A Whole New World: MTG After Rotation – Innistrad Block White Cards
Note: “A Whole New World” is a series of articles that I do before each block rotates out of standard. In these articles, I take a look at all of the cards that will no longer be standard tournament legal, and speculate whether or not they will be returning to future sets or have no chance of being reprinted any time soon. I will also talk about which cards to hold on to, and which cards NOT rotating will be affected by these changes.
White has been an important part of quite a few decks over the past year. It is full of support cards, removal, and cheap creatures and without them in standard it’s going to open up quite a few new strategies. Most of the high impact cards from white aren’t even rare. Take a look at my list below and tell me if you agree.
Top 10 Rotating White Cards from the Innistrad block
- Lingering Souls
- Restoration Angel
- Silverblade Paladin
- Sublime Angel
- Champion of the Parish
- Oblivion Ring
- Fiend Hunter
- Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- Doomed Traveler
In my opinion, the biggest loss in white is going to be Lingering Souls. This card has seen a lot of play over the last two years. It started out in UW spirts during Dark Ascension standard, but it quickly transformed into a key card in reanimator and control decks. It’s also one of the must have cards in Aristocrats since you can get 4 creatures from just one card. Reanimator is already out of standard, but the loss of it from control decks will make it tougher for those types of decks to play without creatures. I think it’s rotation will also hurt Aristocrats a lot. The deck is going to be losing a lot of easy to sacrifice creatures, and without Blood Artist it will be tough to finish off players. I could see this getting reprinted in a future set that uses flashback again, but that is a long way off. It will most likely be printed in a special duel set like Sorin Vs. Tibalt in the future. There are cards like Eyes in the Sky from RTR, but I don’t think any card will get close to this one’s value.
Another card that defined standard for as long as it was in play. It has been in almost every control decks alongside Snapcaster Mage since Avacyn Restored was released, and it goes long with Thragtusk like peanut butter and jelly. Flash decks like UWR are going to be unplayable after rotation. Many people are going to be happy that players can’t blink their creatures before dying to removal anymore. It’s an amazing card and I don’t see it leaving standard for long. It should be back in a near future set, maybe even as soon as late next year. It lacks any block specific words like Soulbound, and with Thragtusk, Augur of Bolas, and Snapcaster Mage rotating, she won’t be as powerful as before. Just when you think she’s gone she’ll be back! Due to the unique characteristics of this card, it’s hard to replace it with something from the Ravnica block.
Silverblade Paladin was seen being played in GW aggro alongside Rancor and Sublime Angel more than any other deck. GW aggro will definitely have to rethink it’s battle plan come September thanks to the loss of these three cards. Without a large flyer and Exalted alongside trample, what are it’s win conditions going to be? The deck is also losing Strangleroot Geists, so if this deck DOES survive, it’s going to be slower but also a lot stronger thanks to cards like Advent of the Wurm and Loxodon Smiter. Look for GW aggro to turn into a GW midrange deck of sorts. It’s going to be hard to replace aggressive, white aggro cards such as this. Archangel of Thune will probably step up at the Angel of Choice post rotation, but she’s already got achieved that distinction I think. With the Paladin gone, anybody wanting to do a fast GW aggro deck will have to choose Slivers (and probably add a third color). Slivers will allow the player to do a lot of the same things GW aggro did such as double strike, trample, and +1/+1 power for everybody. I’d expect slivers to see more play after rotation. Don’t bet on either of these cards being reprinted again for at least 6 years plus (though a function reprint is possible without the keywords).
The Champ has been a very solid card in Innistrad block standard. He originally debuted in GW humans along side Gather the Townsfolk and Mayor of Avabruck in DKA standard, but after Avacyn Restored, his role was shaped again by the introduction of Naya (GRW) and RW humans. However, what it really took for Champion of the Parish to shine is Human Aristocrats. Fast forward to Gatecrash and now we have a largely human aristocrats deck, and with Xathrid Necromancer in M14, BW Human aristocrats was born. The Champion was the backbone of the human themed deck, and he will be missed. There are quite a few rotating, but he’s the best. I don’t think he’ll be gone for long though. I’d give him 1-2 years before we see him reprinted again.
I’m still shocked that Oblivion Ring wasn’t reprinted in M14. It was the perfect removal for white decks, and a great answer to cards like Voice of Resurgence and Boros Reckoner. There is still a chance that it will be reprinted in the Theros block, but I’d say those chances are no better than 50/50. If you look at the Return to Ravnica block cards, there are quite a few enchantments that remove creatures or permanents from battle: Detention Sphere, Arrest, Soul Tithe (well, sort of), and even One Thousand Lashes from Orzhov is a sort of removal. While not as versatile as O-ring, there are going to be plenty of options post rotation. The drawback is that we won’t be able to splash Oblivion Ring into any white deck, We’ll be forced to choose a guild to play with. Most likely, it will be Azorius. I don’t think O-ring will be gone for too long though. Give it a year or two, and I think we’ll see it back in a core set.
Control players like Esper and the Maze’s End deck are going to sorely miss Terminus. With cards like Voice of Resurgence and the indestructible gods of Theros coming out to play in October, having a card that puts them all on the bottom of a library is vital. I know this won’t be reprinted due to the Miracle in its text box, but I do believe it will get a functional reprint with a new card that does the same thing for relatively the same mana, but without the miracle cost. If it’s not in the Theros set, I think we might see it next year sometime. The closest thing players will be able to use in standard that doesn’t destroy is going to be Gatecrash’s Merciless Eviction.
It’s not a rare, but it was still a great card from the Innistrad block. Fiend Hunter helped to create an entirely new type of reanimator deck; Human Reanimator. Thanks to the wording on his card, he could be sacrificed to a Cartel Aristocrat after he had removed an Angel of Glory’s Rise from the game, and it would create any infinite loop that brought all other humans such as Huntmaster of the Fells (infinite life and wolf tokens) back to the battlefield making it impossible for their opponent to win. It has already been replaced with the 2/2 Banisher Priest, but abusing the game just won’t be the same without the Hunter in play anymore.
When control was king back in the Innistrad/Scars block, Thalia was a pain in each control player’s side. She would be able to stop kill spells and counterspells a turn earlier, and with her aggressive costing she could attack early and take a decent chunk of life out of your opponent before being dealt with. She’s been relegated to largely sideboard roles now that standard is about to change, and it’s usually Human decks that she’s sideboarded into. I’d like to see her reprinted again in the future, but because of the “Thraben” in her name, I think Wizards will have to do a functional reprint of her that does the same thing but with a different name. I could see the functional reprint seeing play in another year or so, but Thalia herself won’t be back until we visit Innistrad again in a half decade. Due to the shift to aggro decks in Ravnica standard, I’d say that Imposing Sovereign is a more relevant two drop than Thalia is. Human decks will miss her somewhat, but it won’t be a huge hole to fill.
It was hard to come up with a 10th choice that was still relevant in the metagame and whose loss would affect current decks, but I finally decided on Doomed Traveler. As another blow to the Aristocrats deck, it loses a cheap costing creature that becomes another creature when it dies. It created a lot of value for that strategy, and had good synergy with Champion of the Parish and the new Xathrid Necromancer. Aristocrats is going to be hard pressed to find something as useful as Doomed Traveler. There are one drops, but not any one drops that become another creature when they die.
With the passing of these cards, I think Human, Aristocrats, and control decks will be taking the biggest hit. They’ll still be viable, but there will be some growing pains. Humans will probably have to switch to a Boros battalion strategy to push their damage though, Aristocrats will have to focus on the Necromancer for added damage through zombies, and control decks are going to have to replace Terminus with another removal spell that just isn’t as good. If you think I left out any white cards from this list, leave a comment below and I’ll work it into a revised post. Thanks for reading and check back in a few days for the next article!