Karnage’s Kards: Top Ten DMU Cards for Standard

KarnageKards breaks down his top ten picks for Dominaria United cards when it comes to the impact they have had on Standard.

New Rotation, New Cards, New Format!

A new Standard season is upon us. A rotation just took place as we were returned to the wonderful plane of Dominaria. With the new set release, everyone is looking out for the best new cards from the set. Today I am here to give you the top ten cards I think you should be getting your hands on! When talking about a new set, the best cards can vary from format to format… and today, I’m focusing on Standard!

#10: Ertai Resurrected

Ertai Resurrected is a card that isn’t seeing a ton of play, but in the decks it is seeing play – it is doing work. On face value, he is technically card disadvantage, but he solves a key problem-question in Standard: How do you stop big spells or creatures? The format currently doesn’t have a ton of clean answers to threats. The counterspells are restricted like Make Disappear or Negate. The removal follows a similar formula with cards like Cut Down or Abrade. Ertai Resurrected will kill or counter anything. The cost? Extra cards for your opponent. In a format lacking power, being able to cleanly answer your opponents best play and get a 3/2 body for the low cost of them drawing a card is usually good enough. 

#9: Tear Asunder

A common theme presents itself when looking at Standard… Enchantments are everywhere. Some of the best cards in Standard currently are Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Wedding Announcement and Reckoner Bankbuster. Tear Asunder hits all of these cards for two mana. But wait it gets better! For the low cost of one and a black you can exile any nonland permanent! I believe Tear Asunder is a card that will be around mainboards and sideboards for its entire life span in Standard. 

#8: Destroy Evil

Here we go again! Destroy Evil can do it all like Tear Asunder above it. Destroy Evil can hit enchantments and big creatures. The reason I value it more than Tear Asunder is that it does it all for two mana and only requires one color. White and Black are a good color combination that is always looking for a versatile spell – Destroy Evil fits the bill. As long as Wedding Announcement and Fable of the Mirror Breaker are in the format, we will continue to see cheap removal spells for them in demand.

#7: Evolved Sleeper

Evolved Sleeper is efficient early and late. This is a creature that can scale up and is a good mana-sink later in the game. It gets deathtouch and grows the more mana you spend. Black is the premier color in Standard and this card fits into any Black deck. Evolved Sleeper is not exactly like it’s counterparts (Figure of Destiny or Warden of First Tree) – when activating Evolved Sleeper’s last line of text it continues to grow and draw cards. This makes a great option to mitigate mana flood in the late game. I believe this is a card we will see in aggressive or midrange decks for a long time.

#6: Pain Lands

I decided to group all the Pain Lands together. They are all important and will play a big role in Standard to come (I expect to get the others when Brother’s War is released). Good mana-fixing is always needed. The Pain Lands will see play during their entire time in Standard. They come into play untapped, fix mana-bases and cost only one life to do so. The drawback isn’t big enough for them to be left aside. They are especially more powerful in aggressive decks as it allows them to fix mana better and the life-loss is not as important as they are looking to race the opponent. 

#5: Serra Paragon

Serra Paragon is a card I believe might be higher on this list if we revisit it in a few months. Currently it is seeing some play, and it is an absolute powerhouse. Serra Paragon acts similarly to Lurrus of the Dream Den. Serra Paragon is a threat that needs to be killed instantly or you will allow your opponent to start accruing advantage. There are a ton of valuable cards that cost three or less in the format and at worst it can play lands from the graveyard. Also, the life gained from the permanents leaving the battlefield isn’t irrelevant. This card hasn’t found its right home yet, but when it does – watch out! 

#4: Soul of Windgrace

Soul of Windgrace comes in at number four on my list. Soul of Windgrace deserves this spot as it single-handedly created a new archetype. Jund Windgrace is currently one of the top decks in Standard. Like Serra Paragon, Soul of Windgrace creates value from the graveyard. The difference is it doesn’t matter who’s graveyard. Soul of Windgrace is a must-deal-with threat that is good early or late game. It ramps, draws cards, gains life and is hard to kill. It is the perfect midrange card. Oh and did I mention it is a four drop with a 5/4 body? Sign. Me. Up!

#3: Cut Down

Cut Down is an easy include to this list. It is a one mana removal spell in a Standard format. Yes, it has a restriction on it, but it doesn’t matter. Black is the best color in the format and so Cut Down will see tons of play. It helps the Black midrange decks answer early creatures for one-mana. Cut Down will see tons of play for its entire lifespan in Standard. There really isn’t much more to say here.

#2 Liliana of the Veil

“He didn’t name Liliana of the Veil number one?! Blasphemy!” Well, I am not saying it isn’t great. Liliana of the Veil is great – maybe even format warping – but it isn’t the best card in Standard right now. Liliana of the Veil is a mainstay in the format. Black midrange decks are ruling the format and Liliana of the Veil has taken her place in them. She is changing the way players play and build their decks. You need to always worry about a turn-three Liliana. She can take over a game if unanswered. That said, not every deck can play her. She shines in a deck looking to operate on low resources, or has a discard plan (like reanimator) and that isn’t every deck. While I didn’t put her first, I also don’t want to understate her however; she is a powerhouse and a card everyone should own. She is the best three-mana planeswalker in the format and she should be feared and respected.

#1 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is rightfully named. She is currently wreaking havoc on multiple formats. At first glance she didn’t pass my eye-test. No ETB, no protection, four-drop and no cast ability. So why is she good? We have been told time after time, a creature needs to affect the board when it is cast or enters the battlefield. Well, turns out if the effect it has is good enough, maybe that doesn’t matter. Sheoldred does have something most players overlooked when reading her the first time however: protection. Being a 4/5 body is in a way its own protection. Not many spells outright answer her and the longer she sits on the battlefield, the quicker she kills you. Sheoldred has proven that she is the premier-threat in the format and happens to fall into the best color too. If your deck can’t kill Sheoldred you shouldn’t be playing it. For that reason alone, Sheoldred is my number one card.

Wrapping Up

Overall, Standard is in a good place right now! The format is new and fresh post-rotation. Dominaria United has had a huge impact. This is both because it is a great set, and that Standard is at its smallest card pool after a rotation. As the pool continues to grow with each new set, finding powerful cards will be key to a fun Standard format. I hope you all find this helpful, and I look forward to the next edition of Karnage’s Kards!

  • KarnageKards

    Competitive Team Lead

    KarnageKardsENT has been playing Magic since Scars of Mirrodin. During the Pandemic, he moved to playing MTGO. Today, you can find him playing Pioneer, Modern and sometimes Standard. A mainstay in the Pioneer Challenges, Karnage can be found at Most Eastern F2F stops in Canada.

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