Commander Legends available now!
   Sign In
Create Account

Zendikar Rising Standard Set Review: White


Check out the other entries here!

Blue | Black and Gold | Red and Artifacts | Green and Lands

Zendikar Rising is legal and today we start my set review. With Zendikar Rising we got a rotation as well which means Zendikar will have a huge impact on Standard for multiple reasons. This set also introduces Modal Double-Face Cards which will be sure to change Magic forever. Having a land that can either be a spell or a land is massive and keeps the games interesting. Especially from a viewer perspective. Wondering how Zendikar Rising will impact Standard? Let's find out! Before we do that though, let us go over how I will 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 Paired Tactician and Emeria Captain 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 Zendikar Rising 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. (Squad Commander)

3 - Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Angel of Destiny, Skyclave Apparition, Terror of the Peaks)

4 - Format staples. Sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Emeria's Call, Teferi, Master of Time, Fabled Passage)

5 - Format warping. If you are in these colors, you play that card or keep that card in mind when building decks. (Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon)

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

Angel of Destiny
Angel of Destiny - 3 - I like this card more than Baneslayer Angel since it has the potential to gain you life as soon as it enters the battlefield since it gives all your other creatures Spirit Link. Having 6 toughness makes it harder for aggressive decks to kill. 2 power is low but double strike makes up for it and all this is attached on card that also has an alternate win condition.
Archon of Emeria
Archon of Emeria - 2.5 - This should be better in Historic with Collected Company. In Standard it seems mediocre, especially since it does not have a party creature type.
Archpriest of Iona
Archpriest of Iona - 2.5 - This is a good aggressive card; I just do not think the party mechanic is good. It is asking you to go wide in order to do mediocre things. I think you are better off sticking to Embercleave.dek.
Felidar Retreat
Felidar Retreat - 4 - Field of the Cats! I have been pleasantly surprised with this card. It fits really well into the 4 Color Omnath Landfall deck. It allows you to go wide and or tall whenever you need to. Excellent card.
Legion Angel
Legion Angel - 4 - This gets my vote for most under looked card. Legion Angel generates so much card advantage and value, all while putting a huge clock on your opponent. I personally believe the best split is just 1/3 between main deck and Sideboard.
Luminarch Aspirant
Luminarch Aspirant - 3.5 - Solid aggressive White creature that grows turn after turn and snowballs if you have multiple. It is also a Cleric, giving it a truly relevant creature type for party or bw Clerics.
Maul of the Skyclaves
Maul of the Skyclaves - 3 - Maul feels very much like an enchantment since it attaches right away. One that you can reuse, growing your creatures and giving them evasion. Curves very well from a Luminarch Aspirant.
Skyclave Apparition
Skyclave Apparition - 3 - This card seems just okay to me for Standard. I feel like it is overhyped, and I personally would rather just have Oblivion Ring. Coming on a body is relevant and could be good for aggressive or midrange decks. I just feel like Ramp goes way over the top of this card for it to matter. Solid in older formats where Spirits are a thing.
Squad Commander
Squad Commander - 2 - Party decks are susceptible to board wipes already. You should be wanting to protect your wide battlefield of creatures, not make more. Just plays more into the deck's weakness.
Tazri, Beacon of Unity
Tazri, Beacon of Unity - 2 - Party decks are also a struggle to get working and a five color "lord" does not make it any better. I know you can pay 2 mana instead of one color, I am still not a fan.

Emeria's Call
Emeria's Call - 4 - I think this is the best Mythic modal double-faced land card. Turning a land into two 4/4 Angels is powerful, great for ramp, control, and midrange decks a like.
Kabira Takedown
Kabira Takedown - 2.5 - A land or a removal spell for your creature / party deck. It is kind of hard to go wrong with lands that can also be spells.
Makindi Stampede
Makindi Stampede - 2 - This one gets my vote for the worst Modal DFC in White. Even still, I can see this being played in a go wide or token strategy.
Ondu Inversion
Ondu Inversion - 3 - I would like to play one of these in a control or ramp deck. The ability to Ugin everything late game could be unbelievably valuable depending on the metagame.
Sejiri Shelter
Sejiri Shelter - 3 - Solid protection spell for a tempo strategy. Even though the land comes into play tapped, I think running one is a free roll.
Skyclave Cleric
Skyclave Cleric - 2.5 - Very medium card but could be okay against aggressive non-Embercleave strategies.
Top 5 White Cards

  1. Emeria's Call
  2. Felidar Retreat
  3. Legion Angel
  4. Skyclave Apparition
  5. Ondu Inversion

White got some great cards in this set! Emeria's Call, Felidar Retreat, and Legion Angel are all extremely powerful cards that should see a lot of play. Again, I think Legion Angel is the most undervalued card in the set, it is being overlooked and if White is playable in Standard, then Legion Angel will be too.

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

As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

Twitch Channel

Think Twice MTG Podcast

Limited time 35% buy trade in bonus buylist