Top 10 Standard Cards in Gatecrash

January 22, 2013 | Posted by Dee

The full card image gallery of Gatecrash was released yesterday, so I looked at every single card in the set and tried to figure out the best ones.

After some deliberation and taking into account a couple playtesting sessions, here are my picks for the best Gatecrash cards for Standard.

1. Shocklands

I lumped all the shocklands together so I wouldn’t have five lands in my top ten. A top ten list is not that exciting when half of the cards are lands that just produce mana. :)

But these cards are going to make a lot of new decks viable. A good mana base is one of the most important parts of a powerful deck.

Also, shocklands make certain cards better like Flinthoof Boar, Arbor Elf, and Farseek.

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2. Boros Reckoner

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Boros Reckoner starts off as a solid 3/3 for three mana but his first ability makes him seem a lot bigger.

For example, as an attacker, he trades with bigger creatures like Restoration Angel and Loxodon Smiter. He can even trade with Thundermaw Hellkite!

The ability makes him a nightmare for red aggro and midrange decks to deal with. If they shoot it with Searing Spear, you can deal three damage to kill one of their guys.

Also, he makes Bonfire of the Damned less painful. If you have multiple Boros Reckoners on the board, Bonfire might just backfire on your opponent and kill him.

Against aggressive decks, you can block a 3/3 to trade and then deal three damage to kill another creature. That’s pretty good card advantage.

The ability can also target players so you can use Boros Reckoner to hit your opponent or his planeswalker.

Consider this win-win situation. Your opponent is at three life. You have a Boros Reckoner while he has Restoration Angel. You attack. If he blocks, you win. If he doesn’t, you win.

And that’s not all. The red/white creature can gain first strike for only one mana. First strike with three power is very good because Thragtusk and its Beast token have three toughness. Also, it’s enough power to beat up on Vampire Nighthawk.

Boros Reckoner is multicolored so he can’t be targeted by Ultimate Price. Plus, he has three toughness so he doesn’t die to Pillar of Flame or Ravager of the Fells.

3. Obzedat, Ghost Council

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Obzedat is huge at 5/5 for only five mana. He’s very hard to kill with removal spells because you can exile him on your turn.

That means he can dodge sorcery speed removal like Dreadbore, Sever the Bloodline, Supreme Verdict, and Terminus.

He’s good on offense and defense because he has high power and toughness. Plus, he gives you life gain and causes your opponent to lose life.

He even has haste when he returns from exile so you can put a lot of pressure on your opponent.

4. Prime Speaker Zegana

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Prime Speaker Zegana compares pretty well with Sphinx’s Revelation, one of the best cards in Return to Ravnica Standard.

If you build your deck to consistently generate a 3/3 creature or better, Zegana is often going to draw you at least four cards and be at least a 4/4.

For six mana, drawing four cards and getting a 4/4 is a lot of value. Consider what you get when you pay six mana for a Sphinx’s Revelation. You draw three cards and gain three life.

If your only creature is a 2/2, you’ll still draw three cards and get a 3/3. Plus, you have the upside of drawing five or more cards and getting a 5/5 or better.

Thragtusk is going to be one of Zegana’s best friends because it allows her to enter the battlefield as a 6/6 and draw six cards.

5. Experiment One

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As a one-drop that keeps getting bigger, Experiment One will make a strong impact in Standard. He’s like the green Champion of Parish.

It’s not too difficult to buff the Human Ooze to 3/3 by turn three. After you drop a two power creature on turn two, you can follow that up with a three power creature. My favorites are Wolfir Avenger, Flinthoof Boar, and Dreg Mangler.

Then, you can continue to buff him with big creatures like Thragtusk. When you combo Experiment One with Master Biomancer, things get out of hand very quickly.

Once you get two +1/+1 counter on Experiment One, he can survive a removal spell like Supreme Verdict and Ultimate Price. He shrinks back to 1/1 but you can grow him back by just casting creatures.

6. Aurelia’s Fury

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Versatile cards are pretty good candidates for top cards. Aurelia’s Fury is one of those cards with many different uses.

If you need to kill a bunch of small creatures, you can clear the board with Aurelia’s Fury. If you need to tap blockers to alpha strike, you can tap them with the X-spell.

If you’re concerned about a mass removal spell, you can hit your opponent with Aurelia’s Fury on his upkeep to keep him from casting Supreme Verdict or Terminus.

Late in the game when you have a lot of mana, you can finish off your opponent by spending all your mana to deal a bunch of damage. This play is pretty sweet when you respond at instant speed to Sphinx’s Revelation to win the game.

You can mix and match with the abilities of Aurelia’s Fury. For example, you cast the spell to kill Arbor Elf and a planeswalker and tap Thragtusk.

7. Frontline Medic

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It’s not a coincidence that this creature comes after Aurelia’s Fury. Frontline Medic keeps X-spells from dominating.

Along with hitting Aurelia’s Fury, you can target Sphinx’s Revelation, Bonfire of the Damned, and Rakdos’s Return.

If this was Frontline Medic’s only ability, he would be solid. He’s already a 3/3 for three mana, which is decent.

His battalion ability pushes him into the top ten. This ability allows you to attack without fear of losing your guys in combat. Frontline Medic’s power comes into play with battalion because he deals lethal combat damage to Thragtusk.

Also, the ability is relevant because of Restoration Angel and Wolfir Avenger. These two creatures are good at ambushing attackers but you don’t have to worry about them with Frontline Medic’s battalion.

8. Master Biomancer

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I initially underrated Master Biomancer. For some reason, I thought he was legendary. Once I realized he wasn’t, I started seeing crazy plays with him.

Let’s say you have one Master Biomancer on the board. You play another one. It enters the battlefield as a 4/6.

Now any creature you cast will gain six +1/+1 counters. That’s an insane boost. Of course, it gets more insane with three or four Master Biomancers.

I had one game where I had three Master Biomancers on the board. I cast Experiment One. It entered the battlefied as a 15/15 regenerator! Not bad for one mana. :)

You won’t see multiple copies of this Simic creature in most games, but that’s okay because he is still good by himself.

Two +2/+2 counters is a solid buff. Wolfir Avenger becomes a 5/5 regenerator. Thragusk shows up as a 7/5. When it leaves play, you get a 5/5 Beast.

Experiment One starts off as a 3/3. Plus, he’s easy to evolve because Master Biomancer buffs all the creatures you cast.

His 2/4 body is good at surviving Searing Spear. Also, he can block 3/3s without dying so he’s a decent blocker.

9. Truefire Paladin

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With Boros Reckoner, Aurelia’s Fury, and Frontline Medic, Boros definitely got the goods in Gatecrash.

Truefire Paladin adds more to the Boros guild as vigilance two-drop that still plays an important role if the game goes long.

He can boost his power and gain first strike so he can brawl effectively with Thragtusk and Restoration Angel. The two abilities are pretty sweet with Silverblade Paladin and Sublime Archangel.

Plus, Truefire Paladin is a Human so he fits right in with Champion of the Parish, Cavern of Souls, and Mayor of Avabruck. He’s even a Knight if you want to play War Falcon.

10. Soul Ransom

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As a steal effect, Soul Ransom adds a new dimension to Standard. There’s no other card quite like it in the format.

Olivia Voldaren and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalkers can steal creatures but you have to spend a lot more mana. Also, Olivia is vulnerable to creature removal spells.

Soul Ransom does have a drawback but the payoff is big. Four mana to steal a creature is very good. You just have to play the card carefully and build your deck to take advantage of it.

Ideally, you should cast Soul Ransom whenever your opponent is low on cards in hand.

To build around the Dimir enchantment, I recommend mass removal like Supreme Verdict and cards that force multiple discards like Rakdos’s Return. Also, I like Sever the Bloodline because it can kill multiple creatures.

You can play instant speed removal to kill the stolen creature whenever your opponent discards two cards to get it back. This play is good because you will still draw two cards from Soul Ransom’s ability.

Honorable Mentions

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These cards were next on my list:

Domri Rade
Ghor-Clan Rampager
Boros Charm
Simic Charm
Orzhov Charm

I think they will definitely see play in Standard but they were not strong enough to crack the top ten.

Your Turn

What do you think are the best Standard cards in Gatecrash?

4 Responses to “Top 10 Standard Cards in Gatecrash”

  1. Rob on January 22nd, 2013 11:01 am

    I think Boros charm is going to be a baller

  2. franklin on January 23rd, 2013 5:42 am

    I think boros charm had to be in the top but well :P also i think legion loyalist is a superb card that can activate the batallion quite easily :)

  3. ReiNanto on January 23rd, 2013 10:01 am

    I love Fathom Mage too.

    Simic is the best team for me. Green is fat with Experiment One, Wolfir, arbor elf, Thragusk, ….

  4. dustin on January 26th, 2013 5:43 pm

    Boros Charm will be good enough to see play in Legacy… when a card comes around like that… its gotta be #1