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Insider: Standard, Evolving Dredge & Finance

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Nyx is in the mix and we are all so excited to play with new cards and new strategies! There are so many new options, the world of Magic is amazing, and we all can’t wait to bring our new deck to battle!

Unfortunately, new archetypes often don’t live up to the hype surrounding them. If we take a look at the results of SCG Cincy, the top 16 decks looked like the following.

5 Black Devotion decks
4 U/W Control decks
2 Monsters Decks
4 Aggro decks (1 blue, 1 red, 1 green, and 1 green'white), none of which made top 8
1 Junk Midrange deck

Just looking at top 8, there were three Black Devotion decks, three U/W Control decks, one Junk Midrange, and one R/G Monsters. In the top 8, there were a total of 35 Journey Into Nyx cards played, 16 of which were lands.


I don’t know about anyone else, but when I saw that was the top 8, I slumped a little in my chair and lost most of my interest in watching the matches. When I envisioned the new Standard metagame, nearly copying and pasting the same results from before the set was released was not at all what I imagined.

Don’t let this one tournament get you down though. We still have lots of time to find our angle. Mono-Black and U/W Control have been tuning their decks for months now. It’s possible that Naya Hexproof, along with the other new archetypes, just need some time to hone their list as well.

Initial results don’t look good for the hexproof decks though. Many times I see them failing to fight through Abrupt Decay or the newly adopted Celestial Flare. Hexproof will adapt, as will any other deck trying to make it in this controlling format.

As for me, I have been working hard trying to find my angle of attack. It began from right where I left off, with Golgari Dredge.

Dredge in Standard is a bruiser of a deck that sets up to attack you once or twice for huge chunks of damage. We have new tools now to help like Nyx Weaver, which has been working quite well in the deck. There were a number of new cards to try out, but this is where I settled after tinkering with the deck list.

This deck is great and functioned consistently and powerfully, but the Standard meta has become quite a bit more hostile. Sure the Monsters matchup is still solid, but when Mono-Black starts playing Abrupt Decay or Deicide, games become much harder to win.

You can dredge all you want, but setting up a huge Nighthowler doesn’t get you anywhere when they kill the aura right away. If your meta doesn't have tons of Mono-Black splashing green, this new version might still be okay, but if so, we’re going to have to try something else.

My next thought was to make the deck more threat-dense to try and overcompensate for the additional removal. What I came up with was the next level of Dredge.

[cardimage cardname='Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord'] [cardimage cardname='Mana Confluence']

As you can see, we now have access to a mana creature with a reasonable body and a god that can easily turn on to lay down the beats. Overall, there are not many additional threats, but they are more diverse than before. This version still gives us the potent game plan of a giant Nighthowler on your creature, but we have other ways to kill our opponent as well.

Even with diversifying our threats and improving our negative matchups, I was still having a problem beating decks like Mono-Blue Devotion. The game plans of Dredge and Mono-Blue are surprisingly similar. The difference is that while both are trying to set up the game state with permanents, Dredge does so without putting much pressure on the opponent whereas Mono-Blue aggressively applies pressure.

This version of Dredge may be the best I’ve played yet, but it is not nearly as well positioned as it was before Nyx. That is unfortunate because the deck is so much fun.

[cardimage cardname='Lotleth Troll'] [cardimage cardname='Temple of Malady']

While working with these cards and watching other players pilot the deck, the power of Lotleth Troll was highlighted over and over again. I have always been a huge fan of Lol Troll, as I like to call him, in this deck because he’s a threat that all of these controlling decks have a difficult time handling. There are more options like Banishing Light to deal with him now, but your opponent has many fewer outs than with other threats.

Following up that thought led me to pursue the possibility that we have all been using Pharika, God of Affliction with the wrong mindset. What if Pharika is supposed to be an aggressive god like Thassa, God of the Sea rather than a midrange god like Ephara, God of the Polis?

This thought ate at my subconscious for twenty four hours straight until the idea snapped into place. Here’s what happened in my Temple of Epiphany.

[cardimage cardname='Abrupt Decay'] [cardimage cardname='Pharika, God of Affliction']

As you can see, this deck closely resembles the fringe Mono-Black Aggro deck that has been floating around the rogue deck universe for about a month. What’s great about adding green is that the game plan becomes all around better against every deck.

Erebos, God of the Dead may be hard to awaken due to there being no good double black creatures in Standard, but my good buddy Lol Troll counts for two devotion and sometime later his friend Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord will join the party as well.

This deck features all the most disruptive elements of black decks, the ability to hit hard and fast with a blitz of creatures, and also a late game plan of a snake token army or using the drain life ability of your lich lord.

Even though this list looks tuned, it is still only version one, so some card choices may need to evolve over the next couple of weeks. Playing an aggro-control deck like this seems like the best way to beat all of the top decks in the current metagame.

This weekend I will be piloting this deck through a few local cash events so next week I should have more information and sweet tournament stories to pass along to you guys.

Financial Tips

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx will be powerful only if M15 and the next block have cards with multiple colors in their cost. Losing Nightveil Specter for instance, drastically neuters Mono-Black and Mono-Blue. I don't think blue is even playable without specter, but black has some decent replacements.

What that means is that the future price trend of this powerful land are uncertain. Even if it is not fully supported it should only drop a few dollars, but if it is supported, it could easily double in value.

Temples – Recently it was posted online, by Aaron Forsythe I believe, that the price of fetches caught wizards off guard and they weren’t planning a fix anytime in 2014. That basically discredits the rumor that fetches will be in m15.

I think this brings more credibility to the possibility that temples will be in double digits when fall comes around. Pay special attention to Temple of Epiphany because it has Modern applications as well as being from Nyx which should help boost the price.

Return to Ravnica Block – The prices on cards from these three sets are already starting their downward trend. Dealers with large stock from this block have drastically reduced their buy prices.

Foils from this block are staying high and moving higher though. The most recent addition to the crazy high-priced foils list is Chromatic Lantern at $25+!

The real estate is where you want to be trading into right now. Shocklands, especially Sacred Foundry, are slowly moving up in price. Lots of authors, myself included, have touted the merits of stocking up on shocks while they are near their lowest point. It’s likely that this is the lowest shocks will ever be so make sure you are stocked up now.

[cardimage cardname='Shadowborn Demon'] [cardimage cardname='Shadowborn Apostle']

Shadowborn Demon – One card seeing recent movement which has flown under the radar is Shadowborn Demon. The Golgari Dredge deck in Standard is playing it, but there is a lot of casual appeal to this card as well due to Shadowborn Apostle.

Over the last couple of weeks, it has doubled in price and the trajectory is already pointing upward. The window to buy in might have been missed but I know I was slow to adjust this price in my own store and other owners may have also overlooked it. It’s very possible that it hits double digits if it keeps trending this way.

Journey Into Nyx – My thoughts on this set financially are not very positive. From my perspective as a shop owner, I want to cut prices on the majority of the new cards. Many of them are not moving at current prices. Ajani, Caller of Heroes and Athreos, God of Passage are moving well, but Mana Confluence and all the other gods need to drop in price before more people will start buying in.

There are only two cards I have increased prices on since release, Prophetic Flamespeaker and Master of the Feast. The majority of the rares in the set, temples excluded, are bad buys right now, so stay away unless you need them for a deck. The average price of the rares in this set started off great at between $2-3, but will settle around $1.5 in the next couple of weeks. Trade for as many of the new temples as possible because their prices should be the highest in the fall for multiple reasons.

A lot has been happening in finance over the last couple of weeks, what else have you guys picked up on?

Until Next Time,

Unleash the Pharika Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter
Jedicouncilman23@gmail.com

17 thoughts on “Insider: Standard, Evolving Dredge & Finance

  1. Great read, thanks for the summary!

    What’s your thinking on foil shock lands? There really hasn’t been much foil premium on Modern cards yet, but this should change eventually. Plus Shock Lands are played in EDH, so perhaps foils will merit a premium from those players?

    1. I think the foil shocks will follow a similar trajectory to the original ones, but not quite as steep a curve. If you are targeting new foils, hit up godless shrine first because the artwork is much better than the original and the foils look sick. I know I’m trying to get a hold of as many regular and foil copies as I can, but that process isn’t going quickly because I’m not buying in, only trading in. Are you at the point of buying in?

  2. I don’t think you could be more wrong on Mono Black and Mono Blue dying without Nightveil Specter. Mono Blue is mostly a block deck any way. Mono Black in its current form is dead on rotation. It will go to a more aggro version, like the current, that wasn’t even running Specter to begin with.

    Also, that dredge deck basically has 0 reason to run Pharika in the main..

    1. I think the Pharika’s main are completely supportable. From my testing, they seem solid. Making her a creature is feasible and necessary sometimes and the tokens help against lots of removal spells as well as creating good blockers when you need to try to be the control deck. Why do you think she has no place?

      1. You are basically a combo deck that is trying to put a large creature into play. Pharika is also a nonbo with Nighthowler and Shadowborn Demon. I think that people want to play the Gods as creatures, and see a 5/4 for 3 as good, but in reality the work involved to get there is a waste of resources.

        Also, if you have 7 devotion in play and the opponent is not dead or losing, I don’t think you are winning that game.

        1. It’s possible you’re right, we’ll see. As I said in the article, the deck is not as well positioned as it was before Nyx so that needs consideration also.

    2. Lets’ see, mono-U loses Tidebinder, Frostburn, Nightveil, Jace, Rift, Rapid Hybridization, Judge’s Familiar, Cloudfin Raptor, Mutavault, Cyclonic Rift…pretty much everything except for Thassa, Master, and Islands.

    1. Not a fair comparison to cabal coffers because it’s a very different mechanic. Devotion is much harder to pull off than just having basic lands, and coffers only can go into pretty much monoblack to be the best it can be. Also you are talking about a rare that has been opened an ass ton, compared to an uncommon that wasn’t really opened that much(despite when I played at the time I thought I got them in packs constantly). That said, even after all these years, Coffers is only a $9 tcg mid card. Nykthos is so niche I don’t expect it to hold $9 after rotation. It doesn’t do anything that many competitive decks want and there are a ton of them out there. I can buy them for $5 cash where I live pretty easily because everyone has tons of them.

      1. It is definitely much harder to pull off than Coffers, but I think most Coffers decks will want a copy of this land as well. If it dips to $5, it will almost certainly rise again to casual demand.

      2. I think you are dead wrong. Shrine acts as a Coffers for other colors. It is an effect that the other colors do not have access to, and that gives it a lot of appeal for the future. Coffers also got reprinted plus a promo printing.

        And sure, compared to Coffers, there are far more Shrines, even at rare that are probably out there, but there are also far more players playing now then there were back in Torment, so scale is all relative.

  3. “…and they weren’t planning a fix anytime in 2014.”

    No, you misstate this. You should probably have done the research to find out both who said it and exactly what they said; it would only have taken 30 seconds of googling. He did not say that. He said their fix would not come out as fast as some players might hope.

    1. Everything I’m seeing supports my statement. Fetches won’t be reprinted until 2015. Can you post where it says otherwise because I honestly cannot find anything to support your rebuttal.

      1. “Aaron Forsythe: Yeah. I mean, they did take off kind of out of the blue it felt like. Pretty recently. And obviously our turnaround time on doing anything is not instantaneous. So any plans that we have to put more fetchlands out there will take some time to execute on. But we are definitely aware of, you know, what cards people need to build decks to play Modern and what cards they’re after. So we are going to do what we can.”

        LITERALLY ten seconds of googling.

    2. He gave no definite timetables for anything. M15 was ruled out long ago for being fucking stupid (would NEVER put fetches and shocks in standard together) but Huey is still a possibility.

  4. You state that Shadowborn Demon has casual appeal. Why? Slapping “has casual/EDH appeal” on a card when they have nothing else to really say is one of the most hackneyed, contentless things MTG writers write. So it’s valid to ask: how do you know?

    I’m not even saying you’re wrong, but because that label is SO over-applied and SO often wrongly-applied, you should explain why you think that – has it been moving real well to your casual crowd? Have you seen it in tons of EDH lists? (neither of those things has been my experience, but maybe yours is different and if so, that’s something I as a reader want to know about!)

    1. It’s a given that the label, “has casual/EDH appeal” is overused, but I am always careful in the financial advice I give. Here is some info for you.

      1. I have sold many Shadowborn Demons to casual players for their Shadowborn Apostle decks.

      2. I have sold many to EDH players who play that format for fun, not for creating Legacyesque combo decks.

      3. The Dredge deck has created some demand for this card that was not there since Junk Reanimator was an actual deck.

      4. The price of this card was $3.50 in my case two weeks ago. Last week I raised it to 6 and then yesterday I raised it to $8.

      5. Prices from online retailers have followed this rapid increase in price also. Examples: Channelfireball has them at $10 and Star City is sold out at $8.

      6. There are still some cheap copies available online, so if anyone is interested in picking these up, there are still a couple available at the older prices.

      Hopefully that helps. 🙂

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