We continue to dive deeper into the Standard metagame this week with three Standard tournaments. This weekend there was a Star City Games Open in Minneapolis, MN, in addition to Grand Prix Stockholm. We can’t discount the Legacy being played on Sunday at the Star City Open, so I will cover that as well. In addition, this weekend also featured the TCGPlayer MaxPoint Series $50,000 Championship tournament, which gives us even more data on the new Standard format.
Finally, this weekend also included an event called Eternal Weekend. This is a series of tournaments that is hosted once per year in Philadelphia, PA, that has both a Legacy Championship and Vintage Championship tournament back to back on Saturday and Sunday. Keep in mind, the Vintage Championships is sanctioned, so all players are playing with real Moxen, [card]Black Lotus[/card]es, [card]Time Walk[/card]s, and [card]Ancestral Recall[/card]s, which I think is pretty insane.
That’s a lot of information to cover! Let’s start with GP Stockholm.
Grand Prix Stockholm – Stockholm, SE
Format – Standard
Since the format is so wide open for Standard at this point, I don’t think there is much difference between the European and American metagames just yet—I think many of the Standard lists are going to be similar to what we’ve seen already over the past month.
That being said, the winner of the tournament was a Jeskai list piloted by Matej Zatlkaj, which was based on Sean McLaren’s build at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir—but with a few twists. Still included in the deck are your [card]Seeker of the Way[/card], [card]Mantis Rider[/card], and [card]Goblin Rabblemaster[/card], along with the burn package of [card]Magma Jet[/card], [card]Lightning Strike[/card], [card]Jeskai Charm[/card], and [card]Stoke the Flames[/card]. Different cards include [card]Brimaz, King of Orekos[/card], [card]Ashcloud Phoenix[/card], and a lack of [card]Dig Through Time[/card] (only one was in the decklist). Instead, there are one-ofs, [card]Gods Willing[/card] and [card]Banishing Light[/card], which seemed like they helped, since Zatlkaj won the tournament.
Good picks from this list include [card]Temple of Triumph[/card], which was found as a playset and is worth $4.75 (all prices cited in this article are based on TCGplayer mid). [card]Temple of Epiphany[/card] is worth $11.30 and is also a playset in the deck. There are probably more Triumphs than Epiphanys out there, given that Ephiphany is from Journey, but Temple of Triumph still seems like a good pickup to me if you can get copies for $4 or less. I think Temple of Triumph only has room to grow over the next few months with Jeskai being a very popular deck.
The second place deck was Temur Aggro, which is something to note because we haven’t really seen many Temur decks do that well at large-scale events yet. This Temur Aggro deck had playsets of [card]Savage Knuckblade[/card], [card]Polukranos, World Eater[/card], [card]Rattleclaw Mystic[/card], and [card]Boon Satyr[/card]. Boon Satyr is less than $1 right now, which means that it could be a good speculation target going into the winter, especially if Temur Aggro starts getting more popular. [card]Savage Knuckleblade[/card] is also an appealing pickup if you can get copies for less than $3. I believe that [card]Rattleclaw Mystic[/card] doesn’t have much room to climb, so wait until the market is flooded before you move on the Mystic. [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card] and [card]Crater’s Claws[/card] have shown up in the deck similar to previous lists. I think you should get in on these cards before they start moving up in price.
The rest of the Top 8 included Abzan Midrange, two Golgari Constellation (BG Devotion) decks, another copy of Jeskai Tempo, Red Deck Wins, and Sultai Aggro.
The BG Devotion decks were slightly different in build. Lukas Blohon opted to go with a more consistent list that did not include [card]See the Unwritten[/card], while Matteo Cirigliano opted to cut a few creatures in order to include three See the Unwritten and an additional copy of [card]Whip of Erebos[/card]. Cirigliano was also more focused on the [card]Doomwake Giant[/card] endgame, since Blohon only included two Doomwake Giants and instead tried out [card]Brain Maggot[/card] and Pharika in the main deck. I’m not sure which version is better, but [card]See the Unwritten[/card] still looks good to me at $4 or less because the B/G devotion decks are trying to make it work, and with some success.
Sultai Aggro, also known as the “Sidisi-Whip” deck, since it included playsets of both [card]Sidisi, Brood Tyrant[/card] and [card]Whip of Erebos[/card], tries to get more advantage from a longer game and pseudo-dredge attrition. It looks like the Sidisi-Whip deck is finally a real deck, so Whip of Erebos could be worth picking up at less than $2 if it continues to do well. [card]Sagu Mauler[/card] also appeared in this deck, with two copies in the main deck and one in the sideboard. This seems like a great casual card in addition to being tournament playable. I think getting Maulers for $1 or less is a good pickup.
Star City Games: Minneapolis, MN (USA) – Standard
Format – Standard
Next we have the SCG Open in Minneapolis, another Standard event that happened the past weekend. The winner of this tournament was Andrew Johnson, piloting Jeskai Aggro. Another win for Jeskai! His version was more control-oriented, so the aggro part of the name is somewhat of a misnomer. His only creatures were four [card]Goblin Rabblemaster[/card], four [card]Mantis Rider[/card], and two [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card]. He was also main-decking two [card]Anger of the Gods[/card] with one in the board. He opted to play [card]Banishing Light[/card], similar to Matej Zatlkaj in Stockholm. There isn’t much financially relevant info based on the deck that hasn’t been mentioned before.
Second place went to Jeremy Bylander, who was piloting UW Control, a new archetype that we haven’t seen in a Top 8 list yet. Things to note in this deck are four main-deck [card]End Hostilities[/card], which has usually been a sideboard card in decks where we’ve seen it. However, the UW Control list wants to play it main deck to ensure the ability to wipe the board. [card]Prognostic Sphinx[/card] and [card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/card] are the win conditions, but unfortunately, there is not a lot financially relevant there. If Prognostic Sphinx does go up in price, I don’t think it will go beyond $3. [card]Devouring Light[/card] is a card used in the deck that hasn’t been seen yet.
This UW Control deck used a lot of commons and uncommons so I wanted to know the price of the deck as a whole. If you want to play this deck, it will set you back $345. Pretty cheap for a Standard control deck right now.
The other decks rounding out the Top 8 include two copies of Abzan Midrange, GR Monsters, Mardu Midrange, another copy of Jeskai Aggro, and Temur Monsters. Abzan and Jeskai have been beaten to death at this point, so let’s take a look at the other decks.
Xenagos appeared in the GR Monsters list, which means he is still relevant in Standard. [card]Butcher of the Horde[/card] and [card]Sorin, Solemn Visitor[/card] appeared as three-ofs in Mardu Midrange, in addition to three [card]Chained to the Rocks[/card], which is looking like it will be played in the Mardu decks throughout Theros Standard. [card]Hordeling Outburst[/card] was a playset in this deck, which means that your Butchers can continue to be fed and your Goblin Rabblemaster will be extra pumped. Finally, Temur Monsters played the full playset of [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card] and [card]Savage Knuckblade[/card], which to me signals that they will continue to see Standard play throughout their lifetimes. Also, [card]Crater’s Claws[/card] appeared in both the G/R list and Temur Monsters list. That makes me even more excited to pick up copies at $1 or less.
TCGPlayer Maxpoint Series $50,000 Championship (Indianapolis, IN – USA)
Format – Standard
Yet another Standard tournament, the TCGPlayer Maxpoint Series $50,000 Championship was taken down by Mardu Midrange. You know, I really am disappointed that some form of Jeskai couldn’t pull a hat trick this weekend and take down all three large Standard tournaments. Guess Jeskai can’t have it all.
Not only did the winning deck, which was piloted by Andrew Baeckstrom, take down the tournament but second place was also a Mardu Midrange list, in addition to a third placing in the Top 8. Let’s take a look at the numbers of cards these decks played.
[deck title=Number of Copies Among Three Mardu Midrange Decks]
7 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
6 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
4 Wingmate Roc
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
12 Bloodstained Mire
12 Butcher of the Horde
12 Crackling Doom
12 Goblin Rabblemaster
9 Battlefield Forge
9 Chained to the Rocks
9 Temple of Triumph
6 Caves of Koilos
6 Temple of Silence
12 Hordeling Outburst
12 Nomad Outpost
11 Seeker of the Way
3 Murderous Cut
2 Magma Jet
12 Lightning Strike
Apparently Brad Nelson was right: [card]Hordeling Outburst[/card] is indeed a card. If this token maker, along with the other pieces of the Mardu Midrange deck, was able to put three people into the Top 8 of a tournament, then Mardu is something I definitely want to keep an eye on moving into the future. Twelve copies of [card]Butcher of the Horde[/card] were played across all three decks, combining with Rabblemaster and Butcher to create some great game states for the Mardu player.
[card]Wingmate Roc[/card] isn’t played as much in these decks as it is in Abzan which is ironic since it has a Mardu watermark. Again, [card]Chained to the Rocks[/card] keeps showing up in these Mardu lists, so if you think you are going to play Mardu, you should pick up some of these for bulk since it will only get rarer once Theros stops getting printed.
Outside of Mardu, we have RG Midrange, Temur Midrange, and [card]Jeskai Ascendency[/card] Combo showing up in the Top 8, along with (of course) two Abzan Midrange decks. Again let’s talk about the non-Abzan decks.
The RG Midrange deck was interesting. It played four [card]Chord of Calling[/card] in addition to three [card]Setessan Tactics[/card] in the main deck, both of which combo with the four [card]Hornet Nest[/card]s the deck played. It was certainly an interesting build based on the surprise factor, since I’m sure not many people saw the Nest / Tactics combo coming. However, this can easily be played around if you’re aware of it. I don’t think either of these cards is going to see a substantial increase from the results, unless of course this combo is the real deal and I’m just not seeing it. Also present were two copies of [card]Nissa, Worldwaker[/card] in the main deck—she hasn’t been forgotten about yet, even though her results in Standard decks have been dwindling. Still, she hasn’t budged from around $35 regardless of the amount of play she has been seeing. Hold your copies for now, since I think she could still see play from time to time in Standard over her life.
The different part of this Temur build was that it was playing four [card]Ashcloud Phoenix[/card]es in the main deck, which is something to note if you like the card. Ashcloud has room to drop, but in the Standard of next year it could be quite the bomb. I will be targeting this card once the Khans lull hits us in anticipation of its play next Standard season. For now, pick them up if you want to play with them. However, I would not go too deep on the card.
Lastly, I want to mention the Jeskai Ascendency combo deck. There’s nothing new to note here, it is pretty much the list from the Pro Tour, however Jeskai Ascendency itself has taken a real dive from the $10 Pro Tour spike it experienced. It is back around $3, I guess because people have anticipated its banning in Modern for some reason? Either that or they know how to play well against it in order to beat it in Modern? Not sure, but I would stay away from Jeskai Ascendency for a while. Wait for more copies to hit the market and the price to stabilize a bit more.
Star City Games: Minneapolis, MN (USA) – Legacy
Format – Legacy
Alright, we’ve finally gotten to the Legacy parts of the weekend. First up is the SCG Legacy Open in Minneapolis. Jeskai Delver (which, if you don’t know, is just the new name for what was previously American Delver), piloted by Anthony Leen, took down the event. Again, the only new thing is [card]Treasure Cruise[/card], which showed up as a three-of in the deck. Another thing to note is that [card]Meddling Mage[/card] was in the deck’s sideboard as a playset and is currently around $6. The Meddler seems to be popping up more and more in Legacy lists these days, and has gone from $2 to $6 over the last year, but it still has room to grow as long as it is not reprinted. The Modern implications are also present, but I feel like it can die much easier in that format.
Second place went to Miracles, which isn’t really that shocking. What is interesting is that this Miracles build played the [card]Helm of Obedience[/card]/[card]Rest in Peace[/card] combo in the main deck to kill people in one shot (essentially one shot—they would still have an untap step the following turn). Another interesting observation is that the deck played three copies of [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card] in the sideboard. Both inclusions are not something you see in every Miracles build.
Third and fourth place were quite interesting. These spots went to Lands and Slivers respectively. Lands is definitely a pet deck, so even though cards like [card]Mox Diamond[/card] made an appearance again, I’m not sure if they are financially relevant quite yet. The win for Lands includes the [card]Thespian’s Stage[/card]/[card]Dark Depths[/card] combo while using the [card]Grove of the Burnwillows[/card]/[card]Punishing Fire[/card] synergy to help out with controlling the board until you get a Marit Lage token.
Slivers was the spiciest deck of this tournament. This version was a spin on the classic Counter Slivers strategy, playing [card]Force of Will[/card] and [card]Daze[/card] in addition to [card]Aether Vial[/card] and a ton of cheap slivers for value. It’s essentially another version of Merfolk, but with cheaper lords and better lord effects like [card]Crystalline Sliver[/card]’s “All slivers have shroud” or [card]Hibernation Sliver[/card]’s ability to save any of your slivers from death or exile at the cost of two life per sliver.
[card]Cavern of Souls[/card] and [card]Sliver Hive[/card] really make this four-color sliver deck’s mana smooth—the deck doesn’t even play any [card]City of Brass[/card] or [card]Mana Confluence[/card]! The four-color deck even played four [card]Mutavault[/card]s, which appears to be super greedy. The only financially relevant item from this deck is foil [card]Sliver Hive[/card], which can be had for $10 from TCGplayer. I think that is a fine buy-in price for foils of this land. I only see Sliver Hive gaining popularity in the future from casuals and potential Legacy enthusiasts that have a Slivers pet deck.
The rest of the Top 8 included U/R Painter, Storm, Reanimator, and U/R Delver—all decks that have been in the recent metagame in some form or another. Nothing much financially relevant in any of these decks right now.
Eternal Weekend – Legacy Championship (Philadelphia, PA – USA)
Format – Legacy
The Eternal Weekend Legacy Championship also happened this weekend. U/R Delver took down the event, piloted by Kevin Jones. Nothing new financially relevant here, except that maybe [card]Treasure Cruise[/card] could be banned during the next update. I’m not saying it should or shouldn’t, but I can’t discount the rumors that have been floating around pertaining to its ban. If banned, it obviously has implications for the foil price.
Two Jeskai Aggro lists made the Top 8, along with Maverick, BUG Threshold, Canadian Threshold, Tez Control, and another U/R Delver list.
If Maverick makes a comeback in Legacy, expect [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card] to see an uptick in price. Also expect [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card] to start seeing upward mobility. However, I think Maverick has been relegated to the pet deck category at this point, and I don’t think any cards in the deck are financially relevant outside Knight and Zenith.
Looking at Tez Control, we can see that there are plenty of Stax components to the deck, like [card]Chalice of the Void[/card] and [card]Trinisphere[/card]. However, the deck also plays four main-deck [card]Leyline of the Void[/card] along with two main-deck [card]Ensnaring Bridge[/card]. The deck also plays the [card]Thopter Foundry[/card]/[card]Sword of the Meek[/card] combo, which can be brought out with [card]Transmute Artifact[/card]. Unfortunately, Transmute Artifact already spiked once this deck started making waves in Legacy, so I don’t think there is opportunity there. The deck’s namesake, [card]Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas[/card], is around $17 and could continue climbing without a reprint if Tez Control garners a few more players amongst the Legacy crowd.
Eternal Weekend – Vintage Championship (Philadelphia, PA – USA)
Format – Vintage
Mark Tocco took down the event playing [card]Oath of Druids[/card], with [card]Griselbrand[/card] and [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card] as win conditions. Griselbrand is seeing Legacy play as well, but unfortunately, he is next year’s GP Promo, so that will stabilize his price for at least the next year as more copies enter the market.
There isn’t much financially relevant in Vintage except for [card]Treasure Cruise[/card] making waves in this format too. Randy Buehler was extolling the virtues of the card all weekend and commented that he believes during the next B/R announcement that Cruise should be restricted in Vintage along with [card]Chalice of the Void[/card] (because I guess apparently Stax, the artifact prison deck, is getting out of hand in the format). UR Delver has become quite insane in Vintage due to Treasure Cruise. [card]Young Pyromancer[/card] and friends were nicking away at players’ life totals the entire tournament.
Another note to be made is that [card]Dack Fayden[/card] is quite nuts in Vintage due to all these Stax variants floating around. Foils have already climbed up to $280 and haven’t budged from there. Non-foils are around $20 now, about a third of the release price of $60. I think the time to pick up non-foil Dacks is approaching, especially since Conspiracy wasn’t opened nearly as much as people thought it was going to be. You also have to consider that Dack is a sweet planeswalker and is going to continue being a casual hit in the long run.
Wow, there were so many tournaments this weekend! Some of the highlights include:
- Mardu is starting to do quite well for itself. Cards to watch out for include [card]Butcher of the Horde[/card], [card]Crackling Doom[/card], and [card]Chained to the Rocks[/card].
- Temur is starting to appear in Top 8 lists. [card]Savage Knuckleblade[/card] should be on your radar in addition to [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card] and [card]Boon Satyr[/card].
- BG Devotion is still putting up results. [card]Whip of Erebos[/card] is a good pickup since it sees play in BG Devotion and the Sultai Aggro (Sidisi-Whip) deck.
- [card]Sagu Mauler[/card] is a good spec if you can get copies for $1 or less
- [card]Ashcloud Phoenix[/card] appears across multiple archetypes, though not as a playset. Definitely something to watch closely, but the price really shouldn’t spike until Standard season of next year since it is not included consistently in any one deck as a playset.
- [card]Jeskai Ascendency[/card] has tanked in price. If you want to play the Standard combo deck, the card is quite cheap right now. However, if you want to speculate on it for Modern, I would wait a bit more until more copies enter the market to get the lowest price.
- [card]Hornet Nest[/card] could be a decent spec if you can out them to casual players. Otherwise, I would avoid it for other cards.
- [card]Treasure Cruise[/card] is still doing quite well. Talk of a ban has been rumored but if it doesn’t get banned at the next B/R announcement, then I would suggest picking up foils.
- If Maverick turns out to be more than a pet deck, then [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card] could be a good pickup.
- [card]Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas[/card] isn’t getting any cheaper without a reprint. Pick this guy up if you like him in anticipation for GP New Jersey.
- Foils of [card]Sliver Hive[/card] look good to me for mostly reasons outside Legacy (Commander and casual appeal).
- Not much financially relevant here, except again watch out for foil [card]Treasure Cruise[/card] and both foils and non-foils of [card]Dack Fayden[/card].
- Griselbrand would have been a good pickup if not for the GP Promo. Stay away until the market becomes saturated to get a good price.