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Insider: Standard after the Bannings

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Hey, guys.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the potentials in Standard, but that was before I realized last week that certain Energy-related cards might get banned. You guys should by now about the latest changes to the banned list in Standard:

These bannings are pretty straightforward, targeting both Energy variants and Ramunap Red. The banning of [card]Attune with Aether[card] denies Energy its ability to fix its mana and removes the luxury to easily including a fourth color in the 75.

Let's first look at some top performing singles last week:

Previously, I talked about the potential for a Big Red appearance in Standard, with Rekindling Phoenix and Glorybringer in the deck. I've also talked about how good Phoenix can be in Standard, and now that the aggressive version of the red deck is weakened, I think what I said is going to happen. However, I didn't have the chance to talk about buying in to Phoenix before it increased by about 10 tickets from the price when it first hits the shelves. I hope you guys managed to grab some copies by observing the price increase during the first two days of RIX. It's best to wait for now if you didn't, as this is unlikely to increase further.

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner was another card I mentioned previously. If you guys in at the low point back then (around 3 tickets), now is the window to sell them off for great profit! As Temur Energy was killed off, Black-Green Winding Constrictor is making a comeback, and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner is a must-have component in black midrange decks currently. No doubt, this price spike was in response to the ban announcement and is likely to reverse after everyone gets their copies of Siphoner. Remember the golden rule of investment – sell into the hype. Please do it right now and don't be greedy.

Rogue Refiner was banned because of how good it was to at generating an advantage for little cost. Now we have Jadelight Ranger to replace Refiner's spot in green decks. Since RIX's release, the price of this card went up quickly to 11 tickets. I think this card is going to be one of the staples in Standard for the entire time it's in the format. Should one buy the card at this high point, though? Well, if you play online competitively, yes, you should buy this card if you're planning to play green any time soon, especially black-green. If you just want to invest in this card, its not the right time now, as I don't think a rare can go up much further from 11 tickets. The price will likely stabilize after one or two weeks, and maybe you'll be able to pick up copies slightly cheaper then.

Cards I Am Buying This Week

Hazoret is the best god in its cycle. Now that both the top-performing decks (Temur Energy and Ramunap Red) are weakened, I think Hazoret is the best card in Standard now. I'm speculating that some kind of Mardu/Red-White/Red-Black Vehicles deck featuring Hazoret will appear in the metagame to beat the decks full of removal, like Grixis Midrange and Blue-Black Control. Hazoret hits pretty hard and is hard to deal with once it resolves, and is at a relative low point in its price history. Therefore, I suggest buying copies of this mythic for investment.

Once again, I want to suggest buying Ripjaw Raptor. I think in the new Standard environment, this card is now better than Bristling Hydra now that Energy with green will be less consistent. With it being harder to collect energy for the Hydra, I predict that players will prefer a bigger body and the ability to draw cards, instead of the ability to occasionally gain hexproof. I have been thinking of a scenario where Hydra will be better than Raptor, but it seems like most of the time the Raptor is just a better option. The Hydra needs at least two activations to survive the fight against Raptor, while the Raptor is going to gain a card for its owner regardless of the outcome of the combat.

I am buying in to a couple copies of Vraska, Relic Seeker, mainly because I think the tokens deck is going to be good again. Although not as strong as Eslpeth, Sun's Champion, Vraska is similarly able to win games by taking control of the board. After Temur Energy and Ramunap Red disappeared, midrange and control decks becomes the top decks of the moment. Thus, I think it's time to bring back the tokens, as they are troublesome for those decks. Vraska doesn't only go in the tokens deck, as the Black-Green Winding Constrictor deck is also playing Vraska in its 75. At 10-11 tickets, I think its fine to buy a playset or two of Vraska for investment.

Cards I Would Not Buy This Week

Kumena is the new addition to Merfolk tribe. Last week, I talked about its potential in Modern and its interaction with Collected Company. However, at nearly 20 tickets, I think the price is too high and is probably temporary. If I were to buy this card, I would wait until it drops to 5 tickets. From a competitive point of view, I think there are better decks than Blue-Green Merfolk in Standard – for example, Grixis Midrange and Esper Approach – so even as a player, I still don't think it's advisable to buy this card.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance has increased by 6 tickets since RIX's release. This is mainly because of the Black-Red Midrange variants that performed well after the bannings. However, I think that this card is overrated, as Big Red and Mardu Vehicles variants will be able to deal with Chandra easily. Or perhaps I should put it this way: Chandra can't do anything very effective against cards like Rekindling Pheonix, Hazoret, the Fervent or Heart of Kiran. Once players figure out the best builds for aggro decks, midrange decks won't be as good anymore. Thus, I suggest you guys steer away from investing in Chandra this week – unless you really need it for games outside of the Standard format.


Alright, that’s all for the week. Thank you all for reading, and I will see you guys again soon!

–Adrian, signing out

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