You’re building your MTG Arena collection, you’ve opened some packs and you’ve earned some wildcards. Wildcards are a great way to craft the specific cards you need to complete a sweet constructed deck, which you will use to ceremoniously send damage directly to your opponent’s face. As is often the case, after burning through your wildcards, you realize that your unbeatable deck has a 20% win rate against RDW. Potentially, you discover that most of the cards you crafted are of little use outside the “secret tech” deck you cooked up while feverishly studying spoilers. If your creation fails to mill, discard, land destroy, etc. your opponent into submission, your stuck with those cards. To get the most out of crafting your wildcards in MTG Arena, I urge you to consider the versatility of a card and where it is in the rotation cycle. Below is the expected MTG Arena standard rotation schedule:
|Rivals of Ixalan|
|Core Set 2019|
|Guilds of Ravnica||Fall 2020|
|War of the Spark|
|Core Set 2019|
Wildcards for Land?
A wise Magic player once told me, “You can have all the best spells, but lose every time if you don’t have the right mana base”. This advice was given to me in reference the introduction of check lands in Magic 2010 and why I should be trading for playsets of them. This turned out to be sound advice, not only because they are great for mana fixing, but because they’ve been reprinted so many times since then. Check Lands have been in standard about as much as they’ve been out of standard since 2009. As you can see from my collection, I feel like their essential elements of constructing any multi-colored deck. As a result, they are highly versatile, and won’t just fit in handful of decks, which is the case with many one-dimensional rares you could choose to craft with your wildcards.
While I love check lands, and their propensity to be reprinted, one can’t overlook that shock lands aren’t set to rotate out of standard until fall of 2020. By that time the Standard+/ MTGA Eternal format should be off the ground, ensuring that these cards will also have a reasonable lifespan in your collection. One important detail to remember concerning shock lands is that, while they are not a basic land, they have the basic land types. So if a card states that you can “Search your library for a Forest”, then Breeding Pool, Overgrown Tomb, Temple Garden and Stomping Ground are all valid choices. This will be particularly meaningful if the fetch lands ever make their way onto MTG Arena, as shown below, you could sac a Misty Rainforest and fetch up an Overgrown Tomb.
To me, any of these dual-colored lands is a wise choice for your wildcards, but you’ll likely get more standard playtime out of shock lands, unless check lands are reprinted in Core set 2020, which we should know before long.
Top 3 Cards to Craft with Wildcards from Each Rarity
After grabbing the lands you’ll need, below are some cards I consider great wildcard redemptions. For me, these are cards that either can easily have a deck built around them, or can easily be used to support a number of decks. In most cases these are spells that your opponent must deal with, or spells that deal with one of these aforementioned game-changing spells. As we approach the fall, it’s hard to recommend anything that rotates out of standard in 2019, if you’re primarily interested in playing standard. On the other hand, if you’re optimistic about the Standard+ format, I’ll include a couple of “honorable mention” recommendations from Ixalan/Rivals/Dominaria/Core 2019 sets.
Mythic Wildcard Choices
I’ve had a lot of fun with Kefnet. His copy mechanic is great with card draw, burn or destroy/exile spells. At 4/5, he’s a formidable flying creature that will likely find it’s way back onto the battlefield in a few turns if he’s destroyed or exiled. Kefnet is a strong and versatile card that fits well into a number of decks, as a result, it’s a great choice for your mythic wildcard.
Hydroid Krasis is the swiss army knife of standard magic cards and well worth spending mythic wildcards to craft. Can’t decide between card draw spells, lifelink creatures, evasion and tramplers? No need to decide, drop 6 mana and you’ve got a 4/4 flyer with trample and you just gained 2 life and drew 2 cards…unless of course it gets countered 😢.
He’s a hasty 4/4 flyer or a 5/5 flyer with a built in Chandra’s Pyrohelix, what’s not to love? I had a tough time choosing between Skarrgan and Ilharg, the Raze-Boar. Ultimately, my personal experience of winning games with an empty hand and Skarrgan’s direct damage ability make it more versatile as a wildcard target, in my opinion.
If you don’t mind that these cards will rotate out of standard in the Fall of 2019, I highly recommend you craft them with your mythic wildcards. Nicol Bolas, the Ravager would be a great card even if he didn’t arguably have the best planeswalker in standard on the back. Nicol Bolas, the Arisen has 4 abilities and every one is a potential game changer. Rekindling Phoenix is simply irritating to play against. While Rekindling phoenix can be exiled, any other approach to removing it usually requires a 2 prong approach, and often an opponent is forced to lose a creature and commit to a burn/removal spell to ultimately rid the board of Rekindling Phoenix. Rekindling Phoenix is particularly useful again board wipes, like Kaya’s Wrath.
Rare Wildcard Choices
Plain and simple, this card is highly versatile. As you can imagine, Growth-Chamber Guardian’s triggered ability is most meaningful with 4 copies. War of the Spark introduced a lot of new proliferate cards as well that make this card even more formidable and a great choice for a rare wildcard.
Destroy any permanent for 2 mana. You can sit on this knowing you can handle most threats that enter the battlefield. Great for handling those pesky “exile a permanent” enchantments and dealing with unruly planeswalkers, like the next recommendation.
Ugin, the Ineffable
Ugin is great for creating a chump blocker that effectively results in a card draw. Opponents may even shy away from attacking to prevent the card draw. If an opponent’s permanent is problematic enough, Ugin can deal with that too, but I rarely use this ability until I’ve controlled the board and protected Ugin to a high likelihood of staying on the board.
Admittedly, there are certainly rares more frequently played in standard, but these are 2 I feel like are worth rare wildcard investments. Hostage Taker completely changed my winning percentage with Grixis Control. Sword-Point Diplomacy, in my opinion has a great deal of potential and is one of the most underrated rares in Ixalan.
Common & Uncommon Wildcard Choices
If you’re like me, you may have opened most of the commons/uncommons for the available sets on Magic Arena already, and/or are sitting on a pile of wildcards and can pretty much craft anything you need ad hoc, even if it’s for jank that you discover will never work after 3 matches. I’ll highlight a few cards to ensure you have in your collection.
There are lots of great uncommons, but these are just a few examples of cards I needed directly after their release, and, instead of waiting to get them in draft or open them, I just crafted them with my uncommon wildcards.
Most of these cards find their way into the majority of decks with their respective colors, so you’ll get a lot of mileage out of these. Particularly if you’re just getting started, these are some versatile cards to have. I included evolving wilds, as it is great for thinning decks, and I’m a sucker for landfall mechanics. If you don’t think you’ll need Evolving Wilds (you play RDW and never want lands coming into play tapped, for instance), you can save the common wildcard for something else you might play more often, like Savage Smash, Notion Rain, Titanic Growth or Defiant Strike.
Share your thoughts in the comments below. What would you recommend crafting with MTG Arena wildcards?