We are less than 2 months from War of the Spark. Let's take inventory of our one drops.
One drops make the world go round. Well, maybe they are not all that important, but they are certainly valuable in getting us off to a proper curve, our combat tricks, and adding just the right amount of spice to any given list of 60 cards in Standard. Disclaimer: this list is wholly my opinion, and you are welcomed to challenge it.
10. Fountain of Renewal
You heard it here first: Fountain of Renewal is a Magic card that will stand the test of time. "Life gain triggers" can only become more abundant in the future of the game, not less. Think Ivory Tower, think Venser's Journal, think Clearwater Goblet, only add in that this particular artifact is only one mana to cast, can be sacrificed to draw you a card during later turns of the game, and is available in Standard. It also starts you off well into any artifact synergies you may be playing with; Sai, Master Thopterist, Karn, and Skilled Animator are all viable options for using this card in the current Standard meta. We haven't even mentioned Ajani's Pridemate or Dawn of Hope. Fountain of Renewal is a viable life gain strategy in multiple copies even without additional combo pieces.
9. Healer's Hawk
Mono-white weenie decks are all the rage on MTG Arena. A surprising number of the highest ranked Mythic players LandSayGo is fortunate enough to correspond with use this deck as a go-to source for steady wins. Healer's Hawk is a staple in that deck, providing a stable return of life points on the aggro plan through evasive and constantly buffed power. I am at times in total disbelief that this card is not an uncommon. I'm not saying it should be, but it should be. This creature fits into any deck playing white. It might not be the best choice for hardcore control strategies that continuously wiping the board, but any Boros, Selesnya, Bant, or Naya aggro strategy would be well-served to consider an inclusion of the Healer's Hawk. It's dynamic and capable.
8. Duress / Divest
A list of top ten one drops is not faithful to the game of Magic without mentioning Duress and Divest. These two cards collectively represent the best and fastest options for hand control in the Standard meta. It is not unheard of for players to be running these cards mainboard, generally in full sets, in response to spell heavy or creature heavy meta. Black needs these cantrips when almost every deck is slow, and gets rolling at the mid-game in Standard. "Target opponent reveals their hand." We get turn one knowledge of the hand our opponent thought was good enough to keep, and hopefully get to peel a noncreature card to the graveyard. It's effective, but most competitive players would make the argument that having these cards mainboard isn't the best.
Sheesh - the "competitive scene (Biffs)," am I right? I mean they only play one of 5 or 6 decks for a whole 3 o 4 months, and everyone follows them around. I guess they go where the money is, and play the decks that are battle-tested. Divest makes our list of one drops because creatures are currently dominating the Standard meta. In fact, where Duress may not be the best to mainboard, I might recommend running 4 Divest in your main 60 cards, with a full set of Duress in the side. Of course, this strategy is wholly dependent on the commitment you are making to black as your archetype. Running two or three colors may not always guarantee that you are able to cast Duress or Divest on turn one with certain opening hands. That might be okay - turn two is best.
7. Fanatical Firebrand / Shock
I'm a big fan of Goblins. They have been a Magic mainstay since Alpha, and they aren't going anywhere. Fanatical Firebrand is a little stick of dynamite. Let me explain; it boils down to the importance of one damage in the game of Magic. You can clip a creature. You can make a combat scenario more balanced. You can activate your Spectacle costs. You can finish a game. One damage is the difference between winning and losing in a game of Magic. The math behind one additional point of damage is probably profound. I could likely write a thesis on the subtle algorithms associated with the tens of thousands of cards in Magic, and what it takes to get that final point of damage. The opening chapter could very well be about Fanatical Firebrand.
Shock is ancient; it has been part of the red control schema for nearly two decades. It may seem like an obvious include in this list of the best one drops in Standard because it is. I don't know if we will ever get back to a Standard meta with Lightning Bolt. The printing of cards like Skewer the Critics suggests that we won't. The most recent reprint of Lightning Bolt in Masters 25 suggests that we won't. So Shock will have to do. Which is fine, right? Shock to our opponent's chin on main phase one followed by Skewer the Critics is 5 damage for two red mana. Not bad. It makes the list due to its versatility - when you must get two more points of damage and test your opponent's ability to prevent or counter - Shock the Monkey.
6. Legion's Landing // Adanto, the First Fort
We are so deep into the lifecycle of Ixalan in Standard that it should come as no surprise that Legion's Landing makes this list. It has been in everything competitive from Abzhan Tokens with Anointed Procession to Orzhov Vampires to Mono-White Weenie. Once transformed, Adanto, the First Fort, is an incredible defensive utility which provides a source of life total and creature defense.
5. Pelt Collector/Llanowar Elves
I've been surprised that the return of Gruul hasn't created more uses for Pelt Collector. Are we so fickle that we cannot see the use of this creature now? Is the potential that diminished that we are not including this fantastic one drop in more of our RG aggro strategies? Why haven't we seen this card more in competitive play? I'd like to think Pelt Collector has been forgotten about recently because Magic players are drawn to newer shinier things and not because we collectively as a community can't seem to build curves that legitimately abuse this card. I feel like this card deserves a spot on the list of top 10 one drops because it is the closest we have to Grim Flayer right now. Think Hadana's Climb. Think Rhythm of the Wild. Think big my friends.
What is a top 10 one drops list without Llanowar Elves? In Standard or not, this creature has cemented itself as one of the go to staples of Magic. It's not Birds of Paradise; it can't give us a mana of any color, but it does fulfill green mana requests and color mana requests in kind. Ramping is so critical to success in green that Llanowar Elves on turn one should surprise no one at this point. Remember when Rivals of Ixalan dropped and Mono-green beats was winning GP's? Well, a most of that success in speed and efficiencies can be accredited to Llanowar Elves. When you can reliably expedite your curve, you should. When you can cast on turn 3 what would normally be cast on turn 4, you should. Llanowar Elves makes the list along with Pelt Collector at #5.
4. Spell Pierce/Opt
Spell Pierce is the cantrip that feel most perfectly embodies the modus of the color Blue in Magic. Once cast to counter a noncreature spell that your opponent is trying to cast on curve, timewalking their turn away, it creates a logical fear and hesitancy to proceed on continuing turns without having the resources up to pay the additional two mana. Mono-blue Tempo just won the first Mythic Championship in the history of Magic. The winning deck runs Spell Pierce mainboard. The reason being to suppress removal, counter board wipes, and shut down on curve Planeswalkers, enchantments, and artifacts. Spell Pierce is clearly an inclusion for our list; I don't think this spell will see any shortage of reprints in future sets. Spell Pierce = Blue / Shock = Red.
If you are looking to decks in Standard that generate action based off of draw triggers, or you are trying to fill your graveyard with instants and sorcery cards, or you need to dig deeper for the card you are looking for, then Opt is the card for you. When Opt was first released in Invasion it wasn't used like it is today. There were simply better options. Using Opt is about filtering and increases the mathematical consistency of seeing core combos or win conditions through more draw. There are a finite number of cards in any deck and the more you draw, the more likely you are to find the card you are searching for. Opt is a utility card, easily deserves a spot here. Not just because it is in most blue decks, but because of the function it provides to decks in Blue.
3. Stitcher's Supplier
I have been working on a mono-black brew with Zombies and Liliana that may make it to light here at LandSayGo. Graveyard shenanigans are everywhere right now. The printing of two different Zombie centrist Liliana's in Core Set 2019, makes me feel like Stitcher's Supplier has not truly had its moment to shine. Sure, Undergrowth in Ravnica Allegiance loves a creature like this, but "Undergrowth decks" are not as efficient as mono-black Zombie recursion. Mono-black recursion is not as effective as it has been in previous Standard meta, but, I think that has the potential to change with War of the Spark. Both DBoe and I think that Zombies will be shambling back from their resting places in the next set. Buy up your Death Baron's now if you don't have a set.
2. Siren Stormtamer/Pteramander
Now for a card you have seen everywhere and in everything forever. Siren Stormtamer has to make this list, not including it would not be faithful to the article or the information you are consuming. At one point this uncommon was going for around $5 in mint condition. It's not outside the realm of possibility that this card could continue to spike in price as time passes. It is a ridiculously powerful creature. Its ability allows us to pay a blue mana, sacrifice it, and counter a spell or ability that targets us or a creature we control. Deliberate methodologies in playing this card (like the way Autumn Burchett did at the MC1), can see to it that your game plan is never thwarted. That you have answers when you need them, and that you are always prepared.
A new arrival on the scene, and perhaps equally impressive in terms of its value to blue - Pteramander. Blue mages spend most of their opening turns casting instant and sorcery cards countering spells, establishing tempo, and digging through their library looking for more instants and sorcery cards. Blue, from a historical standpoint, has not always been the best about producing reliable finishers in creature form...but that appears to be fundamentally changing. Cards like Tempest Djinn from Dominaria are starting to break the mold. Tempo plays a lot of instant spells, and blue hungers for cards like Pteramander to make the draw/counter archetype viable in competitive formats. I think we will see Pteramander in decks until it rotates.
1. Shaper's Sanctuary
Coming in at number one, we have a card that I absolutely love, and it may be number one because of that love affair. Shapers' Sanctuary is an aggro decks best friend. Unfortunately, we only get one more set of cards and have until September 2019 to play with it in Standard. This enchantment is the quintessential answer to any targeted removal heavy deck. Most control strategies cannot actively contend with drawing a card per creature targeted. That creates a 1 for 2 interaction scenario that dismisses a majority of a control decks game plan. I feel like several of the cards we previously mentioned could have been bumped in this slot, but I want you to build an aggro deck with this one drop as backup, and see if it doesn't prove to you that it deserves a slot on this list.
This Top 10 List is brought to you by Jeremy. Please let us know if you think we've excluded any one drops that deserved a mention. I'm sure you have some cards that you think are "sleepers," and we want to hear about them.
~Land Say Go