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Core Set 2021 Standard Set Review: White


Core Set 2021 is legal and today we start my set review. These past couple of core sets have been great and Core Set 2021 is no different, it really is a great set. Will M21 spawn new archetypes before rotation? I don't think so, but it does pave the way for new decks and strategies come rotation in three months. Let us find out and go over how I'll be ranking the cards!

I will not be going over cards that I believe will not see play in Standard and I will not be going over the Commander cards that will not see Standard play. For example, cards like Elspeth, Undaunted Hero (Planeswalker duel deck rare) and Archon of Falling Stars will be omitted since they are just Limited/Commander cards and saying, "This is just a Limited card" repeatedly gets old rather fast. Don't worry though, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the set. So, if you like a certain rare or mythic, it will be mentioned in the review.

Keep in mind I'm rating all these cards for Standard playability. I will mention Modern applications if I believe the card has some.

Each card will be listed by color, then alphabetically by name.

Each card will be given a rating of 1-5. If a card would receive a 0, meaning it will see no play in that format ever, its rating is left off the list.

Rating | Explanation | Standard Examples

0 - Will never see play in this format (0 ratings are not listed).

1 - Unlikely to see play. (Pursued Whale)

2 - Could see fringe play, or occasional sideboard card. (Massacre Wurm)

3 - Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Oath of Kaya, Thought Erasure, Terror of the Peaks)

4 - Format staples. Sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Growth Spiral, Teferi, Master of Time, Narset, Parter of Veils)

5 - Format warping. If you are in these colors, you play that card or keep that card in mind when building decks. (Teferi, Time Raveler, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon)

Now that we have that out of the way, let's begin!

Angelic Ascension
Angelic Ascension - 3 - This will be a very solid removal spell in the right deck, especially alongside Teferi, Time Raveler and other bounce effects. Being able to hit your own creatures or used up planeswalkers (like Narset, Parter of Veils) is valuable. It is even a removal spell in combat if you want to exile something like your Wall from The Birth of Meletis and block.
Baneslayer Angel
Baneslayer Angel - 2.5 - Baneslayer Angel is not what it used to be. She is a very solid Sideboard card but looks bad against Brazen Borrower and Teferi, Time Raveler.
Basri Ket
Basri Ket - 3 - Most three-mana planeswalkers are underrated and Basri is no different. His minus ability is immensely powerful and if we get another White Weenie deck or even a token deck, Basri will be exceptionally good in that. Especially if you have things like Glorious Anthem, Trostani Discordant, or other ways to make the 1/1 soldiers bigger.
Basri's Lieutenant
Basri's Lieutenant - 2.5 - Basri's Lieutenant is White's Midnight Reaper. It is a tad too expensive but it's still very solid against board wipes, especially since it can't be bounced with Teferi, Time Raveler. He is also a Knight which is a relevant creature type!
Containment Priest
Containment Priest - 2.5 - Extremely glad this card is legal in Standard now. Very solid sideboard cards that's awesome against Escape creatures, reanimation decks, or decks cheating things into play with Winota, Joiner of Forces or things like Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast.
Faith's Fetters - 2 - Another reprint I am happy to have back. The lifegain is truly relevant for slower decks and Faith's Fetters can shut off some lands, like the Castles, which things like Ixalan's Binding and Banishing Light cannot. Also, worth mentioning that if Faith's Fetters is bounced, the thing it is enchanting will not get an enter the battlefield ability like it normally would with exile enchantments.
Glorious Anthem - 3 - Great card for the White aggressive deck, makes tokens a lot stronger, including Basri Kets tokens!
Idol of Endurance
Idol of Endurance - 2 - This card seems odd to me but if your deck is filled with cheap creatures, I can see bringing Idol of Endurance in against removal decks or even the mirror match where creatures are trading a lot.
Mangara, the Diplomat
Mangara, the Diplomat - 2.5 - Mangara is another great sideboard card for midrange/control decks. Depending on the meta (say if Arclight Phoenix were tier 1) it could see main deck play.
Nine Lives
Nine Lives - 2 - Nine Lives will see fringe play, but I do not think it's competitive. Pretty cool that you can Tale's End, Discontinuity, or Sublime Epiphany the lose the game trigger though! Should be a fun brew around card!
Pack Leader
Pack Leader - 2 - Extremely good tribal lord, I just do not think we have enough viable Dogs yet to make a dog tribal deck. He's still the goodest boy, however!
Runed Halo - 2 - Another solid Sideboard card for things like Expansion // Explosion. However, I will probably be memeing with this card naming Command the Dreadhorde!
Sanctum of Tranquil Light
Sanctum of Tranquil Light - 2 - Shrines should be a Tier 2 deck, might even be better after Teferi rotates. This costing just one mana is huge and is overlooked. Even if it's not great itself it turns up all your other shines cheaply.
Seasoned Hallowblade
Seasoned Hallowblade - 3.5 - Not as good as Adanto Vanguard but still an excellent card that White aggressive decks need. It is also better than Adanto Vanguard in one way in that it is better on defense and can block and kill creatures easier.
Selfless Savior
Selfless Savior - 2.5 - Not sure why they would print a 1/1 dog with not text... On a more serious note it is a more versatile Dauntless Bodyguard but at the cost of losing one-power. Still playable though!
Speaker of the Heavens
Speaker of the Heavens - 2.5 - I think Speaker of the Heavens is underrated and will be particularly good in the lifegain aggro decks in Standard and Historic. A 1-drop that forced your opponent to use removal on it or get swarmed with angels is incredibly good value.
Vryn Wingmare
Vryn Wingmare - 2 - 3 mana is a bit much for this card, especially since it only has 1 toughness and dies easily. Cards like this are usually great against combo decks if they are not running read as they cannot just burn it and must use an actual removal spell on it. In multiples though, this card is a nightmare.

Top 5 White Cards

  1. Seasoned Hallowblade
  2. Glorious Anthem
  3. Angelic Ascension
  4. Basri Ket
  5. Baneslayer Angel

Little wild that Baneslayer Angel is in fifth place when it was at one time one of the best cards in Standard. Creatures have come a long way since Baneslayer Angel though and if your creature does not come with an enter the battlefield ability, it is a liability. The top 5 had all very playable cards and we still have some left-over ones like Selfless Savior. All in all, White seems to be solid in M21!

Tomorrow we'll be going over the Blue cards, make sure to tune in!

As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

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