This weekend already featured the first big Standard tournament, the Hooglandia Open. You can check the deck lists here. After playing with some of the decks and taking the results in consideration, this is my list of the top 10 Innistrad: Midnight Hunt cards for Standard that I think will have the most influence on the new format.
10. Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset
Teferi doesn’t look too busted at first sight, which actually makes me very happy. We’ve had way too many broken planeswalkers in the past, so getting one or two cards for a four mana investment and untapping some lands every now and then seems pretty reasonable. This Teferi is the kind of planeswalker that will take a while to figure out where it fits best. It might not have the right support at the moment, but as the format gets bigger, I do expect it to have some impact.
9. Moonveil Regent
This is a great curve-topper in aggressively built decks, where you want to empty your hand early and then start getting free cards thanks to its ability. 4/4 flying for four mana is reasonable stats for small Standard, reminding me of Thunderbreak Regent, which also saw some play.
8. Infernal Grasp
Killing any creature for 1B is a pretty good deal, even if it costs you two life. Power Word Kill seems a little unreliable to me in a format where Goldspan Dragon plays a big role. Bloodchief’s Thirst is also good, especially because it can also kill Wrenn, but it is sorcery speed. If you’re looking for a good instant speed removal, Infernal Grasp is going to be a great choice.
7. Briarbridge Tracker
It’s not quite Tireless Tracker, meaning it won’t singlehandedly win you a game when going unanswered, but it’s still pretty good nonetheless. Yet again another card that combines very well with Esika’s Chariot and cards like Ranger Class. Green decks are looking very strong at the moment.
6. Arlinn, the Pack’s Hope
Another good, but not completely overpowered planeswalker that should go into almost every Gruul deck. The only problem is that it currently competes with Esika’s Chariot on the four mana slot, so you don’t want to run too many. Although with Jaspera Sentinel, Magda, Brazen Outlaw and Tangled Florahedron in the format, it shouldn’t be a problem to run multiple four-drops and have them come down on turn four with good consistency.
5. Fateful Absence
Fateful Absence is the kind of card that you need to use correctly to get maximum value out of it. It’s not something that should automatically be a four-of in control decks, where the games go long and it lets the opponent always get a card back out of the exchange. In faster and aggressive decks, it should be a lot better, especially when it trades up on mana and allows for a big swing afterwards. Still, paying two mana to kill any creature or planeswalker is an amazing deal, which makes me pretty confident that Fateful Absence is going to be a fairly popular removal spell in the upcoming months.
4. Smoldering Egg
There are many ways you can build a U/R deck now: you can go with Dragons, some really fast tempo build with Delver of Secrets or a midrange version with Smoldering Eggs and a lot of instants and sorceries. Izzet has a ton of great cards to go along with it, the perfect one being Alrund’s Epiphany.
3. Augur of Autumn
Augur is the perfect midrange card, getting you more and more free value the longer the game goes. Time will tell if having only three toughness is going to make it worse than Courser of Kruphix, but I don’t really see it being a huge issue. In a format with only five sets, every card that can snowball and win you the game on its own is worth keeping an eye on. There might be some better three-drops in the future, but for now my money is on Augur being excellent.
The new cycle of duals aren’t all that great for aggro decks that need to curve out early, but they are very good for midrange and control decks that don’t care that much about doing stuff in the first couple of turns of the game. The most important thing is that they will allow for smooth mana bases if you want to play three or even more colors, something that was not always true in the past. Back in the day, we had to play two color decks with 10 Islands, 10 Forests and four Yavimaya Coasts. Now, thanks to Pathways, the Snarl cycle and these lands, it should be pretty easy to fix your mana.
1. Wrenn and Seven
You might look at Wrenn and think “this is just another slow, five-mana planeswalker,” which would be a reasonable assumption in most formats. However, this Standard seems to revolve around 4/4 creatures like Esika’s Chariot and Goldspan Dragon, so getting a 5/5 token with reach the turn you play Wrenn is huge. If the game goes longer, you’ll be able to get a big mana advantage, which is also going to translate into bigger tokens. It’s also worth noting that there’s no Giant Killer anymore to cleanly get rid of the tokens. Wrenn is my pick for the best Standard card out of the new set.