After two weeks of Rivals of Ixalan legality, Standard still looks great. WotC doesn't publish reasonable metagame data anymore, but players have started to piece together the online playrates of certain decks themselves:
standard metagame on mtgo through 20 leagues (100 matches) January 18th - January 26th pic.twitter.com/WV6arXTPBP— Logan Nettles (@Jaberwocki) January 28, 2018
The most-represented archetype has just a 13% of a 100-match sample. That's exciting. One the contributing factors to Modern's popularity is how flat the metagame is—the lack of a standout deck, the sheer amount of the possible decks to play—and Standard following suit is promising for the health of the game going forward.
I could not for the life of me figure out why the hell this card kept selling so well until someone somewhere, either in the comments here or on Twitter, told me that it combos with Polyraptor. That's a pretty decent combo, if I do say so myself.
During the first weekend of Rivals of Ixalan Standard play, Merfolk enjoyed some modest success during the Team Open. However, last weekend, Merfolk saw a steep decline in successful outings: one cash at the team Open, didn't Top 16 the Standard Classic, and didn't place in the MOCS. Let Merfolk Branchwalker and all the other tribal nonsense in Ixalan block be a standing lesson that tournament prowess isn't the only thing correlated to increased sales.
Thrashing Brontodon is still fantastic on rate, but it's not clear what it's killing these days. Mardu Vehicles diminished in popularity while God-Pharaoh's Gift slid completely off the map. However, if your local meta has a lot of these two decks present, then Thrashing Brontodon is a cheap way to deal with problem artifacts or enchantments while still getting your beatdown on. In a pinch, it also kills Torrential Gearhulk, which is a thing these days.
If you want to play Rampant Growth in Standard these days, there's only one way to make it work:
Legion Lieutenant is another card with an obvious application but no Standard success to speak of yet. There's not much to say here—you just put it in your Vampires deck. Let's keep moving.
To me, the distinguishing feature of a lot of Rivals of Ixalan Standard decks is how high their mana curves can get. I goldfished Grixis Energy and was left genuinely wondering how it ever wins a game; there are very little cheap spells in the deck that matter, which is a far departure from a deck that curved Attune with Aether into Longtusk Cub into Rogue Refiner into Bristling Hydra into Glorybringer. Baffling End is an efficient removal spell that will gradually see more and more play in Standard as more decks bring their mana curves into consideration. Also, Baffling End slots perfectly into this wacky Esper Control list that's looking to put as many permanents onto the battlefield as quickly as possible in order to get the city's blessing:
Speaking of the city's blessing, you know what goes perfect alongside Baffling End? This thing!
Like I said earlier, Merfolk didn't place in any of the three Standard tournament from over the weekend. Like I also said earlier, that's basically irrelevant because people are going to snap up Merfolk anyway.
Mono-red's continued relevance is the only thing keeping Ravenous Chupacabra tournament-viable. If you're not expecting much mono-red in your next tournament, swap it for something like Gonti, Lord of Luxury if you're dying to replace it with a four-drop. More likely, though, you can replace it for something cheaper, mana-wise.
Turns out people really like that Auras deck:
That's it! See you next time.