M15 is filled with cards that could have an immediate impact on Standard, so which cards will live up to their potential? Well the Soul Cycle which I discuss here and the planeswalker cycle which Melissa DeTora discusses here are the obvious places to start. These powerful cycles of mythic rares are certainly powerful, but I want to examine some cards that could be flying under the radar.


Let's start by looking at White:

Raise the Alarm: Okay so initially Raise the Alarm may seem like a card that is slightly underpowered when it comes to constructed play. Wait a second. We have seen Raise the Alarm played in Modern Token decks, so maybe it does have what it takes. The key is that Raise the Alarm can be very synergistic, especially with some of the other cards from M15. Raise the Alarm is one of the best ways to enable early convoke spells. In addition there are some small tribal synergies which make the tokens being soldiers quite relevant. Think about the interactions with a card like Obelisk of Urd.

Return to the Ranks: This card reminds me of Immortal Servitude, which admittedly didn't see a ton of play. That being said Return to the Ranks has the potential to be much better. The card will obviously only fit into a deck that is capable of running a bunch of one and two mana creatures. I think the main issue is that it may be difficult to trade those creatures one-for-one with the opponent, and a wrath effect could still be a problem. You would think this would be the perfect card against a wrath effect but after a card like Supreme Verdict it will be hard to get value out of convoke, which may lead to not being able to bring back the maximum amount of creatures. That said this card has the potential to be very powerful and you can build a deck around it, but it is hard to figure out exactly where it will fit right now.

Wall of Essence: I could see Wall of Essence seeing some play in the sideboard of control decks. The question becomes is it better than Nyx-Fleece Ram? I'm not sure that it is better, but Wall of Essence does dodge enchantment hate in case Deicide is seeing a lot of play. Overall I don't expect to see a ton of this card, but it is worth being aware of.

Warden of the Beyond: When looking over the set initially I passed over this card without thinking twice. Upon further review this guy could easily be a three mana 4/4 with vigilance, which is above the power curve. There are certainly quality removal spells that exile creatures, and even non-creature permanents. Think about Chained to the Rocks, Banishing Light, Detention Sphere, and Devouring Light, which just got printed. These are just a few of the ways to make this guy a three mana 4/4 with vigilance. I am interested to see how good this guy will be, as he is definitely powerful, but is there a deck that can abuse him?


Blue:

Chief Engineer: This is a card that certainly has potential in an artifact combo strategy. I am not sure that there are enough big artifacts to make him good, but Chief Engineer does seem nice with Soul of New Phyrexia.

Dissipate: It is tough to see Dissipate getting played over Dissolve, but that being said this is a card that has already seen plenty of play in previous Standard formats. I don't really understand printing Dissipate alongside of Dissolve, but hey, I don't decide what cards get printed.

Jace's Ingenuity: Jace's Ingenuity won't get played in blue/white Control decks while Sphinx's Revelation is in the format. Post rotation though this could be one of the primary forms of card advantage for control decks. Being an instant can make this a better option than Divination, but Divination is better alongside Sphinx's Revelation.

Military Intelligence: Military Intelligence could be a good cheap way of gaining continuous card advantage in an aggressive deck. Like many of the cards here the question becomes where does it fit? I mean it seems good alongside a couple tokens from Raise the Alarm and some form of disruption, but this is a card brewers will have to thoroughly explore in order to prove whether it is ready for Standard.


Black:

Endless Obedience: The most obvious use for this card is in a reanimator strategy with smaller creatures like Satyr Wayfinder to help convoke Endless Obedience out. Remember that this card can also target creatures in opponent's graveyards, which means it works well alongside removal spells.

Leeching Sliver: Slivers have become the most obvious tribal strategy in Standard. It will be interesting to see how good Slivers will be with both M14 and M15 being legal together. Leeching Sliver is certainly one of the most aggressive slivers, and I expect to see it as a four-of in most sliver decks.

Necromancer's Stockpile: Speaking of tribal synergies here is another card that is obviously oriented toward the zombie tribe. I am excited to see tribal synergies making a comeback as it has certainly been awhile since tribal decks were a force in Standard. There certainly are zombies in the format, but the question becomes do you actually want to be discarding a card like Lifebane Zombie? The answer may be yes, this is another card that a deck can be built around, but is hard evaluate.

Sign in Blood: I'm excited to see the return of Sign in Blood. I don't expect it to see a ton of play though, especially with Read the Bones in the format. This card likely won't be played over Read the Bones unless the deck is monoblack, and even then Read the Bones may be better.

Stain the Mind: Stain the Mind is a more flexible Slaughter Games that will usually cost three or four to cast. I expect it to replace the need for Slaughter Games for the most part, unless Counterspells are seeing a lot of play.

Waste Not: There certainly are good discard spells in this Standard format, but does that make Waste Not good? How likely is it that your opponent will discard a few cards to Rakdos's Return while Waste Not is in play? My gut tells me that Waste Not won't be good enough, because you will have to build your deck around discard, rather than have discard spells to supplement your primary gameplan. This is certainly one of the more controversial cards in the set, and it does have a lot of potential, so I could be wrong here.


Red:

Aggressive Mining: M15 seems to be filled with a ton of enchantments that have the potential to be super powerful, but are only good in a very specific archetype. Aggressive Mining is a card that could be great later in the game, at the top of your decks mana curve. This would fit into a deck with cards like Burning-Tree Emissary and cheap spells, so as to be able to quickly play the spells drawn off Aggressive Mining. That being said there is also a large downside to Aggressive Mining. It is possible to lock yourself out of the game, when being careless, as not being able to play lands for the rest of the game is obviously a big deal.

Altac Bloodseeker: In a deck with a bunch of removal I could see this card being quite good. A two mana 4/1 with first strike and haste is pretty sick, the main issue is turning him on, and the haste effect won't be relevant a lot of the time.

Brood Keeper: I have a dream about playing this card alongside cheap auras and Crucible of Fire. I do think people will try it, but unfortunately I have a feeling this dream won't become a reality for me.

Goblin Kaboomist: Here is another card with a cool interactive ability. In general cards that include flipping coins aren't ready for serious constructed play, but I'm unsure about this guy. I have been looking for artifacts to go alongside Shrapnel Blast, and he does make artifact tokens.

Stoke the Flames: Here is another burn spell to add to the format, though I'm not sure Stoke the Flames will be a good as people hope it will be. Red decks want to be attacking not tapping their creatures for a convoke spell, but I do expect it to see some play.


Green:

Back to Nature: For those people that are looking to play constellation I would just hope that people don't start playing this card in their sideboards. It is simply a sideboard card to keep enchantment strategies in check.

Chord of Calling: This is a card that many are talking about because it is such a well-known card. While this card is very good in Modern Pod decks I don't know that Chord of Calling will translate well to Standard. I'm not saying that there aren't some sweet singleton creatures available, but it feels like it is going to be difficult to make Chord of Calling good enough. I know this is one of the most exciting cards in the set, and it is merely the opinion of one person. Perhaps the format will develop to where there can be a creature based combo deck. I'm sure many players will try to make Chord of Calling work.

Genesis Hydra: Genesis Hydra provides a reasonable body as a creature and it provides card advantage when flipping over a noncreature, and nonland permanent. I can only see this card working in a deck with a good amount of cheap enchantments and planeswalkers to find with Genesis Hydra, I expect it be a fringe card.

Hornet Queen: This is a nice big card advantage creature, which could be a good target for Chord of Calling in that deck, or as a big threat in Green Devotion. There are a bunch of big green threats in Standard which can win the game by themselves, and this is another one to add to the mix.

Kalonian Twingrove: Speaking of large green creatures, this guy is obviously only good enough in a Monogreen deck, but making two large creatures for six mana is pretty powerful.

Phytotitan: Wizards does love printing large green creatures! You can only play so many big mana creatures in a deck though, which means a card like Phytotitan may not see much play. If this format wasn't full of ways to exile creatures this card would be very good as a guy that can't die to Supreme Verdict.

Reclamation Sage: Here is a good one-of in a Chord of Calling deck or just a good value creature in the sideboard. I do expect him to see play as most decks do have enchantments you will want to kill.

Sunblade Elf: This guy is pretty straightforward. He's good in a green/white aggro deck with enough plains to support him.

Undergrowth Scavenger: I don't think this guy is better than Nemesis of Mortals so I don't expect him to see much play, though he is very large in the Dredge mirror!

Verdant Haven: Verdant Haven could be very good alongside Voyaging Satyr or Nissa, Worldwaker. Verdant Haven could also work well in a constellation shell. I actually think this card is flying under the radar right now, but it does have a lot of potential.

Wall of Mulch: Yes, there are a number of green cards that I think could have an impact on Standard and I didn't even mention them all! Wall of Mulch may not see much play because it is fighting against Sylvan Caryatid, but I do think this card provides a lot of value for green-based decks looking to get to the lategame.


Lands:

Evolving Wilds: Evolving Wilds will definitely see play. This is one of those cards that many players don't think about, but does a lot for manabases. This card helps make sure a card like Sunblade Elf is the biggest it can be.

Pain Lands (Battlefield Force, Caves of Koilos, Llanowar Wastes, Shivan Reef, Yavimaya Coast): I'm still not sure how I feel about the reprinting of the painlands. I personally thought they would never get reprinted but here they are. Two-color manabases with access to painlands will be much more consistent now. I don't expect painlands to necessarily be four-ofs, but may more often be seen as two or three-ofs. It has been awhile since Standard manabases have been this good.

Sliver Hive: Perhaps this means it is time for a five color deck to shine? Sliver Hive is the card that pulls the sliver deck together, and helps reliably cast Sliver Hivelord.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth: This is an easy add as a one-of to a deck like Monoblack Devotion. This card means that you can have it and Mutavault in play on turn three, and still be able to cast Nightveil Specter. On another note, I thought this card was priced too highly for its effect, so I'm glad it was reprinted for that reason.

I'm not going to go over artifacts or multicolored cards, as I don't think it's necessary. I tried to cover as many of the important cards as I could, in terms of their applications to Standard. That being said there are certainly cards I didn't talk about, and to a certain extent M15 Standard is a hard format to predict, so time is the only true way of showing how much of an impact M15 will have.

Thanks for Reading,

Seth Manfield