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Standard Winners from the Bannings and Rivals of Ixalan

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The bannings of Attune with Aether, Rogue Refiner, Ramunap Red, and Ramping Ferocidon in Standard have massive implications for the metagame, and in turn, the market. The release of Rivals of Ixalan  is another major factor in the metagame, and thus in determining demand for cards. The impact of both of these factors together means the market needs to be reassessed, because there is potential for profits on cards that are suddenly much more important than they were before.

There have already been some notable price increases, which I’ll cover today by explaining the metagame factors behind the movement, and by exploring related cards that have the potential to rise for the same reasons. I’ll also analyze which cards have seen major gains on Magic Online, because that insight into the heads of players will help predict metagame changes and reveal what paper cards might follow their lead and see large increases.


A huge gainer this week has been Search for Azcanta // Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin. It bottomed out just above $10 at the end of the year, and had risen to $13 by Monday before spiking to $18 as of Thursday. The bannings have been a boon to control strategies, including Approach of the Second Sun decks and Blue-Black Control, and Search for Azcanta // Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin is an essential part of their strategy, so it’s no surprise the card is seeing increased demand. The card has also been performing in Modern, where it’s an essential part of the Jeskai Control deck that took both finals spots in the last SCG Modern Open, and it’s even being used in Legacy in the White-Blue Miracles deck, so there’s a lot of long-term potential as well.

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Another key control card, Torrential Gearhulk grew by 25 percent online this week, up over 17 tix, while the paper version has just started to trend upward to $12 after hitting a bottom just over $11, its all-time-low since its first spike after release. There seem to be money to be made on the card, which could head back over $20 like it has multiple times before when it was at the top of the metagame.

Some further plays to cash-in on the control trend are Approach of the Second Sun, Settle the Wreckage, and Fumigate, as well as Disallow and Vraska's Contempt, all of which have seen large gains online.


The banning of Rogue Refiner hasn’t knocked Temur Energy out of the picture, because a post-ban version has already put up a league 5-0 online. Replacing its banned three-drop was a set of Jadelight Ranger, which is also being used in Black-Green Winding Constrictor, which has also put up a 5-0, and various Merfolk decks. Value-generating green midrange creatures have held a pivotal role in Standard for years, and Jadelight Ranger seems to be the newest incarnation.


Jadelight Ranger’s presence in many decks means there are a lot of options for related buys, but the biggest winner seems to be Verdurous Gearhulk, which goes hand-in-hand with the card in Winding Constrictor decks. It has the potential to become a top-tier deck and spike the price of the mythic, which has seen its price fall to an all-time low below $5, but is now trending upwards, and has already increased online from below 2 tix to over 3.


One of the biggest paper gainers this week has been Regisaur Alpha, which is up $4 from $3, and from just over $2 a week before that. Dinosaurs has gained a lot of support and may now be competitive, and a 5-0 league list is a strong sign that it could be the real deal.




Some related cards to consider include Ripjaw Raptor, which is up to almost $5 from $4 a week ago, and Deathgorge Scavenger, which has seen its price sag below $4, but is now better than ever because the banning of Ramping Ferocidon means it’s the clear best three-drop for Red-Green Dinos, and it’s lifegain trigger is no longer being hosed by Mono-Red opponents.


The strongest price of Rivals of Ixalan is being commanded by Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca, and it has elevated the rest of the Merfolk along with it. Kopala, Warden of Waves is up from $2 to over $2.50 this week, and from $1 at the new year, and looks to be a nice support card for the tribe.


Any of the other Merfolk could be good buys, so a card like Kumena's Speaker, which is only $0.30, seems to have nowhere to go but up, and could easily sell for $1 this season, and even more down the road as it enters the realm of Modern staple.


The banning of Rampaging Ferocidon took a weight off the shoulders of tokens strategies, which are now back in the picture as a competitive option. Anointed Procession saw a huge spike online, while Legion's Landing // Adanto, the First Fort is trending upwards online and in paper.


Abzan tokens was the most successful before, and has put up a 5-0 league finish already, so a card from that deck I am eyeing is Vraska, Relic Seeker, which is down to an all-time low of $12, but could potentially head back towards the price over $25 it commanded when Abzan Tokens was all the rage.


Grixis Energy never quite made the big time, but it was competitive, and it looks a lot better now that green energy has received a major blow. Glint-Sleeve Siphoner has more than doubled online since the announcement, up from under 3 tix to 6, and was only 1.5 tix a few days before that, so this massive growth, plus a league 5-0 already in the bag, is a great sign that the $3 paper price of the card will follow.


A very notable online gainer in the day after the announcement was Heart of Kiran, a staple of the Mardu Vehicles deck that at one time was a legitimate option in the Temur Energy/Mono-Red metagame, and is suddenly back in the picture, and could even replace Mono-Red as the best aggressive deck. It has almost doubled online this week, from 4.4 tix to nearly 8, so the paper price, which is at an all-time-low under $6, looks like a great buy given its former high above $25. Some associated picks are Concealed Courtyard and Inspiring Vantage, which have also approximately doubled online this week.

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Scrapheap Scrounger is also appealing, given that is has spiked online but is at its paper all-time-low under $1.

-Adam

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