The Top 10 Rotating Cards We'll Still See in Modern
Corbin Hosler

The time has finally come for Standard rotation. In a few weeks Ixalan will arrive, and it with a bevy of tribal themes, from Dinosaurs to Pirates to Vampires to my personal favorite: Merfolk.

The arrival of Ixalan will coincide with the departure of Battle for Zendikar and Shadows Over Innistrad blocks. Standard has been filled with Archangel Avacyn, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar for almost two years now, but their time has finally come to an end.

At least in Standard. Some of these rotating cards will find continued life in Modern, and today I want to highlight ten rotating cards we’ll keep playing in Modern.

The time has finally come for Standard rotation. In a few weeks Ixalan will arrive, and it with a bevy of tribal themes, from Dinosaurs to Pirates to Vampires to my personal favorite: Merfolk.

The arrival of Ixalan will coincide with the departure of Battle for Zendikar and Shadows Over Innistrad blocks. Standard has been filled with Archangel Avacyn, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar for almost two years now, but their time has finally come to an end.

At least in Standard. Some of these rotating cards will find continued life in Modern, and today I want to highlight ten rotating cards we’ll keep playing in Modern.

Thalia's Lieutenant

#####CARDID=32997#####

It may not seem like much, but Thalia’s Lieutenant is quietly picking up steam in Modern. During its time in Standard, the Shadows Over Innistrad standout formed the backbone of Bant Company decks, and it serves a similar role in Modern, serving as both an enabler and a finisher in Human decks across the board. From supercharging a Champion of the Parish to pumping a team at instant speed with Collected Company, Thalia’s Lieutenant is here to stay.

Shambling Vent

#####CARDID=30467#####

Needle Spires

#####CARDID=32595#####

Lumbering Falls

#####CARDID=30436#####

Hissing Quagmire

#####CARDID=32599#####

Wandering Fumarole

#####CARDID=32604#####

Completing the cycle that began in the first Zendikar block, the creature lands of Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch were a welcome addition to Modern when they were first printed, and they’re just as important as ever. Shambling Vent and Hissing Quagmire are the standouts here, but having access now to all 10 dual-color creature lands means Modern will never lack for options of lands that can attack.

Grim Flayer

#####CARDID=33668#####

An immediate hit in both Standard and Modern, Grim Flayer’s Standard glory days of enabling a lightning-fast Emrakul, the Promised End are behind it. The Emrakul ban was a major blow to the Delirium decks that Grim Flayer thrived in, but the Eldritch Moon Mythic has found lasting life in Modern, where it excels as both an early 4/4 thanks to the ease of delirium but also an enabler, setting up the perfect draw step while dumping Lingering Souls into the graveyard for value.

Spell Queller

#####CARDID=33692#####

Spell Queller is just a perfect card for white-blue decks. In some cases it will immediately eat a removal spell and not do much, but the upside is undeniable. A well-balanced card that is great at giving creature decks meaningful interaction on the stack, Spell Queller is a perfect piece of the creature toolbox that makes up so many Modern decks. It’s been a house during its years in Standard and I’m almost sad to see it go, but thanks to Collected Company and Bant Spirits it’s safe to say spells will continue to be quelled.

Collective Brutality

#####CARDID=33652#####

Of all the cards on this list, it might be Collective Brutality that was the most overlooked upon release. Flexibility is always a plus, but the raw power of Collective Brutality has taken some time to catch on. Of course, these days it’s ubiquitous in Modern as a game-changer against Burn, but the Eldritch Moon escalate card does more than enough in plenty of matches to now be an integral part of the format.

Prized Amalgam

Faithless Looting. Cathartic Reunion. Mill Narcomoeba. Return three Prized Amalgam to play.

What is dead may never die, and that perfectly sums up Modern Dredge and its Prized Amalgams. The Shadows Over Innistrad zombie revitalized Dredge upon its printing, and has enjoyed a nice Standard run as well, thanks to Stitchwing Skaab and the like bringing the Zombie back to chew on many a brain over the past 18 months. Dredge is a deck that comes and goes with the metagame, but so long as players are playing Stinkweed Imp and Narcomoeba, they’ll be playing Prized Amalgam.

Nahiri, the Harbinger

#####CARDID=32945#####

The Planeswalker that reinvented an archetype. Prior to Nahiri, Modern control decks often struggled to find ways to close out games when Celestial Colonnade was just too slow. Nahiri has enjoyed Standard play as a key sideboard card in both control decks as well as Mardu Vehicles, and while I may still be upset about her encasing Sorin’s buddies in stone, there’s no doubt that Nahiri will continue to be a major player in Modern. There’s nothing quite like clearing the board on turn three before slamming down Nahiri and watching your opponent’s face as they know that in short measure she’ll be summoning her pal Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

#####CARDID=30376#####

Speaking of Eldrazi, the Infinite Gyre is still hungry. Ulamog changed the way Modern Tron decks play, and alongside Sanctum of Ugin has turned the archetype into a top-tier competitor.

Of course, anyone who has played Standard for the past two years has seen plenty of Ulamog, whether that’s on turn four from Aetherworks Marvel or slightly later thanks to the new Hour of Promise Ramp decks. But none of those can match the consistency of the Urzatron lands, and Urza’s Tower will forever inspire the fear of Ulamog from now on in Modern.

Liliana, the Last Hope

#####CARDID=33672#####

Somehow, Liliana’s second printing at three mana has managed to rival its first in Liliana of the Veil. And, thanks to the new planeswalker rules coming in Ixalan that allow players to have multiple copies of the same planeswalker – if not the same card – in play, Liliana, the Last Hope isn’t going anywhere.

Standard has been filled with Liliana since its printing in Eldritch Moon, and the ability to provide recursive value, removal or neuter small creatures, and win the game all on its own with the ultimate ability has made Liliana a must-include in a host of decks. More and more, that is carrying over to Modern, and the last hope isn’t finished with us yet. Bow down to the majesty of death.

Thought-Knot Seer

#####CARDID=32645#####

Reality Smasher

#####CARDID=32638#####

Matter Reshaper

#####CARDID=32655#####

Eldrazi Displacer

#####CARDID=32616#####

We all knew this was coming. The release of Oath of the Gatewatch and the printing of Thought-Knot Seer, Reality Smasher, Matter Reshaper, Eldrazi Displacer and friends flipped Modern on its head and introduced us to the now-infamous Eldrazi Winter that only ended with the banning of Eye of Ugin.

The tentacle monsters have been no stranger to Standard, where the release of deserts in Hour of Devastation brought them back to the forefront and sent multiple players to the Top 8 of major tournaments. But no matter their power in Standard, it’s Modern that will forever be home to the Eldrazi. From Eldrazi Winter to Bant Eldrazi to Eldrazi Tron, Eldrazi Temple has never been so scary.