Last weekend marked the first weekend of Rivals of Ixalan action, and for the first time in what's felt like years, Standard felt dynamic and interesting—a format finally capable of earning the demand it makes on players' wallets. This is what sold the best from Friday to Sunday; note that the release of Rivals of Ixalan coincided with our Kickback sale. If you're still looking for singles with a kickback, get those orders in today, because our Kickback sale ends at midnight (EST) tonight.
After failing to make day two of the SCG Open, Jim Davis made Top 8 of the Standard Classic with a very spicy deck that we'll be covering here later on. I want to play it very badly.
The black Elvish Visionary! I was wondering when this weird-looking little duder would pop up on this list. I think this card's great. Last time Elvish Visionary was Standard-legal, it helped fuel one of Standard's last great combo decks. It's tough to say that'll happen again, but don't be surprised to see a steady uptick in decks using Dusk Legion Zealot as the Standard metagame settles.
If you had "12-mana trampling dinosaur as a Top 10-seller" on your Top 10 Cards Sold bingo card, congrats. To be totally honest, some of these red/green aggressive decks look quite potent, and they all make excellent use of Ghalta, Primal Hunger. The card's got a lot of tension built into it: if an opponent has a specific type of removal spell, the game continues, but if you get to untap with it on the battlefield, it usually ends the game right then and there.
God-Pharaoh's Gift. Cast Out. Herat of Kiran. Torrential Gearhulk. The list of relevant cards Thrashing Brontodon deals with goes on and on, and its outstanding rate means that, if you can stomach the double-green cost and cast it on time, it will protect you from all the three-power two-drops Standard's full of these days.
It's Rampant Growth, if you're into that sort of thing! You have to jump through considerable deck-building hoops to get your two-mana mana-fixing-plus-ramping, but in a wide-open Standard metagame, these dinosaur decks are compelling enough to make Thunderherd Migration worth it:
Legion Lieutenant—and by extension, Vampires as a whole—didn't pop up in any lists after one week of Rivals of Ixalan action. One week of tournament data is in no way, shape, or form conclusive evidence, but the fact remains that there's a lot of good cards working against Legion Lieutenant. One of the reasons that Dinosaurs has surfaced as the best of the Ixalan tribes (so far) is that one removal spell on a "lord" doesn't render the rest of the deck obsolete. Each dinosaurs is a force to be reckoned with by itself. That's not the case with Merfolk and Vampires.
Speaking of Merfolk, Merfolk Mistbinder decks fall prey to the same trappings as tribal Vampire decks—if you get to untap with a Merfolk Mistbinder, it's clearly awesome, but if it dies, you're left with a bunch of very underwhelming little creatures.
The reason Merfolk have been able to spike early finishes and Vampires haven't is because the best Merfolk cards play in a very clear way. The deck builds itself; it's aggressive and establishes tempo advantage quickly. Those tendencies lead to a fair amount of free wins. I still wouldn't play Merfolk personally, but it's not completely unplayable. It preys on slow draws and clunky mana-curves as good as anything else.
Ravenous Chupacabra is a really, really good card that's great in combination with one of Standard's best cards: The Scarab God. It's going to sell well forever. There's not much else to say, right? There's not a ton of nuance here. The card's power level is right there in the text box.
It's not Rivals of Ixalan's most expensive card, but it's the best (Rekindling Phoenix comes in at a close second). Jadelight Ranger is the rare Merfolk that doesn't need a bunch of other Merfolk around it to be good. To put it succinctly: all of the possible outcomes when resolving this card are great, and they all add up to a great card.
It appears that Jim Davis' Standard deck from last weekend's SCG Classic caught on in a big way:
I have no idea if this deck is good or not, but it looks perfect for casual play. It plays a bunch of under-appreciated cards, has decent pedigree—Jim Davis is a proven deck-builder—and perhaps most importantly: it's cheap. I love everything about this deck, and I'm excited to see if anyone will iterate on it to make it dominate Standard.