We had quite a bit of Standard last week. Congratulations to Petr Sochurek and his Saheeli combo deck for winning GP Barcelona, and major props go to Corey Baumeister (he's a local for me) and his 4c Saheeli deck for winning GP New Jersey. By time you're reading this, you've hopefully opened some Modern Masters 2017 packs. The next week will be quite a whirlwind of market movement on Modern cards, so let's get into what happened this week in Magic!
With Death's Shadow variants absolutely overrunning Modern everywhere, it's no surprise many of the cards found in those decks have skyrocketed. The one card that honestly should have spiked awhile ago, but decided to wait was Street Wraith. If you have played Modern anytime in the last few weeks, you know you can't get away from seeing this card. It's basically Gitaxian Probe for Death's Shadow/Tarmogoyf decks. It cantrips, costs you life and puts a creature in the graveyard. All modes relevant to B/G/X agro decks. Unfortunately, if you want to buy a playset of these, you should be prepared to shell out entirely too much money.
Tarfire is another card found in the above mentioned B/G/X decks. It's a tribal instant, so it fulfills two card types in the graveyard, quickly turning on Traverse the Ulvenwald and pumping Goyf while shooting yourself, your opponent or a creature. This card basically sat dormant for years, only to be finally unlocked and put to work in a highly competitive Modern deck. It will be interesting to see how long these B/G decks can be dominant, as they can be weak to combo decks and Tron.
Tyrant's Familiar, my favorite of the Commander Lieutenants, got some love this week. I think all of the Lieutenants are powerful, but many people sleep on just how hard this fire breathing beast can hit. Sure, 7 mana is spendy, but in the world of dragons, it's a drop in the fiery bucket. I'm hoping we see a new legendary dragon in Amonkhet so I can build another dragon tribal deck. We normally get one dragon per set, and with Bolas running the show, hopefully the payoff for us dragon lovers is big in Amonkhet!
I want to play a game…a Game of Chaos. This is the reason I get up in the morning. This is the reason I go ham all day, every day. 100% I've cast this and lost the game on the spot trying to out gamble my opponent. This card isn't for people afraid of the unknown, it's for mighty warriors who aren't afraid to stare a challenge in the face and take it head on. If you cast this and your opponent doesn't repeat the process, scoop and find a new playgroup, because we're here to go ham!
Leyline of Sanctity saw a rise mostly due to the amount of people now playing Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek. It's the perfect answer to those B/G/X decks looking to constantly disrupt your hand. People are exploring ways to dismantle the defenses of the hyper offensive B/G/X decks. I've even seen Leyline of Sanctity ran in decks without white.
Foil Yawgmoth's Bargain has taken an extreme spike this week, following the spike in the non-foil counterpart. It's a reserved list card, and being foil makes it even scarcer. Traverse the Ulvenwald sees a ton of play in Modern and, some play in Legacy and is very Standard playable. Foil 10th edition Brushland goes up and down quite often and is currently in an upswing. Foil Slaughter Pact has spiked, and it hasn't really seen more play lately. Lastly, foil Bear Umbra, one of my favorite enchantments, has spiked.
If you want to build an enchantment deck, some of the classic combo cards are fairly inexpensive right now: Open the Vaults, Worship, Tunnel Vision, etc. We don't know if Amonkhet will be an enchantment matters set, but if they introduce more enchantment gods, we can assume that we will also get some enchantments matter cards. Tezzeret the Schemer is dirt cheap right now, and still has the potential to do good things. If you ever wanted your copy or copies of Archangel Avacyn, now is the time. She's at her all-time low. Spell Queller is found in Modern, Legacy and even Vintage, but currently fallen out of favor in Standard. It's also *cough* Frontier playable.
Last week's stock was AEther Vial, and still some sleuths deduced it quite handily. This week, the challenge increases. *Hint* this card does see competitive play in at least one format.
The most recently banned/restricted announcement came Monday and we saw no changes for all formats. Some people felt that Paradox Engine should be banned in Commander, but I don't think it has the same impact that Prophet of Kruphix had, and that stuck around awhile before it got the axe. Modern saw no changes despite people wanting SOMETHING banned or unbanned. I think with the constant innovations in Modern, no change isn't really a bad thing. I'd like to see something released from the banned list for deck building sake, but you can't deny that Modern is as diverse and open now as it's ever been. Legacy and Vintage are fairly set, although some have wanted Terminus banned in Legacy and Gush banned in Vintage. It seems like every other week a new brew takes the format by storm. Standard...well, that's a different story. An argument could be made for either no bans or bans. Yes the format is basically 2-3 decks, but a new set is on the horizon and maybe they have a “hot fix” card or cards coming soon. However, I do think some people get dissuaded from playing Standard because of the lack of diversity. I think Wizards knows that Standard is struggling right now and are working on the best way to please everyone. Hopefully they do soon.
As I try to mix up all colors and artifacts, I can't forget lands. The best card you're not playing in Commander is Crystal Quarry. It's no surprise that I love 5 color decks, and a great way to filter all that mana into 5 color goodness is contained in this card. This also means you need to play more 5 color cards, so go ahead and jam them all in!