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Insider: Standard After PT SOI

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Price movement during Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad has undoubtedly been impacted by the diversity of the Top 8. When a clear best deck emerges, players clamor in droves to pick up the pieces. You'll recall the $7 price tag on Endless One when Eldrazi dominated PT Oath of the Gatewatch.

Price movement did occur during PT Shadows, though mostly the movement was based on hype and we haven't seen much based on actual results. Seasons Past showing up on camera caused an immediate hype spike, though not much has happened in the week following the event.


When eight different decks make up your Top 8, how do you know what will be the best going forward? In many ways, it makes sense not to see much post-PT movement. That said, as the metagame settles I imagine we'll see more market movement. As for how things will break, I have some predictions.

Top 8 Breakdown

Let's start by taking a look at what made the Top 8, and the relative merits of these decks.

Boros Eldroggles

I don't have much to say on this deck. Salvatto posted a 6-4 record in the Standard portion of the swiss, and his deck doesn't look all that great to me. This is compounded by the fact that I think Goggles Ramp is just a better version of the same deck. I wouldn't make any moves based on this one.

Goggles Ramp

This deck is a beautiful juxtaposition of Goggles Control and green-based ramp. Using Magmatic Insight and Drownyard Temple as a "ramp spell" fits right in here, and Nissa's Pilgrimage's ability to "enable" Insight is really cool as well. Both Goggles Control and other builds of Ramp are seemingly invalidated by this deck, which I believe has serious staying power.

I have to wonder, if this deck put two copies into the Top 8 would Kozilek's Return and World Breaker still be sub-$7? I really don't think so.

I like both of these positions quite a lot right now. Both have very small spreads and could explode at a moments notice. Decks featuring these cards will continue to show up until Oath of the Gatewatch rotates, they can't realistically go lower, and they easily have the potential to at least double with a good weekend.


Seasons Past Control

I expect many players to strongly misevaluate the power level of this deck. It's tricky, because it looks unbeatable when it wins, and unplayable when it loses. If you watch a game where a player starts looping Seasons Past and Dark Petition on an empty board, your first impression will be that this deck is just great. That's why we saw Dark Petition and Seasons Past spike.

The issue is, this deck can really struggle to get there. If we had Thoughtseize and Hero's Downfall it would take very specific tools to beat this deck. With Duress and Ruinous Path, we're just not quite there.

At the Pro Tour, the Pantheon knew they wouldn't play against a ton of Bant Company. Even with it being the most popular deck, with only ten of the swiss rounds being Standard you're still only likely to play against the deck once or twice. In something like an SCG Open or Grand Prix I expect you'll get paired against the deck much more often, and that matchup is quite bad for this deck. I also can't imagine this deck being especially good against G/W Tokens, but we'll get to that one later.

One thing I will say for this deck is that it shows us Ruinous Path is a Constructed-playable Magic card. I wouldn't bet too aggressively on rares from the Expedition sets, but picking some of these up as trade throw-ins is something I can definitely advocate. You'll note the low spread, which is far from a given on a cheap card.


Cryptolithstocrats

Throughout the event, there were multiple games Luis went from chump-blocking on turn two to winning convincingly on turn five. Cryptolith Rite and Westvale Abbey // Ormendahl, Profane Prince are the defining cards of the deck, and Duskwatch Recruiter // Krallenhorde Howler is the glue that holds everything together.

Cryptolith Rite has shot up to $5 due to exposure during the PT, and I wouldn't advise buying in at that number. This deck is quite good, though I don't believe it has what it takes to be dominant. This is a really awesome deck to play, though I just don't see any of the cards being positioned as strong investments. In fact, the biggest advice on this deck is that Liliana, Heretical Healer // Liliana, Defiant Necromancer is most likely a sell at this point.

Esper Super Friends

Never in my life have I thought it a great idea to sleeve up Narset Transcendent. With her seeing a small bump from the PT I'd be interested in unloaded any copies I have and then buying them back later, because planeswalkers (#planeswalkerfinance).

This is one of the decks that contributed to a good week for Languish, though at this point in time I don't see much room for growth for the Magic Origins rare. There will be one more Pro Tour with Origins remaining Standard-legal, though that PT signifies what is more or less the last-chance-to-sell point.

I don't particularly believe in this specific deck, and don't expect it to put up tremendous results going forward. There's not anything here that I'm excited to buy.

Esper Dragons

Everybody thought this deck was awful going in. Everybody knew Yasooka was great going in. Shota's still great, deck is probably still bad? I haven't seen really any talk of this deck after the PT, and don't have a reason to believe players are excited about it going forward. There are a lot of great cards here; I'm just hesitant both to invest in Dragons and Origins cards and reluctant to believe that just because Shota can win with something that anybody else can.

Bant Company

There's nothing remotely exciting about our second place list. This is something that we've seen every week of new Standard with some minor changes. The sideboard Invasive Surgery to tag Languish is spicy, though not really financially actionable. Collected Company has seen some slight growth, though it's looking like the card will be sticking close to $20 for the duration of its time in Standard---unless it just becomes completely dominant with the release of Eldritch Moon.

Lumbering Falls still seems cheap to me. It has doubled to about $2, though it's generally the preferred partner in crime for Sylvan Advocate. Maybe there are just too many copies out there, but I expect to see more growth on this card.


Selesnya Tokens

It's pretty lazy to call the winning deck the best deck from the Pro Tour, though in this circumstance I believe it to be true. Many prominent figures have claimed as much, including Shaun McLaren and Mike Sigrist.

It's about freaking time that we saw a four-of Nissa, Voice of Zendikar deck on top. I've been saying that she's great since she was spoiled, and I can all but guarantee if another copy of this deck cracked the Top 8 we'd have already seen more growth on her. As Tokens gains a higher share of the winning metagame she'll get pricier, and I fully expect this deck to continue to put up results. It's the new deck to beat going into GP Toronto.


What I like most about this deck is that it's not messing around with Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier. Four copies. Maindeck. About. Time. She's easily in contention for the best card in Standard, and while $35 isn't an inviting price tag, she's not going anywhere.

A card with more room for growth is Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Remember when Khans rotated and people said Gideon wasn't as good anymore? Because they were crazy? Yeah, that notion didn't last. Four Gideons here, and Gideon is showing up in builds of Humans as well. To quote Michael Majors, "It's bizarre to say that a month ago I was talking about how Gideon, Ally of Zendikar felt 'unplayable,' but in reality it was likely the best card in my deck..."

People are playing Languish in force now. I can tell you from experience that these players are not happy when Gideon punches them for five or makes 2/2s the turn after that sweeper resolves.

Gideon is great, and will continue to be great as long as it's in Standard. Gideon has retained value by virtue of being far and away the best card in Battle for Zendikar, one of very few great cards from that set. As we get further removed from BFZ draft, and as this tokens deck rises in terms of percentage of winning Standard decks, we will see growth here.


One for the Road

The last thing I'd like to highlight, is that despite missing Top 8, Humans had a strong showing at PT Shadows. Four players posted 8-2 records with decks playing the full four Thalia's Lieutenant.

Lieutenant and its BFF Always Watching have cooled off slightly in the wake of the PT, but they're still very real Standard forces. The Origins cards raise the barrier for entry for this deck to a point that makes investing in these Shadows rares less appealing, though there is certainly room for growth on both. That said, they're likely better trade targets than buys.


~

As we move away from this amazingly diverse Pro Tour, you can fully expect the metagame to cool down some. My pick for Tokens being the best deck may be boring and safe, but boring and safe often enough pays the bills. I wish that I had picked Seasons Past going into the Pro Tour, but planeswalkers and big dumb angels appear to be the pick for now.

Thanks for reading.

-Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter

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