In the weeks leading up to Pro Tours, SCG Tour coverage has an even bigger influence than usual on which cards sell. Since GPs leading up to Pro Tours typically aren't Constructed, SCG Tours are the biggest events between a set's release and a Pro Tour. Now that that's been established, let's dive into this week's Top 10.

#10: Gigantosaurus

Gigantosaurus isn't exactly a good card, but a 10/10 for five mana is exactly the kind of thing that revs casual players' engines.

#9: Wizard's Lightning

We'll come back to why exactly this card's in the mix. It's a nice deck, I can tell you that.

#8: Reliquary Tower

Reliquary Tower's been a Commander staple since the Elder Dragon Highlander days, and yet another reprint means that the latest wave of Commander newcomers can get their hands on a staple while it's near its lowest possible price.

#7: Commander 2018 — Set of Four Decks

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Not much to cover here. No matter how much #mtgfinance Twitter grouses about the lack of value in a supplementary expansion, it will sell. Try not to forget that!

#6: Sai, Master Thopterist

At this point, there are a ton of blue artifact decks floating around Standard that all try to break Sai, Master Thopterist in half, but the coolest one I played against featured Sai, Master Thopterist, Baral, Chief of Compliance, Inspiring Statuary Paradoxical Outcome, Karn, Scion of Urza, and Karn's Temporal Sundering, alongside a bunch of cheap-o artifacts like Mox Amber, Ornithopter, and Renegade Map to "go off" with Paradoxical Outcome and make a bunch of thopters with Sai, Master Thopterist. From there, Inspiring Statuary lets you cast basically anything. The deck's got a good midrange game; Sai, Master Thopterist and Karn, Scion of Urza give you the ability grind players out, but if you're looking for a combo finish, a couple of Paradoxical Outcomes into a Karn's Temporal Sundering usually does the trick. I haven't been able to find the deck anywhere, but it's great.

tl;dr: Sai, Master Thopterist enables a ton of linear Standard decks. The card is good enough to pull the majority of these wonky-looking decks into the realm of real contenders. What a bonkers card.

#5: Nimble Obstructionist

Here's the deck Jeff Hoogland played at last weekend's SCG open:

Lightning Bolt's been on the decline as Modern gets more and more unfair, but Jeff Hoogland made the executive decision to play eight copies (for Lightning Bolt, four Wizard's Lightning) in a tempo deck. It turns out with the right amount of pressure and disruption, eight Lightning Bolts are tough for any deck to beat. This deck looks so great.

#4: Thorn Lieutenant

The fact that a mono-green Stompy deck has a legitimate claim as the best deck in Standard in 2018 gives the part of me that's still 12 years old warm fuzzies.

Tangent That's Only Tangentially related to Thorn Lieutenant: In a post-sideboard game yesterday, my opponent "went off" on me with the combo of Lifecrafter's Bestiary + Aether Hub + Greenbelt Rampager. Here's how that works: First, you get down to one or two energy. Now use your Aether Hub to cast Greenbelt Rampager, paying a green mana when you cast it to draw a card off the Lifecrafter's Bestiary. Once Greenbelt Rampager resolves, you should have less than two energy, so Greenbelt Rampager returns to your hand and you have an energy. Now, Lifecrafter's Bestiary has the following bonus text:

[G], Tap an Aether Hub: Draw a card. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

My opponent had three Aether Hubs in play! I lost that game very easily.

#3: Militia Bugler

As soon as Modern decks started tuning themselves to beat Humans, this card was printed. Back to the drawing board!

#2: Vine Mare

You should be allowed to play Vine Mare and Duress in the same deck. I'm saying it. It's too good. It's annoying.

#1: Bomat Courier

For the time being, Standard is cyclical. In the absence of a deck that has a 53% matchup against every other deck, the correct choice in Standard will probably be some sort of 5D rock-paper-scissors choice, where the determining factor will be what deck's "good" at the moment. Seeing lots of hype for Stompy? Play Disallows? Reading a bunch of articles touting Disallows as the "correct play?" Pick up Bomat Couriers.

It helps that Bomat Courier's a really strong card. That's well-documented, even just in the sheer magnitude of top-finishing decks that contain it. It's possible that Bomat Courier's underpriced right now, but what's more likely is that the market's flooded with them as players gear up for a big Standard rotation, resulting in a handful of savvy buyers picking them up on the cheap in the hopes of a spike somewhere down the road. That's an odd play; Bomat Courier's seeing some fringe play in Legacy at the moment, but it's hard not to chalk those sightings up to a deck-building error. Be that as it may, Bomat Courier's still a powerful card, and at its current market price—less than 50 cents—it's more or less a free play for anyone willing to bet on it.

See you next week.

Jon Corpora
(pronounced ca-pora)
@feb31st