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I’ve been getting pretty nostalgic about Magic after the release Dominaria. It’s been cool to see some old cards get reprinted in the context of a whole new set of Limited and Constructed formats, and how they stack up. Cards like Juggernaut were banned in some Constructed formats at one point, and now it’s a mediocre Limited playable.
I’ve compiled a list of cards I want to cast again in Standard. Not necessarily this Standard format, but it’s a list of cards I think would either slightly push the boundaries of Standard or would have an appropriate power level for a Standard format in the future.
10) Selesnya Charm
This is a pretty weird card to have on my list, I know. Selesnya Charm is just a sweet, versatile card that can exile some of the biggest threats in Standard, and also has utility as a 2-drop creature or rarely used combat trick in Constructed. We don’t often get to use combat tricks in Constructed, and having that added mode makes gameplay much more interesting.
The Scarab God and Lyra Dawnbringer would get exiled by this card for only 2 mana, which is sweet since there’s only a few other creatures that would, but you could otherwise make a 2/2 Knight at instant speed to go with your History of Benalia that’s about to hit the third chapter.
Selesnya Charm would be a sweet reprint for when we go back to Ravnica, and it’s at the perfect power level for Standard since both making a 2/2 and having a combat trick mode are pretty low impact, while exiling a problem creature is just what a green-white deck may need.
9) Read the Bones
Black decks have suffered without a good Divination effect for long enough. Read the Bones was an awesome way to hit land drops early in grindy black decks, or to search for action later in the game. We’ve mostly seen mediocre versions of Read the Bones recently with cards like Dark Bargain or Painful Lesson, and you can’t cast Arguel’s Blood Fast in the early game to make your land drops without investing a ton of mana and life. I’d like to just see good old-fashioned Read the Bones as a main-deck and sideboard tool to curve out with.
We could definitely see Read the Bones in Standard again, and even in Core 2019. I don’t think the power level is even close to too high, but it’s still one of my favorite spells to resolve.
8) Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Now I think it’s unlikely they’d print this in Standard because it’s a flip card, but it’s one of my favorite Standard cards ever. Nissa, Vastwood Seer helped you find land drops while adding a body to the board, and when you drew it later it was a 3-mana planeswalker that could draw cards or create a 4/4. Cards that have the ability to play well both early and later in the game, like Nissa, are awesome for gameplay because you never quite feel like you drew Nissa at the wrong time.
Nissa might push the boundaries of Standard a little, but in faster Standard formats I think Nissa is perfectly acceptable as a good card, and one I’d be excited to cast again.
7) Solemn Simulacrum
I’m not quite sure how good Solemn Simulacrum would be in formats with planeswalkers like Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Karn, Scion of Urza in the 4-mana slot. Solemn Simulacrum is an awesome value creature that can jump you from 4 to 6 mana to play a card like Vraska, Relic Seeker ahead of schedule. It would enable higher curves while trading off with small aggressive creatures for value.
Solemn Simulacrum is an appropriate power level for Standard, and I always imagine its potential when I Draft it in Cube.
This is a weird one, and it would probably have to be a functional reprint with kicker and without the regeneration clause, but I would love to see a card like this in Standard instead of Settle the Wreckage, especially with Heart of Kiran flying around everywhere. It’s possible that you’d want it to cost 8 or 9 mana to cast with flash, but I still love the idea.
We’ve come to expect 5-mana sweeper effects these days, and it would be awesome to be able to pay additional mana to punish an opponent crewing a Vehicle on their turn to attack while also picking off the crew members and creatures that decided not to attack.
It’s possible that an effect like this is too punishing, but I think Rout is the perfect type of sweeper to introduce while Vehicles are competitive.
3-mana hard counters are the norm now. They don’t get cheaper without a big cost like having a Wizard in play, and in the case of Absorb and Undermine, they’re also two colors. Disallow is the best we’ve gotten in a long while, and I like the utility of a blue control deck not being so weak to planeswalker ultimates because Disallow can protect you.
I’d love to see these two counterspells reprinted. Absorb might be too good, because a control deck is more likely to need to pad its life total than to deal incremental damage. Gaining an extra 6 life in a game as a control deck from your two counterspells is probably unreasonable if the control deck is already able to compete in Standard, so maybe they could redesign the card to only gain 2 life.
While I think Absorb is too good, Undermine is perfectly fine, and I think you could even make a case for Absorb in a format where U/W Control needs the help. I don’t mind paying 3 mana for a hard counter in Standard—I’d just like to get a little more out of it than just a Cancel.
Normally, Electrolyze is the kind of card I would not expect them to reprint in Standard—at least, until I saw Goblin Chainwhirler in action. Both of these cards punish decks that play multiple 1-toughness creatures and still create additional value. Electrolyze can clean up a planeswalker on 1 loyalty and pick off a creature while also drawing a card to create a 3-for-1, and against control decks can just get “cycled” by dealing 2 damage to their face. Most creatures you kill straight-up with Electrolyze will cost less mana, so it’s not a huge blowout to draw a card.
I don’t think we’re very likely to see a reprint of Electrolyze any time soon, but if I worked at Wizards, I’d keep it in mind as an exciting card that might push the boundaries a little bit.
3) Hero’s Downfall
We’ve seen so many “fake” Hero’s Downfalls recently, and I just want the original version back. Why do I want Hero’s Downfall over Vraska’s Contempt so much in Standard? Well, currently the die roll plays a huge role in Standard matches. Chandra and Karn can come into play on turn 4, or Teferi on turn 5, and snowball a game out of control. Your opponent plays a Karn, +1’s, gets a card, and then you spend your turn casting a Cast Out or Vraska’s Contempt, down a card, and tapped out. With Hero’s Downfall, you could hold up 3 mana, allow them to play their Karn, Scion of Urza, and Hero’s Downfall it, untap, and play your own Chandra or Karn. You’d go from losing the die roll to having the better battlefield position. Exchanges like this make losing the die roll much less punishing. Having all of these effects cost as much as their likely targets, or having them as sorceries, creates a game state that makes it difficult to come back from on the draw.
It’s possible that we may see again Hero’s Downfall someday, but it seems pretty obvious that they don’t want to give it back to us anytime soon.
The Temples were the best dual lands I can remember for Standard. They allowed for smoother games where both players would draw the correct mix of lands and spells more often, and for the games to develop more slowly because the first land or two you’d play would enter the battlefield tapped. In fact, having scry lands meant that you could play more lands than you normally would because you’d still be able to push lands you didn’t need to the bottom and find more action when necessary.
Scry is an evergreen mechanic now, so I’d be surprised if we don’t see the Temples come back in the future—though I think we may see shocklands first.
1) Prophetic Bolt
I love this card so much. I loved trying to get as many copies as I could in Vintage Masters Drafts, and I always wondered while doing so how this card would play out in Standard. I think Prophetic Bolt as a 5-mana instant that generates value is appropriately powered for Standard. Right now it may be a little too good alongside a card like Torrential Gearhulk but once that rotates I can totally see having a 5-mana spell that nets you a card that can interact with planeswalkers and 4-toughness creatures.
Prophetic Bolt deals with a threat while also digging to more answers, and potentially more copies of Prophetic Bolt, but I don’t think that’s unreasonable for the 5 mana you’re investing. If I could get WotC to print one card in Standard for me, just so I could cast it competitively, it would be this one.
For the most part I think all of these cards are fairly appropriately powered—some may be pushing it a little, but we always have pushed cards in Standard anyway. Is there any card you really like that you think would be good for Standard, but not too good? I love reflecting on memories of old cards, so let me know what you think!