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Insider: Top 5 Standard Picks After SCG Cincinnati

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Week one has come and gone for Standard. I must say, the format looks enticing. Twelve different decks in the Top 16 of the Standard Open? Ladies and gentlemen, that is the kind of format that people want to play!

It is hard to identify exactly what the format will actually look like until after the pros have taken a shot at it in Kyoto two weeks from now. However, if I were a betting man (which I am) there are certain cards and strategies that are feel very likely to hit.

Today I will be sharing the Standard cards that I am most interested in picking up now at their current price in anticipation of possible gains in the current metagame. In addition to sharing my picks, I will also be giving the reasoning behind why I like these cards at their current prices.

Spell Queller


One thing I noticed looking over the SCG Cincinnati Open results was that there were a lot of Spell Quellers floating around. The card is a staple in UW Monument (which may be the default "deck to beat") and also showed up in Esper Vehicles. It's a good tournament card in a sort of general sense and it may finally get its day in the sun now.

Copies are readily available on TCG Player at less that $3.00, which was almost surprising to me. It certainly feels like a card that has the opportunity to surpass its current price point. In addition, the card has significant applications in Modern and possibly Legacy at some point. Which means owning the card beyond rotation won't be complete dead weight in your trade stock.

However, I have a strong suspicion that the narrative coming out of the tournament among pro writers will be that Monument is the de facto deck-to-beat in Standard, which is likely to impact the price of Spell Queller out of the gate. I'd look to this card as a potential immediate gainer that also has long-term upside in Modern.

The card is obviously very good, which was reflected in its early price sky-rocketing to over $12. However, the card hasn't found a comfortable home in Standard yet. Is UW Monument finally that moment? I think it is. The ability to recur the card with Dusk // Dawn really puts it over the top. Eventually, it will stick, and the opponent will die.

Dusk // Dawn


In the same vein as Spell Queller, I think we could do a lot worse than betting on the potential "best deck" in the format. One thing that is interesting, and might buy us some time, is that the Top 8 was particularly diverse at the Open. It isn't 100% obvious than anything dominated or what the format is going to look like.

With that being said, UW Monument was the best performing archetype overall that was widely played. It put the most amount of players into Day 2 and had a terrific conversion for cashing the event.

Dusk // Dawn is an important part of that strategy. It is a powerful removal spell against decks that play big creatures. It also gives the deck a ton of late game inevitability by rebuying all of the little creatures that have died along the way.

As of writing the article on Sunday evening, there are lots of copies on TCG for less than $0.50 and I actually picked up a few extra playsets at that price. I love investing in these kinds of cards because when they hit you are likely to double up or better on your investment. I also love the fact that this card will be in Standard for a long time which gives us lots of opportunities down the road to hit again.

Powerful spell. It's in the best deck. Also, it's fairly unique. I don't think it is out of the question that somebody will try and play this in Modern or Legacy at some point. Feels like a slam-dunk card to me.

Glorybringer


If you are playing red, chances are there are some number of Glorybringers in your 75. I think that is a telling narrative. The card is so good, that if you play the color, you play the card.

It does a lot for the cost and is quite powerful. It impacts the board in a very serious way.

The card came out of the gates expensive but has dipped off significantly over the past few months. There are a few reasons. Firstly, it was a Game Day promo. However, the promo is actually super sweet-looking and likely a solid investment for not only Standard but also Cubes down the line.

Secondly, the card was outclassed by Aetherworks Marvel decks before that deck was banned. Now, it is Glorybringer's chance to be glorious.

In the $4 range I think we can expect to see this card start to make a bounceback if it has a nice showing at the Pro Tour. The fact that it is so flashy and a Dragon is likely to make its price end up higher that most really good Standard rares that see a lot of play. Buying in on these now while they are low feels like a good investment to me. It doesn't feel like the card can really end up lower than it is right now, but there are a lot of scenarios where I could see it going up. Most scenarios, in fact.

Bristling Hydra


Bristling Hydra is another mainstay of new energy decks and has been appearing in all of the various flavors. Temur, GR Pummeler, and even BG Energy.

The card feels positioned to become a major part of the metagame and is selling for around a buck online. I love these kinds of cards because they feel hard to miss but can easily hit big as lots of players look to acquire copies at the same time.

It is worth noting that this card also benefits greatly from the banning of Aetherworks Marvel, as Marvel was the default best thing to do with energy. As players look to utilize the powerful energy shell in new ways, it becomes clear that Bristling Hydra is one of the best energy payoffs. I also love the fact that no matter what "flavor" of energy you choose, that Hydra is likely making the cut, which means it goes into a lot of different decks that draw on the same mechanic.

The energy engine is very powerful and I wouldn't be surprised to see it be one of the strongest archetypes at the Pro Tour. Be ready!

Hour of Promise


I suggested Hour of Promise as one of the underrated Hour of Devastation cards last week on its Commander applications alone. With that being said, there is a lot of murmuring that the card has serious Standard potential in addition to being a Commander slam dunk.

The ability to search up multiple copies of Shrine of the Forsaken Gods and accelerate out gigantic Eldrazi Monsters in Standard is no joke. In fact, it is one of the super-secret decks I could see coming out of Pro Tour Hour of Devastation in the coming weeks. I'm not 100% what the best way to build such a deck might be, but there were versions of the archetype that cashed the SCG Open last weekend.

I think Hour of Promise could easily be the sleeper card of the set and I'm not going to take that lightly. It is almost certainly the case that trading for these off of people who don't appreciate the Commander and possible Standard implications right now is a terrific idea.

Value of a Diverse Metagame

I'm really excited about this format because it looks to hold a lot of potential. The week-one results show a format that has a lot of viable decks that all look really fun to play. Don't underestimate the effect of a format that people want to play on MTG finance. When people are excited to play, they are much more willing to spend money on cards. When people are buying cards the prices go up. The circle of life...

There are a lot of potential earners in Standard as long as people are excited to play. Keep that in mind and invest your energy into picking up the cards that people are going to want before they know they want them. Then you'll be in a great place when the Pro Tour results roll around.

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