Insider: Top 10 Ixalan Standard Specs

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You read the title. Once in a while, we could all could all use a little less fluff. So let’s jump right into what you clicked here for: the specs!

10. Captain Lannery Storm

I know Captain Lannery Storm has seen some play in Ramunap Red, but I still think she’s underappreciated and undervalued. The ability to cast your spell while all of your lands are tapped is not something that should go unnoticed. It’s extremely powerful when your opponent thinks you’re tapped out and you use your Treasures to kill their guy as well as pump Lannery. She also let’s you skimp on lands a bit, because her Treasures will help you cast all your spells quicker.

Finally, at barely over a buck, I think she has some room to grow if she finds a home in Standard. Personally I’ve been loving her in a red-blue Pirates deck I’ve been working on. Maybe I’ll share some competitive info next week regarding my testing of the format as well.

9. Metallic Mimic

Okay, okay, I know this isn’t a super hot spec or anything and it’s one of the cards that’s popped up a bit lately, but it’s a super important one in Standard right now. This one of the best cards to have in your trade binder. Mimic is great for casual players but it’s still great for competitive players as well.

We’ve seen Mimic be relevant in Standard in Zombies pre-rotation. I think Mimic is about to break out in Standard again. I’ve been testing it in the previously mentioned UR Pirates and it has performed well over my expectations. Mimic is the lord that every tribe is looking for. Granted it would be great to have an additional lord as good as Lord of the Accursed, but we’ll use what we have.

If Mimic breaks out in Standard again, with its already rising trajectory, it could jump up towards $20. There is definitely room in Aether Revolt for some expensive cards. As it is right now, Mimic is the second most expensive card in the set. There aren’t even any mythics over $10 in the whole set! If a mythic broke out from Aether Revolt, it would most likely skyrocket in price. More on that with our next spot in this Top 10.

8. Tezzeret the Schemer

Originally I was going to put Aethersphere Harvester on this list, but it pairs well with my number-eight choice, Tezzeret the Schemer. Like I was saying with Metallic Mimic, Aether Revolt has a ton of room for financial growth. Tezzeret the Schemer is a great example because, just on the rumor that he might be good in an artifact deck, Tezz increased a couple dollars.

If a real deck emerges with actual tournament results, he will seriously jump though. Right now he’s a little over $7 but with the build-around-me design, I guarantee he would double right away with any good finish. The strength of UB Control leads me to believe a synergy-based deck like this would be drastically overwhelmed, but hopefully I’m wrong because the archetype sounds like so much fun.

There are tons of ways to make Treasures from Ixalan. I wonder whether combining treasures with Tezzeret could be one way to build your deck. Could we even see a deck win with Revel in Riches!?

7. Prowling Serpopard

The best kept secret from Amonkhet and Egyptian mythology has got to be Prowling Serpopard. Initially I hated the design of this ridiculous monstrosity. A cat and lizard hybrid!? Come on, really? Then I found out the this was an actual creature in the Egyptian mythos and my perspective changed. Weird how that happens sometimes.

Serpopard has been an all star for me in green decks pre- and post-rotation. I put together RG Gods (plus Dinosaurs) for fun, and it turned out to be pretty good. I’ve been testing it versus control decks and Temur Energy with good results. Serpopard maindeck gets around all of the blue counters regardless of which ones they’re playing. This card completely throws off control because they never expect it maindeck.

I think even Temur Energy could play this uncounterable creature, but maybe in the sideboard due to deck constraints. Even if that doesn’t happen, I think it pairs extremely well with Dinosaurs and should easily increase above the minuscule $2 price point it currently holds. I’ve found this card to bring me some critical wins and be difficult for an opponent to deal with. They must remove it or they can’t counter any of your other creatures.

6. Tocatli Honor Guard

Next up is a card you most likely didn’t see coming. Tocatli Honor Guard, aka Torpor Orb with legs. We all know Torpor Orb is great in Modern as a sweet sideboard card, so why is it not great in Standard as a creature? Well, it actually is great. Think about all the creatures with abilities that this 1/3 will shut down. Earthshaker Khenra, Regisaur Alpha, and Hostage Taker are some great examples of cards that Honor Guard will preemptively neuter.

The catch is that you can’t be playing any of those sweet cards yourself. I think that’s a fine price to pay and I’m working on a deck utilizing this hoser as well, but it may be too high a price for some players. Personally, I love cards like this that force the opponent to play the game in a different way than they were planning. That’s why I love Legacy Eldrazi so much.

Even as a Modern or Legacy card, I think Honor Guard has a ton of potential. You can’t really go wrong with this bulk rare because it can’t get any lower. Your potential payoff is decent with this card too, so grab a play set or two at the bottomed-out price.

5. Combat Celebrant

One toughness but four power, all for three mana, wouldn’t be enough to make this guy playable, but the additional combat step that Combat Celebrant offers you is crazy good. Some of the time you will just be playing a three-mana 4/1, but other times you’ll be wrecking your opponent with multiple combat steps.

I think Combat Celebrant could be good in multiple strategies. Ramunap Red could use multiple combat steps for sure. I’ve been playing it alongside Dinosaurs for some giant attack phases.

This is another barely above-bulk pick but this one is a mythic too! Cards like this that are low investment are great targets because when they blow up, your margin is super high but if they never do, your investment is quite low.

4. Samut, the Tested

Planeswalkers used to run by the rule of a minimum sell price of $5 and a minimum buy price of $3. I loved those days. In this era of Magic, we are well below those standards. Samut, the Tested has gained a little value and is almost back up to the 5-3 marks but was below that pre-rotation.

In all my testing of this sweet Standard format—not the current "best" decks but the ones I think look fun—I’ve tried out Samut. After playing with her, I was pleasantly surprised. I added her into Dinosaurs as a cute card-drawing engine with Ripjaw Raptor. I’ve still never had them in play at the same time to ping Ripjaw and my opponent, but even so, she’s performed well above expectations.

Basically, here’s how it goes: you don’t want too many copies of Samut in your deck because you’d like a stable board to play her on. Once the board is stable, she makes your opponent’s life miserable. You can just attack with your underpowered guys into theirs because if they block, the -2 for two damage can finish off any remaining damage. Also, you can activate the +1 to force your opponent into chump-blocking mode. I also run Key to the City (which probably could have made this list as well), which allows you to kill your opponent from nowhere in combination with Samut.

$5 isn’t as low as Samut can go because we’ve seen her below that number, but it’s close. I think there’s a lot of opportunity for her to be good during her time in Standard though.

3. Blooming Marsh & Concealed Courtyard

Botanical Sanctum has recently increased in value, though not up to the heights of Spirebluff Canal. Remember, though, that this cycle of lands are Modern-playable and a great investment for the long term. Lands in general have not advanced in price as we in the finance community imagined they would, but they will always still be desirable.

I chose Blooming Marsh and Concealed Courtyard for this list because I think they are likely to make headway in Standard now or around the release of the next set. They could easily jump to the $6 mark of Botanical Sanctum or even the $8+ of Spirebluff Canal with enough tournament results behind them. Either way, lands from Kaladesh are a great investment and I regret selling the few I did.

2. Scrapheap Scrounger

Scrapheap Scrounger, where have you been in Standard!? Did we forget about the most annoying recursive threat the format has to offer? In the last format, I played Magma Spray or another exile spell specifically to deal with this card that never went away. What happened to Scrapheap in this new format?

Once we figure out where Scrapheap Scrounger belongs, there should be some growth there. Honestly I don’t know what deck to play this card in either. But it’s too good to sit on the sidelines forever, especially with so many control decks floating around the format.

1. Ashes of the Abhorrent

At number one on the list is a new graveyard-hate card, Ashes of the Abhorrent. I understand that this card does a specific thing and most of the time should be a sideboard card. However, the best card in Standard, The Scarab God, is a graveyard-based card! We all have access to this bulk rare as a direct counter with little to no way to remove it once it’s in play. If you take away Scarab’s graveyard ability, you’re left with a five-mana 5/5 that’s not scary at all. This has to be one of the best kept secrets in the format. Again, it’s a bulk rare, so low investment but high reward ceiling.

Additional benefits include being able to make your Horse army larger on your opponent’s turn once you have a Crested Sunmare in play. Also, you can hose opponents playing God-Pharaoh's Gift or Liliana, Death's Majesty.

I hoped you liked this list of Standard specs. I don’t think a lot of people in the finance community are on most of these cards, so hopefully I brought up some great ideas for you guys. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Until next time,
Unleash the Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter
MtgJedi on YouTube

3 thoughts on “Insider: Top 10 Ixalan Standard Specs

  1. Someone correct me if I’m wrong…but I don’t think Ashes of the Abhorrent stops either the Scarab God or God-Pharaoh’s Gift. The way it’s worded it seems to explicitly ONLY stop the abilities of cards in graveyards, NOT the abilities of cards on the battlefield that can target cards in the Graveyard. As neither of those cards “casts” the card in the graveyard nor does it grant the card in the graveyard an ability…

    1. That’s correct. Ashes of the Abhorrent stops nothing relevant in Standard. God-Pharaoh’s Gift and The Scarab God get around It stops Embalm and Eternalize, and that’s about it.

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