About a month ago, I wrote about Standard rotation and the opportunities that come along with it. Now, Ixalan Standard is upon us, and I'm pretty sure everyone has been testing on the new cards with proxies or Cockatrice software etc.
First off, here's a brief summary on the decks that you will be expecting in the new Standard:
- Green-Red-X Dinosaurs with Ripjaw Raptor, Regisaur Alpha and Carnage Tyrant is the most straightforward creatures beatdown deck
- Blue-White Approach of the Second Sun
- Black-Green (potential splash blue) +1/+1 Counters/Energy
- Black-Red-X midrange/control decks
- God-Pharaoh's Gift variants
- Merfolks variants
- Pirates variants
- Ramunap Red (potential update with Vance's Blasting Cannons // Spitfire Bastion
Dinosaurs vs Sweepers
Let's talk about Dinosaurs first. These are the obvious best dinos from Ixalan with which everyone who is testing this deck will start with four of each. Carnage Tyrant is insane if the player gets to curve up into it. There are very few ways to deal with this uncounterable threat in the new format; six-toughness on the six-mana dinosaur is relevant, as it can't die to Hour of Devastation. Players will need to pack a few Fumigates or Hour of Revelations in order to deal with the Tyrant. Let's look at the sweepers available in the format.
The white sweepers are strictly better than the rest. Hour of Revelation is a card that has huge potential to increase in price in the future, the reason being its ability to deal with non-land permanents that can deal with artifacts (vehicles), enchantments (double-sided lands) and planeswalkers, especially when there's a new planeswalker legendary rule effective with the Ixalan release.
Bontu's Last Reckoning is slightly worst than the white sweepers because of its side-effect, but black decks will need to add something into their 75s to handle Dinosaurs. As for Hour of Devastatoin, certain red-based control decks might still use them, but it's not quite effective, as I said.
- Hour of Revelation: Current Buy Price: 0.1; Target Sell Price: 1.5; Profit Per copy: 1.4
- Fumigate: Current Buy Price: 2.6: Target Sell Price: 4.5; Profit Per Copy: 1.9
- Bontu's Last Reckoning: Current Buy Price: 0.7; Target Sell Price: 2; Profit Per Copy: 1.3
However, even if players pack the best sweepers, each have their weaknesses as well. Green creatures decks can have the following cards in their deck to counter or to follow up with after the sweep.
Heroic Intervention is an efficient way to psuedo-counter the sweepers from control decks. This card has seen play in some Black-Green Energy decks before, and its price has been fluctuating between 0.3 and 1 tickets. At its current price, I think its opportunity to stock up some copies as speculations.
Usually, the decks that play big creatures will have some amount of powerful one-ofs or planeswalkers that can help the pilot come back from sweepers. These big threats can resolve safely, because casting a sweeper requires most of the opposing player's mana to do so, and they typically can't have counterspell backup afterwards. The above are some of examples of potential includes from the Dinosaur decks post-rotation. Nissa, Vital Force is actually a very good card in the post-sweeper situation, as she can immediately deal five damage with her +1 ability, or return a Carnage Tyrant from the graveyard, which is a big problem for an opposing control player if they can't find another solution to the board.
- Nissa, Vital Force: Current Buy Price: 2.3; Target Sell Price: 5; Profit Per Copy: 2.7
Black-Red-X Midrange Decks
The new set provides midrange lovers some powerful tools to take control of the game. Duress is one of the best card being reprinted in Ixalan, in part because Spell Pierce is also being reprinted. Being able to strip a counterspell, clearing the way for your planeswalker, is very important. Let's look at some of the removal and disruption spells from Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks that we can possibly investing in:
These cards are the most commonly used cards in black and red decks. Currently, they are all very cheap on MTGO. Harnessed Lightning is an interesting card in terms of investing on online singles, as the price fluctuates a lot depending on popularity of energy decks even though it's only an uncommon card. Its price has reached 0.8 tickets multiple times in the past six months. My suggestion on this card is: whenever you have leftover credits on any of the bots online, just pick up a few copies of Harnessed Lightning and put them into your speculation binder.
For Never // Return, I predict it will go up in popularity if there are more black decks post-rotation. This is a card that I think will be included as a "hit all" card during the first and second weeks of Ixalan Standard, with a little bit of graveyard hate on the aftermath side.
- Cut // Ribbons: Current Buy Price: 0.17; Target Sell Price: 0.75; Profit Per Copy: 0.58
- Harnessed Lightning: Current Buy Price: 0.14; Target Sell Price: 0.75: Profit Per Copy: 0.61
- Never // Return: Current Buy Price: 0.4; Target Sell Price: 1.2; Profit Per copy: 0.8
Nahiri, the Harbinger is sometimes played in Modern decks that want to cheat Emrakul into play. With its price at about 5 tix right now, I think we can start putting this card on our watch list just in case she drops some more.
- Nahiri, the Harbinger: Target Buy Price: 3.5; Target Sell Price: 10; Profit Per Copy: 6.5
Liliana, the Last Hope is currently at her low point. I'm not sure whether this card will go lower than 21 tickets, but now is a good chance to buy some copies for investment. The Last Hope is usually played in midrange decks like Jund and Grixis to deal with one-toughness creatures like Lingering Souls tokens, Ignoble Hierarch and Birds of Paradise. With the new planeswalker legendary rule, she can pair with Liliana of the Veil to deal with almost every creature threat in the format.
- Liliana, the Last Hope: Current Buy Price: 20.8; Target Sell Price: 40; Profit Per Copy: 19.2
Now let's look at some cards that we discussed before. One of the card is Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. The last time I wrote about Kalitas, he was about 8 tix. Now it's half its previous price and has hit the target price mentioned in my previous write up:
Consistent with my earlier comments, I now suggest to investing in Kalitas on the basis of his play in Modern. The target sell price remains the same.
- Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet: Target Buy Price: 4; Target Sell Price: 10; Profit Per Copy: 6
Traverse the Ulvenwald was 0.45 ticket the last time I talked about it. Now, it's even lower, so if you haven't picked up any of these, I think you should get some just in case. A one-mana creature/land tutor can be really good in Modern.
- Traverse the Ulvenwald: Current Buy Price: 0.34; Target Sell Price 3; Profit Per Copy: 2.66
World Breaker has reached its all-time low point. This card is seen in some version of Tron decks in Modern. The ability to exile a land from the opponent's board while having the Tron-lands' mana advantage is something very broken in Modern. I think the price of this card has not reached it's absolute bottom yet, so let's set a target for this card. Once the price hits our target, we can probably buy some for long-term specs.
- World Breaker: Target Buy Price: 0.5; Target Sell Price: 3; Profit Per Copy: 2.5
Similar to World Breaker, this card sometimes see play in Modern Tron, or even Jund Midrange sideboards, to deal with Etched Champion. It will probably be useful in Modern at some point in the future.
- Kozilek's Return: Target Buy Price: 1.2; Target Sell Price: 5; Profit Per Copy: 3.8
Alright, that's all for this week. Hope you all have nice prerelease and release weekends. I'll see you guys again next time!
–Adrian, signing out.