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Insider: Using Magic Online to Predict the Future of Ixalan Standard

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Magic Online can be an excellent barometer of what’s going on in a metagame, and this information can be used to make good decisions about the paper market. Ixalan was released online this past Monday, and it’s already legal for Constructed play, which means the post-rotation metagame is already developing. There are decklists available, so it’s possible to see what new cards are being used and what older cards have become more important. Taking a look at how many trophies players with new decks have earned in their leagues provides some further insight into what’s on top. There has also been plenty of price movement on various Standard cards, and the cards in high demand online could predict paper movements once the paper metagame catches up.

The biggest news in the metagame is the arrival of Dinosaurs, which looks like a very real deck given that multiple players have scored 5-0 finishes with Red/Green builds. These decks play all the cards one would expect, but it’s notable that all the decklists include a playset of Deathgorge Scavenger. With its potential for repeatable lifegain, the card looks excellent against a Mono-Red heavy metagame and is likely to be a staple of all Dinosaur decks going forward, so its price has a lot of potential. Its online price has has risen from under a ticket to nearly three since release, with most of that gain in the last day, and is on a trajectory to an even higher price. Paper copies at $2 are beginning to look like a bargain.


Dinosaur decks are including Vance's Blasting Cannons // Spitfire Bastion in the sideboard, and it’s appeared in the sideboards of both Temur Energy decks and Mono-Red aggro decks since rotation. Being included in three of the very best decks in the metagame could mean high demand, so its price under $3 could rise.


White-Blue Approach of the Second Sun decks were expected to be a part of the Ixalan metagame because they held up very well through rotation, and early results show that with a new tool in Settle the Wreckage the deck is positioned to excel. One player with a 5-0 White-Blue list has three league 5-0 trophies, tied for the most, and likely all with the same deck. Settle the Wreckage has moved up to over 3 tix online, and at $2.50 the paper price looks low if the deck catches on with a wider audience.


Another card relevant to Approach of the Second Sun decks is Hour of Revelation, which has been included in a 5-0 decklist. It’s a powerful sweeper that will shine in a midrange format against decks like Dinosaurs and Black-Green that play a mix of creatures, planeswalkers, and other problem permanents, and at under $1 it has to rise if it catches on with more White-Blue players.


Tezzeret the Schemer fell to under $3, but renewed interest has cause a spike that doubled it to $6, and I can see more upside. There is renewed interest in the card due to its synergy with Treasure tokens, which also work well with Improvise. The card is being used in Grixis Improvise decks, and if the deck proves it’s top-tier then we’ll see its pieces rise.


Another component of the deck to consider is Herald of Anguish, which is pushing $4 and its all-time high, while the paper price has sagged to an all-time low of just $2.


The best mechanic in Standard is still energy, and it’s one of the top performers in the early days of the online metagame. Temur Energy is still the most popular energy deck, but players are also using Electrostatic Pummeler variants. With the banning of Aetherworks Marvel, the energy sink is now the most broken energy card in Standard, so it makes sense that it might be part of one of the best decks in Standard. There are the usual Red-Green versions full of pump spells and an aggressive slant, but there’s also a new Green-Blue version that is more combo oriented. Trophy Mage is used to find Electrostatic Pummeler, and the new Dive Down gives the blue version a new way to protect it.


At just over half a dollar Electrostatic Pummeler would see a rise if the deck truly becomes top-tier, but another possible spec is Nissa, Steward of Elements, another way for the deck to find its combo piece that is being used as a two-of, and is at an all-time low of $6.


A key card for all energy decks is Bristling Hydra, so its hard for me to understand that the paper price is just $2. Its price has been slowly and steadily rising for months, and I see this pace accelerating.


Aethersphere Harvester has seen a spike online that brought its price from 2 tix to 5 over the course of the week, and its paper price under $2 could follow behind it because the artifact is applicable to every creature deck and is fantastic against the top Mono-Red deck.

–Adam

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