It is that time of the year again. Time for us to get rid of the old cards that are rotating and don’t see eternal play. To free up some space in our binders from the cards that just weren’t good enough to make the jump. I’m looking at you Desecration Demon, you too Nightveil Specter. This is also a time that we will get to reminisce about all of the joy we had casting our favorites. The tournaments we entered and navigated beautifully. I am going to take quite the step back to the rotation of Return to Ravnica with this one. I wasn’t able to properly send some of my friends off and I would like to do that here. This list will include the eternal playable cards as well as the others.
First on my list of cards is Abrupt Decay. The ability to remove permanents at instant speed was always amazing. To be able to remove the Detention Sphere getting rid of your best permanent was a great feeling. Removing Lifebane Zombie, Nightveil Specter, and Domri Rade was always welcomed.
Second on my list is none other than Domri Rade himself. With a backbreaking ultimate, the ability to draw cards, and kill creatures this man was an all star. Revealing Polukranos, World Eater against decks with creatures. Revealing Scavenging Ooze when I needed those few extra points of life. Just helping me through the mid game and punish all of my control opponents. And the amount of times we revealed Stormbreath Dragon has to be over 9,000. I always took pride in taking down control mages and you were just the man up to the task.
Rakdos’s Return. This card single handedly helped me against multiple mages. I cannot remember a time having this card and having a bad time. The faces of my control/mono black/midrange opponents when I cast this card was what fueled my fire to be the mage I am today. To watch all hope drain from their face was fantastic. There was no coming back from this. This was the red button.
Ghor-Clan Rampager. Another card Domri liked to show up to the party with. This was my opponents one way ticket to blow out city, population one. This was the OG removal spell. The way to finish off opponents, the ability to push through defenses. Nothing could stand in our way, and if they tried we went head first right straight through.
Vraska the Unseen. This was my first planeswalker. I traded so much value for this at the time. It ended up being a horrible trade because the Armada Wurm I traded away kept its value and Vraska plummeted. In the long run she was the better card. I am happy I got her, she helped me down the path of a Golgari mage and really taught me what it meant to play like one.
Deadbridge Chant. Card was great. Filled up the yard, let me pick through it with Scavenging Ooze and somehow always ended up returning Thragtusk. Young kids these days may not know. But Thragtusk is the real OG. Siege Rhino who?
Ruric Thar the Unbowed. Remember what I was saying about control mages losing color in their faces? Yeah. Good times. Resolved Ruric Thar. GG? No concession? Sure, I will continue. The next few turns of creatures would always put a game away. If you tried stopping me? 6 damage to the dome. Then I would move to combat.
Honorable mentions: Sphinx’s Revelation and Detention Sphere. The amount of tournaments that I have registered these cards in can be easily counted on one hand. But the ability to Stifle the best draws from mono red and just in general remove any permanent. And Sphinx’s Revelation was a horrible horrible magic card. Have you ever cast one? Boy is that a feeling. Its addicting. I cannot play a control deck that well but man did I go out of my way to play that card when I could.
Moving on to Theros block. I really enjoyed a lot of the cards from this set. There were a chunk of eternal playable cards and giving us access to Thoughtsieze was quite the relief for a budgeted magic player such as myself.
Thoughtseize. Did I mention how much I loved beating control mage? Well in case you forgot here is one of the best black cards ever.
Xenagos, the Reveler. A card that would do double time versus really everyone. Yo dawg, I heard you like threats to go with your threats. So we made you a card that would play more threats or make more threats so you can make even more threats.
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. I love this card. She is great. Removal spell, creature generator, game ender. What a resume. You’re hired can you start like right meow!?!
Courser of Kruphix. This was a really solid card. With the synergy of Domri and Chandra with this we were always drawing the right cards. It was fantastic. Gained you life and drew you cards. This card was never your all star but put in work behind the scenes. The stuntman that doesn’t get any of the credit for the movie.
Mistcutter Hydra. Haste? Check. Can’t be countered? Check. Protection from Blue? Check. Reasonable body? Check. Mannnnnnnnnn was this card good. An anti blue card castable at all points in the game? And anytime something says can’t be countered was it considered.
Gnarled Scarhide, Tormented Hero, Spiteful Returned, Mogis’s Marauder, and Herald of Torment. Individually I only have words for Herald of Torment as that card bridged the gap from one archetype to a few others. But with these powers combined we have Mono Black Aggro. I decided to play a R/W midrange deck at a 6k in Connecticut. I had some really close games come down to the wire and did not perform as well as I wanted. Missing min cash by one loss. My partner in crime at the time Mark Morrison was playing Esper Control (surprise surprise.) He and Kevin Jones both picked up 2 losses quick and dropped to play in a GPT side event. Kevin ended up making it into top 8 and doing pretty well. We all got together and decided to travel to the PTQ hosted in Boston the next day. We got a last minute hotel together and ended up having to pay for it. Mark shoved in a bunch more so he could have a bed to himself. I had the pleasure of sleeping with Kevin….. But one thing was on our minds during our travels to Boston. The deck that won the 6k was a relatively unknown deck, Mono Black Aggro. We did some research and found that a PTQ was won the weekend before by the deck as well so the deck seemed to be the real deal. Over the course of the drive Mark was considering an audible to the deck. Now anyone that knows Mark would have a few question marks floating above their head. Mark is a well known control player in the upstate area which made the idea of the audible very appealing to me and Kevin as well. In the end we ended up cracking packs and picking up a few pieces to the deck. The next day Mark ended up buying the rest of what he needed and settling in on the deck. He took the deck to a top 16 finish in the PTQ missing top 8 on some tight breakers. I picked up the deck a little while after and I was very impressed. The deck was very good and a lot of fun to play.
Stormbreath Dragon. The Daddy. My all star. The single card that I am going to miss the most. I am sort of lost in this standard format. I don’t know what to do. Everything seems wrong with out my 5 drop dragon. The same thing happened to me with Thundermaw Hellkite. I luck sacked and ran one in my Jund Midrange deck and it was always great. Now it had protection from some forms of removal spells, haste, and an ability that directly hated on control mages? My eyes just kept going wider and wider. And now that he is gone I don’t know what to do. Casting Siege Rhino seems fine. Mantis Rider is okay, but nothing will be the same. Mardu/BR Dragons is missing its key piece. The key to the city. Us and Domri had some of the best times. I would find myself straying away but I would always come back. Every time one of my creatures dies to a white removal spell I will remember.
Farewell my friends. The time we have spent is irreplaceable.
What are some of the cards that you are missing?
Stay humble and stay hungry