For a Standard format with only five sets, this format is filled to the brim with powerful and fun cards. The Theros block is both tremendously flavorful and blatantly powerful.

Khans of Tarkir, however, dropped so many powerful cards in our laps that we’ve been almost forced into slamming Siege Rhino and Jeskai Ascendancy.

There are quite a few decks that are more than viable in Standard, but there are still some awesome cards that don’t seem to get much light. Whether it’s a brand-new creature from Khans or a limited all-star instant from Theros, here’s a short list of some cards I feel like can make a splash in this Standard before Fate Reforged comes out.

1. Rakshasa Deathdealer—The Demon Kitty of Midrange

I’m a huge fan of this card. I played it right after Khans came out in my Abzan Beatdown deck, and I’ve been more impressed with it as time went on. This past weekend I played a list of Abzan Reanimator that was recommended by none other than Gerry Thompson, which, much to my enjoyment, included two copies of my favorite Cat Demon. I tested against plenty of archetypes, and it was never anything but wonderful. Even within the PTQ itself, the card outperformed many of the staples of the deck. That, and watching your opponent get excited to slam a removal spell when you tap out thinking that you forgot to leave regeneration mana up, only to be upset when you drop the card their Hero’s Downfall should have been saved for on your next turn. This guy is a powerhouse in a midrange deck, especially a deck like Abzan Reanimator that can give him lifelink, as well as giving you a threat that is hard to answer as well as a tiny kitty Fireball.

2. Rescue from the Underworld—That creepy scene from Hercules where he jumps in a pool of old dead people.

This card rocked some limited worlds in its time, but it has not seen any light in this Standard. I was rather skeptical when one of my friends recommended it for my Abzan Reanimator deck, and, although I chose not to play it at the PTQ, it’s power level is ridiculous. In a format with so many games relying on getting extra Siege Rhino or Hornet Queen triggers, getting those triggers without exiling is a huge advantage, as well as being able to use this in response to a removal spell. It’s a trick, which the Reanimator decks are sorely lacking, and it has the potential to be extremely swingy. And awesome.

3. Liliana Vess—The last of the OG ‘walkers

Lili’s been around. While her three-mana counterpart may have been played more, the original incarnation from Lorwyn is back in Standard without much recognition. If the matches are as long and resource-driven as they seem to be, her discard ability is relevant enough. Her tutor ability answers the question of who sees his/her Whip of Erebos first, as well as filling awkward draw steps with threat after threat. There seems to be less Hero’s Downfall than Murderous Cut these days, as proven by Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver crushing decks with no real answer, so another planeswalker seems like a nice fit.

4. Erebos, God of the Dead—The Devo of our format (Whip it good!)

Erebos has never been immensely popular (although it fought many a Sphinx’s Revelation), but in a world where his whip is so popular, he doesn’t seem that bad. In midrange fights of whip versus whip, having card draw with minimal cost is very useful, and the loss of your opponent’s lifelink can win games by itself. It may not be anything but a sideboard slot, but there are so many games that result in fifty or sixty life before someone dies that he has to be relevant. Also, the flavor of shutting off a whip because you control Erebos is more than worth it. Flaaaaaavor.

5. Titan’s Strength—Lava Spike Plus

This one isn’t necessarily limited to the card itself so much as the strategy that it allies itself with. There are decks that only have Sylvan Caryatid before turn three. That’s ridiculous. I love grindy midrange formats, but the red decks haven’t died yet. Catching all these decks that stumble isn’t an impossible feat. In the PTQ this past weekend I played a match against a Constellation deck in which I missed my second land drop in one game, on top of missing many land drops before I made it to most of the spells in my hand. It was then when I realized that there is a whole in the metagame where someone needs to stomp my face in with some Satyr Hoplite beats or something. Frenzied Goblin is good again, as well, as most decks only have one relevant creature untapped in the first three or four turns, and twenty damage really isn’t all that much.

We have a little time left before Fate Reforged comes out, so try mixing it up a little with some of these cards. It’s surprising how much a card or two can impact the interest a person has in the deck they’ve been playing for a while, and a little spice never hurt anyone.

Duncan Martin is an artist/musician/writer/whatever from Jeffersonville, Indiana, who spends his days sorting cards, helping people brew decks, and petitioning to have Second Sunrise unbanned in Modern. He likes to draw cards, dredge cards, scry cards, and talk about old formats, Pro Tours, and awesome decks that have long since passed.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.