Saturday, March 7, 2015

What Are the Best Uncommons in Standard?

As the Standard Pauper Sealed League draws to a close, another league is about to start up. MagicGatherStrat is sponsoring their fourth community league, this time using the Standard Silverblack format, in which all of the Commons and Uncommons in Standard are legal. Registration closes this coming Thursday (March 12), so you've still got some time if you want to participate.

As I pondered entering this event, I found myself wondering what information existed about the format. Once upon a time, there was a consistent weekly Player Run Event in the format, but as far as I can tell, no such event is currently running. As a result, I could not find any information that would help me understand what archetypes or even specific Uncommons would be good in this format.

On the one hand, this is great. Playing in unexplored formats, especially one with nearly 900 individual cards, leaves lots of room for brewing and discovery. On the other hand, with the league starting next week, there is only so much time to devote to it. Worse, unless you have a good network of online friends to test with, getting some matches in with a bunch of different decks is all but impossible. So what's a guy to do?

My solution was to check out MTGOTraders and use their Advanced Search feature to search all of the Uncommons in Standard by price. This also had the advantage of giving me a good idea what kind of cost I would be up against.  As it turns out, there are only four Uncommons valued at more than $1 each, and less than 20 that are priced at more than 3 cents each. Leading the pack by a significant margin is Stoke the Flames, which as of this post is going for nearly $5 a copy.

So why are these Uncommons priced the way they are? All things being equal, cards are either expensive because of their rarity or because of their demand. And since all these are Uncommons in sets that can still be drafted on Magic Online, more than likely these cards are seeing a significant amount of play in Standard or Modern right now. Does that mean they will be good in Standard Silverblack? Maybe, and maybe not, but it's certainly a good starting point.

(By the way, don't be fooled by the pricetag for Sengir Vampire. It's not seeing play in Standard. But it is only available through the Intro packs for Magic 2015, which means it's quite rare online (and in high demand for those trying to redeem the set), hence its price).

Got opinions on what Uncommons are going to be good? I'd love to hear them! Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.


  1. UW Heroic is a real, even if not tier 1, Standard deck which is basically a Silverblack deck with added fetchlands. Without them it is inexpensive (unless you want to add Valorous Stance or Banishing Light). I tested a Silverblack version and it looked solid (important uncommons in the deck are Favored Hoplite, Battlewise Hoplite, Seeker of the Way, Ordeal of Thassa and Ordeal of Heliod, if I remember correctly).

    Other good uncommons are Stoke the Flames, Bile Blight, Drown in Sorrow, Searing Blood, Valorous Stance, Banishing Light and Reclamation Sage on the most expensive side. But there are also great inexpensive ones like Monastery Swiftspear, Magma Jet, Murderous Cut, Ensoul Artifact, Cloudform, Hordeling Outburst, all the charms, trilands and many more.

  2. Good information! I know checking out cards powers by price can be very misleading, though. Market forces and forced scarcity mess with the exchange-value of a card, which is not the same thing as it's use-value (this goes for any commodity). I wonder if there is a way to do a search elsewhere that tells us how many copies of a card are played as opposed to how much it costs or how frequently it is traded. That would give us a better idea of how useful a card is in the format. Still very interesting and useful information here; I guess price lists are as close as we can get :-)