Alpha Rare. The man, the myth, the dragon! One of the biggest, meanest, most iconic creatures from Magic’s very first set, this thing is the standard against which all future dragon cards must be measured (disclaimer: that was a personal opinion, I do not speak for Magic’s official R&D department… although I wish I did).
The artwork that they started using with the 7th edition printing of Shiv-daddy is my personal favorite. This is the prototype dragon card, it has this air of regal badassery that just screams “I’m a good card, play me and watch me work” why would you argue with it?
Over 20 years after the beginning of the game and a similar amount of time bashing faces, regardless of power-creep, Shivan Dragon still holds up as a threatening card that demands to be dealt with. The closest thing to a strict upgrade that I could come up with was Flameblast Dragon and 1) it was printed 15 years later, and 2) unless you have boatloads of mana, the two are quite similar. Were it not printed once more as a rare in Magic Origins (and thus proven me wrong), I would have said Shivan Dragon should be an uncommon today; its competitors of old–Sengir Vampire and Serra Angel– were given that treatment.
But after everything is said and done, Shiv is still looking pretty dang good for such an old card.