Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published
Khans of Tarkir brought us one of the most acclaimed Standard formats in recent memory. In a quest to better understand what mattered and why in this Standard environment, I sat down with some talented planeswalkers and asked, "What card defines the current Standard format?"
Valentin Mackl: "Temple of Malady is played in a huge portion of the tier one decks. The card fixes mana exactly how we need it to with cards like Sadisi, Brood Tyrant and Siege Rhino defining the third or fourth turn of most competitive games. The format would likely be very different if it weren't for Temple of Malady."
Marshall Sutcliffe: "Siege Rhino! A player is doing themselves a huge disservice when they make a deck choice without taking Siege Rhino into consideration. It might be the actual best card in the format, and it's so good against so many decks that the ability to beat a turn three or four Siege Rhino can be a litmus test for whether or not a deck is playable in this format."
Seth Manfield: "Whip of Erebos. Without Whip of Erebos, the graveyard synergies that are central to a big portion of the tier one decks wouldn't exist. The whip gives us one of the most powerful lategame engines in the format while simultaneously helping us survive as one of the only playable cards with lifelink in the format. It's also extremely important to constellation subthemes that get value when we cast our whip or activate it to return an enchantment creature."