10 Holdovers for Guilds of Ravnica Standard

by | Oct 9, 2018 | Articles | 0 comments

With Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks rotated out of Standard, the format is a blank canvas with tons of possibilities.

But as you explore the possibilities and create your builds, you’ll need to have a strong knowledge of which cards from Dominaria and Ixalan block are most impactful. .

(Speaking of which – if you’re looking for great deckbuilding tips from the pros, check out the Deck Building Master Class. It’s an invaluable tool that takes an in-depth look at how professional Magic players build their decks. If you want to know how to maintain an edge on the meta and crush Guilds of Ravnica Standard, then I highly recommend getting this guide.)

In no particular order, below are 10 Standard holdovers that you’ll want to keep in the forefront of your mind as you build your new Standard brews. These are staples that I believe you should expect to face and include in your builds. Some will be obvious, while others may not be. Let’s take a look.


#1: History of Benalia. It’s pretty clear that tokens strategies are likely going to be the real deal in the new Standard, and History is arguably the format’s best token generator. It will be strong in Selesnya tokens/aggro, solid in Boros Aggro, and will still be great in Orzhov Knights. If you don’t have History, I’d get your copies now before it goes up in price again.


#2: Hostage Taker. Hostage Taker was all the rage just less than a year ago, but it fell out of favor in the long run thanks to the overwhelming prevalence of a little 2-mana instant that deals 3 damage to target creature.

Fortunately for Taker, Abrade is leaving the format, which will give her some more room to thrive and steal things. She fits in great with any Dimir strategy and can help clear the board of pesky aggro creatures with first strike. Speaking of which…


#3: Goblin Chainwhirler. The widespread assumption right now is that since 80% of RB aggro rotates next week, Goblin Chainwhirler is going to fall off the map.

And if you buy into this assumption for the first couple weeks of Guilds Standard, I promise that you and all of your exciting new 1-toughness creatures and tokens from Guilds are going to get chained over and over again.

The Mentor ability and cards like Tajic, Legion’s Edge can help reduce the consistency of Chainwhirler’s impact, but our favorite (or most hated) 3/3 is still going to be an important maindeck strategy for dealing with dangerous 1-toughness creatures (Swiftblade Vindicator, anyone?) and tokens.

By the way, goblins are also going to be a top-tier strategy in Standard, and you better believe that Chainwhirler is going to be a primary player, if not a centerpiece of these builds. End rant.


#4: Karn, Scion of Urza. As predicted, the dollar cost of Karn finally leveled out to a reasonable price. But with a bunch of solid 4 and 5 drops leaving the format, and among those some key card advantage engines, Karn is going to be a key necessity in many Standard decks.

Get Karn, draw all the cards, and win lots of games.


#5: Ixalan’s Binding. Yes, we get Conclave Tribunal, but what if you’re not playing creature decks to fuel Convoke? Additionally, the best part about Ixalan’s Binding is that it locks your opponent out from casting cards with the same name as the card it exiled. Binding is going to be an incredibly important removal spell going forward.


#6: Knight of Malice and Knight of Grace. I talked a bit earlier about Orzhov Knights, and with RB leaving the format, I strongly believe that Knights will have a chance to thrive as a top-tier strategy – whether in Boros or Orzhov. First strike will be more important than it has been in a long time in this Standard, and these knights bring a ton of value at a cheap and flexible CMC.


#7: Remorseful Cleric. In case you haven’t noticed, graveyard strategies will be in full, all-out effect in Guilds Standard. And sometimes you’re just going to need to pop off a Cleric to slow down some Golgari and Dimir shenanigans. It will mostly be a sideboard staple, but an incredibly important one, at that.


#8: Syncopate. Speaking of graveyard shenanigans, one of the best ways to mitigate their effect is by exiling things. Syncopate is a powerful way to do it, though it gets less effective as the game goes on.


#9: Cast Down. We’re losing some key removal spells with rotation, and aside from Assassin’s Trophy, we’re not getting much from the new set to replace cards like Abrade, Fatal Push, Unlicensed Disintegration and Cast Out. If I’m running black, I’m running no less than two copies of Cast Down in my main, potentially with a third copy in the sideboard. I suggest you do, too.


#10: Deathgorge Scavenger. You’ll notice that this is the only green card in this list – and trust me, as a Stompy player, I have no bias against green. It’s just that many green cards were far too obvious to include in this list, and Stompy already looks like the best Week 1 deck.

That said, Deathgorge Scavenger is a solid body that continually pecks away at graveyards. He hasn’t seen much play lately, but I expect that to change in a big way in the new Standard.


The most obvious mentions: I probably don’t need to go into detail on these staples, so I wont. Teferi Hero of Dominaria, Rekindling Phoenix, Lyra Dawnbringer, Nicol Bolas the Ravager (despite the presence of Nullhide Ferox) and Llanowar Elves.

What are your thoughts on this list? What are some holdovers that you think will be vital to Standard going forward?

Tell us all about it by replying to this email or by posting on the MTG Pro Tutor Facebook page.

Thanks for reading.

– Jeff Sheerin, MTG Pro Tutor Scribe

Jeff Sheerin

Jeff Sheerin is the Senior Scribe for MTG Pro Tutor. He originally started playing Magic in 1995, though he picked up the game again with the release of Battle for Zendikar and he hasn’t looked back. Outside of Magic Jeff is a guitarist, homebrewer and a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan. He lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife Rachel and his dog Bricks.

Become a Pro Tutor Prodigy and Qualify for the Pro Tour!

Receive an invitation to our private Facebook group and get my best tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

Powered by ConvertKit