Having the conversation about what constitutes fun over and over again feels tedious once it's clear how obvious the dialogue keeps coming back to it, but the fact remains that players are dissatisfied with Standard. It's not clear why.

Every good Standard deck post-Faeries invariably catches derision from players: it's too powerful, it's hurting the game, etc. These complaints are constant, no matter what the best deck is, so the important skill is being able to distinguish when a deck crosses the line between powerful and obnoxious.

Which isn't to say there aren't other factors in play. The way expansion releases are set up, the fall set feels like forever. Kaladesh Limited has a lot of play to it — every draft feels fresh and there's not as much consensus on cards between top players as there usually is this far into a Limited format's lifespan (and that's really cool) — but Kaladesh Standard leaves a sour taste in lots of players' mouths. It's tough to quantify.

There are some problems with B/G Delirium. Between Grasp of Darkness and Liliana, the Last Hope, B/G Delirium beaks up all the creature synergies of Kaladesh Standard really efficiently. Grim Flayer and Liliana are both aggressive cards that also create incremental advantage from really, really early in a game. They have to be answered immediately. On top of that, B/G Delirium gets access to Ishkanah, Grafwidow, a two-in-one board stall and finisher. There are no clean answers to Ishkanah, Grafwidow, and that's by design. Between Traverse the Ulvenwald and Vessel of Nascency, B/G Delirium sees enough cards that all games follow this script, and that's frustrating for the average player.

Aetherworks Marvel ostensibly keeps midrange decks like B/G Delirium in check, but the cannon-combo decks present their own set of problems: they don't really interact, and the majority of casual players (ie., competitive Magic's bedrock) don't play those decks and don't build their decks with those matchups in mind.

On the other hand, I could be just projecting. I don't hate Standard right now, but the Standard Showdown feels like an effort to pump some energy into a format that people seem to be gravitating away from. Also, the only reason I'm bringing up Standard's waning influence at all is because there are three cards in the Top 10 this week that could really only be there thanks to Frontier: Dig Through Time, Siege Rhino, and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. My take on Frontier hasn't budged since Friday — the format shares a complexion with one of my least-favorite Standards I've ever played, thus I don't want to play it — but the fact that so many players want to give that Standard despite all the evidence that Four-Color Rally broke it in half means that Standard's in a precarious spot.

Are the high sales of these cards speculations? Sure. That's possible. Three Frontier-only cards hitting our Top 10 isn't definitive evidence of anything, but it's a loud data point. If you're involved in Magic at all, the ascension of Frontier is worth keeping an eye on.

I'll end on this note: Yahenni's Expertise is not a step in the right direction.

Honorable Mentions

I rag on Bomat Courier a lot, but Magicians at large might know something I don't — it narrowly missed the Top 10. Concealed Courtyard and Spirebluff Canal join Bomat Courier in the coulda-been club along with (holy moly this one fell out of the Top 10 I never thought I'd see the day someone hold me) Harnessed Lightning.

#10: Ravenous Trap

Ravenous Trap is too cheap and too effective against one of Modern's top decks — Dredge — to stray too far from the Top 10. Get used to seeing it in this space until its price spikes or Golgari Grave-Troll gets banned, whichever happens first.

#9: Blossoming Defense

Ranger's Guile saw little to no play but Blossoming Defense is a Top 10 seller every week. Magic really is a game of inches.

#8: Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

For those of you that weren't playing Magic six months ago, or just forgot: Jace, Vryn's Prodigy was one of Standard's best cards, and also commanded a price tag that reached about $80 at one point (if I'm off, yell at me in the comments). People hated it, to the point where Melissa DeTora posted Standard lists with AND without Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, in case players wanted to play one of her sweet brews without taking out a second mortgage to buy the deck.

These days, the price tag on Jace, Vryn's Prodigy's a lot more reasonable. That said, there's nothing selling this card other than Frontier.

#7: Scrapheap Scrounger

There hasn't been a mono-red aggro deck in Standard for a hot minute, but there are plenty of stand-ins. B/R Aggro seems to have occupied that space. It makes sense for Bomat Courier and Scrapheap Scrounger to pick up ground; the rise of Aetherworks Marvel decks necessitates a deck that just wants to deal 20 damage to its opponent as quickly as possible. B/R Aggro is pretty good at that, and Scrapheap Scrounger is one of the cornerstones of that deck.

#6: Panharmonicon

Last week was Panharmonicon week at TCGplayer. The card seems to have cooled off a little, but if we're being honest with ourselves — Panharmonicon will never lose that Sizzle.

#5: Smuggler's Copter

I don't think Heart of Kiran is better than Smuggler's Copter. Looting is really good. That's my Hot TakeTM for Aether Revolt, I think. I'll let you know if I think of something hotter.

#4: Thraben Inspector

While I'm wildly speculating, I'll posit another theory. Thraben Inspector is emblematic of a big problem with Kaladesh Standard: the cards play pretty vanilla, with a lot of redundancies. Aetherworks Marvel and Panharmonicon are clear exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, Standard cards are coldly efficient and not very splashy. This is good for a healthy format, but if left alone for too long, players tire of the environment quickly. Maybe. I don't know. I'm just spitballing at this point. Maybe Standard is fine. WHO KNOWS.

#3: Aether Hub

Aether Hub will be good forever and ever. Get on board with it.

#2: Siege Rhino

#1: Dig Through Time

Wowee Khans of Tarkir was great.

Yes, Dig Through Time sees play in Commander, and yeah, Siege Rhino sees play in Modern... but both of those formats both existed already. They are spiking because of Frontier.

Something to keep an eye on.

Jon Corpora
pronounced Ca-pora
@feb31st