Not all Magic cards are created equal.
Some are designed for Commander. Some for Limited. Some are meant for older formats like Modern or Legacy. Some are for dedicated sideboard cards for Standard best-of-three matches.
Others are meant to be flexible and applicable for best-of-one play.
Magic Arena has become the go-to platform for best-of-one Standard play. Ravnica Allegiance adds to the card pool with a slew of flexible, modal, and generally strong cards that are useful against a wide range of strategies.
These are my favorite eight from Ravnica Allegiance.
There's not much better than a card that can remove any nonland permanent when you're in a wide-open gamescape like Arena best-of-one. Deputy of Detention nabs any problematic nonland permanent until the Deputy is removed. This is a huge effect for three mana with a 1/3 body attached.
In best-of-one, everyone hedges a little with creature removal so Deputy of Detentions will be at risk of returning a key card at an inopportune moment. Therefore, such an amazing card is low on my list. Until I can see the removal suite people are playing, I want to hold off on this catch-all that holds risk of untimely downside.
- 4 Growth-Chamber Guardian
- 4 Gruul Spellbreaker
- 4 Jadelight Ranger
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Merfolk Branchwalker
- 4 Rekindling Phoenix
- 4 Skarrgan Hellkite
Three mana for a 4/4 trample or a 3/3 trample haste is already a good start. It's possible that Gruul Spellbreaker is just the rate for creatures you want in these Gruul decks. Then again, something like Thrashing Brontodon, Jadelight Ranger, or Rhythm of the Wilds might be the three-drop of choice.
Gruul puts a lot of creatures on the battlefield and wants to attack with them every turn if possible. No having to "soul read" the opponent for what instant they have at what time is a great draw to Gruul Spellbreaker.
- 4 Fanatical Firebrand
- 4 Fireblade Artist
- 4 Gutterbones
- 4 Orzhov Enforcer
- 1 Rakdos Firewheeler
- 4 Rix Maadi Reveler
- 4 Judith, the Scourge Diva
- 4 Fanatical Firebrand
- 4 Ghitu Lavarunner
- 4 Goblin Chainwhirler
- 4 Rix Maadi Reveler
- 4 Runaway Steam-Kin
- 4 Viashino Pyromancer
The reason Rix Maadi Reveler is here isn't because of its versatility; it's because it allows you to play high variance cards in your deck.
Risk Factor, Experimental Frenzy, and Lava Coil are played in current Guilds of Ravnica Standard Mono-Red Aggro. They're all extremely powerful when the conditions are right and nearly useless when the conditions aren't. Rix Maadi Reveler lets you play a mix of high-impact cards and discard them when they aren't good in a matchup.
In a more black-oriented Rakdos build with Gutterbones and Judith, you're happy to get them into the graveyard when it's either past their time of usefulness or you have too many copies. Rix Maadi Reveler is the glue that will hold powerful, high-variance cards together in red-based decks for the duration of Ravnica Allegiance Standard.
Bedevil is pretty self-explanatory. Hero's Downfall was a universal card among black decks of the time, and I expect Bedevil to be as popular among Rakdos decks that can cast it. Currently there aren't many artifacts to bust up other than an occasional Treasure Map or The Immortal Sun, but that's okay. With the increased functionality of Bedevil, you'll be ready when that rainy day comes.
Still, even given the wide application of Bedevil I don't see it as a four-of. It's a catch all that deals with what you need, but rarely needs to do it a lot. It's the kind of card that smooths out your games but can be clunky in multiples.
Wilderness Reclamation is on the list because of a wildly different reason than the rest of these other cards. Wilderness Reclamation is hard to interact with and the cards that do interact with enchantments are typically found in sideboards.
There's a lot of pressure to have instant-speed enchantment removal too, as the Wilderness Reclamation player can simply untap on end step and represent any number of good responses including countermagic.
The possibilities are scary on this one. If you want mana sinks, you don't have to look far:
A ton of mana on your end step asks a lot from the other spells you chose to play in addition to Wilderness Reclamation. Still, a ton of mana is a ton of mana no matter when you get it.
3. Ravager Wurm
I remember when History of Benalia was leaked without a rarity and everyone assumed it was a common. Ravager Wurm is one of those cards that you look at and think: "Mythic? Really?" Ravager Wurm does a whole lot (and the Arena animation looks great too!)
Ravager Wurm is the heavy-hitting top end of Gruul that's great against creature decks as well as decks with mopey lands like Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin or Adanto, the First Fort. Core Set 2019 Memorials come to mind as well, as does Field of Ruin.
People were hooting and hollering about Ravenous Chupacabra, but Ravager Wurm looks to be a lot of what Big Chups was and so much more.
2. Tithe Taker
Tithe Taker is a multiformat all-star that's good every time you cast it. The Mono-White Aggro decks are known to be one-dimensional. It's great to see a tool that interacts differently that just attacking or blocking, while having a reasonable rate.
A two-power creature is a good baseline early attacker. Tithe Taker has natural resilience to removal and trades in combat while leaving a 1/1 flyer behind. You're never truly upset to get your Tithe Taker killed.
The static ability of Tithe Taker is annoying while it's sitting around, but it super annoying when you time it well. Control opponents will leave up a single counterspell for your best spell, or a removal spell for your best creature, or Settle the Wreckage. Tithe Taker forces your opponent to act then and there, before combat, and before you cast anything else. You take the initiative from them into your own hands.
1. Warrant // Warden
I don't have any other split cards from Ravnica Allegiance and that's because I don't think any of them will affect Standard as much as Warrant // Warden will. Many of them are close, like Thrash // Threat and Carnival // Carnage, but none are slam dunks. Warrant // Warden should go into every Azorius deck because of how irreplaceable the effect of Warrant is.
Azorius wants a way to deal with an attacking creature early and cheaply. Azorius Charm and Seal Away are previous examples of ways to do this. You just want to trade your card for their creature then move further into the game and eventually win. The big difference between Seal Away and Azorius Charm is that Azious Charm has two additional modes. You can't afford to get stuck with creature removal in a control mirror match. The Warden half of Warrant // Warden ensures that your creature removal card still has a use later in the game.
Those are my picks for biggest hitting cards in best of one Magic. Did I miss something? What are you most excited to build from Ravnica Allegiance?