Insider: Navigating Current Standard for Specs

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Standard is flowing in a bunch of different directions right now. All three basic archetypes, aggro, control, and combo, are possibilities in Standard. I still have a hard time believing that God-Pharaoh's Gift is a real card, but that deck keeps putting up results. The normal culprits like Ramunap Red and Zombies are still stampeding the meta, but Temur Energy and UW Monument are picking up steam as well.

The interesting part, however, is that new strategies keep emerging. Anyway, let’s check and see what’s happening because Grand Prix DC is coming up and new strategies bring new financial opportunities as well.

If aggro, control, and combo were all options in Standard, we needed a little midrange action, and BR Control is just the deck to fill that role. This deck is less a control deck and more a Rock-style deck where you are playing some removal spells alongside hand disruption and then solid, tough-to-deal-with finishers.

Chandra, the Mindsculptor is solidifying her foothold as a constructed powerhouse even more with her inclusion in this strategy. I’ve spoken a ton about her in my articles because I’ve loved her ever since she was just a dream on the spoiler. Don’t expect her to ever leave the meta for her duration being legal. Players will build many types of strategies around her because she is just that good.

The best Chandra is pushing above $30 now and I think that could continue to grow. Her foil is $50 and the SDCC promo that was just released is $75! Players are willing to pay those amounts because they believe in her longevity.

Now, what will push her over the edge is if she finally breaks through in Modern. I think some pieces would need to fall into place, like a Death's Shadow ban, before she can start seeing tier-one play in Modern, but I don’t think that’s too far off.

Honestly, if we had a couple better creatures to go with Chandra and Liliana, we might have a decent Modern strategy. Okay, maybe that’s going too far because the removal spells would get a huge upgrade, but we’ve already seen players choosing Liliana, the Last Hope over Liliana of the Veil. That was crazy to me at first, but both are strong choices and differ in strength according to the direction of the meta.

Lily is a great candidate for long-term price growth. She is one of the cards I’d hold onto post-rotation for sure. She’s already seen Modern play, so you know she has a high enough caliber, and depending on the format, she could find an even bigger home.

It blows my mind every time when I look at the prices of the cycling duals. They have both basic land types and cycle, people! What is everyone thinking!? This land cycle is criminally underpriced and they have nowhere to go but up. If you don’t have your play sets, now is as good a time as ever.

On paper, we read "God" and get turned off to the potential the card might have. We’ve seen tons of Gods come through Standard at this point and most of them have been drastically unplayable. I think the Hour of Devastation gods are going to break that mold.

Players have been hesitant to trade these three gods in at the high buy prices I’ve been offering and that tells me they believe in the future value of the cards. I think we might see the Amonkhet gods continue to find homes too, just like Hazoret the Fervent in Ramunap Red.

The best part about the Hour Gods is that they pop back to the owner's hand if they are destroyed. That’s a huge ability that has been undervalued thus far and I think it makes all three really playable. Their prices are pretty stable right now but they’re not very high. Hour still has plenty of room for price increases in its low overall value calculations. I think The Scorpion God and The Locust God should be able to bump up to at least as much as The Scarab God at around $13 or so.

Gifted Aetherborn is one heck of a card, but Vampires isn’t an archetype—or is it? Next up is a deck not named Vampires, but containing a bunch of them. Gifted Aetherborn may not have seen much play up until this point in Standard, but now it’s featured in both of these strategies I’m mentioning today.

There might be a couple copies left online under a buck, but that won’t last for long. This Aetherborn is destined for more and more competitive play in its still long life in Standard. The more play it sees the higher it will climb, but either way it’s worth pulling from bulk right now.

It should hold value even after it rotates out of the format as well. Casual players come in all the time asking me for Vampire Nighthawk and guess what I recommend right after they ask for that card. This uncommon has a lot going for it so hold onto some copies for sure.

If Drana weren’t rotating out of Standard in a month or so, I’d be all about that hype train. The same goes for the Eldrazi and this whole deck really. If you have these cards, I’d say this looks like a great option in the meta right now though. I think many of us have not processed yet that rotation is back with a vengeance.

Here in a little over a month we are losing four sets from Standard! We haven’t seen a rotation like this since before the two-block set rotation was installed. I for one couldn’t be more excited. I think the size of the format changing makes it more fun and interesting, so the huge shake up that’s about to occur is really a welcome breath of fresh air.

Because the format is kicking out so many cards though, I don’t plan on picking up anything from Battle for Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows over Innistrad, or Eldritch Moon until after they leave the format. Even Liliana, the Last Hope, which is a great investment, should wait until after rotation for you to acquire them. The same goes for the Eldrazi from this deck too.

One financial takeaway from this strategy has to be Glint-Sleeve Siphoner. This former bulk rare keeps jumping around the price market. I think with black creatures we need to keep in mind their creature type for increased playability, but Human is not the Vampire or Zombie we’re looking for. Maybe Humans will be more prominent in Ixalan though, and his ability definitely makes us want to play him for sure.

I’d wait until the hype calms down on Siphoner to snap them up. TCGplayer is still showing wacky market prices though, due to the super high shipping rates not affecting the pricing. Keep this fact in mind when pricing cards.

Lastly, I want to mention Deserts, but specifically Hostile Desert. This rare Desert could be key to stopping graveyard strategies in the upcoming new format. I know right now it’s quite useful against God-Pharaoh's Gift decks too, but its future potential is what I’m mainly concerned about.

Taking into consideration the crazy shipping prices, the actual cost of this land is $3-4. I think I need to reevaluate the prices in my store and that may be true of other stores in your area as well. This could make for some great opportunities, so keep your eyes open. Mispriced cards are always out there.

What are you guys most excited about for the new rotation schedule? Are you upset your deck is rotating out sooner than expected? Or are you looking forward to some actual new strategies and a new format? What cards do you think will suddenly become playable in the new format? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be back next week with hopefully some sweet spoiler info from the new set.

Until next time,
Unleash the Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter
MtgJedi on YouTube

3 thoughts on “Insider: Navigating Current Standard for Specs

  1. Am I missing something on Hostile Desert?

    You said “This rare Desert could be key to stopping graveyard strategies in the upcoming new format. I know right now it’s quite useful against God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks too, but its future potential is what I’m mainly concerned about.”

    But Hostile Desert doesn’t exile from opponent’s graveyards, and only exiles lands…what interaction am I missing? How is it key to stopping graveyard strategies?

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.

Quiet Speculation