Magic the Gathering: Time To Replace My Favorite Cards

Posted: September 23, 2013 by My Geek Thoughts in Chris' Blogs
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Magic LogoWith the release of Theros this week many Standard format Magic players are now cycling out cards from M13, Innistrad, Dark Ascension, and Avacyn Restored from their decks and maybe even their collections. After the pre release tournaments this past weekend I have started redesigning my decks so they remain legal for standard format play. I thought I would share some of my favorite cards that are cycling out and what I am going to try to replace them with.

I currently have two decks I alternate playing with; a red deck and a white/green deck. There may be many great cards in Theros that could be great replacements but until I get my hands on the full set and play around with them I won’t be sure. Many of the replacements here are from cards already in standard play. Here are the changes for my red deck:

Cycling out: Vexing Devil

Vexing Devil

A 4/3 for only a single red mana is the best first turn creature I could play. Sure my opponent could send it to the graveyard for the loss of 4 life but that’s still a first turn hit of 4 damage. Either way a great first turn play, have a few to play in the first couple turns could easily win me the game. But as the game went on, the effectiveness of the Vexing Devil is reduced.



Replacement for Vexing Devil: Legion Loyalist

Legion Loyalist

Another one red mana card to help keep my mana curve and the quick early game but lacks the early punch of the Vexing Devil. The Legion Loyalist’s battalion ability relies completely on the other creatures I control but if it attacks with other creatures all my attacking creatures gain first strike and trample. This could be a devastating assault when timed right. Given this, playing Legion Loyalist may be best held off until more powerful creatures are out. And with Haste my opponent has a small window to deal with it. At least I will still have my Rakdos Cacklers for first turn play. The effect in the early part of the game is reduced but the Legion Loyalist only gets more valuable the more I get into play.

Cycling Out: Hellrider


The Hellriders ability to do one point of damage for each attacking creature to my opponent during combat that cannot be blocked is great, even better with multiple Hellriders. With Haste this only ups the advantage and speed of attacks.




Replacement for Hellrider: ?


This is going to be a hard one to replace. The only other Standard creature with a similar ability is Thorncaster Sliver; but that only works for other slivers, which I am not running at all in this deck. I am looking for something in the four mana cost range so to keep my mana curve. The one creature that looked good was the Ogre Battledriver until I realized most of my creatures already had haste and a majority of my creatures were cheaper and would enter the battlefield before this card. I have no replacement I am happy with yet for Hellrider.



Cycling Out: Reverberate


Red is a very aggressive direct damage color, not much in the way of reactionary spells. Reverberate is one of the few. I ran with 2 in my deck as a little surprise for my opponents. Best use ever was when I copied Sphinx’s Revelation; I pulled a lot of instant damage spells hit my opponent hard. That was a fun move. And only costing 2 mana it was a cheap play and I did not have to save a lot of mana for the play. It also let me double up the damage an instant or sorcery I cast for a final winning blow.



Replacement for Reverberate: Wild Ricochet

Wild Ricochet

I will admit, Wild Ricochet is a much better card than Reverberate but costs twice as much. Not only does Wild Ricochet copy a target spell like Reverberate, it allows me to redirect the original spell to a target of my choosing. A much more deadly spell. I will try running two as well but the extra 2 mana may make it less quick for my deck; forcing me to always keep 4 mana untapped when I have one in my hand. This could slow down my casting of other cards. But I doubt it will be that bad.



Cycling Out: Searing Spear

Searing Spear

A simple direct damage spell; 3 point of damage to creature or player for two mana. Only thing simpler and better is the classic Lightning Bolt and that is not in Standard at this time.




Replacement for Searing Spear: Lightning Strike/Magma Jet/Skullcrack

Lightning Strike

Lightning Strike is a functional reprint of Searing Spear from Theros so there is no difference except for the name. No real change in game play for the deck.





Magma JetAnother option is Magma Jet in Theros. Another instant for 2 mana but it does only 2 damage instead of 3. But it does have the added ability to Scry 1. I may try this to help with card draw but the 1 point less in damage will be missed.




SkullcrackA third option is Skullcrack. 2 mana for 3 damage but the big downside is I can only target an opponent, not creatures. The trade off for that restriction is my opponent cannot prevent any damage and cannot gain life for that turn. Great for any players with lots of life gain abilities… or playing Archangel of Thune.

Personally, I am going to run with Lightning Strikes when I get a few.



Cycling Out: Blasphemous Act

Blasphemous Act

I only ran with one Blasphemous Act car din my deck and only played it under one of two situations; 1) I was at a major disadvantage with creatures; a great way to clear the board. 2) I would play this when I had a Boros Reckoner in play, more the better. This way I would do 13 points of damage to my opponant for each Boros Reckoner I have in play. I once did this with 3 Reckoners in play. 36 points of damage is a game winner for sure.



Replacement for Blasphemous Act: Mizzium Mortar

Mizzium Mortar

I am already running with two Mizzium Mortars in my deck now so adding a third is not a big deal. But I am not seeing any cards that can be played with the Boros Reckoners for a similar affect as of yet. But I will keep looking.

That’s it for my red deck, I have a lot of fixing and play testing to do in hopes to keep it running the way I like it. Now for the changes with my green/white deck. This deck is a much newer design and I kept in mind the cycling out with the change in standard cards.


Cycling Out: Avacyn’s Pilgrim

Avacyn's Pilgrim

Avacyn Pilgrim is in here for some white mana acceleration/fixing. I have two Pilgrims in my deck now. It was helpful but not a major part of this deck.





Replacement for Avacyn Pilgrim: Elvish Mystic

Elvish Mystic

Elvish Mystic and Avacyn Pilgrim are pretty much the same card except the Mystics produce green mana instead of white. I already have 2 Mystic Elves in this deck and will just up it to 4 of them. Keeps the mana acceleration but not with the mana fixing.




Cycling Out: Oblivion Ring

Oblivion Ring

White and green have very little good creature removal. Oblivion Ring was a great card to not only remove any creature form the board but also any permanent in play as long as Oblivion Ring is in play.




Replacement for Oblivion Ring: Pacifism/Detention Sphere


Pacifism is a limited version of Oblivion Ring; target creature cannot attack or defend. Downside is any effects/abilities the creature has can still be used; Slivers still gain it’s benefit for example. And this only works against creatures; other permanents cannot be targeted.




Detention SphereAnother possible replacement is Detention Sphere. Detention Sphere is nearly the same as Oblivion Ring except it exiles all cards with a similar name so multiple cards can be dealt with. The big downside for this card is it requires one blue along with one white and one colorless mana. This would mean I would need to splash some blue into this deck and going with a third color may slow things down. But it might be worth it for the Detention Sphere ability.



Cycling Out: Gavony Township

Gavony Township

Putting a +1/+1 counter on all my creatures is a powerful ability. I am running with 2 of these in my deck.





Replacement for Gavony Township: Basic Land


I do not know if there is a land card that can do anything close to Gavony Township still in Standard. The loss of this card will be felt. I do not want to reduce my land base for another spell card so I will just take the loss and replace it with a Plain or Forest. Maybe even 2 Islands if I want the Detention Spheres.



Cycling Out: Sunpetal Grove

Sunpetal Grove

A Green/White duel land, what every multi color deck needs.





Replacement for Sunpetal Grove: Basic Lands


I already have 4 Temple Gardens with 4 Sunpetal Groves so I can’t add more Temple Gardens. Theros has no Green/White duel lands so I cannot go with any scry lands yet. And I am not sure I would anyways. The Scry Lands come into play tapped all the time so they would slow down my deck. The Scry ability might be a good trade off but since I never played with scrying before I do not know. I may just replace my 4 Sunpetal Groves with 2 Plains and 2 Forests. Or I may play around with splashing in blue again.


This is it for my deck fixes. There are many other cards I am sorry to see leave standard, and a few I am happy to see go. I will deal with those in another blog soon. What are some of your favorite cards leaving standard and what are you using to replace then?


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