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Finding Value in the New Standard

I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to type the following sentence any time soon but here it goes: Standard is a healthy and relatively diverse format again. As of late, I’ve been avoiding the topic of Standard and just fantasizing about eternal formats instead. After the latest bannings post Grand Finals, I’ve been taking a long hard look at the new Standard format and thinking about the potential value to be found there (with plenty of breaks to play Death and Taxes in Historic on Magic Arena).

After accidentally talking with Chroberry about the new Standard meta for way longer than we planned on our last QS Insider Podcast, I figured I should take a closer look at some of the movers and shakers popping up in the power vacuum left over after Omnath’s banning.

UB Control

Variations on blue-black control seem to be the most powerful and popular decks out of the gate when surveying the current metagame, with many of the decks running mill strategies involving Ruin Crab. Other versions stick to a more value-oriented package, having access to the best removal and counterspells currently in the format. No matter the style of control, the fact that these lists have gained popularity means there might be an opportunity for certain Standard cards that weren’t seeing much play seeing an increase in value.


One of the cards that has been played against me a lot on the Arena ladder recently is Ashiok, Nightmare Muse. The first time it hit the digital table across from me, I was honestly taken aback, forgetting about the once-hyped card from Theros: Beyond Death. After my initial moment of shock, I promptly lost to it. With Ashiok being backed up by excessive removal and counterspells, it turns out to be a hard card to beat. Initially being one of the more expensive cards to preorder from the Theros reboot, Ashiok eventually fell to the four to five dollar range, remaining there for most of 2020.

Now, most of the decks I have been seeing aren’t playing a full playset, like the rad UB list that O-danielakos took to a 5-0 finish in a Standard League on 10/19/20 on MTGO that only ran one copy, but it’s a super-powerful Mythic from a set that’s not really being opened, so I could see it starting to spike soon if these UB lists keep doing well on the ladder.


Another card that has consistently popular since the recent banning is Shark Typhoon from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. I’ve always thought Shark Typhoon was a neat card, but it never felt like it could find its place as a format staple. After the recent bannings though, it feels like Shark Typhoon is clawing its way to a top position in the meta, and its price is starting to reflect that.

It features as a four-of in the same list that O-danielakos played Ashiok in and other UB lists like it, while also showing up in lists like the Azorius Blink list that Heavenfall took to a 5-0 finish in a Standard League on MTGO on 10/15/20. If you don’t have your copies yet, it’s likely that you’ve missed out on getting them on the cheap. I think there’s still room to grow for the card, and if you want them to play while they’re still in Standard you should move quick!

Rakdos Midrange

I just realized after looking at my notes again that the next two cards we’re going to be talking about are also mythics from Theros: Beyond Death like Ashiok. It’s interesting to me that this set is starting to see more time in the sun all of a sudden! Ox of Agonas wasn’t really a card I was expecting to see much of anytime soon, but with UB and Rogues lists focusing on milling their opponents out, the mighty Ox has found a place in many lists that run red, slotting nicely into UB’s counter in the meta, Rakdos Midrange.


Copies of the Ox can still be had around the two-dollar mark, but if red decks continue seeing success while running it I could definitely see it rising in price. Most decks only seem to be running one or two copies, like the list that Montserrat Ayensa took to the 2020 Grand Season Finals that ran two copies, but if its popularity continues to rise I think a price increase wouldn’t be out of the question.


Speaking of cards that don’t mind going up against mill strategies, Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger is back in the limelight! Kroxa was everywhere before Cauldron Familiar’s banning, fading into obscurity for a bit during the heavy Omnath, Locus of Creation meta, but now that UB strategies have surged in favor Kroxa is starting to see plenty of more play and its price looks like it is creeping back up again as a result.

All of the Rakdos Midrange lists similar to Montserrat’s are running four copies and I’ve been running into our Elder Giant friend again with great frequency on the Arena ladder. I wouldn’t necessarily run out and try to speculate on copies at this point, but if you missed your chance to sell copies you were sitting on before the last time Kroxa fell out of favor, now or in the near future would be a good time to part with them if you’re not playing with them!

Other Hits

There’s plenty of other cards doing work in the new Standard format besides just pieces from the two of the top decks in the format right now, and one of them is a card I haven’t been able to shut up about for weeks.


The first time I wrote about Skyclave Apparation, you could get copies right around the two-dollar mark, and now copies are going for seven-plus dollars! A lot of the price increase is being driven by it being played more and more in eternal taxes styled decks, but if a Standard list has access to white there’s a good chance it’s playing Skyclave Apparition.

Azorious Blink lists like the one I mentioned earlier are all playing three to four copies, and I’ve been seeing it played in GW and BW lists of all kinds on the Arena ladder. The best time to pick up copies of this Apparition has passed, but I think if you can get in around seven dollars there’s still room for the card’s value to keep growing, especially if it keeps performing well in eternal formats.


Doom Foretold seems to be making a comeback in Standard, which isn’t something I was expecting! It’s not a huge part of the meta, but I’ve been running into more and more Doom Foretold lists on the ladder and the card seems to perform well in the new format we’ve found ourselves in since the banning.

The price for this card is at rock bottom right now, and I think it would be worth keeping an eye on if its popularity continues to rise! Plus, it’s a super fun card. I’ve been rocking this crazy Offspring’s Revenge list that Twitch user lordwillx shared with me during my last stream that features three copies of Doom Foretold, and it’s been a blast!

Well, friends, that’s it from me today! Have you had a chance to play much Standard since the newest bannings? What do you think of the format these days? Feel free to hit me up on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, or in the QS Discord any time if you’d like to chat! I hope you are all doing well and staying safe out there. Take care of each other – I’ll see you next week!

 

Post categories: Banning, Free, Standard, Zendikar Rising


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Joseph Davidson

Joseph Davidson

Joe is a writer and Magic player from Boise, Idaho. He's a Legacy Goblins player who also enjoys playing Modern and Pauper. When he's not looking at his extensive goblin collection, you can find him working in his local literary community or walking with his dog in the hills. You can find him @MTGJoeD on most social networks and streaming at twitch.tv/mtgjoed.

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