A Whole New World: MTG after rotation – White
Finally, it’s come to this. White. Which white cards will be leaving standard in a month, and how will it affect the metagame? As of Today, about 50 cards have been spoiled for the Return to Ravnica set. The set is slowly starting to blow my mind and I’m sure we won’t see mono color decks for a while. I can’t believe how powerful some of the RTR cards are. I don’t think we’re going to miss many of these cards at all in a month when Return to Ravnica’s cards are all revealed. There are some insane cards, and I’ll be sure to post my thoughts about them in the weeks leading up to the pre-release (which is 3 weekends away now!)
Anyways, back to white. In my opinion, I think White is going to weaken considerably, maybe even the most out of all of the colors in October. There are quite a few white cards that are INTEGRAL in decks in the current metagame, and without them the decks will probably fall apart. Get ready for a whole new metagame in 30 days.
Here are the top 10 white cards that will be rotating out:
- Day of Judgment
- Blade Splicer
- Sun Titan
- Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
- Hero of Bladehold
- Mirran Crusader
- Gideon Jura
- Celestial Purge
- Revoke Existence
- Tempered Steel
I think Day of Judgment is probably the most important white card that will be lost after rotation. DoJ is the last power card in control decks. Every other control deck has fallen by the wayside because there hasn’t been any way to destroy a large amount of creatures, especially anything over 3 toughness. Esper control, UW control, WB Control, and any other white control deck is going to lose a very key card to their strategy and become weaker because of it. Divine Reckoning (ISD) kills every creature but one (which could backfire on you), and Planar Cleansing (M13) destroys EVERYTHING. There might be something similar to it in RTR, but most likely it will be multicolor and have some drawback. Wizards of the Coast have been trying to make the game more creature focused, and less control focused, so don’t expect much in the form of control. Personally, after rotation I would just throw in 4 Terminus (AVR) instead. The bottom of the library is much safer than the graveyard in the metagame. You can be sure it will go up in price a little bit in October.
Blade Splicer is a pretty awesome card in the current metagame. It’s incredibly versatile, working well with Restoration Angel in a variety of decks, as well as a great weapon in some UW Delver builds. It’s also a key card in Solar Flare and WG Aggro. When it rotates you can expect some third turn relief, but I’m sure something else will take it’s place. Attended Knight (M13) is somewhat similar to it (same cost, gives you an extra creature, first strike), and could work well in decks with Restoration Angel, but I don’t know if people will be so quick to make that change. Solar Flare is going to be greatly weakened post rotation, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it became an entirely new deck in a month since that’s not the only important card it’s losing. The bottom point is that white decks are losing first strike and a bonus creature, and are going to have a tougher time in the early game post rotation I think.
Yep, Solar Flare is screwed. No more Phantasmal Image (m12), no more Blade Splicer, and now no more Sun Titan. This is what makes Solar Flare . . . well FLARE! Putting a Sun Titan in play meant bring back all of your Blade Splicers, Oblivion Rings, Liliana of the Veil, and making 4 copies of him with your Phantasmal Images. How can you do that after he rotates? Well, you can’t. You can give your creatures Vigilance, you can bring cards back from the graveyard (Faith’s Reward- M13), but you can’t do all of these at once. Maybe some crazy person will do a Planar Cleansing/Faith’s Reward combo, but it won’t be the same. Solar Flare players are going to have to rethink their strategy.
Finally, Frites is loosing a card. It will still be a powerful deck with the likes of Griselbrand, Gisela, and other big Red/Black/White/Green creatures, but at least you won’t have to worry about losing all of your chump blockers when Elesh Norn comes into play. 4 Color Frites (aka Reanimator) and Esper Tokens will probably be hurt the most by this loss, but it won’t cripple them like Sun Titan’s absence will cripple Solar Flare. There aren’t any creatures like it that will give a bonus and kill your opponents creatures at the same time. Mutilate (M13) will kill everything, including your own creatures, and a lot of anthem effects (like Honor of the Pure from M12) will be rotating, so I think Frites players will just add in another fatty when Norn rotates. Maybe Craterhoof Behemoth (AVR) ?? We’ll see. That second ability won’t matter if you have trample on all your fatties and they are doing double damage.
Great card, and it’s too bad it hasn’t seen much play lately. I’ve seen it in some Pod decks, and in some WG aggro decks, but I think a lot of people are straying away from Bladehold and trying to find replacements for it already. Battle Cry is an unfortunate victim of the rotation as well, which helped a lot in decks like Tempered Steel in the past. I don’t think Hero of Bladehold’s loss will be felt too hard, as there are quite a few decent 4 drop cards that can take its spot in WG aggro and Naya Beatdown/ramp decks such as Huntmaster of the Fells (in Naya/GR decks) and Sublime Angel (M13) (maybe). Token decks using her might feel a bite, but they’ll have “Populate” abilities from Selesnya’s guild to help out with creating more tokens.
Mirran Crusader should have been number 5 probably. Double strike, pro-green/black, and it’s only 3 mana. It was really popular a few months ago with WG humans and other human decks, and it still demands a decent price tag with less than a month to go in standard. Human decks will lose some power on that third turn, but they have Silverblade Paladin (AVR) to fill the gap. The big loss is the protection from green and black, which are really important against cards like Wolfir Silverheart and Zombie decks. The 2/1 Exalted Knight has protection from black, and with a Silverblade Paladin he’d make a good substitute, but as far as blockers are concerned, he’d be a little more vulnerable to cards like Wolfir Avenger. Definitely look for the Silverblade/Silverheart combo a lot more in WG aggro decks in the future, and a lot more Gavony Townships being played as well.
I’m sure we’ll see Gideon back in the future, because most planeswalkers return at one point or another. We might even see him in the next Ravnica set as a Boros(RW) Planeswalker (just my feeling). But until then, UW and Esper (UWB) Planeswalker control and UW Miracles are going to take another hit, and without Gideon or Day of Judgment, I think the decks are going to be pretty much finished (unless a few good Azorius or Dimir cards come out to replace cards like Gideon). Ajani is going to be the sole White planeswalker post rotation, and he is going to fit in to WG aggro decks a lot better than a Planeswalker control deck. UW Miracles will be able to make replacements easier I think, and but it’s going to be tough for Planeswalker control decks. If you’re looking for cards with his ability, two M13 cards, Divine Verdict and Courtly Provocateur could do the same damage that Gideon’s +2 and -2 could do, but at the cost of 4 mana and 3 mana respectively. I doubt anybody is going to do that. We’ll have to wait and see what Azorius has in store for us.
It’s going to be REALLY frustrating not having this card post rotation in my sideboard. How else am I to get rid of a Griselbrand, Gisela, Olivia Voldaren, or other equally dangerous red or black card? Rakdos also looks like it’s going to be pretty nasty as well, so I hope this gets reprinted in Return to Ravnica or otherwise in Gatecrash as a similar card. Oblivion Ring (M13) will have to serve as your removal card in your sideboard, but since it’s an enchantment and costs more mana it’s not as powerful as Celestial Purge. There’s gotta be something like this in RTR. There has to be a Rakdos or Golgari hoser, so maybe Selesnya and Azorius will get something that does the same thing. We’ll see.
Another good sideboard card, especially against Wurmcoil Engines, but since 85% of the artifacts in the metagame are going to be rotating out of play in a month, it probably won’t be as useful in the metagame. If the player is using green (which they usually are along with white), Naturalize (M13,ISD) and Natural End (AVR) will help you to destroy an artifact or enchantment, and in straight white you have Ray of Revelation (DKA) that can destroy an enchantment and comes with flashback. Return to Ravnica has recently spoiled some powerful enchantment spells (like Havoc Festival), so destroying an enchantment as soon as it hits the battlefield is going to be important. This would definitely be the better card to have because it removes a card from the game, but we’ll have to play with what Wizards gives us.
With the loss of Tempered Steel we’re losing an entire metagame. But Menmite (SOM) and Signal Pest (MBS) are also leaving so even if it stayed around there would be nothing to use it with. Artifacts had their time in the sun, and now it’s time to move back to multicolor. This won’t affect the metagame at all since Tempered Steel fell off the map about 5 months ago during Dark Ascension. If you want to run a deck that’s similar to Tempered Steel, I’d switch over to a UW Token deck that uses cards like Midnight Haunting (ISD), Intangible Virtue (ISD), and Favorable Winds (AVR). If you throw in some black mana, you can add Lingering Souls in there, and with blue you could also put some Talrand, Sky Summoner (M13) into the deck.
With white my “A Whole New World” series comes to a close. The decks losing power after rotation due to white cards leaving will be: Solar Flare, UW Planeswalker/Miracle control, Esper Control, some Naya/GW aggro beatdown decks, and to a lesser extent Frites (Reanimator).
Control continues to lose power and the focus continues to shift to creatures instead of spells. I think we’ll see more UW Delver Spirit decks after Blade Splicer leaves, and Silverblade Paladin will get more play after Mirran Crusader leaves in GW aggro and Naya beatdown decks. Selesnya and Azorius mana fixers will help to further accelerate these types of decks I think.
Now that these articles are done, I can finally get back to posting some more information relevant to the metagame in Nagoya. Look for an article about the metagame in July/August sometime next week, and I also have a few more Magic stores in Aichi to talk about, so look for those sometime next week. On 9/24, I will be once again be posting my “Play to Your Weakness” articles showcasing which uncommons and commons I think are going to be great to draft with Return to Ravnica. Thanks for reading this article and be sure to check back in a few days for another new one.