TCGplayer had a record-breaking sales day last week, with Monday's update to the banned and restricted list sending buyers scrambling to pick up cards that may become huge in their respective formats.
All that activity made for a wild list, so let's get right into it.
In case you missed the announcement, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis and Faithless Looting were banned from Modern last week. At the same time, Stoneforge Mystic was unbanned, giving the format a shiny new toy to play with.
Early brews focused on a white and blue midrange strategy, where Force of Negation protects key pieces and also disrupts an opponent's gameplan, even while you're tapped out.
The deck is already putting up impressive results in MTGO Mythic Championship Qualifiers, and will likely only get better as the list becomes more tuned.
A four-color deck using Whir of Invention took first place at the SCG Open in Dallas over the weekend, and it used three copies of this helpful little Goblin to pull key cards out of the toolbox.
The deck is mostly the Sword of the Meek and Thopter Foundry combo, cranked up to 11 with help from Urza, Lord High Artificer, like we've seen before, but this build is able to tutor up pieces with Goblin Engineer and then stash them in the graveyard.
Use the Goblin's ability and sacrifice something like Ichor Wellspring to draw extra cards while also getting your Ensnaring Bridge into play, or stockpile your Sword or Foundry until you're ready to go off.
Between Whir of Invention and Goblin Engineer, the deck has multiple ways to find the artifacts it needs, and Urza provides plenty of mana, making this an effective strategy for anyone who missed the boat on Stoneforge Mystic.
Gabriel Nassif has been continuing to refine his Bant Ephemerate list, but one card that's been pretty much locked-in from day one is this flying Snake.
Almost every creature in the deck generates card advantage when it enters the battlefield, and when you start to stack that up with flicker cards like Ephemerate and Soulherder, you're able to keep your hand full of answers for your opponent's cards.
Sit behind Path to Exile and Force of Negation while you build toward an infinite loop of turns, coming from Eternal Witness putting Time Warp back into your hand every end step as she's blinked by Soulherder.
With so many creatures that replace themselves, you don't need to fear board sweepers or most control decks, so this list could fight with Stoneforge Mystic as the format's best non-combo deck.
With Stoneforge Mystic legal in Modern, players began identifying the best equipment she can search for in a deck.
The Sword Cycle now contains seven options, but some are better suited for the sideboard than the maindeck, and that's the case with Sinew and Steel.
Being able to destroy an artifact makes this Sword useful against the Urza Thopter decks, while killing planeswalkers becomes valuable when facing off against Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Liliana of the Veil or newcomer Wrenn and Six.
This one should come as no surprise, and the only reason it's not higher on the list is that most stores sold out within minutes of the ban list announcement.
Dark Confidant, Snapcaster Mage and even Young Pyromancer are two-mana creatures that have made their impact on Modern over the years. Now, Stoneforge Mystic finally gets to take her turn, since she was banned from the format from the day it was created.
In her heyday in Standard, her best trick was searching your deck for a Batterskull on turn two and then putting it into play on turn three. Is that line still fast enough for Modern, or will she be used to support other strategies, like the Urza Thopter combo that seems to be next in line after Hogaak's banning?
It might take a few more weeks for the meta to settle, but in the meantime, don't be afraid to experiment. It's not every day a card gets unbanned in Modern!
Modern wasn't the only format to get an unbanning. Standard got this aggressive Dinosaur back, after sitting on the bench for over a year.
Originally banned alongside Ramunap Ruins to help weaken the dominating mono-red deck at the time, the Ferocidon now gets to spend about a month in the format before it rotates out along with everything else from the Ixalan sets.
In that small window, it might be the perfect answer to the Sorin-powered black and white Vampire decks that thrive on life gain. And, it punishes the Scapeshift Field of the Dead deck by hurting your opponent for every Zombie token their lands put on the battlefield.
This is an odd time of year for Magic. Standard is on the verge of rotating, and Modern was in a bit of a holding pattern until it was clear what was going to happen with Hogaak.
When players are unlikely to invest in new decks, we tend to see an uptick in sales for one type of card above all others: tribal.
Undead Augur is a Zombie, and even though it doesn't slot neatly into any competitive shell at the moment, it works in all sorts of casual Zombie decks. Maybe someday it'll become a Modern two-drop to rival Stoneforge Mystic, but for now, it's a fun little diversion during a period of deck-building stagnation.
Just like with Undead Augur, sometimes people really push tribal themes to their max. Loxodon Lifechanter is a bulk rare if there ever was one, but it also happens to be a Cleric, and that's good enough for a YouTube channel called "Always Bolt the Bird" to feature it in a mono-white deck in a recent Arena run.
We love highlighting channels of all sorts and sizes out there, and while I'm not saying Always Bolt the Bird is responsible for Loxodon Lifechanter suddenly becoming a must-have card, you do have to respect their commitment to the theme for this deck.
What other hidden tribal gems are out there waiting to be discovered in the dead zone right before Standard rotation? Sure, Elementals and Vampires are obvious, but they probably won't get help in Throne of Eldrain. Knights and Clerics however, might be worth a second look.
The white and blue shell was most player's starting point for Stoneforge Mystic, but there are plenty of other builds out there too.
Take the white and green Devoted Druid combo deck, for example. In the words of Jeff Hoogland, Stoneforge Mystic "was an extra, must-answer threat that felt very elegant inside of that shell."
The deck leads off with Giver of Runes or one of its mana creatures, Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch. Turn two can then bring Stoneforge Mystic, who fetches up Batterskull, or can start assembling the infinite mana combo with either Devoted Druid or Vizier of Remedies.
That infinite mana can be poured into a Walking Ballista for lethal damage, or into a Finale of Devastation that searches it up.
Giver of Runes provides protection to the otherwise fragile creature-based combo and I bet we haven't seen the last of it appearing alongside a fellow Kor with a forge of stone.
Out of the five Force cards introduced in Modern Horizons, Force of Virtue is the second least-valuable, but has spent the most time on our Top 10 list.
It sees fringe play in Modern Soul Sisters lists but has yet to hit the final table of any large tournament, and even with casual appeal coming from things like The Commander's Quarters list for Kykar, Wind's Fury, Force of Virtue continues to put up numbers way above expectations.