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Insider: Get rid of your losers before RTR comes out!

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Chances are, you're going to make a lot of money from RTR because you're going to be actively reading and trading all through the next month or so. However, you have got to avoid losing money along the way, too! You don't want to be stuck with Magic cards that you could have sold a few weeks ago for double the value.

Biggest Loser: Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells

Currently updating his resume.

Huntmaster was an incredible card - it's a fun, reversible Kitchen Finks. A lot of Insiders made a lot of money on it. Huntmaster briefly looked a little better when Lightning Bolt wasn't in M13, but Bonfire of the Damned's continued dominance has been holding it down. I see Huntmaster taking the final bow because of Mizzium Mortars.

Mizzium Mortars looks boring; it just kills dudes, after all. The 3RRR cost is a lot to pay. On the other hand, it's a sweeper like Bonfire that will knock only their monsters. Some prominent people on Twitter have been saying that it's the real deal and I'm inclined to agree with them. The chance to use it as a general Flame Slash makes for a decent card and the Overload is achievable. Bonfire typically takes nine mana to do the same amount of damage! Since it becomes untargeted when you Overload the card, it can also kill Geist of Saint Traft. The Mortars are going to see play and they can kill both sides of the Huntmaster.

I'll make an aside here to note that this can have a warping effect similar to what Flametongue Kavu did. For those who weren't playing a decade ago, FTK was a powerhouse card that every deck ran. It was splashable and would always 2-for-1 or better an opponent. The most warping thing about it was that FTK made playing monsters of 4 toughness a terrible idea. You could still play little UW 2/2s like Meddling Mage, but investing in the newly-reprinted (and hyped) Serra Angel was awful. You'd spend 3WW for the Angel and then have her bite it to a 4/2 that stuck around. The defining Invasion block card, Desolation Angel, pulled off having a small butt only because she stopped the opponent from actually casting FTKs. Mizzium Mortars might have a similar effect. Beware of monsters that are x/4 and ask for a lot of mana. Restoration Angel will be fine, but don't put a lot of stock into other guys. There's a good chance that the new Niv Mizzet will see a lot of play as a finisher, but if it were still a 4/4, it would be getting Mortared out of the sky and not played. Remember this warping effect.

We also cannot discount Izzet Charm. Izzet Guild used to be this goofy, unplayable guild in Ravnica with clunkers like Tibor and Lumia that just happened to have a very useful signet for the Tron deck. The Charm can Shock something, which means it'll take out an unflipped Huntmaster. It's also a pretty strong spell on its own (as I mentioned last week). When Ravnica first came out, it was so unlike Champions of Kamigawa that people started jamming lots of cards and decks together in the beginning to see what worked. I think the same thing will happen here. There are a few holdover cards like Geists and Snapcasters that people will continue to play, but Ravnica is really going to help us when playing specific Guilds and those benefits might not actually reward us for playing Innistrad. Izzet Charm is going to be a part of the new Standard for at least a few weeks. With it and Mizzium Mortars joining Bonfire, it's time to get rid of those Huntmasters that you still have. He's not going to get the love that he used to.

The Collateral Damage: Bonfire of the Damned

With all the talk about Mizzium Mortars above, you've got to wonder whether Mortars will replace Bonfire and the Miracle will tank in value. This isn't going to happen because a lot of decks are still going to be able to cast Bonfire for retail and profit. They'll have some of the ubiquitous ramp from Ravnica and play a Bonfire for X=2 on turn 4 naturally. However, now that decks are going to have the option of "play Bonfire and hope to Miracle it because casting won't really happen," decks can ask about Mortars. I think we'll see people running Mortars over Bonfire since it's a better fit in non-ramp decks and the mere option should pull people off of the Mythic. People have been wondering whether Bonfire will hit $50 and Mizzium Mortars is the speedbump that will stop it from hitting that level. How much it affects the Bonfire remains to be seen.

The Called Reversal: Cursecatcher

Judge's Familiar is a 1000% upgrade to Cursecatcher - this thing even flies! How great! However, it's not a Merfolk, which means that it's much worse than the crummy Cursecatcher. Cursecatcher snatches a few dollars because it's an early-curve monster in Merfolk with a sometimes-relevant ability. This bird is better, but it doesn't become a 2/2 on the second turn and then a 3/3 soon afterward.

I have a feeling that people are going to get rid of their Cursecatchers and not realize the fact that the Familiar isn't a good replacement. The price in trades might drop for the next few weeks. If you encounter this, jump on it. Merfolk isn't a great deck at this point and it's middling in Modern, but it has devoted players. If people are coming off of their Cursecatchers in anticipation of Judge's Familiar, you stand to profit.

 Unrelated Blatant Hope For A Return To The Past: Chromatic Lantern

I love Coalition Relics a lot. They ramp up into really good spells on turn 4 and they make the pain of actually worrying about your manabase go away. I'm hoping that there are enough reasons to run the Lantern that 5-color Control becomes a thing again. Coalition Control of seasons past ran four Relics, four Prismatic Lenses and just said "to hell with the color pie! Cast those Ancient Grudges and Draining Whelks and Tendrils of Corruption all you want!" Cards like this can be very dangerous in Standard because there may be an effective strategy in jamming everything. It also almost exclusively rewards control decks. This card in play means you're kicking Mizzium Mortars on turn 5 all day long. You're certainly not spending Lanterns to cast whatever Watchwolves come along. This card is a real steal at the $5 it's currently selling for.

More Rampant Speculation About Goblin Storm

Guttersnipe is like a Tendrils of Agony on legs and Goblin Electromancer makes things much easier to cast. I have to wonder whether we'll see constructed-worthy decks that aim to land Guttersnipe and then cast Rituals and blast through the deck with Faithless Looting. There's also a shot that Guttersnipe is just good in Delver decks by itself. While you're losing a lot of the good cantrips, it really makes good use of Snapcaster Mage and things like Gitaxian Probe.

Have You Got Your Sigardas Yet? Why Not?

Sigarda, Host of Herons is currently about $5 shipped. This is a real deal, too. Here's why: big killers are always at a premium. Things that kill big creatures are also really common right now. If you play that new Niv Mizzet and the opponent Azorius Charms it to the top of your library, you're going to wish he just cast Remand instead. Otherwise, they might peel off a Selesnya Charm and play Retribution with it. Sigarda dodges all of that stuff. She even dodges Mizzium Mortars! What a heck of a card. I'd imagine we'll see plenty of decks running Selesnya Charms and topping out on Sigarda.

Okay, so that escalated quickly. There's more to talk about in RTR next week! Until then,

-Doug Linn

11 thoughts on “Insider: Get rid of your losers before RTR comes out!

  1. Interesting, I'd picked Huntmaster to be a good pickup for next year, being a powerful Mythic from a small set who has put up lots of good results… and we're discounting him because of Mizzium Mortars?
    I'm not seeing the appeal of this card yet, to be honest. It's like everyone is looking for the next one-sided sweeper after so many people missed out on the Bonfire bandwagon… Just my thoughts.

    1. Semi agree with this. As a sweeper, Mizzium Mortars has a restrictive casting cost. The thing that makes bonfire work in standard is raw dogging it for 5 mana and sweeping delvers, geist of saint traft, huntmaster + wolves, strangleroot geist, most zombies, etc. The miracle is always a bonus, but the utility of 5 cc Bonfire on turn 4, 5, or 6 is pretty high in standard. 6 mana is at least a turn slower, and if you stumble on a red mana, it's going to be too late.

    2. On top of Mortars, it's the fact that Izzet Charm (I have to stop typing "signet!") is going to see a lot of play and I'd imagine that Selesnya/Azorius will, as well. To further elaborate, Bonfire had Huntmaster packing things up already, but now that Bonfire and a second sweeper are around, things are even worse. Sure, we'll probably see him in Naya sideboards, but Stomping Ground isn't around for a long time.

  2. my problem with this assessment is you still get value even if huntmaster dies. That is what made huntmaster so good, its the great value you got from resolving it. Shocks and pillars are still played in decks, so I do not see the izzet charm line of thought being entirely relevant. someone charms your huntmaster, you still got a 2/2 and 2 life. I am still up a card. a sweeper hits, I still got 2 life.

  3. I was waffling over whether or not to pick up a bunch of Lanterns. I was hoping to get them cheap and saw them at 5 on scg. You seemed hot on them so I ordered them anyways. The card is super awesome in EDH in three + color decks. Maybe even some two color decks. I'm getting back into Standard so I never considered it's application there. I picked 'em up. Better than trying to scramble for them later.

  4. I don't think Lantern is going to be played in standard, too much color fixing arround and bi-color lands everywhere. + lantern doesn't accelerate as colation relic did or as any 2cc signet does.
    The thing is that Huntmaster needs to be killed right away, that's still a huge threat once on the board. So as any good creature, you play it !

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