There are a lot of powerful options for Standard, and some cards even bridge into other formats. Last time, I covered Assassin’s Trophy, Legion Warboss, Dream Eater, March of the Multitudes, and Ral, Izzet Viceroy, so make sure to give that a read!
Deafening Clarion: Hit
I can’t decide if I like or hate the design of this card. It has two modes that are pretty weird when combined, but needless to say, this card is the newest version of Sweltering Suns or Radiant Flames. It will have its time and place, and I expect to see it sweeping up creatures out of sideboards in a deck like Jeskai Control at the very least. I like having an option like this in Standard, and look forward to finding sweet games where both modes are relevant. As far as Limited is concerned, I like that this card can have an effect in games where you’re not going to cast the sweeper side because it kills too many of your own creatures, but it can help you win a race anyway.
Deafening Clarion will likely see a fair amount of play.
Thought Erasure: Hit
This one is tough to evaluate. With Duress still in the format, Thought Erasure better be hitting enough creatures to make it worth the extra mana. That said, it’s a much more versatile main deck card since it can hit creatures, so I expect some Dimir decks to want this card in main decks and back it up post-board with Duress and Negate to further punish control decks. Adding surveil to a card you can cast early can help you make land drops as well, which is a huge bonus.
There’s a chance that I’m completely off on this one because it may just not be a card Dimir decks want to main deck, in which case maybe Duress and Negate take up all of the sideboard slots as they’re more efficient. That said, you still may want this over Duress in a control mirror after sideboard, especially if a card like Chromium, the Mutable or Nicol Bolas, the Ravager plays a big role in the matchup.
I think we’ll see Thought Erasure being cast in Standard in some number.
Niv-Mizzet, Parun: Miss
Niv-Mizzet is one of my favorite Magic characters. It’s a sweet looking Izzet Dragon that always lets you draw additional cards. That said, poor Niv-Mizzet is almost never playable in Standard. I don’t think this time will be any different. Niv-Mizzet requires you to really devote yourself to Izzet with a tough 3-of-each-color casting cost, and on top of that, doesn’t effect the board immediately. He’s easily removed from the battlefield with a number of removal spells and planeswalkers, and all you get in return is a card and a point of damage for a 6-mana investment. There would need to be some pretty specific circumstances for Niv-Mizzet to see Standard play, and I don’t think we’ll be seeing them this time around.
I hope the next time Ravnica rolls around, we finally get a playable Niv-Mizzet.
Nullhide Ferox: Hit
As someone who loves Nicol Bolas, the Ravager’s design and eagerly wants to play it when it’s a top-tier card, Nullhide Ferox saddens me. Adding the discard clause to what feels like a fairly solid creature means that the two decks will likely not co-exist, as this card is so punishing to Nicol Bolas.
This card seems like it fits right at home in a deck with Steel-Leaf Champion and Llanowar Elves, and those decks don’t particularly want to cast noncreature spells all that much anyway. In fact, you could easily just splash Assassin’s Trophy in those decks, and pay the higher rate on the card by paying 2 mana extra to destroy a problematic permanent. The rest of your deck can just be beatdown creatures. Where I see this card having problems is when the deck wants to avoid playing right into sweepers and using planeswalkers to get around that. This card won’t allow you to advance your board on turn 5 with a Vivien Reid, and this means you’d likely need to side out the Nullhide Ferox when bringing in planeswalkers.
On the plus side, your opponent can’t play a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria into it without losing it immediately, and if your opponent holds up 4 mana for a Vraska’s Contempt anticipating your 4-drop, you can punish them by playing this and eat an entire turn of mana.
I think the card is powerful enough to still see play if a heavy mono-green type creature deck is playable, but the supporting cast will have to get there.
This is kind of a no-brainer in that we expect a 3-mana counterspell with a small upside to see play these days. Ionize is an easier-to-cast 3-mana counterspell, requiring only a single blue mana, which is a fairly big upside if you plan on splashing blue in heavy red decks, or if you’re playing straight 3 colors. Ionize, like Vapor Snag, is the type of card you end up casting more and more as the game progresses, and then the damage really adds up. While I think Ionize is a hit, it could be limited to fringe play only because of the card I’m going to discuss next time, Sinister Sabotage. A deck playing Ionize will really want the damage to matter or else it’s just a Cancel, and it’s possible that blue decks just want to be as controlling as possible and close the game out by completely exhausting the opponent of resources, in which case the damage isn’t all that relevant. If a deck like U/R Wizards exists, I can see Ionize being excellent in addition to Wizard’s Retort.
Ionize will see some play. It’s just competing with a better card.