Magic: The Gathering received a whole new expansion on Apr. 28 -- Amonkhet. It consists of 264 cards and is the first set of cards out of two in the Amonkhet block. The other one is Hour Of Devastation, which will be released in June.
This first Amonkhet expansion is full of new keywords and mechanics. The most prominent one is Embalm, which allows you to exile creatures from your graveyard in the form of white zombie tokens. The next one is Exert, which helps you buff your creatures for the price of you not being able to untap them next turn.
Since the afterlife theme is central to the whole Amonkhet expansion, the Wizards of the Coast created the split cards with Aftermath mechanic that combine two sorceries, one of which works during play, and the other activated from the graveyard.
As you see, there’s some really exciting stuff coming to Magic: The Gathering. In this list, you will find the top 20 cards that utilize all of the aforementioned mechanics -- and they are sorted in the following manner:
Let's get started.
This enchantment is very similar to Pacifism from Eternal Masters expansion, although with a slight drawback: it gives your opponent two points of life in case they sacrifice their enchanted creature. Pacifism had none of that, but Compulsory Rest is still a very strong enchantment.
For just 2 mana, it’s definitely a removal that you can afford to have in your deck. Of course, it’s no good against creatures with the Embalm ability, but other than that, it works perfectly fine.
This particular aura cartouche is even better than Stratus Walk from Magic Origins. They do the same thing except Cartouche of Knowledge additionally gives +1/+1 to the enchanted creature, which makes it strictly better.
Taking into account that it only takes 2 mana makes it a really strong enchantment for both Constructed and Limited formats. Use it on strong creatures and get them over an opponent’s blockers.
The strength of this card lies not in the enchantment itself but in the Cycling that is much more important. And, if the meta gets heavy on artifacts, then Dissenter’s Deliverance will be one of the most sought out cards for your green decks.
It is especially effective against decks that use Ensoul Artifact, which turns another artifact into a creature. So having this at the right moment will win you the game almost instantly.
Here’s another strong green card: it’s a cartouche, and it’s a mere common -- looks like green decks will be really powerful in Standard. As the title suggests, Cartouche of Strength is an aggressive card that reminds us of the Hunt the Weak, but with a permanent Trample mechanic.
As a result, your creature kills one of your opponent’s creatures and gets bigger -- there is no better scenario for such low cost.
Many players argue that this is the best common card in the whole Amonkhet set, which is probably true considering how slow meta can get in Limited. It’s still an expensive card for 5 mana, but with all the Gods that can’t be destroyed, the Exile mechanic seems like a good solution.
It is obviously targeted at creatures with Embalm, which are plenty in Amonkhet, and this is the best way to deal with them in the most efficient way possible.
This is a very strong defensive uncommon card that is similar to the crowd favorite Icy Manipulator. Some players even consider Edifice to be superior, although it may not be too effective in an aggro deck, since it’s a pretty slow card.
The late game is where Edifice really shines, when it simply blocks the opponent’s biggest threats and leaves you with the options of winning the game the way you want it.
Zombie decks are getting full support this time, and Lord of the Accursed is a must-have card in such a deck. Just imagine spawning a dozen white/black zombies and buffing them using this mighty Lord.
But even if you can’t produce that many tokens by the time you want to play this card, it is still as powerful as a 3-mana card can get in Magic.
Cast Out has both Flash and Cycling -- two really powerful effects that can give you a great advantage during a matchup. You might argue that at 4 mana it isn’t that cheap, but it does what it does, and the cost is reasonable for such a card.
It can instantly exile a Planeswalker and draw you a card. You can also have as many as four copies of it in your deck without any drawbacks.
Angler Drake is a great finisher, especially against all the embalmed tokens. Yes, it does require 6 mana, but Mist Raven was also expensive for 2/2 body, and it saw more plays than anybody would have expected.
It’s bulkier than Raven, and that makes it even more dangerous. If you can’t find the place for it in Constructed, then try it in Limited for sure.
The last uncommon card in our list is the super powerful Lay Claim, which takes control of an enchanted permanent. It also has Cycling when you don’t need this card anymore. Some players would think that it is counter-productive to cycle such a strong aura effect, but those kinds of doubts disappear as soon as you need more cards.
All in all, Lay Claim might be on the slower side of things, but it’s the control card that many Magic players have been waiting for far too long.
There are many strong split cards in Amonkhet, but Insult/Injury is the most overlooked one. Even without the Injury part, Insult already doubles your damage.
Any red combo deck in Limited will have a lot of success using this sorcery. The order of the spells may look strange at first, but it doesn’t really matter if you can cast both in one turn. Either way, you have additional 4 points of damage.
If you like to play clones in your deck, then this Vizier is one of the better ones you can get due to its Embalm ability. This means that even if you don’t have anything decent to copy in the early part of the game, you can always count on a better embalmed token afterwards.
Vizier of Many Faces is incredibly flexible and should be a part of any clone tribal deck.
To begin with, 7/7 power on board for 5 mana is already incredibly strong. But to top it off, the Wizards made it buff all other cats you control and give them Lifelink. The wording also specifies that even if the Regal Caracal gets killed, its two tokens still retain the Lifelink.
So, it’s too much value for such a card, but it may be due to Wizards wanting to push the cat tribal decks a bit further up the meta.
Glyph Keeper is a true beast of a card, although a bit weak in the Toughness department than most control players would want it to be.
But who cares about that when it virtually can’t die to almost any removal spell, and even if it does, it returns from the graveyard to strike once again.
Here’s a demon with direct counter against Noose Constrictor decks. But the best part of this card is the cost -- for 5 mana you get Flying, Cycling, a 5/4 body, and a powerful effect. It’s madness!
Under special circumstances, it could even wipe out the entire opponent’s board. But that doesn’t even matter because the price is completely justifiable.
This red dragon is the strongest card with Exert keyword in the whole Amonkhet set. It has both Flying and Haste, plus if you choose not to untap next turn, it can deal additional 4 damage to an opponent’s creature.
This is only a rare card, but it does look like it could easily be a full-blown mythic rare. The market price for this card is already at that level, so there you have it.
Here is a perfect example of a cheap and aggressive Planeswalker that dodges all damage for just 3 mana. The ultimate ability is kind of a joke, because you can’t lose a game if you control Gideon Planeswalker anyway.
This is a reasonably powerful card that would be played in the Gideon decks no matter what other players may think of it.
An angel with Embalm? This means that you will get a zombie angel after it gets exiled from your graveyard. That is pretty unusual even for Magic: The Gathering. All kidding aside, what a strong card this is!
For 5 mana you get Flying, 3/4 body, Embalm and an ability to exile an opponent’s permanent. Could this card get any better than that?
There’s a lot that can be said about this necromancer. Liliana is definitely very strong, and her base loyalty allows you to quickly stack up two more points for the ultimate finisher that destroys all non-zombie creatures.
But even if that’s not your goal, she can easily protect herself by creating more and more zombie tokens. Flying creature is not a problem to her either, so all in all, it’s a damn good mythic rare.
This red/green female general is as deadly as she can get. She’s got Flash, Haste, Double Strike, and Vigilance. She also gives Haste to other creatures, and she can untap other creatures as well (if you have white land in your deck). All that is just for 5 mana.
The white ability is not even that important, so if you do play a straight red/green deck, then definitely get yourself Samut, Voice of Dissent.
What other great Magic: The Gathering cards from Amonkhet would you like to see included in this list? Let us know in the comments below.