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Abrade was the easy pick for the card most likely to impact Standard in a significant way. It was the card that felt tailor-made to deal with the artifact atrocities unleashed by the Kaladesh block. Not only does it perform nicely as a Shatter against Vehicles, it’s a main-deck hedge against decks like U/W Monument. 3 damage is also the perfect number for dealing with nearly all the scary 2-drops in Standard. Every red deck should have 4 of these in their 75.
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Oketra's Monument

Speaking of Monument decks, one came in 2nd at the SCG Open and had plenty of representation up and down the Top 64. While some solid cards against the deck were released in Hour, there’s no denying that the Monument decks are here to stay. Not only do they have one of the most powerful engines in the format, they can be built to be resilient to traditional board control strategies.
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Hour of Devastation

While it didn’t propel U/R Control to the top finish its proponents were hoping for, it has changed the game for the typical aggro and midrange decks. No longer can B/G Energy snowball an early lead into an unstoppable force—now they have to worry about getting rolled by a real sweeper. The same goes for other creature strategies, which didn’t have to respect Wrath effects in Standard. Well, until now.
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Champion of Wits

Champion got some spotlight before the weekend, so seeing Temur and 4c Emerge variants wasn’t unexpected. But the card has outperformed almost everyone’s expectations. This card is amazing and a good send-off for all the emerge strategies, and is just a solid card on its own. People want to play this in regular old Temur Energy because of how strong the filtering and eternalize abilities are in this format.
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Thraben Inspector

If you had told me that Thraben Inspector would be one of the most important cards in Standard, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet, every single set we see Thraben Inspector performing in top tier strategies. With mono-red getting more popular, the ability to stay on-curve early becomes even more relevant.
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Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

The one upside to Aetherworks Marvel being legal was that Gideon decks weren’t very good. As funny as it is to see him in the sideboard of Monument decks, Gideon remains one of the most potent 4-drops in Standard. You still need to respect Gideon if you plan on playing control or you’ll simply lose to it. At least he only has a couple of months left.
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Thought-Knot Seer

Speaking of cards with only a few months left to make an impact, Red Eldrazi is a real thing now that Hour has brought Deserts to the forefront. Cards like Desert of the Fervent and Ramunap Ruins give you good reason to compromise your mana base. The power level of Thought-Knot Seer was never in question—ask any Modern player about that. Instead, we may finally have a shell worthy of the card.
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Glorybringer

With more unfair decks popping up in Standard, Glorybringer loses some of its appeal, but it remains one of the best ways to either catch up or snowball a game. The instant-speed removal to deal with Glorybringer is limited, and it's rare that you won’t at least net a 2-for-1 by playing it. It remains the curve topper of choice and should stay that way unless the format significantly shifts to be hostile to expensive single-card threats.
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Rankings Updated:  July 20, 2017
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Rankings Updated:  November 15, 2016
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Rankings Updated:  11/12/2015

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