This is how the Top 32 broke at Grand Prix Pittsburgh last weekend:

6 Copy Cat Combo
9 Mardu Vehicles
17 black-green decks

Cool!

#10: Winding Constrictor

The popular selling point for Oath of Gideon during Oath of the Gatewatch preview season was that Planeswalkers' starting loyalties are very deliberate, and moving them one way or the other, even by only one, can send their power level careening off the tracks. Oath of Gideon never saw play because its floor is too low, but Winding Constrictor's floor is Elvish Warrior (read: juuuuust fine) and its upside is ginormous. Winding Constrictor applies the same idea Oath of Gideon ostensibly does. Abilities involving +1/+1 counters give a specific number of counters on purpose, so if those numbers get moved around, the power level doesn't scale proportionally—adding just one +1/+1 counter can put a card off the charts. The upside of the potential Winding Constrictor into Rishkar, Peema Renegade draw is too high to dismiss.

#9: Gifted Aetherborn

Gifted Aetherborn's a nice addition to this list because I can just roll in the TV, throw on the VHS tape, and take a nap substitute teacher-style.

#8: Aether Hub

Aether Hub's been good forever and ever, as fans of the show can attest to. It's enjoying a bit of a resurgence thanks to Mardu's continued presence in Standard coupled with the black-green energy decks bubbling up all over the place. Also, it's just a really good card.

#7: Dark Intimations

#6: Baral, Chief of Compliance

This countdown has more dubious spec targets than I'd like it to have. Whatever. Enjoy your Talas Merchants, #mtgfinance stalwarts.

#5: Greenbelt Rampager

#4: Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

I oversimplified Standard a little bit by lumping all the black-green decks together. They aren't very different, but they're not so similar that you can say something like "wow, if I just build a deck that can beat Mardu and black-green, I'll be in the driver's seat!" As it so happens, there are three distinct flavors of black-green decks floating around Aether Revolt Standard: Delirium, energy, and aggro. They have a lot of overlap, but they're not identical, which will hopefully pass for a diverse metagame among FNM folks. I'm sure they'll like it just fine.

#3: Fatal Push

The reason two parts of Aether Revolt Standard's current rock-paper-scissors metagame are black is because of it has the best answers, with Fatal Push acting as the best of the best. Fatal Push stretches the format in an interesting direction; Verdurous Gearhulk's value goes way up because Fatal Push never touches it.

#2: Release the Gremlins

Manic Vandal wishes it was this adorable.

#1: Gonti, Lord of Luxury

This card rules. I knew I loved Gonti, Lord of Luxury the minute I cast it at the Kaladesh prerelease and my opponent tilted off into the stratosphere. Then I blinked it two more times with their cards and they got even madder! You would've thought it was the worst day of their life. It was great.

So yeah, I'm glad Gonti, Lord of Luxury is catching on in Standard. It definitely makes the decks that go tall look like a complete joke, and conveniently dodges the front end of Fatal Push while invalidating other removal by virtue of the fact that it scores a card when it enters the battlefield. I'm starting to look for Standard decks to play in PPTQs, and I'm hopeful that I'll end up playing some amount of Gonti, Lord of Luxury.

Jon Corpora
pronounced Ca-pora
@feb31st