We’ve made it through spoiler season! At the prerelease this weekend we will finally get our hands on some lovely Ravnica Allegiance cards. Now, I’m not here to advise you which guild to play at your pre-release—I prefer to enjoy the new set with some nonsense decks—but I am here to give you what I think are the most impactful cards for Standard in each of the guilds. I am not including shocklands in this discussion, as they would most likely just take the top slot for each guild.


Lavinia, Azorius Renegade is probably the most hyped card for Azorius—but not for Standard. Despite the implications it has for older formats, Lavinia only looks to be stopping a few cards in Standard. There are a few key cards Lavinia does interact with, however. Electrodominance and Wilderness Reclamation cheat on mana, and Nexus of Fate often is cast with fewer than seven lands in play. Thus, Lavinia will most likely be a good sideboard option for the likes of mono-white (splashing blue now that we have shocklands) or in a Birthing Pod-style Vannifar deck.

A reprint from Invasion, Absorb’s viability will all depend on how aggressive the format becomes. With a more prohibitive casting cost, control players will decide if they want to improve their mono-red/mono-white matchup by gaining three life, or to improve other matchups by choosing Sinister Sabotage. What to note though is that a casting cost of UUW would lend itself better to Jeskai (with white being the splash) than Esper as the cards that Esper have access to now will pull it in three equal directions with regards to color.

Dovin is back and better than before, bringing a unique design space not seen yet on planeswalkers. His +1 ability potentially gives enough loyalty to ultimate on the next turn and provide an inordinate amount of card advantage. The -1 ability defends Dovin by making a thopter, which is a trait of many powerful planeswalker cards. The only thing that currently goes against him in Standard is the dominance of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. If a new shell doesn’t appear for Dovin, he will have to contend with Teferi. That will unfortunately not be a winning battle for Dovin.


True four-mana board wipes are back! Gone are the days of Languish, Yahenni’s Expertise, and Ritual of Soot (you didn’t last long!). Back now are the Wrath of Gods and Day of Judgments of old. Kaya’s Wrath is a signal that BW or Esper are not to be overlooked going forward, and players are going to have to learn not to overcommit a turn earlier now. Fumigate was widely played through its time in Standard. In a world of almost perfect mana, things will not change with Kaya’s Wrath.

Mortify is a premium removal spell with the flexibility to remove enchantments. It first appeared in Guildpact and has now returned to a Ravnica Standard environment. At the moment in Standard, the following enchantments see play: History of Benalia, Search for Azcanta, Experimental Frenzy, Ixalan’s Binding, Seal Away, Conclave Tribunal, The Eldest Reborn, and Rhythm of the Wild. Being able to have the option to destroy one of these pesky permanents will be a great boon to the format. Mortify and Kaya’s Wrath are going to be the core of Esper Control moving forward, potentially giving us more than one control deck in Standard.

This card is pushed. Seraph of the Scales fits perfectly into a BW Angels shell and gives us a glut of options at four mana. While we had Aurelia and Shalai before, we now have an alternative option. Importantly, Seraph of the Scales is not legendary, meaning that there is now no penalty for drawing multiples. Afterlife 2 gives us incredible lasting power too; meaning that even upon death, the spirits aid us in our quest to defeat our opponent. Whether the deck develops into Abzan Angels or Mardu Angels, it looks like the latest offering from the Orzhov will fit in nicely.


Read the entry of Seraph of the Scales and apply it tenfold. Then you’ll get a sense of how powerful Spawn of Mayhem is. This is a three-mana 4/4 in most aggressive decks, and also has flying and trample. Gone are the days where the Demon subtype meant that the card had an inherit downside, and now we are in the world of oversized creatures for cheap costs. Spawn of Mayhem will be the biggest boon to black-based aggro decks, and it may even make mono-black aggro possible.

Skewer the Critics is a sorcery-speed Lightning Bolt (for three mana if you can’t enable spectacle). That is a tempting prospect for red mages. With eight Lightning Bolts now in Standard (Wizard’s Lightning being the other) plus Lightning Strike amongst a plethora of Viashino Pyromancers and Ghitu Lavarunners, mono-red aggro looks like it is reloaded for post-Hazoret dominance again.

Judith, the Scourge Diva looks to be closer to Judith, the combo enabler. Her ability to ping one damage to any target upon death gives any aristocrat-style deck the means to finish the game. In certain respects, Judith is a better Blood Artist as she can deal damage to troublesome permanents. But the fact that it does not trigger from tokens really hurts.


Now this is an impactful sideboard card (or maindeck if you’re trying to make Vannifar work in Standard like me). Each effect on Rhythm of the Wild is incredibly powerful against control, making it the ultimate control hoser in Standard. It also has some pedigree from the old Fires of Yavimaya days. Remember as well that Riot stacks with other cases of Riot, so even drawing multiples of this card improves your creatures.

Domri has returned to Ravnica and has grown, which is represented in his new card. His +1 ability helps ramp into threats and gives them Riot. That could make hasty Carnage Tyrants or ensure that your Ravager Wurm gets both sides of the Riot ability. His -3 improves on his previous card, enabling him to find two creatures and act as a good source of card advantage. While Domri doesn’t protect himself, his high starting loyalty should ensure that he can survive more that the first turn of combat. Gruul/Jund monsters looks like a certainty to make an impact this standard, and Domri will be leading the charge.

Cindervines adds a layer of inevitability against control decks. It rewards you for leaving the card out on the battlefield, but also acts as a Destructive Revelry whenever you need it. For Standard, the effect is probably worse than just running copies of Reclamation Sage or Knight of Autumn, but it has potential. It also does work against storm-style decks like Izzet Drakes.


As I layed out in my article last week, I absolutely adore our new Elf Lizard Wizard. Frilled Mystic opens up so many avenues for deck building and lines of play. It fits into almost every Simic deck and has value even just as an overcosted Ambush Viper. But the real trick to Frilled Mystic will be joining forces with Prime Speaker Vannifar: sacrifice a three-drop to counter a threat for zero mana, then sacrifice Frilled Mystic to go further up the chain.

The Jellyfish Hydra Beast is here, taking names and drawing cards. Hydroid Krasis looks to be Standard’s most likely ramp target going forward. The cast trigger to draw cards means that even if you declare X=2 and the card is countered, you are still guaranteed a card and one life for your trouble. Except we don’t want to settle for just drawing one card. The appeal of drawing a late-game Hydroid Krasis that refills your hand is something I can get behind. The lifegain doesn’t hurt, either.

I don’t need to be Sam Pardee or Jacob Wilson to tell you how powerful Birthing Pod can be. Banned in Modern and much-lamented by a subset of Modern players, we now get its spiritual successor in the form of Prime Speaker Vannifar. The designers must think that having summoning sickness will balance Vannifar, but the effect is simply too powerful not to make an impact in Standard. Being able to trade away any of your creatures with useful enters-the-battlefield triggers for more of them will stretch opponents thin, unable to keep up. Sacrificing my Jadelight Ranger to get Ravenous Chupacabra is powerful; next turn sacrificing the Chupacabra to get Biogenic Ooze or Garna, the Bloodflame is close to game-ending.

The Guildless

You may have noticed a few cards from Ravnica Allegiance missing here, such as Electrodominance. While Electrodominance is a very powerful card—probably the most powerful card in the set—it’s technically it’s an Izzet card in the non-Izzet set. But do we have a truly guildless power card?

I think we do. Gate Colossus is one of the more underrated cards in the set. You have to play some Gates, but this is the perfect finisher for such a deck. It’s larger than almost every creature in Standard as well, which means that it’ll be very difficult to stop once it gets rolling. Perhaps this is the new Metalwork Colossus.

So there you have it. Some of my omissions may be controversial—I for one am not a fan of Ravager Wurm—so if you find something you disagree with please let me know! I cannot wait to get my hands on these cards and start actually playing with them!

Daniel Roberts (@Razoack) is a UK based player writing about all things Standard. Playing since the release of Gatecrash, he loves nothing better than travelling to European GPs with friends and losing in the feature match area. His best record is 12-3 at GP Barcelona 2017, but he’s aiming for that one more win.

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