Friday, April 1, 2016

Farewell to the Clans, Part Two

Last time, I talked about how with the upcoming release of Shadows Over Innistrad that Standard will be rotating soon, with some very significant Commons from Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged leaving the format forever. This shift will drastically change the Standard Pauper format, and so I wanted to dedicate my blog posts this week to looking at what I believe are the six cards whose loss will have the biggest impact in the format. I already discussed Disdainful Stroke, Gurmag Angler, and Hooting Mandrills. Today, I'll look at the other three.

4. Jeskai Sage is another card that looked fairly innocuous when it was released, but proved to be a major cornerstone of an archetype in the format. In the right deck, it typically will attack as a 2/2 thanks to Prowess, and is a particularly strong target for combat tricks. But best of all, you can trade it off with your opponent's creatures without regret, since upon death it immediately cycles for a brand new card. That's built-in card advantage for an already decent card, and in a format where every little edge counts, it's little wonder that this little card proved to be such a gem.

5. While White has somewhat fallen out of favor, Sandsteppe Outcast is the perfect card for any White Weenie or similar archetype. For your three mana you get three points worth of Power, which most of the time you will want to split up into two creatures, one of which gets Flying. The fact that the card also had the Warrior subtype was another important boon to this card's versatility and power. Given the Spirit synergy in Shadows Over Innistrad it's a shame to see this go, as it would have been right at home in the new metagame. As is, this card will continue to live on in its color-shifted cousins Eldrazi Skyspawner and Ghirapur Gearcrafter.

6. In this case I definitely saved the best for last. Treasure Cruise turned out to be one of the more broken Commons to see print in recent times, thanks primarily to how routine it was to fill up your graveyard and cast this for half its cost or less. In fact, it's so good that it ended up being banned in Modern, Legacy, and Pauper. This card alone made it almost always worth your while to play Blue, and if so you always wanted the full four copies in your deck. While I still don't think it should have been banned in Standard Pauper, I know many players will be happy to see it go.

And so those are my top picks from Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged that will be leaving the format with the release of Shadows Over Innistrad. Other honorable mentions include Feat of Resistance, Mardu Hordechief, Elusive Spellfist, Sultai Emissary, Whirlwind Adept, and Whisk Away. One thing is for sure - Standard Pauper will look quite different in just a few short weeks!


  1. Since Elusive Spellfist was printed in Dragons, it survives rotation to play with more of its prowess-minded friends.

    Dragons and Origins remain, making Impact Tremors still a strong archtype. Axing the uncommons-as-commons experiment would nerf the tempo advantage of Impact Tremors with some other spells (i.e. Fiery Conclusion).

    Any thoughts on whether the uncommon-as-common experiment in Standard Pauper will continue?

  2. I would vote to keep things as they are now, with these unshifted rarity cards legal.

    1) None of them have warped the format.
    2) Their inclusion inspires more brewing/archetypes
    3) Eases confusion when sorting by the pauper filter for knowing which cards are legal in the format.

    People need to realize why these cards have been upshifted in rarity. Is it because WotC made a mistake and that they were too powerful for common, so now they are correcting their mistake but making them uncommon? No, definitely not. Reckless Scholar and Mad Prophet are now uncommon. They are still weak/medium cards in the std pauper format. WotC admitted that they do not test for the standard pauper format. So when they turn commons into uncommons - it is PURELY for the limited draft/sealed environment of SOI.

    Rremedio1 has a stats page on what cards are being played the most. The most impact a card has this past season was Grasp of Darkness.

    We will be fine including the Reckless Scholars and Mad Phophets of the world.

    1. Am I correct? New inclusions of uncommon-as-common would ONLY include three 'new' cards:

      Reckless Scholar 2U 2/1 Tap: TARGET player draw/discard (emphasis mine)

      Mad Prophet 3R 2/2 Haste Tap:Discard, Draw

      Lightning Axe R Instant Discard or Pay 5 colorless; 5 damage to target CREATURE (emphasis mine)

      I mistakenly thought Lightning Axe could also target players. Since I expect Impact Tremors and Pulse of Murasa to survive and thrive post-rotation, I fear Dual Shot more than Lightning Axe now.

      I think these three cards add to the obvious mechanics SoI intends. I also think these will be easy grabs for new players brewing decks, or for those who love love love Izzet Prowess, which may become Izzet Madness?

      Did I miss any new upshifted cards in this set?

  3. good bye ;c Temur battle rage

    1. And hello Uncaged Fury:

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  6. For some reason I was thinking that the Khans Commons Duals were reprinted in Dragons rather than in Fate Reforged. The fact that they are leaving the format is indeed a big shift. I think I'll write about that today.