Here's the deal: we've got some cool stuff coming down the pipeline, which means it's all hands on deck (topical boat reference in the midst of all the Ixalan stuff? GOD I AM KILLING IT). That means there's no video today, only text. Let's get this thing started.
Back in the day, there was this one card.
My friends and I (disclaimer: we were 11 years old) thought this card was AWESOME. I have some bad new about Lotus Vale. It is not awesome. A repeatable Black Lotus land is cool and all, but the drawback is ginormous. The same idea applies to Dowsing Dagger, which is even worse than Lotus Vale, which is already bad. If you're in the market for an equipment that grants +2/+1, I recommend Trusty Machete.
I'm extremely happy this card exists with Angel of Invention. I played a Jeskai God-Pharaoh's Gift deck at Grand Prix Washington DC this year, and even though I missed day two (died in the first round of a single-elimination Sealed PTQ too, in case you were curious how that particular weekend went for me) I still loved the deck and found it to be a ton of fun to play. The latest iterations with Chart a Course and Strategic Planning churn through a ton of cards, making this goofy-looking mishmash of cards oddly consistent.
Andrew Baekstrom and Ben Stark played a new flavor of red deck last weekend to fine results. Baekstrom got a top 16 in the MOCS, while Stark lost in the finals of Grand Prix Atlanta. Both players are excellent and would do well with any deck you put in front of them, but their variation on Ramunap Red, featuring Treasure Map and Sand Strangler, among other things, is worth trying out for yourself.
Ixalan's Binding has shown up in a handful of sideboards ostensibly in place of Cast Out as a way to exile a thing and make sure no more copies of it ever happen again. It hasn't exactly caught on like Wildfire, but if you're wary of a specific card in a given matchup, Ixalan's Binding could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
At Pro Tour Ixalan, Seth Manfield made Blossoming Defense look incredible, using it in a myriad of ways to fell his opponents. It was only a matter of time before Blossoming Defense, a perpetual Top 10-seller when Kaladesh was the newest expansion, rejoined the Top 10.
Merfolk Branchwalker is all the rage in Modern, but there's a funky white-green deck floating around in Standard that features Merfolk Branchwalker, among other things. I'm interested in trying it out at some point.
There's not much left to say about Kitesail Freebooter. In conjunction with so pressure, cards like Kitesail Freebooter end up playing much better than they look, and thanks to its evasion, Kitesail Freebooter is pressure and disruption wrapped in the same card.
I can't wait for Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan. Personally? I think Opt is too good for Modern. But it's not clear. Looking at one card is much worse than Preordain and Ponder, similar one-mana cantrips that get to look at two and three cards, respectively. I guess we'll see!
Uncommon lands don't need much to sell a ton, it seems. As long as they're above replacement level, their sales will do just find. Aether Hub proved it once, and Unclaimed Territory continues the tradition.
All of the Ixalan uncommons popping up are pretty straightforward in their applications. That includes Chart a Course—there's no mystery with this card. It's a better Tormenting Voice, and as long as you attack with a creature before casting it—not the most difficult bar to clear—it becomes a cheaper Divination. The card is super good.
If you're at PAX Unplugged, stop by the TCGplayer booth and say hi, and if not, I'll see you here next week.