Liverpool has been and gone and now I have three more events to look at going to: Grand Prix Utrecht, Grand Prix Lille, and Grand Prix London. On top of this there are PPTQs to play, and the MtgUK Eternal Championship in May. Before GP Liverpool I came to the decision that unless I cashed the event I wouldn’t travel to play in Utrecht, between the costs of flight and hotel it just didn’t seem worth it; especially with the Modern Masters 2 limited I could be playing at home anyway. Lille however is much more reasonable and I do love Legacy so that’s a trip I will be making. That aside however my main focuses at the moment are Standard and Modern for PPTQs.
Modern Masters 2 huh, its shaping up to be pretty cool. Tarmogoyf is getting another much needed reprint, and Karn Liberated, Etched Champion as well as Emrakul the Aeons Torn are also confirmed. The release weekend coincides with the UK eternal event I mentioned earlier which is handy as it means MM draft side events all weekend (yay!). Here’s hoping the limited format is as good as the last Modern Masters.
Moving on to discuss the new standard format and the meat of this article, post Dragons of Tarkir standard looks awesome. That is all… No really. The sets out, prereleases have gone, and tournament results are starting to come through so its time to get stuck in. I’m not going to go through everything I think is good and playable, but instead highlight a few cards I’d like to discuss. Yes Deathist Raptor is a good card, but its not got me excited to play standard like some of these have:
Anafenza, Kin Tree Spirit – Far from a vanilla bear, Anafenza has a very powerful effect, unfortunately she is not a warrior but she might be a key player in a mono white or W/X aggro deck in standard. Curving Anafenza into Anafenza sounds tricky but troublesome for your opponent. Its worth noting that she also does a Melira impression with Kitchen Finks while being a better stand alone creature, while Pod has been banned this might still do something. We’ll have to wait and see.
Arashin Foremost – This dude is a warrior and a sweet one at that, very Silverblade Paladin-esque. In a BW warrior deck this guy seems insane. He’s a good 3 drop to curve into a Mardu Strike Leader or Surrak the Hunt Caller and can lead to some mighty beatings. The double white in its mana cost is restricting but I imagine this will be a played card in some decks. At this point I’d also like to point out that Goblin Rabblemaster is a Goblin Warrior.
Avatar of the Resolute – There are a few important things to note about this card. Firstly its a 2 mana 3/2 which is a decent body for an aggressive creature. Secondly it has GG in its mana cost adding devotion for cards like Aspect of the Hydra and Nylea, God of the Hunt, and thirdly it has trample to push damage through from cards like the aforementioned Aspect or Become Immense
Anticipate – If we ignore Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise this is probably the most powerful library manipulator we’ve had in standard since Ponder was reprinted in M12. Its almost certainly going to change the way control decks are built in standard giving them more turn two plays and allowing them to cut down on lands (no more 3 lands off of my Ingenuity, grrrr…). It allows them to dig for the specific answers they need earlier, not to mention that in a format with delve spells cheap cantrips get better. It also looks like it could see some modern play in combo decks like Scapeshift or Splinter Twin or even maybe in UWx control decks.
Collected Company – 4 mana, 2 dudes, instant speed, seems purty good if you ask me. This is the card that currently has me thinking about it the most in the set for standard and modern. In a deck like Abzan Aggro this card might even be better than Siege Rhino, and the fact that its an instant you can hold up for your opponents turn against control is great. I have a magical christmas land where I cast this hitting a pair of Mantis Riders but I won’t go too far down that rabbit hole. The larger the card pool the better this kind of effect becomes and the possibilities for this card in Modern are very exciting.
Contradict – I’d just dismiss this card as unplayable but there’s a chance it’ll be a one of in some kind of control deck. I’ll be honest I just wanted to make pun of it.
Hate Cycle – These are a set of very powerful colour hosers, Rending Volley for sure (Screw Twin, no really) and perhaps one or two of the others making it over into Modern. The worst of the cycle for Standard is probably Display of Dominance; UB doesn’t have a swathe of non-creature permanents, and two mana for a Gods Willing isn’t great. The rest I would expect to see a lot of sideboard play, Surge of Righteousness against the Red or Black aggressive decks and similarly Encase in Ice against the Red Green Aggro decks that have been popular recently. I really like UW Heroic still, so hopefully no-one plays Self-Inflicted Wound.
Myth Realized – This one is super interesting. It works a bit like a Glint Hawk Idol without flying but with a few key differences. Firstly it costs a single mana to play, this isn’t hugely relevant until you take its ability to grow whenever you cast a noncreature spell which lets you play it early and then let it sit and grow while you play a control or tempo game. There are multiple places this card could go, and its far from a definite player in the new standard format but there are some cool possibilities either in control, tempo, or maybe even a combo deck. Anticipate being printed also gives this card a boost, as it gives us a cheap cantrip we can play.
Surrak, the Hunt Caller – This guy is a sweet addition to Green based aggro decks, often coming in as a four mana 5/4 with haste and then giving the creatures you play haste for the foreseeing future. He is a warrior which leads to a nice synergy with Arashin Foremost for a brutal curve of creatures. Also, he adds two devotion to Green which lends itself to a mono Green aggro deck utilizing Nylea, God of the Hunt, Reverent Hunter, and Aspect of Hydra. Starting pretty low on the pricing scale he’s slowly starting to creep up.
Sidisi, Undead Vizier – Now this is the last card I’m going to discuss today and part of the reason why is that I’m currently watching Reid Duke and Jacob Wilson do a number on people with it in the Top 8 of the SCG Invitational. At first I thought the card looked fine, but not great but I didn’t see the full potential of the card. In the BGx midrange decks, you want to play a card like Satyr Wayfinder to help hit cards and enable graveyard interactions with cards like Tasigur and Murderous Cut. Previously after that he just sat around after getting his value until eventually being chucked in the way of something as a chump blocker, now Wayfinder gives you a body lying around that you can trade in with Sidisi for the best card in your deck at the time whatever that may be. Reid is even playing it in a Sultai Reanimator shell where you can get extra value by sacrificing a card like Hornet Queen or Reclamation Sage for you to then bring back with Whip of Erebos giving you even more insane value.
And once again that’s going to be it from me this week, hopefully I’ve been able to give you an insight into my thoughts on the cards above. Next week I’ll be looking at a few decklists for the new standard format looking towards Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir. Thanks for reading,