Top 15 Mythic Rares in Theros Standard
December 5, 2013 | Posted by Dee
As the rarest of the rarity types, I thought it would be interesting to rank the mythic rares in Theros Standard. To help me with the ranking, I looked at the data from MTG Analytics.
If you’re an active Standard player, you probably won’t be too surprised at the list but it’s still pretty interesting to see which mythic rares have proven themselves after the rotation.
1. Jace, Architect of Thought
Because of his versatility and power level, Jace, Architect of Thought has had many top finishes in the biggest Theros Standard tournaments.
His +1 ability is great at slowing down the small creatures of aggro decks. In control decks, the combo of Jace and Supreme Verdict puts aggro players in a tough position on turn four. They have to overextended to beat Jace but if they do that, Supreme Verdict wrecks them.
Versus midrange, Jace’s -2 ability digs through your library to find the answer you need. Against control, Jace’s ultimate is usually game-ending.
You’ll find Jace in blue devotion and control decks. These decks make up a big chunk of the metagame. With two blue mana symbols and a resistance to creature removal, Jace is a solid support card in blue devotion decks. Against aggro, he’s better than Bident at the four drop spot. Against control, his second ability helps you recover from a board sweeper.
2. Master of Waves
Mono Blue Devotion has been on a tear recently so I had to put Master of Waves at the number two spot. In the last two weekends, the deck placed 11 players in the top 16 of two Grand Prixs. Also, it occupied four spots of the top eight of the Starcitygames Standard Open last week.
Master of Waves is one of the best cards in the deck. He demands an answer right away or he just wins you the game with his horde of Elemental tokens. He can generate so much power on the board that decks light on removal like G/W Aggro have a really hard time dealing with him.
Plus, the mythic rare has protection from red so you can’t kill him with powerful removal spells like Lightning Strike and Dreadbore. This ability absolutely shuts down entire archetypes like Mono Red Aggro.
Master of Waves is great in multiples because each copy makes the tokens bigger. And he buffs up Mutavaults to make them even more awesome.
3. Thassa, God of the Sea
I have Master of Waves slightly ahead of Thassa because he’s better in multiples than the Sea God. But of course, Thassa is very important to the blue devotion decks.
Getting a three mana 5/5 is a huge boon for blue because its creatures are generally smaller than average. Plus, Thassa can make herself and other creatures unblockable so you can win out of nowhere once you reach five devotion even though your opponent has a lot of blockers.
As a 5/5, she gives you the ability to evolve Cloudfin Raptor from 3/4 to 4/5 or even 4/5 to 5/6 if you draw multiple Thassas.
When she’s not a creature, she gets you closer to five devotion with her scry ability. As the game goes on, scrying every turn helps you draw blue permanents and avoid the dreaded mana flood. In other situations, scry increases your chances of drawing the fourth land you need to cast Master, Jace, or Bident.
4. Sphinx’s Revelation
This blue/white card draw and lifegain spell is a big reason reason why UWx Control decks like Esper have done better than other control decks.
As an X-spell, Sphinx’s Revelation is very flexible. It gets better as the game goes on, which is exactly what you want in a control deck since it is built to reach the late game. Yet, you can play it on turn four or five and still get some value.
The lifegain is crucial for buying you time to survive against aggressive decks. Oftentimes, all you need to stabilize and win is avoid dying for one more turn. Sphinx’s Revelation gives you that ability while also drawing you cards to deal with your opponent’s threats.
Versus slower decks, you can chain Sphinx’s Revelations to just bury your opponent with card advantage. Each successive copy of the spell is usually cast for more cards since you probably drew lands with the previous copy.
5. Stormbreath Dragon
Stormbreath Dragon is the finisher of choice for the top red devotion decks. R/w Devotion in particular has made a big splash recently with two top 8 finishes in last weekend’s Grand Prix. With all the mana you can generate from Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, it’s not too hard at all to make the Dragon monstrous.
Once it become monstrous, it can quickly end the game in your favor as a massive 7/7 flyer. Also, it will deal damage according to the cards in your opponent’s hand. That ability speeds up your kill and you have the option of redirecting the damage to hit a planeswalker.
Protection from white is relevant these days. It protects Stormbreath Dragon from Detention Sphere, Azorius Charm, Chained to the Rocks, and Banisher Priest. Haste is a great ability against sorcery speed removal like Mizzium Mortars and Supreme Verdict.
6. Polukranos, World Eater
If you like huge, powerful, undercosted green creatures, I recommend Polukranos, World Eater. This monster is a force in Standard because of his mana to size ratio and devastating monstrosity ability.
With enough mana, Polukranos’s ability kills multiple creatures while making itself even bigger. As you can imagine, an X-ability is pretty awesome in green devotion ramp decks that take advantage of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. You can make a ton of mana, kill all your opponent’s creatures, and then rumble across the board to smash your opponent with a massive creature.
Polukranos is a decent devotion enabler too. Of course, that helps with Nykthos but in games when you don’t draw the land, you can use the devotion with Nylea, God of the Hunt and Reverent Hunter.
7. Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
Though many people were underwhelmed by Elspeth when she was first spoiled a few months ago, she has proven herself to be a very good finisher for control decks with white like U/W.
Against aggro, she puts a bunch of chump blockers on the battlefield every turn to stall your opponent’s offense. Versus midrange, she can destroy multiple big creatures with one activation of her second ability.
This ability doesn’t target so it can kill the pesky pro-white creatures, Blood Baron of Vizkopa and Stormbreath Dragon. Having another card that can kill Blood Baron is great because he also has pro-black, which makes him immune to Hero’s Downfall.
Elspeth’s ultimate is excellent because it usually kills your opponent in one turn. Having a card that can kill quickly is a great for control decks because you don’t want to give your opponent more draw steps to find cards that can kill you.
Unless your opponent has a card like Dreadbore or Pithing Needle, Elspeth’s ultimate is not too hard to reach because her other abilities do a good job of protecting her from attackers.
8. Ajani, Caller of the Pride
It’s taken longer than I thought but Ajani, Caller of the Pride is finally showing up regularly at the top tables of big Standard tournaments. Originally released in the Magic 2013 Core Set, the planeswalker has a high power level but he just hasn’t had a favorable enough metagame to shine until now.
With the reprinting of Brave the Elements and the rise of devotion decks, Ajani is well-positioned in today’s Standard format. Brave the Elements is very good against the monocolor or near-monocolor devotion decks. It allows you to attack with your army and hit your opponent even if she has a lot of blockers.
Ajani is a great fit for the aggressive strategy that Brave the Elements enables. He can slowly buff your team while threatening a big blow with his second ability. One useful play is putting +1/+1 counters on Mutavault. This tactic is very good if your opponent is relying on sorcery speed removal like Supreme Verdict to kill your creatures.
9. Blood Baron of Vizkopa
The Vampire has protection from two colors so he’s a major pain to deal with for many decks.
Here are some common removal spells that can’t touch Blood Baron: Hero’s Downfall, Detention Sphere, Chained to the Rocks, and Azorius Charm. Sure, there are many cards that can kill him but if you’re playing black, you can make your opponent discard those cards like Thoughtseize and Duress.
Blood Baron has lifelink too so he’s an excellent blocker against black or white aggro decks. Lifelink makes it harder for your opponent to kill you with the swarm strategy because you’ll gain four life and kill one of his creatures with every combat phase. Against red aggro decks, lifelink gives you a chance to get out of lethal burn range.
10. Domri Rade
Continuing the trend from the previous Standard season, Domri Rade is a major part of the top red/green creature decks in Theros Standard. Out of those decks, the best performing one is G/r Nykthos Ramp but you’ll also find the planeswalker in R/G Aggro.
What makes Domri so good? First, he gives red/green card advantage. This color combination is not known for drawing cards so having the ability makes red/green decks much more well-rounded.
Creature-centric decks often struggle against wraths like Anger of the Gods and Supreme Verdict. Domri’s first ability gives you a decent chance of recovering from a board wipe spell.
Second, Domri is a reusable source of removal. Green creatures are generally the biggest so they are a good match with Domri’s fight ability. Third, his ultimate ability is a game ender. Domri gives you a chance in long games versus control because of his ultimate.
11. Garruk, Caller of Beasts
Garruk, Caller of Beasts is a very important card in G/r Nykthos Ramp. Creature heavy ramp decks are vulnerable to board sweepers so you need a card like Garruk to reload your hand when your whole team gets destroyed by a wrath.
Garruk is also a decent card to keep up with the drawing power of cards like Underworld Connections and Sphinx’s Revelation. To full take advantage of the planeswalker, you have to play a lot of creatures. This makes Garruk a great planeswalker to pair with Domri Rade. Both of them are much better in creature heavy decks.
Against decks without card advantage, drawing a ton of cards with Garruk feels so unfair. Your opponent sees the cards you’re drawing so don’t be surprised if he concedes after you activate Garruk’s +1 and reveal multiple powerful creatures.
Oftentimes, you don’t have to use Garruk’s second and ultimate ability to win because his first ability is so powerful. A few activations of his +1 is usually more than enough to give you the victory but it’s nice to have extra options in case you need more flexibility and power.
12. Chandra, Pyromaster
Chandra, Pyromaster is a solid support card in red aggro and midrange decks. You don’t really want to play her in slow control decks because you want attackers to take advantage of her first ability.
The fiery mage has had a small resurgence in recent weeks in red/white decks. Last weekend at Grand Prix Vienna, there were two R/w Devotion decks in the top eight. Both of them played at least one Chandra.
With her first ability, Chandra increases your chances of a lethal alpha strike by neutralizing a blocker and pinging your opponent for one. Her second ability is a powerful card advantage engine for a color that usually doesn’t have good card draw.
In certain matchups, Chandra is especially good against Elspeth because her +1 lowers the white planeswalker’s loyalty while knocking off a 1/1 Soldier blocker. This makes it much easier to attack Elspeth down to zero loyalty.
13. Xenagos, the Reveler
Xenagos, the Reveler sees a lot of play in G/r Nykthos Ramp, one of the top ten decks in the format. He’s not as important as the other planeswalkers, Domri Rade and Garruk, Caller of Beasts, so you’ll typically see less copies of him.
Still, he provides an extra angle of attack against certain cards. He can produce a token every turn, which is useful for keeping Desecration Demon tapped. A permanent source of 2/2 haste creatures is great against creature kill spells especially mass removal like Anger of the Gods.
Also, Xenagos can generate a lot of mana for Nylea, God of the Hunt’s buff ability and Polukranos, World Eater’s monstrous X-ability.
Along with G/r Nykthos Ramp, Xenagos sees play in Naya Control and R/G Aggro. These decks are able to use the mana ramp of Xenagos to overload Mizzium Mortars, activate Stormbreath Dragon’s monstrous ability, and cast huge Mistcutter Hydras.
14. Voice of Resurgence
Voice of Resurgence is one of the key cards in various GWx decks, from G/W Aggro and Naya Midrange to Bant Control and Junk Midrange. Also, the creature fits well in G/W Tokens because it leaves a token behind when it dies.
The token can become pretty big since token decks have the ability to put a lot of creatures on the board. Sometimes the correct play is to attack with Voice in hopes that your opponent will block and kill it so that you can get big token. If you need a bigger creature than a 2/2, this play is a good option in certain situations.
The rise of Mono Blue Devotion has weakened Voice because green/white decks struggle against Tidebinder Mage, Frostburn Weird, and Master of Waves. However, in certain metagames, Voice is going to be pretty good. For example, the mythic rare is solid against UWx Control and Mono Black Devotion.
15. Jace, Memory Adept
With all the creature decks running around, this planeswalker is usually a sideboard card but he’s very powerful in certain matchups. For many players, he’s one of the best cards at beating blue control decks. For example, you can find Jace in the sideboards of Mono Blue Devotion decks. Some players like Aetherling better but the five-drop Jace is arguably superior because he’s cheaper.
You’ll also find the blue planeswalker in control decks such as Esper, U/W, Bant, and UWR. Jace is strong trump card in blue control mirrors because those matchups sometimes come down to milling. Also, you can get lucky and mill win conditions like Aetherling to make it much tougher for your opponent to win.
As a narrow but powerful sideboard card, Jace’s performance will depend on the state of the metagame. In last weekend’s Grand Prix, there were four blue control decks in the top 16. None of them had Jace because blue control did poorly in the previous Grand Prix with zero showings in the top 8 and only one in the top 16.
But since blue control did relatively well in the most recent Grand Prix, I do think Jace is well-positioned at the moment.
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