Gatherer MTG Guide - How to Pick the Top Standard Cards

July 16, 2023 · Usair Arshad
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Gather round, planeswalkers! It's time to nerd out about the greatest Magic: The Gathering cards for dominating your next Standard tournament. For those living under a rock, Magic is a super complex fantasy card game with more rules than a gnoll that has fleas. Standard is one of the main mtg formats, where you can only use cards from the last couple of years in the mtg standard format. Now let's cut the mumbo jumbo and get to the good stuff - the elite creatures, spells, and artifacts that will give you an edge over your opponents in Standard right now. These are my personal picks based on lots of FNM thrashings and late-night brewing sessions.

Get ready to enhance your deck, because we're starting with the creatures that every good Standard deck needs to function. Questing Beast and Bonecrusher Giant better brace themselves, because we're about to spill the tea on what makes them the belle of the brawl in the current mtg top 8!


What Makes a Card Great in Standard Mtg Format?

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A card needs some serious swagger to make it in the Standard mtg format. Let's break down what gives a card that next-level juice.


First up - mana cost. Having an affordable casting cost is crucial. If your bomb rarely costs 10 mana, you'll be twiddling your thumbs while the opponent smashes your face in. We want stuff that can hit the board fast and start blasting.


Next is abilities. Your card needs to do something amazing. Drawing cards, clearing the board, ramping your mana - give us the goods! Synergies are important too. Finding cards that play well with others can lead to some nasty combos that will have your opponents crying.


Finally, meta-relevance is key. If a card is good against the current mtg top 8 decks, that's going to up its playability by a ton. Being able to hose overpowered opponents is like having your own sideboard tech right in your main deck. Hose the meta on from our stylish playmats designed for relevance. Dominate top decks in style!


So in summary, cheap casting cost, strong abilities, key synergies, and metagame relevance are what I look for when rating cards for Standard. Now let's move on to the creatures!


The All-Star Creatures


Now it's time to highlight the mythical beasts and brawny baddies that are dominating the creature format in Standard right now. These are the heavy hitters that will leave your opponent quaking in their robes when they see them hit the battlefield.


Questing Beast

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First up is Questing Beast, the four mana 4/4 green creature that is on a literal quest to bash face. With vigilance, death touch, haste, and ability that stops planeswalkers from getting comfy, this Beast is a total package of abilities. You can swing every turn and your opponent can't profitably block it. The Planeswalker hate is just icing on the cake. Slap in some Embercleave and watch this puppy's one-shot opponents.


Bonecrusher Giant

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Next, we have Bonecrusher Giant, the two-mana creature that also doubles as removal if you need it. You can play him early to start the beatdown with a 4/3 body. Or you can wait until late game to smash a creature and finish off your opponent in style with four damage to the dome. Such value and versatility all in one card! Much wow.


Lovestruck Beast

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And we can't forget Lovestruck Beast, a five mana 5/5 green creature with the reach that can only attack if you control a 1/1 creature. Luckily 1/1 tokens and small utility creatures are everywhere in Standard, so getting through for huge damage with this lovesick puppy is easy. It also blocks fliers all day long with that sweet reachability. Mouse over opponents with your unblockable beast on custom mousepads. Smash through in style!


Other All-star Creatures


Other all-star creatures include Brazen Borrower, the tricky blue faerie that bounces stuff at instant speed. There's also Nightpack Ambusher, the wolf lord that creates a pack of 4/4s if you play it at instant speed. And fiery creature / burn spell hybrid Torbran makes all your red damage nasty.


As you can see, these creatures check all the boxes: efficient mana costs, good stats, evasion and protection abilities, and powerful effects that synergize with the format. No wonder they are showing up in all the top mtg top 8 decklists and giving opponents nightmares. Play sets of these bad boys are a must for Standard success.


Now let's move on to the instants and sorceries that really enable you to pull off degenerate combos…



Spells to Build Around


Alright, enough about creatures. Let's move on to the juicy non-creature spells that really tie decks together and enable busted combos. These are the cards that have you cackling with glee as you pull off the 34-damage turn-four kill out of nowhere.


Fires of Invention

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Exhibit A is Fires of Invention. This four-mana red enchantment lets you cheat on mana restrictions by playing two spells a turn, as long as one of them is a creature spell. Hello, jank combos! Fires break games wide open, letting you dump your whole hand fast. It works in all kinds of decks too - just slam your best creatures and planeswalkers without worrying about mana costs. Be careful not to deck yourself! Showcase your broken enchantment on custom tabletops. Dump your hand in style!


Wilderness Reclamation

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Next up is Wilderness Reclamation. This two-mana green enchantment untaps all your lands on each end step, perfect for leaving up counterspell mana or going off with huge Explosions. Hold up mana during your turn, counter an opponent's bomb spell, and then have all your mana again on their turn! So naughty. This card enables big control finishers and combo wins out of nowhere. Sleeve your explosive enchantment in stunning our custom designs. Finish games out of nowhere!



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And we can't forget Embercleave, the infamous three-mana red aura that turns any random creature into a double-striking murder machine. Slap it on a Rotting Regisaur for a totally fair 10-damage double strike right to the dome! Or put it on Anax to immediately get a 4/3 double striker thanks to his Satyr token. Your opponents will be begging for mercy against this card.


Other sweet instants and sorceries include Mystical Dispute, Teferi, Time Raveler, and Bonecrusher Giant. As you can see, these spells enable all kinds of busted strategies and combos that are dominating Standard right now. Whether it's ramp, control, or aggro, these cards give your deck that special secret sauce to secure the win!


Now let's look at the mana and artifacts that help you cast all these sweet spells...


Mana and Artifacts


Ramping and fixing mana is where the real magic happens. No matter how powerful your spells are, they're useless if you can't cast them. Let's look at some key lands and artifacts that grease the wheels of Standard's best decks.


Fabled Passage

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Fabled Passage is the darling of Standard mana bases right now. Cracking a fetch land whenever you want for an untapped dual land of your choice? Yes, please! Passage fixes colors perfectly, triggers landfall abilities, and thins your deck of lands - so much value in one card. These are a must-have 4-of in any competitive deck.


Castle Embereth

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The Castle cycle also provides free utility if you can make it to the late game. Castle Embereth turns your useless late-game lands into fiery bolts to finish off your opponent. Castle Locthwain does the same with card draw. Having access to these free spells without using card slots gives control decks gas. Store your late-game gas lands in worthy deck boxes. Keep the utility protected!


Arcane Signet

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And what ramp strategy would be complete without our old friend Arcane Signet? This two-mana rock accelerates you into your big plays while fixing colors perfectly. Signet enables all kinds of unfair combos and lets you ramp out huge monsters way ahead of the curve. It's even colorless, so it slots into any deck!


Other powerful mana sources include Gilded Goose, Golden Egg, Growth Spiral, and Teferi, Time Raveler. As you can see, strong mana powers strong decks. Cards like these let you cast Fires of Invention on turn three and then immediately slam a huge planeswalker or creature. And we all know how fun it is to smash the face with overpowered spells before your opponent can react!


The bottom line is that mana acceleration and fixing are critical in Standard's top decks. Now let's wrap things up with some final thoughts...


Final Thoughts


And that's a wrap, planeswalkers! We've covered the creatures, spells, and mana that make Standard tick right now. Hopefully, you now know which cards to jam more copies of at your next FNM or mtg top 8 tournaments.


Just remember that the metagame is always evolving in this complex mtg format. Cards that are hot now can disappear overnight as new sets shake up the format. But having access to the best decklists and card reviews will keep you on top of the changes.


So go forth and brew up some sweet new Standard decks using these all-star cards as your core. There are so many possibilities to explore in the current mtg standard format!


And what better way to rep your new creation than pimping it out with custom accessories from "Your Playmat." We offer an incredible range of high-quality playmats featuring beautiful Magic: The Gathering art to choose from. Let your personality shine at Friday Night Magic with a unique playmat you won't see anywhere else.


"Your Playmat" also has custom sleeves, deck boxes, and other accessories to make your Standard deck truly one of a kind. Stand out from the crowd and protect your cards in style. And if you're looking to bling your deck to the max, we also offer alters and extensions for your favorite cards.


So give "Your Playmat" a visit today and find the perfect accessories to showcase your new Standard brew. Let your personality and passion for MTG shine every time you shuffle up and play. Thanks for joining me on this journey through Standard's best cards. Now it's time for me to sleeve up and head to the next Friday Night Magic. I can already taste the sweet victory that awaits!