Top Standard Cards

Standard is undoubtedly the format of the moment. We have seen it from all points of view imaginable. We have seen the format as it was presented post-rotation. The strongest decks, Izzet Control and Mono Green Aggro, dominate the meta. We have also seen the most fun decks. In short, we have seen almost everything there was to see, but today we do something different and see which individual cards are determining the meta’s direction


Here are the top 10 strongest cards in Standard!


#10. Disdainful Stroke



Let’s start our ranking with a common — but what a common one! Never has this counter been so appreciated and so fundamental in all sideboards than in this format. Standard’s strong threats all cost 4+ mana, from Esika’s Chariot to Alrund’s Epiphany, via Wrenn and Seven and Goldspan Dragon


It’s mandatory to play this card where blue is played. Some decks like Temur Treasure play blue only for counterspells like Negate or Test of Talents, so they’re currently very important.


#9. Shatterskull Smashing // Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass




Cards that can be played as either a land or a spell have been successful. This one, together with Mammoth, is probably the best. It can be untapped if needed, paying three life, and it lets you have a removal for creatures and planeswalkers.


Played in any deck with red, it also allows you to play fewer lands, which is a big advantage.



#8. Werewolf Pack Leader



This is the card that, along with Esika’s Chariot, makes Mono Green so dominant. Being a two-mana 3/3 goes almost unnoticed, which is an important body. Prior, to play 3/3s for two mana you had to play two colors and have Watchwolf/Fleecemane Lion or have malus like Mogg Flunkies or Serra Avenger. This werewolf, in addition to not having any malus, also has two good abilities. Its strongest ability provides resources to a deck that tends to run out of them. Its second ability is to become a 5/3 trample, if needed.


#7. Ranger Class



This is another strong card that helped put Mono Green in a good position. This card has a triple function. For two mana, it provides a 2/2 turn two that is important for an aggro deck that needs to put pressure each turn. The second ability makes creatures bigger when attacking, which can be important for mirrors where having the biggest creatures is a huge advantage and important to save creatures against decks with removal that do damage. The third ability provides resources, which the deck needs. 



#6. Burning Hands



If Izzet Control is a strong deck, a small part of that credit goes to this card that makes the match-up against Mono Green better than you might think. It’s a two-mana removal that destroys any Green threat. It finds many targets in the format, which elevates it from a side card to a main-deck card, and makes it worthy of being in this ranking.


#5. Wrenn and Seven



The new planeswalker coming straight from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt ranks in the middle. It’s a great card that finds its best synergy with Esika’s Chariot because it’s difficult to manage a token x/x for many decks and managing two becomes almost impossible.


It gives card advantage thanks to the +1 that removes lands that you don’t want to draw from the top and to have more cards in hand. 


It’s a very good card that is not yet at the top of its potential. It would be in the top three if there was some more synergy with lands.



#4. Memory Deluge



When this card came out, I said that it would be a high-impact card for Standard and would probably find a place in Modern, as well.


It wasn’t hard to imagine that a card similar to Dig Through Time, which was banned in many formats because it was too strong, would easily establish itself. Staple, already in all control Standard decks and mostly played in four copies, debuted recently in Modern to show that it has a high power level.


#3. Malevolent Hermit // Benevolent Geist




This is another card from Innistrad that proves it to be an interesting set full of nice cards. When cast from the graveyard for its Disturb cost, it returns flipped and makes your noncreature spells uncounterable, which is a must-answer in control match-ups. It’s strong even in more aggressive blue decks, such as Azorius Tempo, or midrange decks, like the Sultai version of Ramp.


In short, it’s a card that is played on all sideboards and that has carved out an important space in the format.


#2. Goldspan Dragon



The ranking position of this dragon that has been dominating the format for months couldn’t be different. How many good things have we said about this card? Probably an infinite amount. This card is too strong and useful in any kind of deck. It has been played in aggro (RG, Mono Red), midrange (Izzet, Rug), combo deck (Naya), and is now played in the strongest deck of the format. In short, it’s impossible to do without this card.


Who would want to play without a 4/4 with flying, haste that when it attacks or is targetted puts a treasure and makes double the mana to the treasures? The answer is no one.



#1. Esika’s Chariot // Arlund’s Epiphany




It was impossible to decide which of these two cards deserved the top spot, so I decided to place them in a tie.


Without a doubt they are the cards that are dominating this format. On one side we have Izzet Control with Epiphany, and on the other side there’s Mono Green with Esika’s Chariot.


They’re both strong cards that are completely different yet essential in their respective decks. Esika’s Chariot can make the board by itself, put pressure, go in synergy with Wrenn and Seven, and win games practically by itself. On the other hand, Alrund’s Epiphany has always been played and elevated Izzet to be among the most played decks. Taking an extra turn in Magic is a cool thing, but making one while putting two flying 1/1s is even cooler. Copying it and taking two turns with Galvanic Iteration is practically winning the game.


I didn’t forget about other strong cards like Expressive Iteration, Prismari Command, the lands that become creatures, Smoldering Egg, Kazandu Mammoth and more, but some had to be left out of the top 10. 


The format is constantly evolving and could change soon. We could see new decks emerge and those that are dominating now may be played less.


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