In my job as a sportswriter covering local high schools and University of Oklahoma sports, I’ve found that nearly everything is measured in terms of age. Is this a senior-led team or are they young and inexperienced?
If they’re young, it’s all about how they could develop into the “next” someone, be it Sam Bradford or Keilani Ricketts or whatever your sport of choice is. On the other hand, if they’re upperclassmen, it’s all about who’s coming next. Who’s the hotshot freshman or sophomore who’s going to be the next big thing?
In Magic Finance, it’s also always about the next big thing. A few weeks back I was all over Hellrider and Thundermaw Hellkite. Go back even farther, and I was accumulating Scalding Tarns like it was nobody’s business.
As soon as those cards jumped as I predicted, I was done with them. With the upside gone or significantly reduced, they become completely boring to me, much like how Adrian Peterson’s freshman season was so much more exciting than his junior year.
This is where Standard is at right now. It was cool when Bant Control was new and offered opportunities, and it was cool when the Jace/Hellkite decks took off. Hell, it was even acceptable when Zombies with Hellrider became a thing again.
But, outside of Rhox Faithmender, very little has changed in the last three weeks or so. At this point, we’re likely to see metagame shifts of a rock-paper-scissors nature rather than anything new.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some opportunities, even if we have to look a little farther for them. So let’s see what we can do.
This has nothing to do with Standard, but it’s been discussed heavily on the forums and needs to reach everyone. There is little to NO time to get in on these. People already know it’s not bulk. Soon they will realize it’s closer to $5 than $2.
Add in the fact that Innistrad is done being opened, and you can see why we’re running out of time on a card that is climbing past $4 on TCGPlayer.
Now, this is me being speculative. Faithmender is good, and it’s certainly excellent in a lot of the grindy matchups where people are gaining a million life. But not every deck can play white mana, nor does every deck want to overload on lifegain outside of Thragtusk and Faithmender.
And, by the way, Tree of Redemption with Faithmender on the table is insane. If you weren’t aware, as long as your life total goes up (even if by exchanging) it counts as life gain, so activating Tree with Faithmender on the table is actually absurd.
But that’s not all. Jund, for instance, could make really good use of the Tree since it doesn’t play White. Hellkites and Hellriders are a lot less of a problem when you don’t have to do any blocking to gain significant amounts of life.
Furthermore, this is a mythic. Honestly, this is the only reason I like this as something other than a throw-in. We watched Faithmender quadruple in price (a card that I suggested grabbing at the M13 prerelease, by the way), so if Tree starts to see play it could go much higher. It can be had for less than a dollar on TCGPlayer, so I’m suggesting getting on these now through trades and be ready for a cash buy if it starts to show up more.
Sadly, winning in Standard is coming down to milling more and more. Drownyard is a good pickup for trades, because it’s going to trade much better than it will buylist.
It’s probably not a good sign that this and especially the next card on this list are growing in popularity. But then again I haven’t been a huge player at FNM recently, so I can’t comment on how enjoyable the format is, only what’s trending upwards.
I’m not even joking. This card is seeing sideboard play, and is actually better in some ways than big Jace. It comes down fast, dodges most of the removal in the format, and allows you to do something with your 10+ mana in the long-game.
I refuse to believe this sees much movement, but I wanted to bring it to your attention since it may be a legitimate sideboard plan and is basically bulk right now.
This is popping up in more and more lists as a way to make your post-wrath play much better, and it’s absurd on a Geist. With the Boros guild just a little bit away, this is a pretty good target in trades for the next month.
The way I see it, Standard is in a holding pattern right now, and outside of really metagame-dependent choices, I don’t see anything besides Tree and Parallel Lives that could merit a cash buy. All of the above, though, I consider great trade targets for the next few weeks, and it’s made even better by the fact most of them are cheap.
Gatecrash is certainly going to shake things up, and there’s going to be a bunch of hype flying around. Until then, I’ll be trying to get ahead of the metagame by targeting cards like these, and let’s hope I’m at least close to as successful as I was with the last month of Standard speculation.
Thanks for reading,
@Chosler88 on Twitter