2011 was a fantastic year to be a Magic: the Gathering player. Wizards of the Coast released two small expansions (Mirrodin Besieged and New Phyrexia), a new core set (Magic 2012), and ended the year with another large set (Innistrad). So what were the best new Magic: the Gathering card's from 2011?
While over the course of the year there were also many ancillary Magic products for players to purchase, (such as Knights vs Dragons, 5 Commander decks, Ajani vs Nicol Bolas, From the Vault: Legends, and Graveborn), we're only going to take a look back at new Magic cards from 2011.
Inkmoth Nexus added fuel to infect based strategies while also giving an alternative alternative win condition to control decks. As a land, Inkmoth Nexus was playable in any deck and couldn't be countered.
There's no denying the wow factor of Blightsteel Colossus. Able to kill players with a single hit, this giant artifact was rarely cast from an owner's hand. Kuldotha Forgemaster and Tinker helped players speed this massive threat into play.
What do you get when you put a Pithing Needle on a 2/2 body? An amazing creature!
Hex Parasite gave players an efficient way to deal with annoying planeswalkers like Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, Koth of the Hammer, Elspeth Tirel, or Venser, the Sojourner. The beauty of Hex Parasite is that it was also a threat, meaning it was never a dead draw.
Although each player must include 60 cards in their deck, Gitaxian Probe can effectively make that number 56 (if you're willing to pay the life). Knowledge is power, and an early Gitaxian Probe lets you know you're opponent's strategy.
Beast Within gives green players access to something they rarely have: targeted removal.
Dismember's biggest contribution was to non black decks - giving an instant answer to colors that normally deal with threats.
Birthing Pod's power simply can't be contested. Pod decks were fast and fun to play.
Although Surgical Extraction doesn't affect the battlefield it can take key cards out of your opponent's hand, graveyard, and library. Your opponent better hope they have more than just one win condition!
Inevitability. That's what Batterskull brings to the table. It doesn't matter how many removal spells your opponent has. Batterskull will just keep coming back. Batterskull doesn't go away. Not until your opponent is dead.
Sword of War and Peace
There are a lot of swords in Magic, however Sword of War and Peace gives protection from two of Magic's most deadly colors: red and white. Sword of War and Peace still isn't as effective as Sword of Fire and Ice, however it is argueably more powerful than Sword of Feast and Famine and Sword of Body and Mind.
Red players have very few tools to deal with Commanders, and Chaos Warp is now their best option.
Vow of Flight
All of the vows are essentials for Commander players, however Vow of Flight makes your opponent's worst threat have evasion - so it can kill your other enemies quicker.
Khalia of the Vast
Khalia of the Vast is one of the most saught after new wedge legends from Commander. It may have to do with all the casual Magic players who love to play with Angels, Dragons, and Demons.
Zedruu the Greathearted
Unlike the other wedge legends in the set, Zedruu the Greathearted made an old strategy more viable. While the concept of helping others to help yourself wasn't anything new, Zedruu gave these decks the tool they need to make it work.
Sphinx of Uthuun
It's big, it flies, and it digs deep into your library to give you more threats. Sphinx of Uthuun is the embodiment of what a mythic rare should be: an attractive card with a splashy effect that isn't too powerful to warp the format.
Good footwear can be hard to find, especitally when the shoe fits so perfectly. Swiftfoot Boots is an amazing card that should be in everyone's Magic collections.
Lord of the Unreal
Combined with cheap and efficient creatures like Phantasmal Image and Phantasmal Bear along with other powerful spells such as Mana Leak and Turn to Frog, Lord of the Unreal can help pack a powerful punch.
One of the most valuable assets to players in a Magic game is the ability to respond to another player's actions. Grand Abolisher stops your opponent from countering your spells, and forces them to cast their instants, and use their abilities on their own turn.
In every set there's always at least one card that just stands out as hilarious. It might not be that powerful, but there's no other joy to be had than casting a Scrambleverse in a large multiplayer game.
The "lord" that we've been waiting years for, Adaptive Automaton fills a vital role. From Puresteel Paladin to Cemetery Reaper, there are a plethora of creature based strategies to abuse with Adaptive Automaton.
There are few other creature cards that can provide the sheer amount of card advantage as Vengeful Pharaoh can without it ever entering the battlefield. Combine Vengeful Pharaoh with Call to the Grave and Life's Finale, and your opponent can forget about winning during their attack step.
Perhaps one of the most powerful cards printed in years and producing tournament results in multiple formats, there's no denying Snapcaster Mage's inclusion as one of the best new Magic: the Gathering cards from 2011. Luckily it wasn't a mythic rare.
Liliana of the Veil
One of ehe flagship cards from Innistrad, Liliana makes doing bad things feel so right.
A personal favorite, Nevermore is a unique card with a lot of potential.
Along with Clifftop Retreat, Isolated Chapel, Sulfur Falls, and Woodland Cemetery as part of a new five card enemy land cycle, Hinterland Harbor's influence on Standard is undeniable.
Kessig Wolf Run
Kessig Wolf Run makes any creature that you might have into a game ending finisher, trampling over your opponen'ts blocker to victory.
Some of the most broken cards in the game are artifacts, and Stony Silence can turn them off.
There were many new awesome new Magic: the Gathering cards printed in 2011. Which ones were your favorite?
Did you enjoy this article? You may also like:
IDW Magic comic #4 to feature exclusive promo
Magic: the Gathering Avacyn Restored fact sheet
Dark Heavens AND Forest's Fury
Interview with Mark Tuttle on Secrets of Terisiare
Planechase (2012 Edition)
Ghoulkeeper deck list AND March to War deck list
Magic Multiverse Racing
Magic cards with googly eyes
Funktrollers "Tapped Out" Magic rap video