By the end of today, the full list of Amonkhet spoilers should be out. It looks like a spectacular set and has caused all sorts of market movement, as new sets usually do. It's looking like Standard might get shaken up quite a bit, so let's get into the happenings this week!
Wheel of Fate saw an uptick this week thanks to As Foretold being spoiled. People quickly bought out Modern playable suspend cards in hopes of brewing something to cheat out these amazing effects. I haven't seen any solid lists with As Foretold yet, but I'm sure someone will jam 4x and have fun. Being able to dump your hand quickly, then cast a free wheel seems ok, but the details of how the deck wins is still being hashed out.
Lotus Bloom the morning of last week's article, so unfortunately it didn't make the list then. That being said, all copies of it are still on the list this week as it continues to hold strong after its spike. Lotus Bloom becomes Black Lotus the turn you cast As Foretold. Not too shabby! Don't get me wrong, I think As Foretold is awesome, but I think it may be a little too cute for Modern. I could wrong. Lotus Bloom really only sees play in Modern Ad Nauseam, so they will probably settle down as soon as the hype wears off and people don't move into a new type of deck.
Always Watching has been mentioned since they spoiled the first card with a new mechanic, exert, on it. I think it's a perfectly viable strategy for Standard. Who needs to untap your exerted creature when it has vigilance? Not this guy. Many people are brewing non-stop with Week 1 Standard coming soon, and I expect some amount of people to try out an Always Watching/exert deck.
Planar Gate has seen some very strange movement over the last few sets. It gets bought out, additional copies get filtered back into the market and the price drifts back down. This has repeated basically every month for the last year. It makes for a very interesting chart to watch (no, it's not the mystery chart this week!) It's a worse and reserved list version of Heartless Summoning. If you notice, it seems that almost every time Planar Gate settles, it settles at a slightly lower price. Before the spike this week, the card's average had only gained about $0.70 over the last 10 mini buyouts. Proof that a buyout is only as good as the demand for that card.
As I had thought, zombies got a HUGE push in Amonkhet. Relentless Dead fills a potential Standard zombie deck very well, as they need impactful 2 drops. Zombies are one of, if not the most popular tribe in Magic, yet basically the least played in constructed formats. It would be wonderful if zombies overrun Standard, and what better time than Amonkhet? Zombie tribe aside, I've always had high hopes for Relentless Dead. It's a headache to deal with and just brings more and more friends the longer the game goes.
Crumbling Ashes was a card I had totally forgotten about until this week. It plays well with all the things that give -1/-1 counters, and Amonkhet is full to the brim of them. I could see running this in a B/G/X Commander deck that constantly rules the board state with -1/-1 counters and proliferate. That being said, it's great for casual, but I don't think it is good enough for Modern.
Krark-Clan Ironworks, or KCI, has seen an uptick this week mostly due to the rise in popularity of “eggs” type decks in Modern (deck list example found here.) It had spiked a bit a handful of weeks ago, but has seen a resurgence. The deck is surprisingly consistent, but time consuming. I've seen people time out playing it in Magic Online. KCI is somewhat fragile though: take out their Ironworks with a surgical extraction and they are left with 4x 3/2 Scrap Trawlers as their only way to win.
As I mentioned earlier, Scrap Trawler is an instrumental card to the KCI deck. It has a very high upside as a combo enabler. It's also dirt cheap. If you ever wanted Domri Rade for your Commander deck, now is the time to purchase your own. If 1v1 competitive Commander takes off, mana rocks will most likely be the first cards to spike. Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, Chrome Mox and Thran Dynamo, for example, aren't exactly “cheap,” but if you want them, it's better now than later.
Last week's mystery chart was Golgari Grave-Troll. This week, I chose a card I LOVE to cast, and people hate me for it. This is my favorite was to sweep my opponents off their feet…
I want to talk about net decking this week. Net decking is a term people use, usually in a derogatory fashion, to describe people that do not invent their own decks. It's a term I've heard more and more lately, and I just want to clear up a few things. First of all, not everyone is creative, nor has the drive to be creative. Some people just want to play the game, rather than make and tweak decks. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Secondly, there is a big difference between FNM or kitchen tables and major competitive events. If you're playing for $10,000 no one cares how creative you were when you lose. People play competitive Magic to win. Lastly, Magic is 20+ years old and played by millions of people. Do you really think you're the first person to ever play a specific combination of cards? Obviously someone has to be the first, but to degrade people for building a deck list they find online, that has been tuned to win, is childish. Some people like the art, some like the collectability, some like to brew and others just like to play. Magic should be enjoyed however you choose to enjoy it, so let's not be childish and instead celebrate all forms of Magic!
Magister Sphinx was a card that used to see widespread play, but this little guy has fallen off the map. It's a great way to keep people's high life total in check, as you can just bounce it or flicker it. Some people complain about getting set to 10 life, but 10 life is better than 0 life.