I missed last week! I'm so sorry. I was flying back from Gen Con. This just in—the Indianapolis airport? Not so great, gang! Here's the best-selling cards of last week:
I can't say I love cards like this. Forge of Heroes and other Commander-set stuff, like Commander Tower and Thought Vessel before it, serve to take one of the more fun aspects of Commander—actually building the decks—and minimize it. For those of us who loathe the politics and "Hollywooding" necessary to win a game of Commander, deckbuilding is all we've got. Yes, it is easy to just not include Forge of Heroes in decks, but these low opportunity-cost, broadly powerful cards do one of two things: force their way into all of your decks, or make you feel stupid for being the only one at the table for not playing them. They either subtract a deckbuilding decision, or they place more of a cost on whatever your dissenting Commander philosophy may be. By all means, play with the cards if you like them! I don't.
In the lead up to the Standard rotation in the fall, most Standard stuff simply won't sell anymore because no one wants to buy cards that are about to rotate. This ebb and flow of sales activity in Magic is well-documented: sales dip in the summer months and then explode in the fall, coinciding with the fall release.
Anyone who sells Magic cards know that the bulk of their sales are "casual" cards, but since "casual" is completely subjective and competitive Magic is objective by comparison, Standard-legal cards do more volume. However, in August, when no one's buying anything for their Standard decks, it allows room for the newer casual cards, like Rat Colony, to break the Top 10.
Almost a year ago today, I borrowed a deck from a coworker to play a Modern PPTQ. It was a (heinous) white-blue deck containing a copy of Irrigated Farmland, which I learned that day could be fetched up. This delighted me to no end. Rereading my report, it appears that that particular deck didn't necessarily want Irrigated Farmland, but I think plenty of white-blue Modern decks do want it, and since it's about to rotate out of Standard, its price tag is pretty close to its floor.
For years, Bryan Gottlieb was Upstate New York's best-kept secret, mostly thanks to his penchant for dropping from tournaments he was still live to win, either because he was "off it," or "in Colorado," or any other myriad of reasons. Since picking up cohosting duties for the GAM podcast (I know, the name is tough to get past, but it's pronounced "game"), which I highly recommend, this is no longer the case. I mention Bryan because Stitcher's Supplier is extremely his kind of card, and he pegged it as powerful almost as soon as it was revealed. And he was right!
The difference between Reliquary Tower and Forge of Heroes is that Reliquary Tower's got some plausible deniability—it debuted in Conflux, which was released before Commander became the consensus casual format. It's a casual card, for sure, but it wasn't designed for Commander. Maybe that's less relevant of a point of distinction than I think it is. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
As of writing, the market price on this deck is $64.21:
It's far from rotation-proof, but for $65, you can get a fringe Standard deck that's more than capable of going undefeated at FNM. There hasn't been a cheap aggressive deck like this in a long time. Red decks usually fill that role, but thanks to Chandra, Torch of Defiance and later, Hazoret the Fervent, optimized and budget became mutually exclusive. That's not the case with Mono-Black Aggro.
Looking at the post-M19 black-red aggressive lists, I noticed a lot of Cut // Ribbons, and I had no clue what was going on. It only took one league to figure it out: Sai, Master Thopterist will smoosh you flat if you can't deal with it immediately, and even if you've got the Cut // Ribbons, you still have to hope your opponent doesn't have the Metallic Rebuke to protect it. Sai, Master Thopterist is really messed up, and I'm glad it's not going to be legal with the Kaladesh block cards for very long because it feels too good.
I hesitate to call it hand-wringing, because in this case, people's criticism is valid, so let's just say there's been lots of digital ink spilled about Nexus of Fate in the days following Pro Tour 25th Anniversary. I even produced a video about it earlier last month:
As of writing this, Nexus of Fate's Market Price is $25.66, making it the fourth most expensive card in Standard, behind Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and Karn, Scion of Urza. Players' issues with the card seem to boil down to two things:
1.) The demand feels manufactured. It's not clear whether it's better for consumers that Nexus of Fate is a buy-a-box promo or not. The supply for cards has always been opaque, but Nexus of Fate marks the first time that that opacity caused an earned feel-bad.
2.) An instant-speed Time Walk is ludicrous. I'm inclined to align with conventional wisdom at this point—that the true culprit here is actually Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and that's the card that should've never seen the light of day as it's printed—but man is an instant-speed Time Walk busted. The age-old recipe of Duress + pressure is capable of cracking the card, but outside of that, what chance does a deck have against an active Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, a bunch of Fogs, and a bunch of Time Walks?
I'm interested in what happens to Standard post-rotation. It feels like things are lining up for Teferi, Hero of Dominaria to dominate the format. The next set takes place in Ravnica, so there's a good chance the quality of manabases improve. A lot of the red cards that act as a check on Teferi, Hero of Dominaria will rotate.
Thank goodness Rampaging Ferocidon's still banned, am I right?