10: Tamiyo, Field Researcher
I’m starting my list with Tamiyo quite begrudgingly. I am not that high on the card, and I think $35 is far too much to preorder her for. She does not have a home in any eternal format, nor is she really good enough for them. In Standard, she does fit into one of the best decks, but not as more than a 2-of given the fact that Collected Company does not play very well with her. The reason she makes this list over the runner up, Bedlam Reveler, is that she is good enough in the Bant deck that she could end up carrying it past the rotation of Collected Company. The deck is pretty absurd now, and a somewhat less good, but different and still very powerful deck with Tamiyo could see success, considering most of the great CoCo creatures will still be in Standard.
9: Harmless Offering
Donate is a very powerful reserved list card that enabled a dominant combo deck in its Standard. Now Standard has its very own Donate. And Modern has its very own Donate, an effect which it did not have before. In Standard, Demonic Pact + Harmless Offering could potentially enable a very, very powerful combo/control deck, and in Modern the possibilities are endless. While it is not yet obvious what this will do, its potential to break Standard and/or Modern has to put it on the list.
8: Gisela, the Broken Blade
Currently tied with Tamiyo as the most expensive card in the set to preorder, this card will without a doubt see a lot of play in Standard and no play anywhere else. Not only does it pass the vanilla test with flying colors, but it combines with Bruna, the Fading Light to make one of the most powerful creatures one can have on the battlefield. Gisela will see play regardless of how much that combo sees play, but I would also expect that combo to be present in many Standard decks.
7: Emrakul, the Promised End
The flagship card of the set, Emrakul pales in comparison to its predecessor, yet it is quite possibly the best Eldrazi Titan in Standard. While big ramp decks will be splitting their wincon slots between this and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, it actually has potential applications outside of dedicated ramp decks due to the cost reduction clause. I am really excited to see what it does, and a little bit scared that people might be casting 7-mana Emrakuls and Mindslavering me in the near future.
This makes its spot on the list due to its potential to enable up to 3 different decks in Standard and Modern. Standard Zombies hasn’t quite had the punch to compete, but a powerful graveyard enabler/card advantage engine like this in a 1-drop could easily be the piece it needed. Modern Zombies has been on the fringes for a while, but has just been shy of the necessary power level for Modern. Again, this could easily change that. Lastly, Bridge from Below Dredge has yet to be particularly good in Modern, but this both lets you pitch Bridges and lets you tap Zombies to draw cards and keep dredging. This could be the synergy piece that the deck needed to become a real deck. All those powerful possibilities guarantee a spot on the list in my book.
5: Spell Queller
The upper half of the list has some real all-star cards. This card is absurd for aggro/control decks in Standard (in fact, it is a huge enabler for them), and is a fantastic Spirit for Spirit tribal in Standard and perhaps Modern. It is also a fantastic (like, game-changer fantastic) sideboard card for Jeskai Control decks in Modern.
4: Collective Brutality
While the effects on this card are oriented towards eternal formats more than Standard, it could see some sideboard or mainboard play in Standard depending on what the format looks like and if Madness is present. The real reason this is on this list, however, is that it could bring Legacy Reanimator (which is already great) up a tier in Legacy. The ability to pitch a Reanimate target while taking a Force of Will or Swords to Plowshares out of your opponent’s hand is outstanding, plus you get to either drain 2 (which could, if you didn’t fetch that game, let you draw 21 cards off of Griselbrand - niche case, but slightly relevant - or increase the clock of Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite by a turn), or just kill a Delver of Secrets, Deathrite Shaman or any other smallish creature. That is incredibly powerful. It could also see some play in various Modern dredge decks.
3: Thalia, Heretic Cathar
A card likely to see some play in 3 formats, this is a clear top-3 card. In Standard, it is a powerful top-end for White Weenie Humans decks, or a powerful 3-drop for any type of Collected Company deck, including CoCo Humans. In Modern and Legacy, it is a very good Death and Taxes creature, especially in conjunction with her younger, smaller self: Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Expect to see this played in at least Standard and Modern, most likely Legacy as well.
2: Elder Deep-Fiend
Considering this card’s criminally low preorder price, it may surprise you that it is almost to the top of this list. Well, it shouldn’t surprise you at all. This card is absurd. It can Mistbind Clique your opponent on turn 4, which is a pretty potent thing to do in any format, especially Standard. While it does require that you have a 3-drop to sacrifice to cast this on turn four, it can still be quite good later and when it does work (which should be most of the time), it is nearly unbeatable. This wouldn’t make it this high on the list if all it would do is dominate Standard. It also just so happens to be a member of the best tribe in Modern. Bant Eldrazi just got a huge shot in the leg. It was already great, and this just gives it so much extra power and ability to shut down opponents. Be afraid: the Octo-Drazi has arrived.
1: Eldritch Evolution
We have now arrived to the top of the list folks. We have been through potentially powerful cards, obviously powerful cards, even potentially broken cards, and now we have arrived at the obviously broken. This card is nuts. It is better than Chord of Calling in Modern Melira Company, improving a deck that was already dangerously good. In Standard, it will make the 4c Rite CoCo combo deck vastly better, potentially to the point of brokenness (by Standard standards). This is, by far, the card most likely to be banned in this set. If that doesn’t put it at the top of the list of Constructed cards, I don’t know what does.
It has been a great spoiler season, in terms of both flavor and card quality. I look forward to drafting the set, watching the new Standard unfold, and brewing in every Constructed format. Thanks for reading!