Gatecrash Cards You Need to Own – Shared Discovery
Hi all, it’s time again to look back on the most recent set to see what cards we need to make sure we’ve got before starting off collecting the next lot. Gatecrash was quite a set, with loads of cards for constructed in a variety of formats (though, let’s be honest, mostly for Standard). They split off into a few distinct categories for the large part, so I will try to help you see what it is you need to keep for future use.
No beating around the bush, Gatecrash was smashing for highly-aggressive red-based strategies (well, red-green and red-white). The following nine cards are helping to shape standard and you need four of all of them:
The Naya Blitz deck is one of the best decks in Standard and plays a lot of the above cards, but when you want to go bigger there are the big Red-Green decks that Tomoharu Saito thrust into the world before the Pro Tour. This set brought a lot of options for smashing a lot of face and I think it’s fair to say that Burning-Tree Emissary and Boros Reckoner have joined Thragtusk and Sphinx’s Revelation as the defining cards of Standard.
Much has been written about a lot of these cards, but generally anything which provides a great deal for the mana investment (e.g. 3/3’s for 1 mana) or which produce multiple mana themselves (Emissary and Gyre Sage) are going to be strong cards for constructed play if the up-front cost isn’t too big.
I’m sure the mana costs of those cards look a bit strange to anyone coming in from a world of basic lands, and thankfully the city of Ravnica has us covered with the third best cycle of dual lands in Magic’s entire history (after the original duals and the fetchlands):
Due to their counting as different basic land types they occasionally power up cards such as Flinthoof Boar and Farseek, but the true power of these lands is the ability to have untapped mana whenever you want if you’re happy to pay the price. All of these have been an automatic four-of in many decks since they were first released and I even played a Sacred Foundry in a Legacy GP once! As a rule of thumb you want to get four of every rare land which produces more than one colour because I don’t know the last time they weren’t at least nearly all playable.
Another surprisingly good cycle of cards from Gatecrash has been the guild leaders:
I’ve omitted Jarad because while he’s seen some play I don’t think he’ll continue to do so going forward. These have all been a 2-3 of in various decks, with Obzedat having the most success due to its strength against control decks for evading all the removal people are currently playing. Now, this may change with the new set if people pick up good instant speed removal but he’s still a very strong card.
Zegana has been spotted piggy-backing off Thragtusks for a whole load of cards, Aurelia is topping the curve of the Red-White-Blue control decks to help them kill out of nowhere with the help of a stray Restoration Angel or Augur of Bolas. Borborygmos hasn’t been cast for his actual mana cost very often, but is a good reanimation target along with Life From The Loam and Unburial Rites in Modern.
Cartel Aristocrat doesn’t look like much to a lot of people but it helped to finish off a couple of decks that weren’t quite there. The reanimator deck from Pro Tour Barcelona which was based around Angel of Glory’s Rise and Humans it wanted to hop in and out of play. It previously had to rely on Falkenrath Aristocrat but now has an in-tribe option. Speaking of Falkenrath Aristocrat, these two cards have helped to define a deck named “The Aristocrats” which has a changing focus but is a big presence in the metagame and is often the best deck.
These two form part of a combo deck that saw momentary play in Vintage. By having no lands in your deck, for four mana you get to put your whole library in your graveyard. What can you do from there? Well, probably a lot of different things such as jumping 4 Narcomoebas into play and reanimating something ridiculous using Dread Return. I think the deck is still a little short of being playable, but would you rather have the cards lying around now or would you prefer to spend a lot more money trying to find them when the deck does break?
After that there are a few cards that could be considered and it’s probably safest to just get them all in case they are in the deck you want to play.
- Blind Obedience – Sees play often as a one-of in control decks for its ability to protect against Haste creatures. Was also used as a cheap and hard-to-remove way of dealing damage in control mirrors.
- Assemble the Legion – was realised as a better way of making a hard-to-remove threat in the control mirror, or just out of aggressive decks to finish things off.
- Enter the Infinite – probably the most powerful text of any card in Magic, but it comes at a hefty cost. Plays very well alongside Omniscience for those who truly want to do silly things.
- Whispering Madness – was picked out as a potential Vintage playable, purely for the first cast let alone any Cipher success. It has yet to materialise but Vintage is a big format and if it ever could be broken it probably will be at some point. Do you want to be unprepared?
- Cloudfin Raptor, Duskmantle Seer – After Delver of Secrets people are looking for aggressive blue fliers and these two are certainly pretty good. Whether they break Standard or not is up to you – get cracking!
- Rapid Hybridization and Devour Flesh – two decent removal spells depending on what’s going on at the time in Standard.
- Skullcrack – A good sideboard option for red decks wishing to fight Fog and Sphinx’s Revelation but doesn’t fight Thragtusk that well as generally the body is what’s going to be beating you.
- Orzhov Charm – Saw play in the Aristocrats deck at the Pro Tour but then fell out of favour to some extent. If you ever want to make use of reanimating a 1-mana creature then this has great versatility as a removal spell for your deck, so you should remember it when considering any new one-drop that shows up.
Therefore, a full list of cards you simply MUST pick up from Gatecrash is:
What do you think, have I missed anything important? I’ve tried to highlight anything currently good, but I think it’s always worth taking a risk on something that you expect to see play soon while it’s still cheap.
@DrRobWagner on Twitter