This past weekend’s Pro Tour played host to a ton of new and exciting Shadows over Innistrad cards. But that’s not all! There were also a ton of cards from the remaining Standard sets that never saw the light of day before the rotation. Today I’m going to go over my Top 8 obscure cards from Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad. These are the cards that saw virtually no play while they were legal in Standard prior to Shadows over Innistrad, along with cards in Shadows over Innistrad that seemed a little suspect at first.
8. Seasons Past
This is likely the least weird card on the list because it’s an incredibly powerful effect. The problem is simply that it costs 6 mana, which is a lot for a card that doesn’t win the game on the spot. I’m quite fond of this card and did include it in a list of my Top 8 favorite cards from SOI. Jon Finkel also seemed fond of it as he included it in his BG Control deck that helped him find his way into the Top 8 of the Pro Tour.
7. Dark Petition
This is also a card I had on my list of Top 8 favorite cards from Magic Origins. The fact that it’s basically Demonic Tutor when you have spell mastery is pretty sweet. Unfortunately, the card never saw any play outside of Vintage, but here we are. Dark Petition found a home as a 4-of in Jon Finkel’s Top 8 list, pairing perfectly with the aforementioned Seasons Past. While I’m not sure what the fate is for Dark Petition in Standard’s future, it was definitely interesting and exciting to see it in the Top 8 this past weekend.
6. Pyromancer’s Goggles
This card had “break me” written all over it. Pyromancer’s Goggles always seemed like a card that would see some play, but again, just like Dark Petition, it saw zero play in the Khans of Tarkir Standard environment. But now you can find it in multiple decks and archetypes, like UR and RG! It always surprises me when cards go from seeing no play to finding a home in multiple decks at once, but Goggles definitely seemed primed for that.
5. Fall of the Titans
Fall of the Titans is another great card, but again, didn’t really see much play in Khans of Tarkir Standard. This almost feels like a mythic and reminds me a lot of Comet Storm. Now that Khans of Tarkir has rotated out of Standard, just like Pyromancer’s Goggles (and often alongside the Goggles) the card sees play in several different archetypes, often as the backbone.
4. Thraben Inspector
Look at this little nerd right here. Boy, Squire has come a long way. And let’s be honest, this is definitely a Squire with a card draw on layaway. Nevertheless, this little detective has found its way into numerous white-based aggressive decks. If you’re running Thalia’s Lieutenant, you’re probably playing this guy. This card is one of the best examples of how a Constructed environment can change what cards are and aren’t considered playable.
3. Sphinx of the Final Word
Of all the Esper-based win conditions, I didn’t expect to see Sphinx of the Final Word in Seth Manfield’s Esper Control deck from the Top 8. Despite costing an immense 7 mana, this is a sizable threat that’s difficult to stop outside of a white sweeper or sacrifice effect. Seth did also rely on a bevy of planeswalkers to win his games, but seeing the mythic Sphinx from Oath of the Gatewatch as his only creature was intriguing. I imagine it’s a big beating in the mirror match, shutting off opposing counterspells and dodging every piece of removal that’s thrown (or attempted to be thrown) at it.
2. Cryptolith Rite
What on earth? What is this, Prismatic Omen for creatures?! Who’s even going to play this nonsense!? Oh, LSV? I see. Well, that’s a surprising 3-of if I ever saw one. This past weekend, BG Aristocrats was taken to the next level with not only this card, but the final card on our list: 2 cards that I never expected to net someone over $10,000.
1. Loam Dryad
What was it I said earlier about Squires? Here we go again! Ali Aintrazi and I talked about this card on our podcast, Freshly Brewed, last week, about how this card would probably never see play because geez, how far Birds of Paradise has fallen. Ali disagreed though, stating that if a deck needed this ability, it would be a fine fit. Well, here I eat my words. The little Loam Dryad that could ended up as a 4-of in Luis’s deck.
Every card on this list is one that surprised me to see not only in a competitive Standard deck lists, but in the Top 8 of a Pro Tour no less. One of the things I’ve always tried to do in my Magic career is highlight lesser played cards and try to find where they might shine. I think a lot of the cards on this list would have been great candidates before the Pro Tour. Afterward, a good amount of them can likely be considered staples.
Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you later!