Insider: Block and Standard Winners

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There are only moments remaining. The time ticks down on the season of Modern, then begins a shift. We have only limited time before the next season begins and we must be ready for it. PTQ Season will be Standard, and there will be a Block Constructed Pro-Tour, as well as some Block Constructed GPs domestically, at least.

I’ve desleeved my Splinter Twin deck, kept the pieces I need for next year, but the rest? I’m trading it out for Standard staples. And you should do the same.

Block Constructed:

While a format that’s hard to make much money on in paper cards, there is a serious market for this format on MTGO.

Wednesday is the first day post-banning of Intangible Virtue and Lingering Souls. This format was completely dominated by a tokens deck (Either WBr or WBg) and the anti-tokens Jund deck.

Now that the tokens deck is all but gone, the aggro decks will need to run more of a Human centric base, and likely still use Hellrider as a finisher.

I’d also expect a newer G/x aggro deck to appear, possible including Strangleroot Geist. He’s a card I’m going to buy into on MTGO, is currently under a quarter, and could see some quick gains.

Curse of Death’s Hold was a must include against the Tokens decks, and even though the tokens decks are now mostly banned, I expect Curse of Death’s Hold to continue to be the best anti-aggro card, and since the aggro decks aren’t so over powered (but likely still very good), this card may see a surge of popularity.

Also, keep in mind,that the next Pro Tour is Block Constructed, but will include the new Avacyn Restored, so pros may be testing on MTGO now, but it's hard to know what the format will look like without the newest set online.


It’s of course the “year-round” format, but it’s also due for a PTQ season starting after the next Pro-Tour in only a few weeks. Not to mention with a large set being added to the mix, we should see some new cards and strategies emerge with still a couple of weeks until spoilers hit the scene.

In the meantime we get to move our trade stock from Modern to Standard. Some of the cards I’ve been targeting are listed below with some explanations, and I’ve updated the Prediction Tracker to reflect these.

Gideon Jura

He is currently a $7 card, which is absurdly low for a Planeswalker that regularly sees play. Sure, he’s been printed twice, but the format is nearly all aggro, and last time that happened a solid U/W control deck popped up (remember Worlds?) to swoop the entire format.

Gideon is a monster against creature decks, even the aggro-control Delver of Secrets // Delver of Secrets deck has issues with one that’s resolved. Especially when PTQ season rolls around and grinders are actually giving attention to Standard, there’s no doubt in my mind a U/W control deck will reemerge.

I think it’s a really strong play to buy into these fairly deep, but do it soon. I’ll be happy to make $5 or more dollars on this, but its ceiling is probably as high as $17. I rarely make a big move on expensive cards like this but it does have all the features I look for in speculation: Low Risk, because it really can’t drop anymore than it already has, even if it sees another reprinting, and High Reward because it could easily double in value or more.

Witchbane Orb

This is more of a “pet-card” speculation, so I’ll add that full disclosure portion first. However, giving yourself hexproof is a pretty desirable card right now. It’s an amazing sideboard option against all of the reach that Zombie and RDW can make use of, and it’s also a great card for shutting down U/B control’s win conditions like Nephalia Drownyard, Karn Liberated, Liliana of the Veil and any discard spells they may have access to in the sideboard.

There’s also the fact that it can destroy any number of Curses attached to you and prevent them from being cast later. This card is currently a bulk rare, so, once again, zero risk because it can’t fall. If it turns out to be one of the Sideboard cards people are scrounging for come PTQ season you’ll be able to leverage that stock at dealer booths or in trades.

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

I’ve missed the mark on this guy before, but man he’s cheap. With few counterspells are floating around lately, and with how easily Tezzeret style control decks chomp up creature decks, I’m surprised we haven’t seen one pop up.

If one does, it quickly gets smashed by other control decks, so if you do move in on this guy, be diligent to move him out as soon as you can if he spikes. I only really see him going up to maybe $15 (and he’s currently $10-11) so may not be worth a big push, but if you currently own any, or you’re able to find good deals in trades, it can’t hurt to stash these.

Until Next Week

I like to use the time between seasons to reorganize my collection and reassess my goals for the next season. As I’m doing this over the next couple of weeks I’ll point out tactics that I find useful as well as any other gems I find in boxes that have been stored away as bulk.

Until next week!
Chad Havas

One thought on “Insider: Block and Standard Winners

  1. Agree wholeheartedly on Gideon. For such a playable card, reprint notwithstanding, $7 is a ludicrously low price. I'm buying them up en masse at $4-5 a pop right now – even if they go back up to the $10 they stabilized at for a while, this guy could mean serious profits. I'm avoiding Tezzeret because I've gone all-in on him twice before and got burned both times – he may be a solid buy (especially as cheap as he is), but I'm frankly terrified by that dude, and his penchant for sudden price drops.

    I actually had not thought about Witchbane Orb. You're right, as a bulk rare, there's zero risk picking these up – I may just start doing that.

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