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AFR Standard Set Review: White

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Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is finally here! This set review is going to be slightly different as I am going to be evaluating these cards based on new Standard, which is after the rotation of Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, M21, and Ikoria. I am doing this because this is the last set before rotation and because of the power level of Throne of Eldraine still dominates Standard. We also have access to this format now on MTG Arena in the Standard 2022 Queue. Standard Rotation is not far away either, it will happen on September 17th, 2021, when Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is released.

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 Goldmaw Champion and Master Skald will be omitted since they are just Limited cards and saying, "This is just a Limited card" repeatedly gets old rather fast. Do not worry though, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the actual Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set. So, if you like a certain rare or mythic, it will be mentioned in the review.

Keep in mind I am 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. (Divine Gambit)

2 - Could see fringe play, or occasional sideboard card. (Disdainful Stroke, Annul, Erebos's Intervention, Devastating Mastery)

3 - Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Righteous Valkyrie, Behold the Multiverse, Check for Traps)

4 - Format staples. Sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Saw it Coming, Fabled Passage, Werewolf Pack Leader)

5 - Format warping. If you are in these colors, you play that card or keep that card in mind when building decks. (Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Embercleave, The Great Henge, Bonecrusher Giant)

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

White

The Book of Exalted Deeds
The Book of Exalted Deeds - 3 - The Book of Exalted Deeds is going to be strong with Faceless Haven. It is already banned in Standard 2022 on MTG Arena because it is hard to interact with. Well, that, and if both players have the Platinum Angel Haven, the game goes on until someone concedes. If this card just combo'ed with Faceless Haven I would give it a lower rating, but it is also just solid in a control/life gain deck making 3/3 Angels.
Cleric Class
Cleric Class - 2.5 - Cleric Class looks a bit underwhelming on paper, but in action, it is all right. The second level making anything an Ajani Pridemate is a bit over costed but strong once it gets going. The final level is a nice way to refill the battlefield.
Dancing Sword
Dancing Sword - 2 - I'm not impressed with Dancing Sword. You don't want it in a White weenie deck as you have better creatures to play for 2 mana. The better equipment is just going to be Maul of the Skyclaves.
Flumph
Flumph - 1 - Can we just get Wall of Omens? Please and thank you! Defender creatures are underwhelming when they do not have any abilities. Even worse when they can help the opponent.
Grand Master of Flowers
Grand Master of Flowers - 3.5 - Grand Master of Flowers is great as a top end for an aggressive double spell deck with Clarion Spirit and Monk of the Open Hand. It gives you fuel in Monks even if they have died and makes sure your opponent cannot block or attack with their biggest creature if it does not have First Strike, Double Strike, or Vigilance. Later in the game, he is a threat himself since he becomes a 7/7 Dragon!
Guardian of Faith
Guardian of Faith - 2.5 - Guardian of Faith can be an okay sideboard card against removal decks acting as a more aggressive Selfless Glyphweaver // Deadly Vanity. However, against spot removal Guardian of Faith outshines Selfless Glyphweaver // Deadly Vanity as it is basically just a counterspell on a body.
Icingdeath, Frost Tyrant
Icingdeath, Frost Tyrant - 2.5 - Icingdeath is just outclassed by the other four-mana cards you can play in White, like Grand Master of Flowers and Legion Angel. If your aggressive deck did want to play Icingdeath, you most likely would not run more than one or two.
Loyal Warhound
Loyal Warhound - 3 - I love cards that reward you for being on the draw, and I hope Wizards makes a lot more cards like this to even play / draw. Loyal Warhound is a good boy in aggressive, midrange, and even control decks when they are on the draw. I expect to see a lot of this pupper running around come new Standard.
Monk of the Open Hand
Monk of the Open Hand - 3.5 - Monk is usually going to be a one-mana 3/3 if not bigger. That is an amazing rate. Four-of in the double spell deck.
Nadaar, Selfless Paladin
Nadaar, Selfless Paladin - 3 - Benalish Marshal was a staple in Standard when it was legal. Nadaar is not Benalish Marshal right away but he is easier to cast and you'll need just one or two other cards to complete a dungeon.
Oswald Fiddlebender
Oswald Fiddlebender - 2 - Oswald is a type of card that gets better and better the more cards you have access to in the format. Currently, in Standard, we do not have to tools to make Oswald great. I would keep an eye on him as more sets come out. He is, however, an amazing Commander and gives Mono-White Commander decks a sweet legend to build around.
Paladin Class
Paladin Class - 3.5 - Paladin Class is just Glorious Anthem with a lot more upside. This will be a staple in go wide White weenie strategies.
Portable Hole
Portable Hole - 2.5 - Staple removal spell for mostly the sideboard in Standard unless the metagame ends up being hyper aggressive. This card is amazing removal in older formats as a lot of non-land permanents tend to have low mana value.
Potion of Healing
Potion of Healing - 2.5 - Potion of Healing is here because gaining life is going to matter for some of these aggressive decks with Cleric Class, Trelasarra, Moon Dancer, and The Book of Exalted Deeds. It is also amazing alongside Teleportation Circle!
Teleportation Circle
Teleportation Circle - 3.5 - A four-mana Thassa, Deep-Dwelling that also hits artifacts is such a sweet card to build around. I just want to build Bant blink with creatures that draw cards, bounce things, or ramp you like Quandrix Cultivator.

Top 5 White Cards

  1. Monk of the Open Hand
  2. Paladin Class
  3. Grand Master of Flowers
  4. Teleportation Circle
  5. Nadaar, Selfless Paladin

White got some amazing aggressive creatures in this set. I know cheap White creatures is a thing White does best, but I really wish Wizards would expand on the color pie. Cards like Teleportation Circle is an excellent start. I just feel like the color could use something else besides small creatures and different Oblivion Rings. That being said, White Weenie is going nowhere in new Standard!

If you shop at Coolstuffinc, be sure to use code ALI5 to get 5% off your entire order. This will save you money and help me too.

Tomorrow we will go over Blue cards, do not miss it! As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

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