Welcome back, guys! Khans of Tarkir has now had a chance to show what it can do in Constructed formats, and there are two Standard and Legacy tournaments to talk about today, both hosted by Star City Games. In New Jersey and Indiana, there was plenty of action, so let’s dive right in.
SCG Standard Open Edison, NJ (US)
On the east coast, a brand new archetype emerged victorious, dubbed Jeskai Tempo. The new hotness to come out of the deck piloted by Kevin Jones were four [card]Mantis Rider[/card], three [card]Seeker of the Way[/card], two [card]Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker[/card], two [card]Dig Through Time[/card], four [card]Jeskai Charm[/card], and two [card]Steam Augury[/card]. In the sideboard, things to note are [card]Ashcloud Phoenix[/card], [card]Disdainful Stroke[/card], and a single copy of [card]Narset, Enlightened Master[/card].
Of the cards mentioned, Mantis Rider has seen a huge increase in retail price, going from around $1.50 TCGplayer mid to about $5. The new price is derived from the hype of Kevin’s win and the lack of supply in the market. If you have any Mantis Riders, offload them now before the price dips as more are opened throughout the next few months.
[card]Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker[/card] also continues his climb from $22 to $29 TCGplayer mid based on this weekend’s results. To give you a more accurate picture of how many Sarkhans were played across all the top eiht decks, in both New Jersey and Indiana, Reddit user SaffronOlive made a fantastic post over on the mtgfinance subreddit that has a breakdown of all the Khans cards that were featured in the Standard top eight decklists. Please check out this list for yourself if you want a quick reference for the top-played cards of the weekend. Circling back to Sarkhan, if we refer to SaffronOlive’s list, we can see that 16 Sarkhans were played in main decks and one in a sideboard. He was the third-most-popular card from Khans played this weekend. I mentioned him before in my PAX review and it looks like the excitement around Sarkhan is starting to show. He is good in both midrange and control strategies, so I imagine we are only going to see more of him in the future. It’s true that $30 is a high buyin for a mythic, but I see this price sticking and eventually going up if we continue to see Sarkhan across several Standard archetypes.
Of Theros block and M14, we see that Temples made a solid showing in this deck along with [card]Goblin Rabblemaster[/card] (seriously, what deck isn’t this guy good in?) and two [card]Steam Augury[/card]s, as well as two [card]Banishing Light[/card]s. Steam Augury is still near bulk, so this could be a good pickup moving forward if you can trade for them or buy them at bulk. Two [card]Anger of the Gods[/card] in the sideboard is a good indication it will see future play.
Lastly, I want to mention that [card]Stoke the Flames[/card] is now a solid $4 uncommon. This is the premier burn spell of the new Standard, so if you don’t have your copies yet, I would pick them up now because I don’t see this price budging until close to rotation next year.
Second place went to Jon Goss with Mardu Midrange. Notable new hotness here includes four [card]Butcher of the Horde[/card], two [card]Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker[/card], two [card]Sorin, Solemn Visitor[/card], and four [card]Crackling Doom[/card]. Out of the sideboard, we have [card]Suspension Field[/card] as a two-of. Butcher of the Horde and Crackling Doom have gone up since their release, yet they were only featured in this deck, which so far limits how much they could continue to go up. However, if you like Mardu, those two cards are very solid in the new format and I would recommend picking them up now before they potentially spike if should they be featured in a high-ranking Pro Tour Khans deck. Sorin is a solid card, but right now his price is more hype than anything. Hold any copies you have and wait for results. We’ll know if he is the real deal once Pro Tour Khans comes and goes.
To finish up the rest of the top eight, we saw four green deck variants: G/R Monsters, G/B Devotion, G/R Devotion, and Mono-Green Devotion. There was also another Jeskai Tempo Deck and a R/W Control deck. Notable new hotness cards from these decks include [card]Crater’s Claws[/card], [card]Rattleclaw Mystic[/card], and [card]Hooded Hydra[/card]. [card]Crater’s Claws[/card] is only around $1, which is pretty low for a rare [card]Fireball[/card]-like effect that can win the game on the spot with a ton of mana.
G/B Devotion had a playset of [card]Doomwake Giant[/card] in it, which I thought was cool since the card is around $0.40 and was one of the main reasons Ross Merriam did so well that day. It was featured on camera doing some pretty devastating things to a token deck, so I think [card]Doomwake Giant[/card] has potential in the future. I also saw several copies of Brimaz across these lists, though at $27 retail, the price is quite high to buy in. However, if he turns out to be a really solid creature in the new Standard, he could easily go past $30.
SCG Standard Open Indianapolis, IN (US)
Abzan ruled the midwest this weekend, with two Abzan midrange decks getting both the top two spots. Before I get into the decks, though, let me mention that every single Top 8 deck in Indianapolis was playing green this weekend. Green made a huge showing in the midwest and I cannot state the importance of this enough. Mana fixing is important in an unknown format and green does it best—for now, anyway.
Though this skews the results in green’s favor more for this particular weekend, also keep in mind the PT will likely shake things up and we may or may not see less green. Make sure to pick up your copies of [card]Sylvan Caryatid[/card] and [card]Courser of Kruphix[/card] if you haven’t already. Also keep in mind that there is plenty of opportunity for non-green decks to also do well.
Back to the results, Samuel Valentine beat the mirror match of William Comminos in the finals to take down the tournament. Though the decks have the same name, they went in completely different directions.
Valentine opted for a reanimator/delve build, which included graveyard self-mill cards like [card]Satyr Wayfinder[/card], [card]Nyx Weaver[/card], and [card]Commune with the Gods[/card] in order to dump cards into his graveyard to either [card]Whip of Erebos[/card] in [card]Hornet Queen[/card] or [card]Ashen Rider[/card], or to easily cast [card]Necropolis Fiend[/card] and go to town on his opponent’s creatures. [card]Empty the Pits[/card] also wins games, I hear. Four [card]Muderous Cut[/card] is pretty sweet in this build, as I imagine that killing anything for one black mana feels pretty good.
Comminos opted to go for a more classic Rock-style Abzan build, essentially playing the best removal and most mid-rangy creatures in the format, hoping to overpower his opponents through sheer attrition. Notables out of Comminos’ deck include [card]Wingmate Rock[/card], [card]Abzan Charm[/card], [card]Utter End[/card], and [card]Anafenza, the Foremost[/card] out of the sideboard. [card]Wingmate Roc[/card], while a rather boring mythic in my opinion, is probably the next card on the list to go up in value if it starts seeing more play, and especially if it is featured in a Pro Tour Khans deck. Pick up your copies now if you plan on playing it, because $9 for a mythic of this power level is a pretty good entry price. Theros staples that appeared included a playset of [card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/card], which is so much Elspeth it hurts, Brimaz, [card]Fleecemane Lion[/card], and a playset of [card]Drown in Sorrow[/card] out of the sideboard. I believe that Elspeth is still the strongest walker from Theros and I think that she will continue to see plenty of play after rotation.
Both decks shared a playset of [card]Siege Rhino[/card] and [card]Sylvan Caryatid[/card], which are both good pickups in my opinion. Siege Rhino provides so much value for four mana that I am not surprised that both players decided to play four of them in their main decks. $5 is a pretty high entry point for a rare, though, so I would wait for more product to be opened before going deep on Siege Rhino. Surprisingly, [card]Courser of Kruphix[/card] was absent from these green lists, which for now indicates that Abzan doesn’t need it. This could change once we get Pro Tour results in, however.
Rounding out the rest of the top eight, there were some more R/G variants, along with Mono-Green Devotion, Jund Monsters, just plain old Mono-Green, and Naya Midrange. [card]Reverent Hunter[/card] popped up in the Mono-Green Devotion list, which is something to note. [card]Genesis Hydra[/card] seemed to be an auto-include in all the Green-based devotion lists because it provides so much value. Polukranos is pretty nuts too, since he is all upside on top of being a four-mana 5/5. Finally, [card]Chord of Calling[/card] is pretty great in green heavy decks so pick up your copies accordingly. I don’t think it is budging from $8 and can only go up from here on out based on tournament results over the next month.
[card]Strombreath Dragon[/card] made a showing as a nice complement to Sarkhan, providing a ton of value against Abzan, Jeskai, and Mardu strategies. At $15, this is cheap for a strong mythic dragon, especially considering that [card]Thundermaw Hellkite[/card] was close to $50 during its peak in Standard. I would pick up some copies at $15 in anticipation of future Standard play.
Nissa didn’t appear quite as often as we would have thought, since she was an auto-include in all green decks prior to rotation and now only appears where she is truly needed. Something to note for the future, since her price is still around $43. Again, don’t discount her until we see the Pro Tour Khans results.
Xenagos is still showing up, so I believe that his new price will continue to stick since he provides mana ramp for all the new X spells that have entered the format.
Overall Thoughts for Standard
Green seems pretty good right now, especially in light of the Indiana results. Temples appeared in vast quantities across all decks, so those are also going to be gaining value in the coming months since Theros is no longer going to be opened. Avoid getting extra fetch lands for now—yes, they are played, but they will continue to drop in price since tons of players and vendors are going to crack product to get at them. Keep any wedge tri lands you draft or crack, since they seem to be used in Standard and will always maintain value from casuals regardless. Let me mention again to check out SaffronOlive’s Khans metrics for the weekend because tthat is some very useful information!
SCG Legacy Open Edison, NJ (US)
I’ve got two words for you to sum up this tournament: [card]Treasure Cruise[/card]. Well OK, here’s another two words: [card]Monastery Swiftspear[/card].
U/R Delver was already a popular archetype, and with the addition of Treasure Cruise, the deck became so much more consistent that it took down the entire tournament! Bob Huang was the pilot of this build, and in addition to Treasure Cruise he also experimented with Monastery Swiftspear to totally alter the look of U/R Delver. Looks like his modifications worked, given that he won. I believe foils of both these cards will be good pickups for the future, since they also have Modern appeal even if they don’t see Standard play. Wait a bit for foil prices to drop though, as I believe Treasure Cruise and Monastery Swiftspear’s foil prices are mainly driven by hype and lack of supply.
Reanimator got second place piloted by Jake Muldowsky. He opted not to play Treasure Cruise, which is probably why he lost. Just kidding—his build is pretty standard because that is how this deck wins. [card]Sire of Insanity[/card] made an appearance in the main deck, which thinking about it is pretty insane in Legacy against certain matchups, especially combo and control decks. Miracles is still pretty popular and Sire can really help in that matchup. Foils of Sire are $2.50, so if it becomes a reanimator mainstay (as opposed to just a metagame choice), that seems like a great buy-in price to me.
Sultai Delver played by Stephen Mann had a copy of [card]Sultai Charm[/card] in the main deck. Foils of this are starting to look better. Gerard Fabiano included a copy of [card]Dig Through Time[/card] in his Sultai Delver list. Dig Through Time already has appeal in Modern in addition to Legacy, and foils of this are $20 right now. I think this is hype and lack of supply in the market. Wait a bit and if the price decides to drop pick them up once more enter the market.
The rest of the top eight was rounded out by two Dredge decks (one manaless and one regular), Miracles, and Sneak and Show. The only deck that offered anything new to the scene was Manaless Dredge, which included [card]Blightsteel Colossus[/card], [card]Balustrade Spy[/card], [card]Flayer of the Hatebound[/card], and [card]Mishra’s Bauble[/card] as the new flavors of the moment. No reason outside the normal to target these cards. I think Dredge is more of a pet deck that is easily hated out once it gets popular enough.
SCG Legacy Open Indianapolis, IN (US)
So… Elves! Elves, elves, elves! Said that four times because the entire Top 4 were elf combo decks… get it?
The main decks had their slight differences, but each were set up pretty much the same: play elves, cast [card]Glimpse of Nature[/card], play more elves, and repeat until you hit [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card]. Targets for price corrections in the deck include Glimpse of Nature, [card]Natural Order[/card], Craterhoof Behemoth, and [card]Heritage Druid[/card]. Pick up copies accordingly if you want to play this deck. I hear GP New Jersey is coming up.
One notable from all these Elves decks is that the second place deck had three of a card called [card]Energy Storm[/card] in its sideboard. Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute to read that card. Okay, now that you have, isn’t it quite interesting? It’s a rare from Ice Age that is below $1 and is really good against U/R Delver and also Storm decks. I’m not saying that this is going to spike to $10 overnight, yet it can’t hurt to pick up a few copies, right? It seems good against the right metagame. Cumulative upkeep is bad, I’ll grant you. However, with elves it does give you a few extra turns to go ahead and just win.
Maverick made an appearance at fifth place. That was a good meta call, since it appears like Elves went crazy at this particular tournament. Maverick plays a ton of one- and two-ofs, and most of them are already Legacy staples, so not much to see here except for maybe [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card].
Rounding out the top eight is Reanimator, Sneak and Show, and Burn. All are standard lists, more or less. Sneak and Show played two [card]Dig Through Time[/card], which should be noted. Dig Through Time looks like it is good across more than one Legacy deck, which helps to bolster its utility.
There’s a ton of information to digest this week across two Standard tournaments and two Legacy tournaments, both of which were affected by new Khans cards. It looks like Khans has Standard, Modern, and Legacy appeal.
In terms of Standard, you can’t go wrong with playing green, it seems. Anything with green that appeared across more than one deck is probably going to be pretty decent moving forward. We’ll need to wait until the PT to see final results. However, I still think we’re going to see some green there, too.
In terms of Legacy, as I’ve mentioned previously on Brainstorm Brewery, Elves is really popular and it is only a matter of time before the core staples go up. Get your copies of staples if you plan on playing Elves in Legacy. The new version of U/R Delver also looks awesome, so pick up some Treasure Cruises and Monastery Swiftspears if you like that deck. Dig Through Time has also demonstrated its Legacy potential, so pick up a copy or two if you’re a Sneak and Show or Sultai player.