Tips on how to Evaluate New Cards for Standard

Tips on how to Evaluate New Cards for Standard

Hey there friends, sorry I have not been able to write as much as I’d like to, I have recently found more time to write and am going to try and make it more of a habit to crank out articles more often. With that being said Ravnica Allegiance is on the horizon and has a bunch of new cards that are both powerful and exciting. As much as I would like to tell you all what I think is good and what is next Tibalt, I thought it would be interesting if instead, I gave you all a peek into the process of how I evaluate new cards and maybe help you all come up with a process that works for you to decide what cards you want to play, and how to begin sketching a deck containing them.

So let’s say that I want to build a new deck, I’ve been playing Selesnya Tokens in standard and I enjoy it but I am ready for a change and Orzhov really looks interesting to me. So the first thing I am going to do is look at the new spoilers and look at the Orzhov specific cards, black cards, white cards, and any other multicolored card that contains one of those colors.

In my search I come across Teysa Karlov which looks to be one of the powerhouse cards of the Orzhov guild, not to mention this card also likes tokens, an archetype I have been playing for weeks, so there is a strong chance that I would enjoy a card like this.

So how good is Teysa? Is she good at all? Is she worth building a deck around or is she just a roleplayer? How does she interact with the current cards in the format? How will she interact with other cards from the new set? These are all things that we can use to determine how worthwhile Teysa is to play.

So let’s look at Teysa in a vacuum, on an empty board she is a 4 mana 2/4, so in alone she is not very powerful at all. On a board with creatures that like to be sacrificed and a sacrifice outlet she could just be game ending. So this answers our question if she is a card to be built around as she seems not to be worth it if she is not built around.

Next we need to look at how Teysa lines up against the current metagame threats and answers. So this card does not block anything out of the Drakes deck and she blocks phenomenally against any aggressive deck such as mono red or mono white. Sadly she does not pass the Lava Coil test, but she does live against Vraska, Golgari Queen, Shock, and Cast Down. So overall she lines up well against current threats and fine against current removal.

What kind of new cards will Teysa have to contend with? Sadly most of the good removal in RNA is pretty close to unconditional, Bedevil, Mortify, Deputy of Detention, and of course Kaya’s Wrath. She lines up poorly against the Gruul monsters but seems line up well against the Tithe Takers and Judiths of the format. Sadly Teysa will not be very good against the new removal or the monsters deck, but maybe that’s okay.

So overall I think Teysa is a good card, and after looking at her I’m interested in building a deck around her. We need to find some good sacrifice outlets, token makers, or creatures that like to die. Afterlife seems like a great mechanic because it triggers twice because of Teysa, is multiple spirits strong enough or do we need something else to put over the top? Let’s try Divine Visitation that has a positive interaction with the Afterlife mechanic. So maybe the deck would look something like this:


4x Teysa Karlov
4x Pitiless Pontiff
4x Tithe Taker
4x Priest of Forgotten Gods
4x Hunted Witness
2x Elenda, the Dusk Rose
4x Ministrant of Obligation
4x Marty of Dusk


3x Divine Visitation
1x Kaya’s Wrath
2x Conclave Tribunal


4x Isolated Chapel
4x Godless Shrine
7x Swamp
9x Plains

This is just a rough draft a deck built around Teysa Karlov but I feel it has potential, you could go red for Judith but most likely have to cut the visitations and play Gruesome Menagerie, or you could go green for Vraska, Golgari Queen or Trostani Discordant.

I hope this example helped you see the process you could use to evaluate other cards you think might be good, obviously this was focused on a creature but u can use it for other threats also, or you could look at a removal spell or draw spell and just change it to see what the spell kills/ where it fits in your gameplan. Again I hope I was of help and I hope to see you all at the Pre-Release!

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Micheal McClure

Micheal is our resident standard afficionado, and is a voracious consumer of online magic content, keeping tabs on both the standard metagame and limited strategies. When he’s not behind the counter assisting Frank with the day to day operations of the store, he can be found offering advice to any and everyone who will listen, or who happens to be in the general tristate area. Micheal’s accomplishments include a PPTQ win, an IQ win, several day 2s at both Opens and Grand Prixs, (mostly in standard), two top 8 finishes in Starcity Games Classics, and two appearances at the Starcity Games’ Invitational tournament.

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