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Cards You Should Own

Categories: Casual

This is going to be a list of cards that would be worth getting your hands on. These will be staple cards that can fit in many decks. I'm going to keep them separated by color and approximate price. This will give you more of an idea of how much you would need to spend and what priorities you can put on getting them. There is no way this list could ever be complete so if any of you feel there is something important I left off this list (and there will be), mention it. I left important cards like Duress, Hymn to Tourach, and Rancor out of the first draft so I'm positive I left off many other important cards as well. If you think of any (or just want to mention some of your favorites), leave a comment.

Before I talk about the cards themselves I want to mention a few good places to get them.

Cardshark: This is by far the cheapest place I have found for practically everything. Be aware that not everything comes from the same sellers so if you can't find what you want all from one seller the cards will be arriving separately. I've been using this place to order my cards for about 6 months now and is hasn't really disappointed me yet. Some sellers take longer to ship than others but it still isn't any worse than ebay. Shipping is also reasonable unlike many ebay sellers. I actually found this site by accidentally clicking on a random add when reaching for the close button on Magic Workstation.

Ebay: I'm sure everyone understands how this one works. The prices on cards are still as good as ever but it seems as though lately people are charging ridiculous amounts for shipping. $2.50-3 to ship something that technically only should cost the price of a stamp is quite absurd. Shipping in padded envelopes usually costs slightly over $1 but never $3 like some people charge. That said not every seller charges too much for shipping and sometimes this is the only place you can find a card.

CardKingdom: This place ships faster than any other place I've found and some of the prices are quite reasonable. I always seem to get my cards something like 3-4 days after I order them which is amazing. I haven't used this place as much since I found cardshark though.

StarCityGames: The prices are high. The shipping is high. It can sometimes take a while for the orders to arrive. Why would I even mention them? They seem to be the standard for online magic stores even if they aren't a good place to buy cards. They said going premium will help them lower prices. We shall see.

Londes: I mention this place just to say that they suck. I've ordered from there once and never got my cards nor any replies to emails. hey do have a nice collection of crappy magic articles to read though.

Oshkosh Magic: I won an ebay action of theirs and got stuck on their mailing list. The prices are nothing exciting but I did manage to get a lot of 4 of each Apocalypse split card for $4 which since at the time Fire / Ice alone was $2, was a good deal.

For the format I'm going to have everything split into three sections per color. The first will be cards that according to cardshark you can get for less than $1. The next section will be cards that will coast you between $1 and $3. The last section are cards that cost anything more than that. In each section will be a card followed by an explanation of why that cards is useful. In the next column will be alternatives. These alternatives do not necessarily fit in the same price range as the other card. It may be a more expensive and better version or it may be a cheaper alternative. This was a way I found to fit more cards on the list without taking up too much space. It also provided a more aesthetically pleasing way of organizing the list as each row represents a certain type of card. The Honorable Mentions are there because there were too many important cards in the color to fit them or because the cards was unique enough to not really have any worthwhile alternatives.

Now On with the List: (prices according to cardshark)


Cheap (less than $1):


An obvious staple, Disenchant has been a solid choice for any white deck as long as Magic has existed. As for alternatives I find having a large variety is key. Mix it up and find the version you like best.

Order of the White Shield

The pro-black weenies have been making those Terrors dead cards for many years.

Silver Knight

The pro-red weenie. These are usually more useful than the pro-black versions nowdays since the printing of a decent amount of non-targeted black removal.

Leonin Skyhunter

Other weenies.

Wall of Swords

White has always been known for defense and what is more defensive than a big wall? While not the best of choices for a tournament deck, walls are a good way to hold off an aggro deck or to divert attention away from you in multiplayer.


Medium (less than $3):

Swords to Plowshares

Every deck needs a way to deal with creatures. This is the best targeted creature removal spell ever printed. I listed a few alternatives but there is nothing even remotely close to Swords.


This is a very powerful card. Casting this after dropping a large threat can often remove all chance of your opponent winning. After all how can he deal with your threat without mana?


This is easilly the most powerful white card ever printed and also one of the most powerful cards in any color. It does many things any of which would be broken n its own. The fact that it does all this for 2 mana is just ridiculous.

Expensive (more than $3):

Wrath of God

Probably the strongest aspect of white, Wrath effects are very powerful against any creature deck. The original is a bit costly but there are plenty of usable alternatives.

Exalted Angel

Every control deck needs a finisher and white based control decks are no exception. This angel makes the old school Serra Angel seem downright terrible but its price means that you may have to find a more affordable option. Luckilly there are plenty of other options for a white finisher. Decree of Justice may seem a bit out of place here but it often performs the exact same task as a large flyer.

Honorable Mention:

These cards didn't make the list but still warrent mention. They are all powerful and very useful at what they do.


Cheap (less than $1):


Countermagic is generally the first thing you think of when you think about blue. It can be powerful and effective. It is also really the only permanent way blue has to stop threats. Many alternatives are given which is good because it gets much better the more you have.


The second thing blue does best is draw cards. A blue control deck just wouldn't work without card drawing effects. Options are key here. You want to be able to have a choice rather than just use the same card drawing effects for every blue deck.


The last blue specific ability is bounce. While not always the most effective at dealing with permanents it is often all blue has once something hits play. In the right deck these can also gain tempo which can slow down some decks considerably.


These are all reusable card drawing engines. They let you consistantly draw more cards or even just better cards than your opponent which is one of the key ways blue gains its advantage.

Mahamoti Djinn

This is the finisher section. After you have control of the game just drop a big dude and win.


Medium (less than $3):

Keiga, the Tide Star

More finishers. These ones are much more powerful than the cheaper ones but have prices to reflect that. I also want to note that out of these alternatives Morphling is the best with Meloku as a distant second.

Mystical Tutor

Tutoring is also a powerful ability. While blue tutors are lacking compared to black there are still plenty of playable ones. I also want to give Tinker and Intuition some bonus treatment since they are both broken cards that do riddiculous things but didn't make the expensive list.

Expensive (more than $3):

Fact or Fiction

The big card drawing spells. These can draw a ton of cards in one shot.

Force of Will

Counterspells are often good but scary things happen when they are free. This is the defining card of type 1 and with good reason. This is another one of those cards where the alternatives are so far away in power level that they almost don't belong near it.

Honorable Mention:


Cheap (less than $1):

Dark Banishing

Black likes to kill things. It is very good at it. There are dozens more alternatives to what I listed but only listed these for space concerns.

Dark Ritual

The best unrestricted mana acceleration in the game. It took a while for people to realize this card was broken rather than just solid. The substitutes for this are generally quite bad so only reach for them if you absolutely need to.

Dauthi Slayer

Black has many good weenies. I also want to make special mention of Hypnotic Specter. Dropping one of these on turn one with Dark Ritual is a play that has been feared as long as the game has been around. It can often singlehandedly win the game.


Discard is another major theme for black. It is also a very powerful one and gives it tools to disrupt combo and control decks like no other color can.

Phyrexian Plaguelord

Every color needs its fat and black is no different.

Medium (less than $3):


One of the most powerful cards ever printed. This card has possibly spawned more decks than any other. It provides card advantage that no deck can overcome.

Mind Twist

The best mass discard spell ever printed. Generally this will completely empty any players hand. Nothing can swing a game quite like a large early Mind Twist.


Oversold Cemetery

These cards are great against control, forcing the control deck to be able to deal with the same threat every turn. They are also potent in any other matchup as well. Recurring Nightmare is admittedly the strongest but carries the largest price tag.

Expensive (more than $3):

Demonic Tutor

Black is by far the best tutor color mostly due to the fact that its tutors can generally grab any card.


Mass removal is always powerful. While these don't quite have the punch of the white versions they are still plenty good.

Honorable Mention:

I want to mention that black easily was the hardest color to narrow down to the 5/3/2 cards in each section. It was very hard to not have Yawgmoth's Win or Living Death on the list or for Hypnotic Specter to not have its own category. In the end the only reason these didn't make it is because of the lack of alternatives. They are admittedly more important than other cards that made the list but there just isn't anything like them. Drain Life also really wants to be on this list and originally was over the weenie section. I eventually decided that I just couldn't have this list without a section for weenies plus it was a way to squeeze Hypnotic Specter onto the list.


Cheap (less than $1):


Red has the most land destruction. While a dedicated land destruction deck is often annoying in casual play a few versatile land destruction spells are a nice fit to many red decks. Just try to keep it under 10.


Red burns things. It burns them well. Burn is versatile because it can be used in either control or aggro since it can kill creatures and later go for the dome.


Variable size burn can also be helpful. It can make an excellent finisher as well as good removal. Just make sure you don't put it in a deck that doesn't have enough mana to use it properly (aka a lot)

Mogg Fanatic

Red is also the place for small aggressive creatures. While they may not be directly as good as the ones in green or white the aggressive nature of red lets it better abuse them.

Shattering Pulse

Red is the best color at blowing up artifacts. With so many dangerous artifacts floating around you should always have a few answers.

Medium (less than $3):


Mass removal is always good. Red's version is no less useful. Red can clear the board of small attackers for less mana than other colors but it may have problems with the larger creatures.

Lightning Bolt

These are the more expensive burn spells.

Shivan Dragon

Here is the red fat. This generally means either a dragon or something that blows other creatures up (or both).

Expensive (more than $3):

Ball Lightning

These capture a lot of the flavor of red. They almost act more like burn spells than actual creatures but generally pack quite the punch.

Grim Lavamancer

Reusable damage can be a very powerful thing. It can either control the board against aggro or, if it can target opponents, win the long game against control.

Honorable Mention:


Cheap (less than $1):

Sakura-Tribe Elder

Green is known for its mana acceleration. These are some of the biggest reasons to add green to any deck.


Disenchant isn't white anymore.

Giant Growth

Used more as psuedo-removal than to get extra damage to the dome (except for Might of Oaks).

Wild Mongrel

Green has the best small creatures in the game. Not only do its bears get a decent extra ability but 2-power creatures for one mana are plentiful.


Green also has the most aggressively costed fat. Huge beaters ar a large part of what green does best.

Medium (less than $3):

Silvos, Rogue Elemental

Here is the medium priced fat. These are more expensive but hit really hard.

Worldly Tutor

While green isn't known for its tutoring or card draw it certainly isn't incapable of it. If it is a creature you need green can dig it out.


These give a permanent boost to a creature. No one likes to be facing a creature with any of these.

Expensive (more than $3):

Deranged Hermit

The high-priced fat. While not cheap you certainly get your mana's worth here. The Hermit is basically 9 power for 5 mana and Rude Awakening usually does 16-20 damage.

Wall of Blossoms

Green usually can't outright kill creatures. This is the kind of stuff it needs to use in order to slow the aggro decks down.

Honorable Mention:


Cheap (less than $1):

Jayemdae Tome

Artifacts have been used to draw cards for a long time. While it usually doesn't do it as well as some of the other colors there are still some good cards out there.

Mind Stone

Mana acceleration is likely the most common use for artifacts.

Icy Manipulator

Icy is an old favorite. While not the powerhouse that it used to be it is still far from bad.


Artifact fat. These have all seen tournament play at some point in time. Wizards generally things other colors should have better creatures than artifacts but a few really good artifact creatures pop up every once in a while.

Tormod's Crypt

If people in your meta-game like messing with the graveyard these can put an end to that quickly.

Medium (less than $3):

Winter Orb

These can all form some sort of lock against an unprepared opponent. They have all spawned some sort of Prison deck.


These are good against aggro, especially aggro with small creatures. Cursed Scroll gets extra mention because it also dominates the game against control.

Expensive (more than $3):

Nevinyrral's Disk

Make the world go boom. Disk is quite possibly the best mass removal spell ever printed. It deals with practically everything for little mana and since it is colorless it can go in decks that would otherwise not have access to mass removal. It is also artifact/enchantment removal for colors that wouldn't be able to otherwise.

Sol Ring

The heavy-duty mana acceleration. This stuff can be very powerful.

Honorable Mention:


Cheap (less than $1):

Darksteel Citadel

The artifact land may be banned in Standard but is fine elsewhere. It is nice for doing things like fueling Shrapnel Blast or Thirst for Knowledge without any drawbacks. Darksteel Citadel is also Indestructable which is relevant from time to time.

Invasion Tap Lands

These are the cheapest playable dual lands.


These lands all can tap for more than one mana. They can enable you to produce large amounts of mana.


These lands can kill creatures. Land that doubles as removal can be a powerful thing because it is free, colorless, and uncounterable and if it also produces mana doesn't set you back at all manawise.

Medium (less than $3):

Strip Mine

These all see constant tournament play in the formats they are legal in.



Better than the tap lands but not as good as the original dual lands but the price also reflects this. Getting a set of these should be a goal for averyone who find collecting the originals to be an impossible goal.

Mishra's Factory

Manlands are great because they are not counterable and most are immune to sorcery speed removal.

Expensive (more than $3):

City of Brass

5-color lands are also quite useful. They can help make those 3+ color decks much more consistant.

Fetch Lands

These completely revolutionized the way mana bases were built in Vintage. They are great for any deck that can run them and even in a few mono-colored decks for extra deck thinning.

Original Dual Lands

The original and still the best. These have quite the heafty price tag though.

Honorable Mention:

Split Cards:


Cheap (less than $1):

Expensive (more than $3):

Since gold cards don't quite work in the format I used for the other colors I just left it as a list of the best cards at each budget level. There wasn't much at medium, so I just made the expensive section a bit larger. I left off explanations because most should be obvious but I will mention that Psychatog and Pernicious Deed are very good and worth picking up.

I hope this list helps give you a few ideas od which cards to pick up. Many of these will end up going in practically every deck you can fit them in and many are also very cheap. Getting commons and uncommons for $0.05-0.10 or rares for $0.25-0.50 is easy on Cardshark. Getting new cards is also a good way to inspire new deck ideas.