M13 Cards you need to own after Return to Ravnica – Shared Discovery by Rob Wagner

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M13 Cards you need to own after Return to Ravnica – Shared Discovery by Rob Wagner


Hi all, I want to try something a bit different this week. There aren’t really any big UK events coming up to my knowledge, and the format is soon to rotate, so telling you about the hot new tech isn’t very useful to you.

A lot of writers choose to fill this time with previews for the new set, general Magic comments, and brewing new decks for the next set. Now, I’m not much of a brewer without a context – I prefer to find the fights I need to get involved in rather than just creating a deck and hoping it’ll be good enough or relevant enough.

To make up for this, I had the idea to look at the previous set and identify the cards I think you should be getting hold of for your collection if you want to keep up with competitive formats. This is the opposite of a trade speculation style article, instead telling you about the cards you might already know as good but acting as a consolidated guide to what I think you will need.

I am largely following my own advice for this, the reason being that this advice is aimed at people seeking to be competitive and don’t want to have to keep asking others for cards over and over. I know that if I need to borrow a card over and over I prefer to just buy the damned thing (or trade for it) to make my life a lot easier. This doesn’t just apply to rares either, the commons and uncommons should be collected, but I prefer to get 4 of all of these anyway for completionism sake (I always get a box or so at the start of the format to get a big jump on this).

So, without further ado what cards do we want to keep from M13?


4 Knight of Glory – These will be excellent going forward in a multicolour format where a lot of creatures are accidentally black from their hybrid mana.

4 Oblivion Ring – You probably have these anyway but it’s worth making sure. This will compete with a certain rare in Return to Ravnica, however.

1 Serra Avenger – Because the picture is truly amazing.

3 Sublime Archangel – I love this card a lot, very aggressive and another way of getting in on the Gavony Township plan.

3 War Priest of Thune – A good sideboard card when there are aggressive white decks that want to kill enchantments (not so good for really controlling decks though).


4 Augur of Bolas – Depending on the spells that get printed, this card could remain strong. It gets better when there are a lot of 2 power creatures attacking instead of 3+ power.

4 Battle of Wits – For when you want to.

1 Jace, Memory Adept – Good in sideboards, and can use it in Cube or EDH or similar.

4 Master of the Pearl Trident – It makes it easier to break into Legacy if you happen to pick up cards for decks here and there before making the big push and getting Duals and Forces.

4 Omniscience – As above, but probably if you actually are trying to break into Legacy.

4 Talrand, Sky Summoner – It has seen some play already but is clearly quite strong. It gets potentially worse as Phyrexian Mana disappears but it depends on how much the removal is good against this card.

Infinite Welkin Terns – Infinite Tern comboes have dominated formats whenever they’ve existed in Magic.


3 Diabolic Revelation – 1 for your EDH deck, and 2 for your MBC list.

3 Disciple of Bolas – Pairs really well with a Green rare found below, one of the stronger things you can do in new Standard.

4 Duress – You probably have these, but make sure as they have a lot of cross-format playability.

4 Knight of Infamy – For the same sorts of reasons as the White Knight found above.

4 4 [card]Vampire Nighthawk">Mutiliate[card] – In case Mono-Black Control is a thing.

4 [card]Vampire Nighthawk – This card is really strong in Blue-Black control decks in general. It’s a much better controlling card than it is an aggressive one.

1 Wit’s End – Sometimes crops up as a misers card when the format has a lot of big control decks and little counter magic.


4 Flames of the Firebrand – Cards like this have always seen constructed play, from the original Arc Lightning to Arc Trail and Forked Bolt. Killing multiple creatures is an excellent deal always.

1 Krenko, Mob Boss – For the Legacy Goblins deck.

3 Magmaquake – Grixis Control could be a thing and the dual lands in Ravnica make it Red heavy currently. This is a good sweeper if you don’t have a heavy planeswalker deck.

4 Searing SpearMizzium Mortars threatens to obsolete it but if you need the Instant bit then this card is good.

4 Thundermaw Hellkite – I’m surprised at how little play this guy has seen as he’s clearly excellent. I guess the problem is the large mana cost in a Vapor Snag format, but that will change so if anyone starts playing 1 toughness fliers (e.g. Lingering Souls) this card becomes optimal, but it’s just strong anyway to be honest.

1 Worldfire – For EDH… wait, what was that?… banned?… never mind then.


2 Acidic Slime – One as a tutor target and one as a sideboard card. You can probably just own 4, but I don’t think it’s a strong card in general and is best used as a versatile answer for very particular threats.

4 Arbor Elf – Shock lands, yaddah yaddah yaddah. Answer me this – when was the last Standard format without a deck using the available mana dorks?

1 Elderscale Wurm – I quite like this guy and can see it finding a home in certain set-ups of the format. At the very least it seems good in EDH :)

4 Elvish Archdruid – A great mana generator with multi-format playability.

4 Elvish Visionary – Only a common, but a very strong one and will be partnering Restoration Angel I’m sure.

4 Farseek – Extremely good with Shock lands, will be used as both a mana fixer and an accelerant in equal measures. Will get better when the Simic and Gruul lands come along.

4 Quirion Dryad – There’s a multicolour block coming up and you’re not the least bit tempted by this? I had an old deck with Cascades into this and Naya Charm which was amazingly good fun, I’d get 2-3 counters on it out of every Bloodbraid Elf or Bituminous Blast.

4 Rancor – A very strong card for creature decks, helping your mana dorks to become relevant later on. The original equipment really.

1 Silklash Spider – This guy’s actually pretty strong and can find a home in the right meta.

4 Thragtusk – Built to be sacced to Disciple of Bolas ;). So strong that Esper midrange is splashing it currently.

Multicolour and Artifact

2 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker – Grixis Control may be live, as I mentioned above in Magmaquake. Really though, Bolas is a very sweet finisher and can be really hard to contain.

2 Akroma’s Memorial – Has seen play in Legacy Hypergenesis, good in EDH still and definitely showed up a little the first time it was in Standard.

4 Door to Nothingness – The same reason as for Battle of Wits ;)

1 Gilded Lotus (Foil) – EDH

3 Staff of Nin – A currently overlooked finisher, I know some of the local Manaleak Pro Tour crowd have an eye on this one.

3 Tormod’s Crypt – No nonsense graveyard removal, the classic.

4 Trading Post – Has multiple decks built around it, extremely versatile.


4 Dragonskull Summit, 4 Drowned Catacomb, 4 Glacial Fortress, 4 Rootbound Crag, 4 Sunpetal Grove – Staples of every standard deck. The lands which produce more than one colour are the cards I go after first whenever a set comes out so I can get involved with events.

4 Evolving Wilds – Will show up a lot, even if you don’t always use all 4.

1 Reliquary Tower (Foil) – :)


If you have all of these cards then all credit to you, because I don’t exactly. A quick count up shows I have about 70% of them, slightly more. The ones I don’t have are cards I think should be owned but aren’t going to be in decks I’m likely to be playing myself (the non-white, non-blue ones mostly). However, I know I’m never too far off any deck I want to try out which is a great help if I’m testing for big events or just having a laugh down at the local FNM.

Generally, if that creature you’ve been looking at hasn’t been seeing play but you think it should have then ask yourself if it was because of Vapor Snag. Some of the beauties listed above have been held back for precisely that reason, and may soon find their time to shine. Make sure you get them now before they get too expensive – if you can see that a card is good then trust your instinct!

What do you think – have I overlooked anything important? Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing.


@DrRobWagner on Twitter

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