Hey, readers! I hope everyone enjoyed their prerelease events and their first week of origins in constructed. This is the first of a series of articles where I’ll pick a handful of cards I like for standard from each color. Yes, I’ll even pick cards from the two colors that aren’t blue, white, and red. But today, we’ll start with white. I’m not planning on listing every card I think is playable. I also won’t go into eternal formats since the card evaluation metrics for those formats are way different. So basic, bare bones standard analysis. Each article will be one or two honorable mentions and then the best 3-5 cards for standard from each color. They won’t be in order of anything, I’ll just pick a few I like. I’ll likely mention which card I think is the best in each color though. So let’s dive in, shall we?
I chose to put these two together because if either one is played in standard during their tenure the other is likely to be played alongside it. The number of cards that are enchantments or support a constellation themed deck is approaching critical mass. There will never be more enchantments legal in standard than there are right now. That said, these both cost five and don’t impact the board immediately. I think that the metagame would have to shift towards a higher concentration of slow and grindy decks for this deck to be a true contender. So many decks do such objectively powerful things without having to try as hard as the enchantment deck. So these two hang out in the honorable mention category, for now. It would be cool if someone proved me horribly wrong and crushed people under 4/4 angels and 5/5 sigils though, so feel free to get out and brew.
1) Hallowed Moonlight
I love cantrips. Anything that replaces itself and has an impact worth a card in itself is always worth considering. I think this is one of the hardest cards in the set to rank for standard but I also have high hopes for it. It will rarely be a blowout (unless it’s cast in response to Collected Company or Rally the Ancestors) but it will often take their turn and replace itself. A quick list of things this card stops includes Collected Company, Rally the Ancestors, Hordeling Outburst or any other token producing card, an Elspeth plus or Nissa, Sage Animist minus, Whip of Erebos, returned Deathmist Raptors, and Mastery of the Unseen activations. It also stops reanimation spells, Genesis Hydra and the effects of Goblin Rabblemaster and Whisperwood Elemental. Could be relegated to sideboards since decklists are often tight on space with so many cards available at this time in a format’s life. But, it can definitely do some powerful things and a white counterspell that cycles is a very unique card for sure. I’m optimistic.
2) Archangel of Tithes:
I promise not to spend as many words on this one. The upside is awesome stats (3/5 flying) for only 4 mana. Also, the stats are excellent in that they dodge a handful of the best removal in the format. Languish, Stoke the Flames, minus ability on Elspeth, just to name a few. The downside, triple white in the mana cost is seriously prohibitive. It essentially limits you to playing this in a one or two color deck. Currently, green ramp decks, blue black control, and red aggressive decks are the only decks that fit this description. Until we lose thoughtseize and Hero’s Downfall control will have incentive to pair blue with black over white. I don’t even know that control would want this anyway. Anything that dies to removal is a liability in game one. The ability is good with other creatures and the three white symbols scream “devotion!” This card might be the reason to give a white devotion deck or a white/x aggressive deck a try. Verdict, I like it a lot but I’m not sure where.
3) Swift Reckoning
This is a unique removal spell since it is almost always going to have a target. The downside is that the target has to hit you first unless you’re very heavy on spells. The versatility of a card like this is great for a deck like Jeskai. It kills things that Valorous Stance can’t but at the same time it is way worse when you’re the aggressor and obviously can’t protect your threat in a pinch. Red White decks now have a card that can kill Fleecemane Lion or Anafenza/Siege Rhino which will prevent these decks from folding when they draw their removal in the wrong order. I doubt this will supplant stance and it absolutely won’t supplant Lightning Strike but it serves as a great supplement to both and consequentially makes your other removal spells better. It’s also worth noting that it is good with counterspells because a spell heavy deck can leave up the mana and it might even stop someone from attacking. At the very least they’ll be playing their spells pre combat so they know if they can attack safely or not. Verdict, above average and has the potential to be very good if things shake out right.
4) Hixus, Prison Warden
I love everything about this card. It can be a liability with a lot of creatures that have comes into play abilities floating around but I think the fact that it comes into play on your terms and can permanently exile tokens if you sneak it in at the right time makes it more than good enough. Other awesome aspects of this card include its ability to reset monstrous lions and even exile Stormbreath Dragons. The ability doesn’t target and isn’t a trigger either so you can flash this guy in, block a creature, kill it and exile whatever else deal damage to you. Stratus Dancer would love to protect this guy and I doubt valorous stances would hate saving it themselves. Also, flash!!! 4/4s with flash are awesome, just ask anyone who has ever been Mistbind Cliqued. 5 is a lot more than 4 and the stats aren’t insane for constructed but some decks just can’t kill this guy. He plays great with other removal spells and counterspells. Once a deck has a critical mass of things that make leaving mana untapped an exciting proposition the potential exists for putting your opponents into some really awkward spots. I’m very optimistic about this card. I could see a big, reasonably costed body with flash and be biased but I think it’s seriously underrated. Probably not the best white card in the set but I love decks and formats where this type of card is good and I look forward to testing it out. Verdict, tricky to play with and against, likely pretty good.
5) Knight of the White Orchid
This card is awesome. It was a 4 of in my standard deck during it’s first printing and I look forward to finding a place to fit it in again. A 2 mana 2/2 with no evasion and no long term abilities is a little underwhelming when the bar for standard playability for a creature is high as ever. But this provides an awesome amount of value and blocks well too. All the pieces exist for a white creature deck and I think we will see a fair amount of this guy for the next year and change. Verdict, was great, is still hopefully great but likely less great than before.
The Archangel of Tithes has awesome stats and an extremely relevant ability. It is probably the best card in the set for standard on a raw power level. Lots of cool stuff in white and a push for white weenie or devotion is super prevalent in the cards. Also, some awesome tricky cards means there’s some other sweet decks that could pop up or get better.
Thanks for reading, be back tomorrow with blue cards and a big smile! Who doesn’t love blue cards?!
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