A Bountiful Standard

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The Standard metagame post-Pro Tour Theros is like Darth Vader walking down the line of bounty hunters giving them a mission. Each bounty hunter is a powerful warrior with a well-honed set of skills. They all have their strengths as well as weaknesses. Take Bossk for example.

He is an extremely quick and deadly warrior with multiple tools at this disposal. Basically he’s an aggro deck. Bossk is gonna come at you fast and if you aren’t ready for him, you’re gonna go down. If you are prepared and you have some tricks up your sleeve, you will probably survive the attack.

I might compare Bossk to Mono Blue Devotion or any of the Red Devotion decks. Is Bossk a capable bounty hunter, yes, otherwise he wouldn’t be on the panel of the best in the galaxy. Same goes for either of the two aggressive decks. They are both good and if you aren’t careful, they can beat you quickly and easily, but if you are expecting it and you know how to play the matchup, you can defeat them.

On the other hand, he could also be compared to Mono Green Devotion. Bossk comes from an extremely strong race, Trandoshan, that can easily overpower their foe. Fast and powerful sounds exactly like how Mono Green plays right now. It is definitely one of the most explosive decks in the format and it can generate degenerate amounts of mana to flood the board with permanents or pump its creatures a bunch of times with Nylea, God of the Hunt.

Continuing with my analogy, I would compare Boba Fett to Mono Black Devotion or something like Junk Midrange or my BUG Prophet deck from last week. These midrange decks typically play the package of Thoughtseize, Abrupt Decay/Doom Blade/Ultimate Price/Devour Flesh, and Hero's Downfall. This combination of cards completely disrupts what your opponent is doing and allows you to win the game with any number of win conditions. Everyone knows that Boba Fett is the best bounty hunter and these decks are some of the best in the format. If there was not competition for his spot Fett would have been the only one hired. There are lots of other bounty hunters vying for the bounty though and they are just as capable as he is.

Another part of this lineup is one of the droid bounty hunters, IG88. This black death machine uses his supreme processing power to deviously calculate and plan for ways to take out his prey. He brings the right tools for every job and can customize himself for whatever job he needs to. The finishing blow may seem delayed, but it was always coming, you just didn’t see brewing. Similarly, Esper Control (or UW Control) can be altered from week to week with the appropriate tools to take down whatever threats your opponent presents.

Your only other option is to go rogue. It’s not that Dengar is horrible or anything its just that the other bounty hunters are so much better. He’s just a random guy with a little bit of armor, a gun, and a ship. That’s cool and all, but he’s not the guy you are counting on to bring back the bounty.

Playing a rogue deck in Standard right now is just about the same as committing to hiring only Dengar. All the other decks you can be playing do such powerful things, you will have a hard time keeping up without another powerful deck. Once in a while, Dengar pulls out just the right trick and the same goes for your rogue deck. The deck you’ve been working on does have a shot to take the metagame by surprise, but you may be relying on some good pairings to get there.

So which bounty hunter is the best? That is hard to tell. We know that Boba Fett was the one to track down the Millennium Falcon, but that doesn’t make him the perfect bounty hunter for every job. The same goes for Standard. Each week, we see similar decks being successful because they are all still strong options. Whichever one you are playing and have experience with can lead you to success. Play the deck you can pilot the most skillfully. Make changes that you think would attack the metagame at just the right angle.

Theros Financial

Since Theros was released, the set was like a free bounty ready for anyone to collect. Opening the set was so profitable that stores were having a hard time keeping it in stock and getting more ordered. What’s not to like in the set when so many cards you can open are worth as much or more than you paid for the pack? Nearly every mythic was worth at least twice what you paid and many of the rares had a higher than normal value as well.

While the set is still worth more than many other sets, the value has dropped off considerably. Numbers across the board are down. If you have been holding Theros cards, most likely you missed your window to move them at their peak. It’s still a good time to be trading Theros into cards that will likely gain value so move quickly. I’ve been working a lot with the Theros numbers to make my store profitable, so here is a rough sketch of the current prices. My prices are based on those similar to TCG Player.

Elspeth, Sun’s Champion 24
Stormbreath Dragon 18
Thoughtseize 15
Thassa, God of the Sea 12
Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver 12
Xenagos, the Reveler 11
Hero’s Downfall 11
Master of Waves 10
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx 9
Purphoros, God of the Forge 9
Erebos, God of the Dead 7
Nylea, God of the Hunt 7
Polukranos, World Eater 7
Heliod, God of the Sun 5
Temple of Silence 5
Temple of Deceit 4
Temple of Triumph 4
Temple of Abandon 3
Temple of Mystery 3
Sylvan Caryatid 4
Fleecemane Lion 3
Underworld Cerebus 3
Mistcutter Hydra 3
Anger of the Gods 3
Boon Satyr 2.5
Soldier of the Pantheon 2.5
Whip of Erebos 2.5
Ashen Rider 2
Reaper of the Wilds 2
Prophet of Kruphix 1.5
Spear of Heliod 1
Hammer of Purphoros 1
Chained to the Rocks 1
Bident of Thassa 1
Firedrinker Satyr 1
Hythonia the Cruel 1
Magma Jet 1

The most surprising thing about that list to me is the low cost of the blue mythic rares. Despite both Master of Waves and Thassa, God of the Sea seeing major play, they did not hold anywhere near their peak price and have dropped nearly half in value. Many of the other cards from the set have held fairly close to their previous price and have only decreased slightly. Unsurprisingly, many of the mythics have come down in price. The overall value of the mythics was too high for them to hold their price. I would not be surprised to see some of them come down even more. Over the next month or so, it will be prime time for picking up Theros mythics before Born of the Gods is released in February.

In case you needed a little bit of Standard spice, here’s the list I’ve been tinkering with for fun. I’m not sure it’s tier one or anything, but it’s the fun FNM list. After all, who doesn’t like winning games with Purphoros, God of the Forge damage from Elspeth, Sun's Champion?

R/W Devotion

Which bounty hunter do you think is the best?

Until Next Time

Unleash the Bountiful Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter

6 thoughts on “A Bountiful Standard

  1. Crazy to see how far the Theros cards have fallen…but it’s not surprising. That’s why it’s smart to sell quickly when dealing with new set hype. Even though one or two cards may hold higher prices, the majority always pull back to meaningful levels. The next Theros spike will come months from now, perhaps as Standard rotates again and we say goodbye to RtR block.

    1. I completely agree that it will most likely take that long. It’s possible we see a small spike shortly after the next set is released if some card(s) break out, but otherwise, it will be a while. Selling quickly in that window is exactly what needed to happen for sure, especially with Theros.

  2. I just want to chime in and say that Dengar is the greatest Bounty Hunter. Awesome story out of “Tales of the Bounty Hunters” AND he even saves Boba Fett from the Sarlacc pit!

    2nd pick would have to be IG-88 who actually gains control of the entire death star just before it gets blown up. Sucks to be him! 😛

    1. Agreed, the Tales of the Bounty Hunters book was pretty awesome. IG88 is definitely a bad ass. Not only does he take control of the whole death star, he’s seconds away from activating a hidden signal in a massive amount of droids throughout the galaxy.

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