There are a few cards in Dominaria that look solid to me, but I’m not quite sure if they’ll get there. These are cards I think have potential to see some Standard play. If not now, then perhaps once rotation hits and the power level in Standard is reduced.
8) Fungal Infection
Fungal Infection is a simple card. Give a creature -1/-1 and create a Saproling. There’s another card very similar to this in Standard: Fourth Bridge Prowler. This is essentially the same card with flash, which is a big deal. How many times have you shaken your head as your opponent attacked you with a Bomat Courier and a freshly summoned Earthshaker Khenra on turn 2? Fungal Infection can blow this start out for 1 mana. Flash means that you can pass with it up on the play, kill a 1-drop, and still progress your plan on turn 2. I think Fungal Infection may play a role as a sideboard card out of black decks that struggle with the fast starts of Mono-Red Aggro.
7) Daring Archaeologist
While this card can be compared to Restoration Gearsmith, it’s quite a bit better. Daring Archaeologist provides value by returning cards like Renegade Map, Walking Ballista, or Heart of Kiran, and can also crew all the Vehicles you’d want to crew. Daring Archaeologist will grow if left untouched and will trigger itself with the artifact it returns when it’s cast, so you can always expect at least a 4/4 out of the deal. I’m not sure this card will see much Standard play, but the power level is definitely there.
6) Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp
Another payoff for having artifacts in your deck, Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp is an excellent legend to pair with Mox Amber as it can use it to help cast it for 4, and the Mox can be tapped for mana when Zahid hits the battlefield. A 4-mana 5/6 flyer is definitely competitively costed for Standard, and I think it’s possible that we’ll see it make an impact in Standard. I’ll definitely be preordering them to test with. I remember liking Ensoul Artifact when it was printed, but there wasn’t enough there yet to build an artifact-themed deck. With Kaladesh block and now Dominaria, I may have enough to put together a strong artifact synergy deck again.
5) The Antiquities War
This is a big payoff for a heavy artifact deck, perhaps a deck centered around improvise. While it slowly generates value by finding two artifacts, it’s also a win condition rolled into that. Combined with cards like Servo Schematic, Cogworker’s Puzzleknot, and Maverick Thopterist, we may finally have a big enough payoff to stuff weaker artifact cards into a deck. The Antiquities War will either create an archetype or see no play at all, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
4) Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage
Raff Capashen is an excellent card to abuse a deck focusing on historic cards. Want to make sure your Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is alive on your turn? Cast it in your opponent’s end step. A 3/3 flyer for 4 mana isn’t quite a great rate for Standard, but when you add flash to most of the cards in your deck, it can easily make it competitive. Alexander Hayne was once winning U/W Control mirrors with Cloaked Siren as a flash threat. You could call Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage an upgrade to that. I’m not sure that I want to live in a world where I tap out for a Chandra, Torch of Defiance to kill a Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage to find them responding by flashing a The Scarab God into play.
3) Demonlord Belzenlok
While Demonlord Belzenlok is an expensive sorcery-speed play, it can generate a fair amount of value. It’s been a long time since a 6-mana flying 6/6 with trample would be good, but the fact that it replaces itself with a spell is huge. At 6 mana you really don’t have much use for excess lands, but you’re guaranteed at least one spell off its trigger, and potentially more. I’d love to see how this plays in a deck with Liliana, Death’s Majesty as a solid value creature to return.
2) Territorial Allosaurus
Reid Duke wrote an article comparing this creature to Ripjaw Raptor, and while Ripjaw Raptor hasn’t seen much Standard play, it’s important to realize that Standard is at a high point in power level, as we’ve seen with continued bannings over the past year or two. While I don’t see Territorial Allosaurus making a huge, immediate impact on Standard it certainly could be a role player. When rotation hits and Dinosaur tribal payoffs become competitive, we’ll likely see Allosaurus pop up more often. 7 mana to fight a creature isn’t ideal, but it’s something to do with excess mana in green decks while also giving you a competitive 4-mana 5/5 Dinosaur. I think we’ll be seeing this creature in Standard. It’s just a matter of when.
I was checking preorder prices, and when I saw this at $3.49 here on ChannelFireball.com and I was in shock. Weatherlight is like a fixed Smuggler’s Copter. Higher cost, but you draw a card off of it instead of just looting. I think the existence of Abrade in Standard is keeping the Weatherlight hype down. If Abrade ends up being less played, or after Abrade rotates, I think Weatherlight might see quite a bit of play.
Weatherlight has a snowball effect in a well constructed deck, so if an opponent doesn’t have appropriate removal for it, it can get out of hand quickly. Weatherlight is conveniently crewed by Veteran Motorist, Toolcraft Exemplar, Depala, Pilot Exemplar, and Scrapheap Scrounger. Mardu or B/R Vehicles decks have a powerful new toy to test out.
What cards do you think will be strong enough to see Standard play that no one is talking about? What card isn’t being hyped enough? Let me know below!