Monday, May 02, 2016

The Inexpensive Junior Varsity - The 4 Abandoned Uncommons of SoI Standard

Welcome back, my cardboard cohorts. This is Dan, typing this out totally nude while eating scrambled eggs, and you've made it just in time for the third installment of our SoI Standard Forgotten Cards segment - The Uncommons. If you didn't get a chance to see them, take a look at the Neglected Mythics and Forgotten Rares posts as well, cause they're fun.

Uncommons. They're cheap, they're not super flashy, but sometimes, just sometimes, they're badass. Really though, Dan? Mythics are much more doper, why not just build my deck out of exclusively those cards?

A beginners guide to Magic: The Gathering.
Woah woah, slow down there, John D. Rockefeller. Uncommons are very important. I know you typically use foil Goyfs as toilet paper to demonstrate how elite of a Magic player you are, but uncommons can be amazingly powerful as well. For example, look at the likes of Young Pyromancer and Signal Pest; both are amazing cards that fit into successful decks. But that was old Magic, right? Now-a-days cards are shitty and the power level is dropping faster than the jaw of a highschool boy who accidentally wandered into the ladies locker room.

Nah man. Even as recently as Khans of Tarkir we've gotten bombass uncommons.

Taylor Swift is both a pop sensation, and Modern playable.
Whatever, dude. Khans is old news. Cards suck. I'm going to whine and complain about everything cause I'm a typical Magic player. Well, that's your right, but I hate you, and you're wrong. Even now we have some sweet uncommons making a massive impact on Standard. Duskwatch Recruiter is in most every deck that has green mana sources, Reflector Mage is a house in U/W lists, and White Weenie lists are 50% uncommons. Clearly they are decent.

But there are an uncountable number of uncommons in Standard right now. Ok that isn't true, I just sort of Googled it and there are actually 431 uncommons in Standard right now. That's a few too many to review. Most of 'em? Fuck 'em. They're no good outside of limited, and hell, half of them are no good in limited either.

Only playable in mono-White "Support the wobbly table leg with junk cards"
But there are some that seem special enough to fit in lists. I couldn't decide on how many of the 400 odd cards merit any sort of discussion, so we're just going to pick four of them today. Why four? I dunno, seemed like a good number. Obviously there are more than three that are almost sweet, but I'm not quite sure if there are five. Anyways, four it is, and feel free to argue with me about my choices and point out cards that might belong on this list. I fuckin' love a good internet fight, and there's a 99% chance I'm missing some sultry playables.

These spellz have the potential to slot into some deck, and look like they could be major players if they find a home. Right now though they're just crashing on their parent's couch in the basement though, so let's take a look at them and see if we're willing to rent them a space!

Fourth Place - Not even allowed on the podium:

He only looks mildly inconvenienced.
This one really isn't too great, and is basically black Pacifism. but I needed to mention it for one reason. Avacyn. Avacyn is easily one of the most powerful creatures in standard, and there were more copies of her in the top 8 than there were basic islands and mountains combined. She is literally better than two entire colors. But Visions of Brutality totally hoses Avacyn in the most glorious, terrible, terrible way.

So you're up against GW tokens, and you're playing... I dunno, mono-black Eldrazi agro (I'm building this deck right now, and it's not great). They play Avacyn. Yeah, whatever, fuck you. Drop Visions of Brutality on Avacyn. Ultimate Price one of their 200 plant tokens, pass turn, and get ready to shuffle to game 2, because Avacyn is going to flip and deal 3 to you, 3 to each of your creatures, and 3 to each of their stupid plant tokens. Since you're in agro, ideally you've hit them a few times already, and now they're taking damage equal to the number of creatures on board x3. And then plus 3. That is several. The only effective way GW tokens has to deal with this is either Stasis Snare, sacrificing Avacyn to Westvale Abbey, or jamming out another Avacyn in response to the trigger.

This isn't the most reliable thing in the world, but I want to do it just once to see the look on my opponents face when his $50 bomb ass mythic rare backfires hilariously thanks to a shitty draft-chaff uncommon.

Third Place - Zappin' Drazi:

Literally just now realized the light show is an Eldrazi.
Immo Glare kills a thing that's trying to kill you. Those usually are the most important things to kill. For only two mana, you'd think it'd be worth siding in against creature based decks like White Wieners, but no one is running it.

Main board this is terrible, because against a deck like GW tokens, you get shit on. Killing a plant isn't great, and Avacyn makes "destroy" effects risky. The current meta just doesn't have a great place for this thanks to those threats, but this is a mediocre budget option if you're playing a white deck and you'd rather like... I dunno, go out to a super nice steak dinner rather than spend $100 on Declaration in Stones.
You can leave a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar as a tip.

Second Place - The card only I care about:

My terrible singing voice has the same effect.
Warping Wail gets played in a few Eldrazi deck sideboards, so at least some people are smart enough to realize how thoroughly balling this card is. I've totally gushed about this card before, as it's a huge player in my current standard deck, but I'm going to explain my hype all over again. Let's look at those sexy modes.

  • Exile target creature with power or toughness 1 or less: Yeah Hangarback, get fucked. Getting rid of a thopter-spider the second they drop it is my most common use for this currently. But sometimes you just need to exile a plant or thopter to punch through the last damage, and that's reasonable as well. Against other colors it has more options, such as getting rid of a Jace, Thing in the Ice, or any of the White Weenies before getting pumped. I run 2 mainboard, just because there is typically a target for this or the second mode no matter what I'm matched up against.
  • Counter target sorcery spell: Bye bye, Declaration in Stone, I'll keep my dudes, thanks. This also causes mad blowouts the first time you counter a Languish, since you can run this in colors that don't typically have counterspells. Both of those cards are hugely relevant in standard right now, and the game can totally swing in your favor if you manage to counter one at the right time.
  • Put a 1/1 Eldrazi Scion token onto the to battlefield: This is sort of the fail case mode. You can drop this for a surprise blocker or an extra attacker if you don't have any targets for the other modes. Occasionally relevant is casting this turn two or three for the extra mana to get an early Thought-Knot Seer or Reality Smasher, which are both spooky threats when they come out a turn early.

Yeah, Certified Baller™. Give it a whirl, it is spectacular in Eldrazi dicks decks.

First Place - Chasing his dreams, and falling woefully short:

The body says "lady", but the face says "uncomfortable man."
Who else remembers how hyped everyone was for this card? Monastery Swiftspear with wings? Fuck yeah man, sign me up. He's an evasive threat that comes down early, and Prowess is crazy relevant in this color pairing. Has no one made a deck to use this guy yet?

Red/Blue agro isn't great right now. Honestly, Red is having a tough time with how stupidly weak burn is right now.

This art depicts how I feel about burn in Standard.
Fiery Impulse and Fall of the Titans are both solid burn cards, but without a cheap burn spell like Lightning Strike/Bolt, a card like Stormchaser loses a lot of his punch. Without burn to the face to close a game early, Stormchaser is going to have to square up against later-game fliers. And I think there's a popular one right now. Can't remember the name, costs five, white, some sort of angel.


That's it, guys! We've covered Mythics, Rares, and Uncommons. I would talk about commons, but I think we can all agree that the like... three useful ones are already seeing play, so screw it. I hope you guys enjoyed the mini-series, and I really hope that some decks are made that render all of these lists totally invalid as they wreck face.

Also as an aside, shout to Josh for his sick 15-0 run at GP Toronto. Gaige and I play at the shop he goes to (Forbes Hobbies in Cambridge. Sickest game store I have ever been to; amazing staff, great people that play there, and overall a sweet place to play), and it was neat seeing him do so well. Grats!


Any other uncommons you're jamming that no-one else is? Still trying to live the Stormchaser U/R agro dream? Wanna go out to Texas Roadhouse with me tonight? Whatever it is you're thinking about bby, let us know!


  1. First, I'm concerned that Ruth Chris Steakhouse is considered a 'super nice' steak dinner. 'Acceptable' might be closer to the mark. Or maybe just 'a steak will be served to you, eventually'.

    I mostly go 2-1 in limited drafts, but I want to see the Brain in the Jar deck. Yes I know it's a rare, but who goes back in time to comment on old posts? I'd have to click on, like two links. Sounds exhausting.

    1. Well listen here moneybags, we can't all have perfect filet on the daily.

      Brain in the Jar has been picking up quite a bit of steam; I've seen mono-U and U/B lists pop up, and they seem decent.

    2. Here's a Collected Company kid, go build yourself a decent deck. (walks off whistling jauntily)

      But kidding aside, great blog. I look forward to it lulling me into trying another Standard deck only to go 1-3 at FNM over and over.