This weekend marked the first in the tenure of Born of the Gods in Standard. That being said, every Standard deck that managed a top-eight finish this weekend belonged to a preexisting archetype. While I have no doubt that Born of the Gods will have a significant impact on the Standard landscape, it seems that one week was not enough time for the new brews to break into the upper echelon of Standard play. The winning mono-blue list had a total of zero cards from Born of the Gods. The same is true of the other copy of Mono-Blue Devotion that managed a top-eight finish this week. While mono-black pilots are in the process of modifying their 75 in order to better combat the new, often self-imposed hate in Bile Blight, mono-blue has seemingly supplanted mono-black as the current “best deck.” While we can anticipate a significant amount of change in the coming weeks, mono-blue seems quite viable as is.
If we want to find innovation from the results from this weekend, it begins with the second-place green-red list piloted by Ken Ketter. This past week, I read several articles attempting to assess the power level of Courser of Kruphix. This card was initially very polarizing—players either felt that it was strong or overrated. I feel that the outcome of this week’s tournament points out the power level of this card, and as I feel this archetype will have a place in the format, Courser of Kruphix looks as it will become a real format staple. Without getting too deep into an assessment of the card itself, if the G/R deck continues to play Courser of Kruphix as a four-of, then expect it to increase in price.
Another card that is played in the G/R shell that is trending upward is Scavenging Ooze. Scavenging Ooze hasn’t necessarily gotten any better in Standard, but due to the Modern banning of Deathrite Shaman, Scavenging Ooze stands to gain in value as a result. Foil promo copies are significantly cheaper than the M14 or Commander set versions, and those may be the copies to target right now.
Although it didn’t post particularly impressive results, finishing in 31st, Brian Braun-Duin’s Bant Walkers decklist, from a pure power level, is staggering. I think the cost of the deck is equally impressive and this may actually prevent too many players from building this deck, at least in the short term. That being said, as a financier, I really don’t see any room for upward movement in virtually any card in the deck. This deck is one of several jamming Brimaz, King of Oreskos this week, and while I think he is a fine man, I think that the current price point is partially due to hype. Unless you intend to play them and are willing to pay a premium, or are looking to trade them very quickly, I don’t recommend acquiring this card right now. It is certainly near, if not at the top of the price range for this card during his run in Standard. Even Voice of Resurgence capped out near the current price for the legendary cat soldier. That card was printed in a set that was opened and redeemed in very small numbers with very few other chase cards in the set. Time will tell, but I do not believe that the same factors will apply with Born of the Gods. Finally, this deck is lacking some degree of synergy. While it plays perhaps the most powerful cards in Standard, the deck as a whole could potentially become more effective swapping high-cost threats for cheaper, more reactive spells. Of course, following the old adage, “There are no wrong threats, only wrong answers.” It is probably more effective at this juncture to be more threat dense.
With True-Name Nemesis running around, life has gotten pretty difficult for the RUG Delver player. But somehow, despite the hostile environment, Taylor Scott was able to win the Legacy open. I don’t think that this will be the deck we see win the next open, but isn’t that the beauty of Legacy? There are just so many viable decks in the format. If I were to play a Delver of Secrets deck next weekend, it would be something better equipped to deal with True-Name Nemesis. BUG Delver would be my personal recommendation, one similar to the sixth-place list piloted by Scott Tompkins. The 25th spell in BUG Delver is more or less interchangeable, and Tompkins optioned for a single copy of Gitaxian Probe. Scoop all the copies of the FNM promo that you can find, this is a can’t miss. Long-term, this card will appreciate. Legacy players love to pimp their decks.
Andrew Shrout frequently pilots Death and Taxes in Legacy. I was curious to see how Spirit of the Labyrinth performed, and Shrout did not shy away from the challenge. Running four copies in his main deck, Shrout was the only Death and Taxes pilot to post a reasonable finish at the open, so the jury is still out on the card. I would initially assess the card through the same prism as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. The initial/current price for this card is likely a little high for now, and there will likely be a better time to buy in.
I am looking forward to seeing more innovation with Born of the Gods. I am also looking forward to seeing the impact that Born of the Gods has on Legacy, Modern, and Standard. Let me know what you think about this weekend’s results in the comments, and follow me on Twitter!