There weren't any major Standard events last weekend, but there's a Standard Grand Prix double-header this weekend, with events in Lille and New Jersey. I'll be in New Jersey and I have no clue what I'm playing yet. Let's roll.

#10: Wildgrowth Walker

This has to be around nine months ago at this point, shortly after Rivals of Ixalan hit—I'm playing in a weekly Standard Showdown event with mono-red, and I'm paired against The Above-Average Player Who Likes To Brew To Their Own Detriment. Every LGS has one of these. Anyway, my opponent goes turn-two Wildgrowth Walker and I pick it up to read it and immediately Lightning Strike it. Threat neutralized. Their turn three: Wildgrowth Walker, Enter the Unknown targeting Wildgrowth Walker (reveal Jadelight Ranger, keep it on top), play another land, pass turn. I did not win that match and it was not very close. Wildgrowth Walker has been sneaky-good for a while, and now it's just plain good.

#9: Creeping Chill

During Guilds of Ravnica preview season, Creeping Chill was pegged as a potential game-changer for Dredge, especially in Modern. Last weekend's Modern Open proved the deck's newfound dominance—both copies that made Top 8 won their quarterfinal matches and the deck looked unstoppable on camera all weekend. Creeping Chill gives Dredge more firepower, a little more wiggle room with the extra three life, and makes the idea of a game-ending Conflagrate much more realistic.

#8: Fiery Cannonade

Fiery Cannonade is an ideal sideboard card for the new-look Mono-Red Aggro decks that feature Experimental Frenzy. Sure, Fiery Cannonade can destroy a lot of your own creatures, but Experimental Frenzy changes the math so drastically that you can afford to throw away a couple of your own creatures casting it thanks to the sheer degree to which you're ahead on cards. And that's just the worst-case scenario. More often you're simply combining Fiery Cannonade with other burn spells and reducing an opponent's side of the board to rubble. This may seem obvious, but the fact that it's an instant gives it way more play than the typical card an Experimental Frenzy deck has on top of its library.

#7: Sinister Sabotage

Sinister Sabotage isn't particularly interesting to talk about anymore. It's an obviously-pushed card—the best "Cancel with upside" we've seen. You can't play control without it. It synergizes with jump-start cards in addition to smoothing out draws and aiding other graveyard shenanigans. It's very good.

#6: Arclight Phoenix

Holy guacamole is this blue-red spells deck bad. Bad bad bad. I don't mean to malign anyone who plays the deck, but the archetype is just... hoo boy. I mean, I'm sure it's a blast when it goes off, but yeah. The deck straight-up scoops to a Deathgorge Scavenger. Don't play it.

#5: Niv-Mizzet, Parun

Niv-Mizzet, Parun rules. The decision to make it rare instead of mythic is an interesting one, since it certainly plays like a mythic rare, but I don't think anyone's complaining. It's the best-selling Commander, so it's got multiple player-bases clamoring for it, and it's a rare, so it'll stay affordable for a while.

#4: Plaguecrafter

Plaguecrafter is also extremely dope. The fact that it nukes Planeswalkers is kinda messed up.

#3: Lava Coil

Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Hazoret the Fervent are out of the picture, but Rekindling Phoenix remains a gigantic pain. Lava Coil solves the problem efficiently, albeit at sorcery speed. That's fine. Can't have it all!

#2: Expansion // Explosion

Explosion seems like a very good card that's also pretty fair. I've died to the sequence of Explosion for 10 into Explosion for 13 what feels like infinity times already, but I try to focus on the upside: at least the game is over! As long as I don't have to deal with the existential hell that is watching my opponent feed Sphinx's Revelations to each other endlessly with Elixir of Immortality until I deck, then everything's great as far as I'm concerned.

#1: Tocatli Honor Guard

Their exact numbers might look different deck to deck, but what makes black-green midrange decks go is a pile of creatures with enters-the-battlefield abilities. Tocatli Honor Guard is a clever speed bump against these decks, because once you remove the enters-the-battlefield triggers from the Golgari creatures, the deck starts to look like a bad 8th Edition draft deck, full of 2/1s for 1GG and 3/2s for 2B. If you're able to catch a Golgari opponent without a two-mana removal spell—Moment of Craving doesn't do the job and Assassin's Trophy certainly has bigger fish to fry—it's not difficult to parlay the tempo advantage Tocatli Honor Guard yields into a win. This is the tech of choice to beat the Golgari menace heading into this weekend's Standard tournaments.

Jon Corpora
(pronounced ca-pora)
@feb31st