Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Not lost, but totally forgotten - The 5 Most Neglected Mythics of Standard

Can't afford Mythics? Yeah, me neither. Check out our lists for Neglected Rares and Abandoned Uncommons as well, so that you peasants may also play.

What's up, my fellow cardboard wizards? This is Dan, bringing you another Junior Varsity article in which I talk about great cards that no one really cares about. Well, that's not entirely true. I care, because I love trying to make crap cards work, even if my track record in that department isn't so great.

Just you wait, their time will come.
We just came out of a sooper exciting Pro Tour in which we got to see a whole bunch of cards do extremely well. I mean, even the token "High CMC mythic green sorcery" made it to the top 8. That's some bullshit that Gaige would have tried. And I'm pretty sure if someone had told me two weeks ago that both Pyromancer's Goggles and Narset were going to show up in Top 8 decklists, I'd probably have told you to shut your whore mouth and asked how you got into my apartment.

But not all of the potential mythic bombs finally found their way into the spotlight. There are still a ton of cards that seem like they should be constructed all stars, but instead they're just sitting as a four-of in some shitty budget deck Gaige and I made, trying to fight through the tears as they put up yet another strong 1-3-1 finish at FNM in a field of ten people.

Senpai, plz notice me.
But which are the worse offenders? During spoiler season there are always plenty of cards that give more than half of the Magic community raging hardons (I mean, even some of the ladies. We're still trying to figure that one out.), yet they never see play outside of that one crazy four-color control deck. Some of them are so close - the potential power is just so tantalizing, that almost all of us have tried to jam these monsters at one time or another, and every time we're left with that exact same hollow feeling that you get when you go to open the bag of chicken tendies in your freezer but you realize there is only one or two left, but you were hoping to eat like 9.

This article is just going to look at exclusively Mythic cards that sit just below par. We'll peek at Rares, uncommons, and the common riff raff later on, probably. I make no promises. But for now we're going to lament the nearly-goodness of five mytics, and see if maybe we can inspire someone to finally create the bitchin' deck that can lead these powerful cards to victory. Or, more than likely, inspire 20 kids to make shitty decks based on cards that sort of suck. I'm looking forward to being one of those 20, so without further talking, lets take a look!

5th Place - The power of a truck, the reliability of a Pinto

Seen here, charging his Spirit Bomb.
Similar to me, Kozilek is a huge monstrosity that no one wants to play with. He has a big cost, but a big effect, and is damn near impossible to block correctly. With your newly full hand, you should be able to counter everything they throw at him, right? Fuckin' wrong m8.

Kozilek's double kite-mana symbols might seem daunting, but with ramp decks running Hedron Archive and Explosive Vegetation, it's not that hard to produce colorless or dig up a Wastes or two. He's also a great ramp target, as he immediately fills your hand back up to make sure you have later game steam. The issue is in how un-protected he is. Sure, suddenly your stupid ramp spells are counterspells, but the chances of you having a counter for the boogeyman, Declaration in Stone, isn't great. Tormenting Voice is just about the only two-cost spell ramp decks run, so unless you have that, Kozilek is just immediately gone. And yeah, even if they kill him, he still drew you cards, but I'd rather keep the 12/12 menace after dropping 10 mana on that booty. Token decks can even just chump him, Reflector Mage can bounce him if they need to punch through a bit more damage, Krasis can tap him, Gryff's Boon humans can fly over him... he just isn't resilient enough to make the big leagues, unlike his bro Ulamog who can just exile whatever spooky thing looks at him, and can end the game even if he gets blocked.

Kozilek is still a pricy $11 though, so he's not at the "buy it anyways and try to rock it in a budget deck" level quite yet, and I doubt he will be any time soon. He is indeed legendary, and he has crazy appeal for an EDH deck, so I wouldn't expect him to drop much under $10 any time soon.

4th Place - I guess zombies are staying dead

Can't break formats, but he can break windows.
Even now, as I look at it languishing in unplayed misery, Relentless Dead looks like a stupidly powerful card. Two cost 2/2 menace will probably hit them once or twice before they get the two blockers for it, and after that it becomes the ultimate chump machine, coming back to your hand for the low price of B. I assume he'd be run in a deck with other zombies, and then he starts getting dumb with his second ability.

But this recurring train has the brakes engaged. Relentless Dead is nowhere to be seen in the top lists, and no one has perfected a zombie brew with him. People are still obviously trying, though, as he's sitting at a painful $18, and is even sold out in quite a few shops. **Jk, I was looking at foil prices. You can get him for only $9! Which is... well, still a lot. Anyways, if a list comes up that can regularly be using his second ability to bring back a powerful threat (Diregraf Collosus or Fleshbag Marauder, anyone?) then I could see him being relevant. Until then, watch out for him. A rogue deck running this can get some crazy value if you don't immediately Declare him a Stone.

3rd Place - Apparently not enough value

Distantly related to Ashaya.

Mr. TreeLord is by far the most surprising to me on this list. Green has just been an insane card advantage color for the past several sets (seriously, what happened, blue?), and Greenwarden is continuing down that path. He costs some mana, but returning a card on ETB is sweet for dat immediate payoff, and then getting an optional second is an awesome reward if he's removed. Yet still, no lists are running him. Somebody explain this.

Sadly, Greenwarden was the new kid on the block, and though he's big and strong, installment plans are way more efficient.

"Hey guys" - a better card.
Den Protector completely overshadows Greenwarden. Paying three and then two is indeed less than six, not to mention the upside that you can pay the three far in advance, and then pay only two to get a card back whenever you might need it, and still have extra mana to cast it. On top of all that, Greenwarden's second card reward is a death trigger, and exile effects are everywhere in standard, so there's a chance you never get to see that second card. Going right from a standard with Abzan Charm everywhere to one where Declaration in Stones blot out the sun is not great for death-trigger creatures.

Luckily, for those of you looking to run green on a budget, our tree buddy Greenwarden is only $2. He goes great in casual decks, and he's not terrible in some sort of green midrange shell. Try him out in a deck, preferably R/G with all the sweet cards that aren't being played (Arlinn, Sin Prodder, etc) and see if you can steal some wins with your bargain bin cards.

2nd Place - Still trying to live the Dragon dream

Blue hair, red eyes, green clothes. Totally Temur.
I just love Sarkhan. Not even in a platonic way. More like a dirty, shameful, primal way. This card is just so sweet, and has a neat combination of abilities. If you're ahead, you get to just draw cards and make sure you have the mana to cast 'em. If behind you get a 4/4 flier, which blocks stuff pretty well, and you even get the ability to do it twice before he just flops. If you're winning a lot, then I guess you can play every dragon in your deck for free, which is probably like... four.

Aside from the disappointing ult, Sarkhan has some strong abilities. Drawing a card is wonderful, and I've heard creatures are important as well. But, if you'll remember from our Fate Reforged and Khans of Tarkir Junior Varsity articles, Temur sucks. That's about it, guys. Temur isn't a good color combination in standard. One day I hope our Temur overlords return, but as it stands, other colors just have better shit going on. White gets Avacyn, Reflector Mage, Declaration, and all of the weenie creatures, so the draw there is obvious, and then Black gets removal to deal with things like... well, Avacyn, Reflector Mage, and all the weenie creatures. Red Blue and Green certainly have very powerful cards as well, but just not the simple synergy you get with other combos, as Temur is torn between spells and creatures.

Sarkhan is looking like he'll spend his time around the $6 price range, thanks to people who love casual dragons (me). Get a few copies, tearfully sleeve him up with your poor neglected Savage Knuckleblades, and play some make-believe games with your imaginary friends.

1st Place - Flying into our hearts, but not into our decks

Hits people so hard that dudes nearby her get stronger.
Drana, unlike some of our other duders on this list, is not mana-hungry. She costs only three, and a 2/3 flying first strike is not a bad deal for that little. Her second ability is relevant in any deck that would want her too, as you'll probably be turning sideways a lot, and bigger dudes are nice. After connecting once or twice, your board is sure to be too big to fuck with, yet she has no showing in any of the top decks. Cmon man, why?

She does nothing the turn she hits, but that's not that unreasonable out of a three drop, especially when her payoff is so big. She's even got tribal synergy with some very strong new cards in SoI, but still she hasn't put up a showing, which is truly baffling. Sadly, it seems counters aren't well positioned in this meta. Reflector Mage makes any sort of "build-your-own-baddy" strategies weak. Sure, you might be able to get a counter or two on her, but then she'll get bounced and be out of commission for a few turns. That's no fun. Plus exile-based removal doesn't care about counters on things, and the burn removal right now is just massive. Lightning Axe and Fall of the Titans can melt just about any butt, no matter how fat, and by the time Drana can connect enough hits to survive a shot from one of those, you've probably won already. So there's the secret - make sure your opponent is playing zero removal and zero blockers. Got it.

And she's not even cheap! Drana still holds a whopping $13 price tag for a card that is seeing no pro play. There's a chance she drops, but dropping a ton of counters on an already strong board is a casual player's wet dream, and she's legendary for EDH, so I'm sure that demand will keep the price up. But if you do happen to have some Dranas, obviously the perfect deck for her is R/B Vamps. Insolent Neonate, Heir of Falkenrath, Olivia, Drana, and maybe some Incorrigible Youths sounds like a good place to start, and could be some sort of agro... thing. Fiery tempers too, cause burn.


So that's the list for mythics, people. I do want to give a brief shout-out to my girl, Arlinn, though.

Or maybe a howl-out. Because Werewolves.
Arlinn is awesome, and in my playtesting, she has done quite a bit. Wolves are dope, and flipping back and forth for creatures and kill spells feel fun as hell. Stabilize, and then smash their face with one of the two sides. Sadly she's still $30 **$20, so I won't get a chance to build a jank deck with her anytime soon.

Anyways, that's really it. Those are the cards, man. All of them do a lot, all of them can give you great strides toward victory, but all of them kinda suck. If any of you are like me (god help the Earth), then you'll keep on testing these cards, and dream of a day when your Temur+Black+Colorless pile of mythics will take down the Pro Tour. Or, I guess Worlds, since that's where you can actually make money. Whatever, I'll be busy getting a solid 18th place finish in Game Day with my crappy Spaghetti Marinara deck.

Dream on, citizen Brewers, and may your pulls ever be dank.
- Dan

Enjoy the article? Think some other mythic deserves to be on this list? Do you for some reason prefer Backstreet Boys over N'Sync? Well, you're wrong, but we'd like to hear what you're thinking anyways. Drop a comment below, or send us a message using the form on the right!


  1. My favorite one-two punch is Arlinn Kord into Sarkhan, Unbroken. I haven't really pushed the shell to its limits, but it has had issues with Bant Company, but has shown decent resilience to Human aggro. By far, the hardest cards for the lists I tested to beat were Archangel Avacyn and Westvale Abbey. That said, giving 4/4 dragons +2/+2, haste, and vigilance is pretty sweet.

  2. Yeah, it is a pretty sick sequence. In my wet dreams Arlin is following up a turn 3 Sin Prodder for delicious 5/4 menace vigilance haste on top of his burn :D

  3. Hey Heavy Salami keep it up your blog is cool and I will be visiting you from time to time to chat. This article was actually portrayed in a channel fireball's article (which brought me here) and I have to say it was a good turn of events!

    1. Oh, neat. We were wondering why this got a bunch of views after the fact.

      Thanks for reading, and glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Oh and Arlinn has one more chance when Eldrich moon comes out to play in a good wolf deck but if the deck doesn't come together she is history.
    Drana one of the most hyped fails in MtG ever.
    Sarkhan has already retired in his new plot twisted dragon farm and cultivates vegetables.
    Greenwarden will always be bitter about Den Protector stealing his thunder.
    Relentless Dead also have a chance when eldrich comes out.
    Kozilek will always be Ulamog's bench substitute at best.
    Omnath is one of the wors cards Wizzard's R&D has ever conceived!!!