Top 10 Best Crimson Vow Cards for Standard

Innistrad: Crimson Vow just hit Standard about a week ago, and some cards have definitely made their presence known. Today, I’ll be counting down the top 10 best Crimson Vow cards for Standard, whether they’re already making an impact or could have implications in the future.




Header - 10. Sorin the Mirthless

Sorin the Mirthless


Sorin hasn’t really found its place yet either, but if it gets some good support, I’m sure we will start seeing more of him. Right now, black is just a bit too behind all the other colors and on the four mana slot loses pretty badly to cards like Esika’s Chariot, but planeswalkers that can defend themselves and have a plus ability that gives you card advantage are always something to keep an eye on. 


Header - 9. Chandra, Dressed to Kill

Chandra, Dressed to Kill


I apologize to everyone who read my preview articles. I thought Chandra’s +1 deals damage to creatures as well, which made me think the card was extremely powerful. Turns out it only shoots players and planeswalkers, which makes it a lot worse, but if red gets some good more aggressive early drops, Chandra would be the perfect card for a mono-red deck. The problem is getting a strong board position early, which red currently doesn’t do very well. It feels like every other color gets busted creatures like Werewolf Pack Leader, Old-Growth Troll or Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, but red has to settle for its first playable one-mana creature in a really long time. 


Header - 8. Jacob Hauken, Inspector

Jacob Hauken, Inspector // Hauken's Insight


This might be the most underrated card of the entire set. It hasn’t really found its way into any deck, but I suspect we will be seeing it a lot in the future. Remember Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy? That card also didn’t looked that great at the beginning and it ended up being one of the absolute best cards in Standard.


Header - 7. Valorous Stance

Valorous Stance


I picked Valorous Stance over Abrade because three damage doesn’t kill the important creatures in the format – creatures like Smoldering Egg, Esika’s Chariot, Goldspan Dragon, Anje, Maid of Dishonor and Hullbreaker Horror, just to name a few. Valorous Stance deals with all of them and you can use it proactively as a way to save your creature against removal if you happen to get paired against a deck with no creatures, which is quite relevant. 


Header - 6. Ascendant Packleader

Ascendant Packleader


Mono-Green desperately needed a high power one-drop and Ascendant Packleader fills this role perfectly. It attacks for two on turn two, helps trigger Werewolf Pack Leader early and can even grow bigger in the midgame, which is another nice bonus. 


Header - 5. Manaform Hellkite

Manaform Hellkite


Probably my favorite card of the new set, which fits really well into Izzet Dragons, but also into decks like Mono-Red Aggro. It obviously works best with cards like Alrund’s Epiphany, but even red offers some nice free DFC spells like Shatterskull Smashing


Header - 4. Syncopate/Hero's Downfall

SyncopateHero's Downfall


Syncopate is a solid counterspell that fits into just about every deck that’s looking for a cheap permission spell that isn’t dead in the late game. I think we’re going to see a lot more of it when the double-faced cards rotate out of Standard and we won’t be able to play Jwari Disruption anymore. 

In a planeswalker world, creature removal spells like Doom Blade just don’t really cut it anymore most of the time. You get paired against a control deck and all of the sudden your removal does nothing. Hero’s Downfall is a great all-around removal spell that’s never going to be dead against any deck. It’s instant speed, has no creature type restriction like Power Word Kill and deals with planeswalkers too. We live in a world where threats are a lot better than answers, but Hero’s Downfall is one of the better ones. 


Header - 3. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben


Possibly the best card against the Izzet spells decks out of Crimson Vow. A 2/1 first strike for two mana is a decent body, especially in decks like White Weenie where you can make it bigger with Luminarch Aspirant. There are some good answers to it in the format like Spikefield Hazard and Cinderclasm, but it’s the best we have. Mono-White decks had the best win rate in the first week of Crimson Vow Standard and Thalia is likely the reason why. 


Header - 2. Slowlands

Stormcarved Coast


The other five duals from the “slowlands” cycle make the enemy color pairs mana bases a lot better. Previously, you had to play cards like Frostboil Snarl, but it made for some awkward draws when all you needed was an untapped land and you drew a Snarl. It also forced you to play more basics instead of utility lands like Field of Ruin or creaturelands. The Izzet decks in particular improve a lot with the new U/R dual. 


Header - 1. Hullbreaker

Hullbreaker Horror


I expected this card to maybe find its way into some sideboards as an anti-control card, but it turns out that it’s a great card for control, too. There are plenty of quality card advantage spells in blue, so it doesn’t even feel like you specifically need to build your deck around it with some weird cards. Memory Deluge provides a steady stream of new cards and having a lot of great double faced land card options also helps in making sure you always have some spells ready. 


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