22, Apr, 22

Top 10 Cards That We Want to See in MTG Arena Explorer's First Drop

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Article at a Glance

Yesterday’s announcement of MTG Arena’s newest “true to tabletop” format Explorer was a very exciting one. It promises to bring the widely asked for Pioneer format to Arena over time. We know that the Pioneer legal card pool isn’t in the game yet but Wizards of the Coast are going to be releasing “Pioneer relevant” cards to the game in batches through Historic Anthologies.

Wizards has stated that they have a list of around 250ish cards that are format relevant that they will be working through. This ranges from cards that are format staples to one off cards in sideboards, to fan favorite fun archetypes. We don’t know the exact number of cards being released in Historic Anthology 6, but we’ll hit our top 10 wish list today. I believe the success of this format is in it’s initial reception, and kicking off the format with the right slate of cards can set the format off on the right foot.

Honorable Mention

Our honorable mention goes out to the Return to Ravnica charm cycle. Many of these cards have seen play over the years, and while Boros Charm is the only one of them that really sees any consistent play in Pioneer, the scaled down card pool of Explorer may allow for some of these cards to see some play and offer diversity to the format.

10. Elvish Mystic

Elvish Mystic
Wizards of the Coast

Kicking off the top 10 is Elvish Mystic. It’s seen in many decks from Winota to Mono Green Storm. While we have Llanowar Elves in the format, this include is to help the density of 1 drop mana dorks for those decks.

9. Spell Queller

Wizards of the Coast

Next up we have Spell Queller. It’s one of the strongest tempo Spirit creatures ever printed, and has become a staple in the Spirits deck. While we have a lot of the strong spirits already in Arena, so adding this to game would be a nice bolster to that deck.

8. Chained to the Rocks

Wizards of the Coast

Number 8 is Chained to the Rocks. We have seen quite a few different “exile target creature” enchantments come out recently, but they all cost 2 or 3 mana. Chained to the Rocks gives you a 1 mana way to deal with any creature, but you need to have a Mountain in play which is frankly a small price to pay.

7. Mantis Rider

Wizards of the Coast

Mantis Rider is number 7 on our list. The Humans decks in Arena have been pretty focused on White and Green, and one of the better creatures in the Pioneer version is Mantis Rider. It’s a very aggressive and evasive threat and when combined with cards like Thalia’s Lieutenant it can get out of hand quickly.

6. Sylvan Caryatid

Wizards of the Coast

Number 6 is Sylvan Caryatid. It’s one of the best mana creatures ever printed, as it’s a great blocker against aggro decks and is incredibly flexible for many decks. It would be a welcomed addition to the format and many decks.

5. Thing in the Ice / Awoken Horror

Coming in at number 5 is Thing in the Ice / Awoken Horror. This is a staple card edition to the Izzet Phoenix decks. While the deck has a lot of legs in Historic, it’s built a little bit differently than we see in Pioneer. Pioneer’s version takes advantage of more spells to really lean into this and Arclight Phoenix as it’s finishers.

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4. Supreme Verdict

Wizards of the Coast

Number 4 is Supreme Verdict. It’s one of the strongest sweepers in the game, being that it’s 4 mana and cannot be countered. Truthfully, this card and it’s place in control holds decks like Mono Blue tempo / spirits in check.

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3. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

Wizards of the Coast

Starting off the top 3, we have Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Kalitas is utilized in sideboards in many decks as a great source of graveyard creature hate, namely for Izzet Phoenix. It is also great for breaking the parity of combat, as it turns your opponent’s creatures into zombies for you.

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2. Bring to Light

bfz-209-bring-to-light
Wizards of the Coast

Number 2 is going to be Bring to Light. This card is a key piece in the “Niv to Light” decks, taking advantage of Niv-Mizzet Reborn and a host of multicolored colored spells. While we do have a 5 Color Niv Mizzet deck existing in the format, this card really brings the deck up into competitive viability.

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1. Monastery Swiftspear

Monastery-Swiftspear
Wizards of the Coast

Our number 1 pick is going to be Monestary Swiftspear. It was a toss up between this and Eidolon of the Great Revel, but Swiftspear edges out ever so slightly. We definitely can’t have both come in right away, as it’d make Mono Red a bit too complete. Truthfully, Swiftspear is exactly what the game is looking for. Another very powerful 1 drop red creature that can help the straight forward aggro strategies find a home in the format once more.

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