of the Colombus modern open, but this card is sickeningly good. To briefly recap his problem, it is a non tribal themed card in a tribal block that does more of the same problematic immediacy in standard that has plagued it for quite some time, that synergizes so well with scarab god that if it doesn’t see 4 of play in standard, something is horribly wrong. This card single handedly takes one of the few colors that doesn’t have the immediate two for ones that temur has been ruling the format with and gives them arguably a better version of that. Know all the decks playing Gonti, Lord of Luxury in four color energy? Can’t wait for this card to walk right in and replace it. If you’re sleeping on this card, don’t. If you think this card is bad, you’re wrong. Know this card and know it well, because you are going to be losing to it for quite a stretch of time once it is released.
But what do you think? Are these cards amazing, or terrible? Agree or disagree with my assessment?
Let me know, and I’ll see you next week!