M15 is coming soon and by putting a list out now, it won't feel quite as ancient if I did list in 2 months. The core sets aren't usually great, include lots of reprints and zero new mechanics, but that doesn't mean we can't have fun with it. I ended up with 52 cards I wanted to at least mention which is quite a bit, so I made this into a two parter.
The Bottom 5:
5. Ring of Three Wishes
The 10 mana demonic tutor! Oh you can do it twice? Well that's a Conflux that grabs 3 less cards for 2 more mana. A 20 mana investment is even worse.
They've reprinted this twice in the last year and why? As a sideboard card it's about as mediocre as you can get. There's one land worth blowing up in Mutavault and maybe three artifacts you would consider.
3. Armored Cancrix
5 mana should get you a hell of a lot more than a 2/5 that gets wrecked by the common Marauding Maulhorn. I'm not a fan of that art either.
2. Encroaching Wastes
Remember how I said Demolish above had one target, well so does this. Completely unplayable in Limited and there are so many better options in Modern. So it's a Standard card? No one is doing that either.
1. Glimpse the Future
It's essentially a 3 mana Preordain. That is pretty awful stuff there. Strategic Planning is strictly better. Thankfully it's an uncommon so you won't end up with too many of them.
6 Timeless Classics that didn't quite make the cut:
These are all really powerful cards, especially in Limited. I hate ranking them against the new cards because whether they hold up against the new bunch or not, they haven't changed in 20 years. There isn't much to say in their regard. Clone was almost not reprinted during the Tempest years. Pacifism and Doom Blade are the best removal options their colors have. Serra, Sengir and Shivan are all still kicking though I do miss the old art work on them.
30. Liturgy of Blood
A bit pricey for a sorcery speed kill spell. Getting to Dark Ritual as well at least makes up for the tempo loss. It's not close to Constructed playable, but Limited would definitely be using this.
29. Briarpack Alpha
4 mana 3/3s are generic and boring. This thing can at least surprise some poor schlubs and possibly take out two creatures. That is good potential there. Maybe not an auto play, your opponent will at least have to reconsider how to attack if they know you have this.
28. Awaken the Ancient
It must go in a mono red deck and it essentially costs 5 mana for a 7/7 haste that costs you a land when it dies. That's still way over curve and not much of a draw back. It can be killed by three kinds of removal but that's another mild drawback to an otherwise powerful card.
27. Vastwood Hydra
Weaker than the some of the other hydras in my opinion due to the fact that you can't make it bigger at all. What mana you put into him is all you get. At least Mistcutter has that surprise element. Pumping some of your creatures on it's death is nice, but only if he's got some nice size to him already.
Control Magic ain't what it used to be. Blue does get it's version of Abrupt Decay here. If you just couldn't target a 4 power creature that would be one thing. But it's kind of an annoying second clause that you have to worry about not making their Birds of Paradise or whatever weenie any larger.
25. Banisher Priest
It's very similar to how I feel about Brain Maggot. It's a good short term answer to an early threat. Not removal persay but high upside on a creature that would otherwise have no business in your deck. Pretty great flavor text.
24. Into the Wilds
I was pretty excited when I saw this card. To always draw non land cards every turn can't be understated. This is some serious card advantage to get a free spell every 2-3 turns. 4 mana isn't the worst deal either. The hardest part is deciding if it's worth that 4 slot in your deck to play something that won't affect the board state in any way during a crucial turn.
I think this was near my top 10 the first draft I had of this list a couple months ago. 6 mana isn't tiny, but neither is 4 cards! Harmonize is playable and so is this. It's basically two Divinations in one, which isn't bad, it does take up less space in your deck. It does take a turn from you, though being an instant can go a long way to making up for that.
22. Primeval Bounty
Talk about advantage. While Into the Wilds gained you a free card occasionally, this thing nets you creatures, life and counters. 6 mana really knocks it down a couple of pegs as it's probably one of the last cards you cast. Top decking some extra life or Beasts is good, but it could also fizzle.
21. Chandra's Phoenix
Another card which is essentially a mono red card. A 2/2 hasty flier for 3 mana is well over the curve by itself. But getting to be able to recast this multiple times is going to cause all sorts of issues, especially in Limited. Also works well with other M14 staples like Wild Guess or Ogre Battledriver.
20. Chandra's Outrage
Maybe I'm ranking this a bit too high. 4 damage for 4 mana isn't the best deal we've ever saw. Being an instant is very nice and separates it from Rage of Purphoros. The extra bit of damage is important as well though.
19. Flames of the Firebrand
My third red card in a row. That's some awesome art/flavor text for starters. Being a sorcery isn't great, but the effect is. It cost half as much as Inferno Titan though, which I would rather have for repeated effect. That doesn't make it a bad effect. Maybe you'll be able to 2-1 them which seems like might not be uncommon.
18. Jace's Mindseeker
6 mana for a 4/4 flier would be a bit pricey - as it should probably fit in the Mahamoti Djinn P/T zone. Let's take a look at that 6 line ability though. Look at the top 5 cards of your opponent's library, that seems like that has a pretty big chance of missing. You could hit the jackpot easier the more competitive the format is. But Limited for example might have terrible cards but less ways to deal with a 4/4 flier.
17. Air Servant
5 for a 4/3 flier is right on track of the P/T cost. 3 mana isn't a tiny cost to tap a creature a turn, but it can be both aggressive or defensive depending on you deck and how the game is going. It is the blue answer to Serra, Shivan and Sengir. Mahamoti was cooler though.
16. Wild Ricochet
I'm at a crossroads with this card. It seems like it might be super powerful. Deflection was powerful back in it's day. Until they came out with Redirect at least. Not sure if only being an instant or sorcery really matters but for red to get access to a copied Doom Blade, Giant Growth or Disperse is huge.
Check out my other posts:
The Top 10 Planeswalkers
My Top 20 Journey Into Nyx Cards
The Top 20 Land Cards
The Top 20 Theros Cards
The Top 20 Dragon's Maze Cards
The Top 20 Common Cards
The 30 Coolest Dragons
The Top 40 Born of the Gods Cards
The Top 40 Black Cards
The 80 Worst Creatures
The Top 100 One Drop Creatures
100 Unique Creatures
The 100 Worst Cards