With the end of the year in sight, now's a good time to review what happened in the world of Magic: The Gathering in 2021. In addition to this and this, Wizards of the Coast printed more cards and more sets than ever before—so it's not surprising that this year's powerful cards were really, really powerful. Here are the 10 most busted MTG cards printed in 2021.

#10: Esper Sentinel

This is the first card from Modern Horizons 2 on this list, but it definitely won't be the last. MH2 was inherently more powerful than a traditional Standard set, because it was targeted at Modern. Even by those higher standards, Modern Horizons 2 was the most powerful set we have seen in a very long time.

I know it's surprising to see white cards make the cut here, but there was a clear shift in 2021 to make the color white more powerful in general, and I do think WotC achieved that goal. Just a year ago there were way fewer white aggressive decks doing well across all formats.

Esper Sentinel taxes the Izzet spell-based decks that seem to be very popular in every format. Sometimes your opponents allow you to draw multiple cards off the Esper Sentinel—if that happens, it has done its job. Most of the time the opponent will wait and try to have one extra mana to cast spells, but this can also be very costly.

Decks often have a way to increase the power of Esper Sentinel, making the tax that much more difficult to deal with. Luminarch Aspirant and Thalia's Lieutenant come to mind as nice ways to make Esper Sentinel bigger. Remember, Esper Sentinel is a Human, so it works very well in Human tribal decks. Also, sometimes you draw two copies of Esper Sentinel and the tax doubles. This card does a whole lot for a one-mana creature, and it definitely earns its place on this list.

#9: Unholy Heat

Some decks are playing Unholy Heat over Lightning Bolt. Lightning Bolt!

This card provides an amazing rate for a single red mana. Hitting delirium is very achievable as decks that play Unholy Heat generally have a number of ways to get cards into their graveyard. I'm still in awe that this card was printed, as it doesn't seem that long ago that Shock was a staple removal spell that was actually seeing a decent amount of use.

Six damage is enough to kill almost all opposing creatures and planeswalkers. There was a period where most of my green decks in Historic had Elder Gargaroth, and now I basically can't play that card because of Unholy Heat. In my opinion, Unholy Heat is too good, and could even be higher on this list.

#8: Goldspan Dragon

I do want to mix in some Standard cards here, even though if you compare them directly to Modern Horizons 2 cards, they are worse. But in terms of impact, few cards have done as much in the formats where they're legal as Goldspan Dragon has in Standard. Almost every red Standard deck since January has included Goldspan Dragon in some capacity.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Dragonforce by KelMasterP

'Dragonforce' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: KelMasterP

Event: MTGO Standard Challenge

Rank: 2nd

Standard

Market Price: $275.79

Cards

Fight as One

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212308_200w.jpg

Choose one or both —
• Target Human creature you control gets +1/+1 and gains indestructible until end of turn.
• Target non-Human creature you control gets +1/+1 and gains indestructible until end of turn.

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Shatterskull Smashing

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $3.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222030_200w.jpg

Shatterskull Smashing deals X damage divided as you choose among up to two target creatures and/or planeswalkers. If X is 6 or more, Shatterskull Smashing deals twice X damage divided as you choose among them instead.

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Defiant Strike

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215660_200w.jpg

Target creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
Draw a card.

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Rune of Flight

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230437_200w.jpg

Enchant permanent
When Rune of Flight enters the battlefield, draw a card.
As long as enchanted permanent is a creature, it has flying.
As long as enchanted permanent is an Equipment, it has "Equipped creature has flying."

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Rune of Sustenance

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230881_200w.jpg

Enchant permanent
When Rune of Sustenance enters the battlefield, draw a card.
As long as enchanted permanent is a creature, it has lifelink.
As long as enchanted permanent is an Equipment, it has "Equipped creature has lifelink."

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Ox of Agonas

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $3.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206651_200w.jpg

When Ox of Agonas enters the battlefield, discard your hand, then draw three cards.
Escape—{R}{R}, Exile eight other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)
Ox of Agonas escapes with a +1/+1 counter on it.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.89

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Raugrin Triome

Color Identity:R,U,W

Market Price: $12.86

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212695_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}, {R}, or {W}.)
Raugrin Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Needleverge Pathway

Color Identity:R,W

Market Price: $4.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221838_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {R}.

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Sejiri Shelter

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221899_200w.jpg

Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.

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Goldspan Dragon

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $32.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230161_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
Whenever Goldspan Dragon attacks or becomes the target of a spell, create a Treasure token.
Treasures you control have "{T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Add two mana of any one color."

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Rune of Speed

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230879_200w.jpg

Enchant permanent
When Rune of Speed enters the battlefield, draw a card.
As long as enchanted permanent is a creature, it gets +1/+0 and has haste.
As long as enchanted permanent is an Equipment, it has "Equipped creature gets +1/+0 and has haste."

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Negate

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222130_200w.jpg

Counter target noncreature spell.

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Fire Prophecy

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212611_200w.jpg

Fire Prophecy deals 3 damage to target creature. You may put a card from your hand on the bottom of your library. If you do, draw a card.

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Shepherd of the Flock // Usher to Safety

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199345_200w.jpg

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Birgi, God of Storytelling

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $5.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230903_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a spell, add {R}. Until end of turn, you don't lose this mana as steps and phases end.
Creatures you control can boast twice during each of your turns rather than once.

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Redcap Melee

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199300_200w.jpg

Redcap Melee deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If a nonred permanent is dealt damage this way, you sacrifice a land.

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Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199035_200w.jpg

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Temple of Triumph

Color Identity:R,W

Market Price: $0.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236147_200w.jpg

Temple of Triumph enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Triumph enters the battlefield, scry 1.
{T}: Add {R} or {W}.

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Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/253425_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Riverglide Pathway

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221822_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

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Kazuul's Fury

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222039_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, sacrifice a creature.
Kazuul's Fury deals damage equal to the sacrificed creature's power to any target.

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Hengegate Pathway

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $5.63

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/229207_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {W}.

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Showdown of the Skalds

Color Identity:R,W

Market Price: $0.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/229211_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Exile the top four cards of your library. Until the end of your next turn, you may play those cards.
II, III — Whenever you cast a spell this turn, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control.

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Runeforge Champion

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230882_200w.jpg

When Runeforge Champion enters the battlefield, you may search your library and/or graveyard for a Rune card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you search your library this way, shuffle.
You may pay {1} rather than pay the mana cost for Rune spells you cast.

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It's no surprise that Goldspan Dragon was nerfed in Alchemy. WotC has been pushing the envelope with mythic Dragons lately, but Goldspan Dragon really is the best of them all. We saw Yuta Takahashi win the World Championship with four copies of this card, and it really was the signature card in his deck. With its ability to generate huge amounts of mana, kill opponents quickly, and fit into a wide variety of strategies, Goldspan Dragon is one of the most important cards in Standard.

#7: Murktide Regent

These days we see a lot of Murktide Regent in older formats like Modern and Legacy. Decks can fill up their graveyard pretty easily these days, and that makes casting Murktide Regent for only two blue mana very achievable. Tarmogoyf has nothing on the Regent.

Murktide Regent goes well in a deck with cheap instants and sorceries that help make it larger and fill up the graveyard. It just so happens that some of the top decks in Legacy and Modern were already playing lots of cantrips before Murktide Regent. This means that in some cases decks have simply slot Murktide Regent right in without needing to sacrifice anything to play the card. In my opinion, that's not a good thing—decks like Izzet Delver didn't need more help.

#6: Alrund's Epiphany

Alrund's Epiphany has started a lot of arguments about whether it's too good for Standard. Izzet decks have been dominant for the last two Standard formats, and this card works so well in conjunction with Galvanic Iteration. Personally, I had the most success in the current Standard format playing Izzet Epiphany. I have written entire articles dedicated Alrund's Epiphany, so I'll keep this brief.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Izzet Epiphany by Yuuki Ichikawa

'Izzet Epiphany' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Yuuki Ichikawa

Event: Innistrad Championship (Standard)

Rank: 1st

Standard

Market Price: $240.05

Cards

Spikefield Hazard

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221957_200w.jpg

Spikefield Hazard deals 1 damage to any target. If a permanent dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

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Jwari Disruption

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222101_200w.jpg

Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1}.

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Goldspan Dragon

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $32.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230161_200w.jpg

Flying, haste
Whenever Goldspan Dragon attacks or becomes the target of a spell, create a Treasure token.
Treasures you control have "{T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Add two mana of any one color."

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Teachings of the Archaics

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235680_200w.jpg

If an opponent has more cards in hand than you, draw two cards. Draw three cards instead if an opponent has at least four more cards in hand than you.

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Divide by Zero

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235990_200w.jpg

Return target spell or permanent with mana value 1 or greater to its owner's hand.
Learn. (You may reveal a Lesson card you own from outside the game and put it into your hand, or discard a card to draw a card.)

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Unexpected Windfall

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243382_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, discard a card.
Draw two cards and create two Treasure tokens. (They're artifacts with "{T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color.")

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Check for Traps

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243447_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. Exile that card. If an instant card or a card with flash is exiled this way, they lose 1 life. Otherwise, you lose 1 life.

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Demon Bolt

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230444_200w.jpg

Demon Bolt deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker.
Foretell {R} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

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Expressive Iteration

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $6.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235845_200w.jpg

Look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand, put one of them on the bottom of your library, and exile one of them. You may play the exiled card this turn.

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Hullbreaker Horror

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $8.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/253668_200w.jpg

Flash
This spell can't be countered.
Whenever you cast a spell, choose up to one —
• Return target spell you don't control to its owner's hand.
• Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand.

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Environmental Sciences

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235526_200w.jpg

Search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle. You gain 2 life.

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Smoldering Egg

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.81

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/249493_200w.jpg

Defender
Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, put a number of ember counters on Smoldering Egg equal to the amount of mana spent to cast that spell. Then if Smoldering Egg has seven or more ember counters on it, remove them and transform Smoldering Egg.

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Thundering Rebuke

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222195_200w.jpg

Thundering Rebuke deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker.

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Alrund's Epiphany

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $9.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230097_200w.jpg

Create two 1/1 blue Bird creature tokens with flying. Take an extra turn after this one. Exile Alrund's Epiphany.
Foretell {4}{U}{U} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

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Behold the Multiverse

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230140_200w.jpg

Scry 2, then draw two cards.
Foretell {1}{U} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

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Saw It Coming

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230170_200w.jpg

Counter target spell.
Foretell {1}{U} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

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Stormcarved Coast

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $7.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/252853_200w.jpg

Stormcarved Coast enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or more other lands.
{T}: Add {U} or {R}.

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Clearwater Pathway

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $5.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221830_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

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Riverglide Pathway

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221822_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.

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Galvanic Iteration

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $1.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/247815_200w.jpg

When you cast your next instant or sorcery spell this turn, copy that spell. You may choose new targets for the copy.
Flashback {1}{U}{R} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $11.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248104_200w.jpg

Spells can't be countered.
Each instant and sorcery card in your graveyard has flashback. The flashback cost is equal to that card's mana cost.

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Hall of Storm Giants

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243193_200w.jpg

If you control two or more other lands, Hall of Storm Giants enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
{5}{U}: Until end of turn, Hall of Storm Giants becomes a 7/7 blue Giant creature with ward {3}. It's still a land. (Whenever it becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, counter it unless that player pays {3}.)

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Fading Hope

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.61

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248204_200w.jpg

Return target creature to its owner's hand. If its mana value was 3 or less, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)

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Burn Down the House

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248215_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Burn Down the House deals 5 damage to each creature and each planeswalker.
• Create three 1/1 red Devil creature tokens with "When this creature dies, it deals 1 damage to any target." They gain haste until end of turn.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196609_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215723_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Cinderclasm

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222044_200w.jpg

Kicker {R} (You may pay an additional {R} as you cast this spell.)
Cinderclasm deals 1 damage to each creature. If it was kicked, it deals 2 damage to each creature instead.

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Mascot Exhibition

Market Price: $0.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235914_200w.jpg

Create a 2/1 white and black Inkling creature token with flying, a 3/2 red and white Spirit creature token, and a 4/4 blue and red Elemental creature token.

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Abrade

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/253063_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Abrade deals 3 damage to target creature.
• Destroy target artifact.

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Blightstep Pathway

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $5.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/229209_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {B}.

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Test of Talents

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235929_200w.jpg

Counter target instant or sorcery spell. Search its controller's graveyard, hand, and library for any number of cards with the same name as that spell and exile them. That player shuffles, then draws a card for each card exiled from their hand this way.

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The Celestus

Market Price: $1.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/247961_200w.jpg

If it's neither day nor night, it becomes day as The Celestus enters the battlefield.
{T}: Add one mana of any color.
{3}, {T}: If it's night, it becomes day. Otherwise, it becomes night. Activate only as a sorcery.
Whenever day becomes night or night becomes day, you gain 1 life. You may draw a card. If you do, discard a card.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/247961/magic-innistrad-midnight-hunt-the-celestus

If you look at high level play like the recent Innistrad Championship and Star City Games Invitational it will become immediately clear how dominant decks that play this card have been. Alrund's Epiphany lets you win the game without relying on traditional creature threats, and this approach invalidates a lot of other decks in the format.

#5: Solitude

For this list, I decided to only include one of the new evoke Elementals from Modern Horizons 2 that can be cast by exiling an on-color card from your hand. This entire cycle is very strong though, and there is a good argument I should have included more of the cycle. Still, Solitude is the most important of the bunch. It's an an excellent removal spell, attached to a very relevant creature.

Solitude sees a lot of use in Azorius decks because it naturally pairs very well with blue. Blue has the sheer card draw which makes losing a card to evoke Solitude less painful. Also, blue doesn't have great removal or lifegain, so Solitude fills a hole for blue control decks.

#4: Urza's Saga

When Urza's Saga was first revealed a lot of folks feared it would be simply too strong for Modern. I think most people have come off that stance a bit, as there are cards even more powerful than Urza's Saga in Modern right now. That being said, Urza's Saga is absolutely an amazing card, and incentivizes decks to run a toolbox of artifacts they wouldn't be playing otherwise.

The fact you can get this much value off a land is still hard to fathom. The construct is generally going to be a significant size, as decks that run Urza's Saga typically play other artifacts alongside it. But Urza's Saga isn't just good in artifact decks like Hammer Time, Affinity, and Lantern Control—it's also pivotal in everything from Amulet Titan to Tron to Jund.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Jund by rastaf

'Jund' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: rastaf

Event: MTGO Modern Showcase Challenge

Rank: 3rd-4th

Modern

Market Price: $1655.02

Cards

Terminate

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $0.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243919_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.

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Shadowspear

Market Price: $19.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206978_200w.jpg

Equipped creature gets +1/+1 and has trample and lifelink.
{1}: Permanents your opponents control lose hexproof and indestructible until end of turn.
Equip {2}

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Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $80.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/239857_200w.jpg

Whenever Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer deals combat damage to a player, create a Treasure token and exile the top card of that player's library. Until end of turn, you may cast that card.
Dash {1}{R} (You may cast this spell for its dash cost. If you do, it gains haste, and it's returned from the battlefield to its owner's hand at the beginning of the next end step.)

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/104257_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Abrupt Decay

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $4.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128562_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Destroy target nonland permanent with mana value 3 or less.

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Pyrite Spellbomb

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218600_200w.jpg

{R}, Sacrifice Pyrite Spellbomb: It deals 2 damage to any target.
{1}, Sacrifice Pyrite Spellbomb: Draw a card.

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Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $6.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212282_200w.jpg

Companion — Each permanent card in your starting deck has mana value 2 or less. (If this card is your chosen companion, you may put it into your hand from outside the game for {3} any time you could cast a sorcery.)
Lifelink
During each of your turns, you may cast one permanent spell with mana value 2 or less from your graveyard.

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Inquisition of Kozilek

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128476_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it with mana value 3 or less. That player discards that card.

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Torpor Orb

Market Price: $19.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/39593_200w.jpg

Creatures entering the battlefield don't cause abilities to trigger.

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Stomping Ground

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $9.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182841_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R} or {G}.)
As Stomping Ground enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Alpine Moon

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $8.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/169066_200w.jpg

As Alpine Moon enters the battlefield, choose a nonbasic land card name.
Lands your opponents control with the chosen name lose all land types and abilities, and they gain "{T}: Add one mana of any color."

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Thoughtseize

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $12.60

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218934_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card. You lose 2 life.

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Nihil Spellbomb

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161909_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Nihil Spellbomb: Exile target player's graveyard.
When Nihil Spellbomb is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {B}. If you do, draw a card.

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Urza's Saga

Market Price: $39.82

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/238619_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Urza's Saga gains "{T}: Add {C}."
II — Urza's Saga gains "{2}, {T}: Create a 0/0 colorless Construct artifact creature token with 'This creature gets +1/+1 for each artifact you control.'"
III — Search your library for an artifact card with mana cost {0} or {1}, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Kolaghan's Command

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $10.69

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/96518_200w.jpg

Choose two —
• Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
• Target player discards a card.
• Destroy target artifact.
• Kolaghan's Command deals 2 damage to any target.

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Bloodstained Mire

Market Price: $34.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92830_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Bloodstained Mire: Search your library for a Swamp or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Chalice of the Void

Market Price: $67.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161358_200w.jpg

Chalice of the Void enters the battlefield with X charge counters on it.
Whenever a player casts a spell with mana value equal to the number of charge counters on Chalice of the Void, counter that spell.

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Mountain

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215723_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R}.)

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/59661_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Dragon's Rage Channeler

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.83

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/240055_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, surveil 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card into your graveyard.)
Delirium — As long as there are four or more card types among cards in your graveyard, Dragon's Rage Channeler gets +2/+2, has flying, and attacks each combat if able.

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Blackcleave Cliffs

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $29.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/36399_200w.jpg

Blackcleave Cliffs enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or fewer other lands.
{T}: Add {B} or {R}.

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Fatal Push

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.97

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218830_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature if it has mana value 2 or less.
Revolt — Destroy that creature if it has mana value 4 or less instead if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn.

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Wooded Foothills

Market Price: $35.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92831_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Wooded Foothills: Search your library for a Mountain or Forest card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Unholy Heat

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/240403_200w.jpg

Unholy Heat deals 2 damage to target creature or planeswalker.
Delirium — Unholy Heat deals 6 damage instead if there are four or more card types among cards in your graveyard.

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Overgrown Tomb

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $13.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175196_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {G}.)
As Overgrown Tomb enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Mishra's Bauble

Market Price: $9.92

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218598_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Mishra's Bauble: Look at the top card of target player's library. Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.

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Pithing Needle

Market Price: $0.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/247969_200w.jpg

As Pithing Needle enters the battlefield, choose a card name.
Activated abilities of sources with the chosen name can't be activated unless they're mana abilities.

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Verdant Catacombs

Market Price: $22.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/238611_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Verdant Catacombs: Search your library for a Swamp or Forest card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Engineered Explosives

Market Price: $17.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218293_200w.jpg

Sunburst (This enters the battlefield with a charge counter on it for each color of mana spent to cast it.)
{2}, Sacrifice Engineered Explosives: Destroy each nonland permanent with mana value equal to the number of charge counters on Engineered Explosives.

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Wrenn and Six

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $87.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190994_200w.jpg

+1: Return up to one target land card from your graveyard to your hand.
−1: Wrenn and Six deals 1 damage to any target.
−7: You get an emblem with "Instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard have retrace." (You may cast instant and sorcery cards from your graveyard by discarding a land card in addition to paying their other costs.)

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Blood Crypt

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $15.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182838_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {R}.)
As Blood Crypt enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Tarmogoyf

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $21.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233959_200w.jpg

Tarmogoyf's power is equal to the number of card types among cards in all graveyards and its toughness is equal to that number plus 1.

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Nurturing Peatland

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $8.96

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190787_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life: Add {B} or {G}.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Nurturing Peatland: Draw a card.

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I don't think WotC intended this card to go in as many decks as it currently does. But that's what happens when you put a tutor effect on a land.

#3: Expressive Iteration

Of all the cards on this list, Expressive Iteration is the one I have played with the most. When this was first printed in Strixhaven it immediately stood out as closest thing we've seen to drawing two cards for two mana and no additional cost. Izzet decks have dominated this year, and Expressive Iteration is definitely one of the reasons why.

It started as a Standard staple, but hasn't stop there. We are seeing Expressive Iteration as a major player throughout Historic, Modern, Pioneer, and even Legacy. This will be a staple for a long time to come.

#2: Dragon's Rage Channeler

We have come to the red one-drop creature portion of the article.

Remember when I was talking about cards that easily fill up your graveyard for delirium? Well, Dragon's Rage Channeler is one of those cards, which means it gets along very well with Unholy Heat and Murktide Regent.

Aggressive red decks love this card, but more graveyard-focused strategies like Izzet Phoenix take advantage of Dragon's Rage Channeler too. This card even sees play in Modern Jund, a deck that has traditionally defined midrange. It works there as a way to close out games quickly, as well as fill up the graveyard.

This is another one of those cards that is making a big impact in pretty much every format it's legal in, including Legacy.

#1: Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

I doubt you're surprised to hear that Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer was the most powerful card printed in 2021.It's crazy to me that there are three cards that cost a single red mana on this list. WotC continues to push the envelope on how much power you can stuff into a one-mana card. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is everywhere in formats where it's legal. There are some calls for it to get banned—the only thing keeping it in check is plentiful removal, since Ragavan dies to anything that can deal a single damage to a creature. A card like Wrenn and Six answers Ragavan nicely.

This is a card that can easily take over the game basically by itself. That's basically the plan with this Legacy deck, which fully utilizes many of the cards in this article:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Izzet Delver by Corey Baumeister

'Izzet Delver' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Corey Baumeister

Event: NRG Series Trial - Milwaukee (Legacy)

Rank: 5th-8th

Legacy

Market Price: $4541.37

Cards

Mystic Sanctuary

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.98

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199417_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)
Mystic Sanctuary enters the battlefield tapped unless you control three or more other Islands.
When Mystic Sanctuary enters the battlefield untapped, you may put target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard on top of your library.

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Meltdown

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $6.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6940_200w.jpg

Destroy each artifact with mana value X or less.

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/6940/magic-urzas-saga-meltdown

Hydroblast

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118464_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Counter target spell if it's red.
• Destroy target permanent if it's red.

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Daze

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118406_200w.jpg

You may return an Island you control to its owner's hand rather than pay this spell's mana cost.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1}.

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Brainstorm

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243841_200w.jpg

Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.

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Dead // Gone

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233934_200w.jpg

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Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $80.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/239857_200w.jpg

Whenever Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer deals combat damage to a player, create a Treasure token and exile the top card of that player's library. Until end of turn, you may cast that card.
Dash {1}{R} (You may cast this spell for its dash cost. If you do, it gains haste, and it's returned from the battlefield to its owner's hand at the beginning of the next end step.)

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Delver of Secrets

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/56246_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may reveal that card. If an instant or sorcery card is revealed this way, transform Delver of Secrets.

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Submerge

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $7.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7250_200w.jpg

If an opponent controls a Forest and you control an Island, you may cast this spell without paying its mana cost.
Put target creature on top of its owner's library.

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Expressive Iteration

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $6.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235845_200w.jpg

Look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand, put one of them on the bottom of your library, and exile one of them. You may play the exiled card this turn.

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Force of Negation

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $61.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190647_200w.jpg

If it's not your turn, you may exile a blue card from your hand rather than pay this spell's mana cost.
Counter target noncreature spell. If that spell is countered this way, exile it instead of putting it into its owner's graveyard.

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Polluted Delta

Market Price: $43.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92829_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Polluted Delta: Search your library for an Island or Swamp card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Murktide Regent

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $17.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/240318_200w.jpg

Delve (Each card you exile from your graveyard while casting this spell pays for {1}.)
Flying
Murktide Regent enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each instant and sorcery card exiled with it.
Whenever an instant or sorcery card leaves your graveyard, put a +1/+1 counter on Murktide Regent.

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Soul-Guide Lantern

Market Price: $2.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206867_200w.jpg

When Soul-Guide Lantern enters the battlefield, exile target card from a graveyard.
{T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Exile each opponent's graveyard.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Soul-Guide Lantern: Draw a card.

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Court of Cunning

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226474_200w.jpg

When Court of Cunning enters the battlefield, you become the monarch.
At the beginning of your upkeep, any number of target players each mill two cards. If you're the monarch, each of those players mills ten cards instead. (To mill a card, a player puts the top card of their library into their graveyard.)

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Steam Vents

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $14.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175202_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {R}.)
As Steam Vents enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Dragon's Rage Channeler

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $1.83

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/240055_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, surveil 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card into your graveyard.)
Delirium — As long as there are four or more card types among cards in your graveyard, Dragon's Rage Channeler gets +2/+2, has flying, and attacks each combat if able.

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Misty Rainforest

Market Price: $24.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/238609_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Misty Rainforest: Search your library for a Forest or Island card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Flooded Strand

Market Price: $41.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92828_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Flooded Strand: Search your library for a Plains or Island card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Ponder

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $2.73

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236200_200w.jpg

Look at the top three cards of your library, then put them back in any order. You may shuffle.
Draw a card.

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Wasteland

Market Price: $23.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118403_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}, Sacrifice Wasteland: Destroy target nonbasic land.

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Lightning Bolt

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $2.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216484_200w.jpg

Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to any target.

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Scalding Tarn

Market Price: $26.67

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/238610_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Scalding Tarn: Search your library for an Island or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Force of Will

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $101.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218698_200w.jpg

You may pay 1 life and exile a blue card from your hand rather than pay this spell's mana cost.
Counter target spell.

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Pyroblast

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $4.89

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118587_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Counter target spell if it's blue.
• Destroy target permanent if it's blue.

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Volcanic Island

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $780.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/1608_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {R}.)

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End the Festivities

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/253770_200w.jpg

End the Festivities deals 1 damage to each opponent and each creature and planeswalker they control.

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While the deck is called Izzet Delver, Delver of Secrets is no longer the most important creature in the deck. The new hits from Modern Horizons 2 are the creatures being emphasized here. Cheap powerful threats that can win the game by themselves go well alongside the interaction and card advantage blue has to offer. Blue and red go together like peanut butter and chocolate, and it has become too much for other color combinations to handle.

A threat like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is great on turn one, but still is very threatening later in the game, unlike most one-drops. If you can keep the board relatively stable this creature is definitely a way to break an evenish board state. Even though the price point on Ragavan is high, it will only increase, as it is played in a ton of different decks, and only a ban will slow it down.