A friend of mine mentioned that if the Saheeli Rai / Felidar Guardian combo were to get banned, then there should be no combos in Standard ever again. His point is that the Copy Cat deck is nowhere near unbeatable. It's easy to interact with, and although it can be assembled quickly, there are a laundry list of cards that efficiently disrupt the combo. These answers come at the expense of your own gameplan, but it's not worlds different than, say, being on the draw against a turn-four Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Different ailments, similar symptoms.
There ware no bans in any format in this morning's announcement.
The goal of doubling the number of B&R announcements was to give us more granularity around when we banned things, not to ban 2x more.— Aaron Forsythe (@mtgaaron) March 13, 2017
Standard's gameplay is fine, but on its face, it looks like a terrible two-deck format. The subtle changes the top decks undergo in reaction to fluctuations in the metagame are invisible compared to what another Top 8 full of Mardu Vehicles and Four-Color Saheeli looks like to someone that hasn't been playing the games. I can only cite my own experiences; for me, playing Standard's been rewarding. I've been playing Mardu Vehicles at PPTQs and I played a Temur Aetherworks Marvel deck last weekend at GP: New Jersey (I finished day one 6-3 and dropped instead of playing Day Two, but that's another topic for another time). I've been feeling good about Magic lately, which is nice given that I've been playing in lots of tournaments. The die roll matters a lot when Mardu's part of the equation, thanks to Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, but other than those cards locking me out of games completely, the Magic's been good. I've never felt like I had zero shot in a matchup, but that could be the nature of my deck choices; I've certainly never played the black-green side of the black-green / Aetherworks Marvel matchup.
My experience isn't reality, though. Given more games, there's certainly a universe in which I get very annoyed by dying to Saheeli Rai 52% of the times I tap out on my third turn. As Standard stands, the game play is healthy but the power level of the cards has yielded a metagame in which more cards than usual are simply unplayable. The problem isn't necessarily format health, but an issue of impact on retailers' bottom-lines, because when singles don't sell broadly and all the money is concentrated in fewer cards... that's no bueno. If the optics of Standard are bad, it doesn't matter how fun the games are. Swimming with sharks is thrilling until you get bit.
Enough Standard angst. It's time to count down Magic cards.
I just did a lot of pontificating about competitive Standard, but Gifted Aetherborn sees essentially no competitive Standard play at this point and has continued to sell well for months. Maybe competitive Magic's not the only thing driving sales!
All the non-Mardu decks seem to have an energy subtheme these days. Give credit where credit's due: Harnessed Lightning doesn't need much help in order to be able to take out one of Aether Revolt Standard's defining creatures, Felidar Guardian. The four-color combo decks would've all played Lay of the Land anyway, but Attune with Aether's energy component makes Harnessed Lightning even better. Energy is a super-insular mechanic, and all the cards make each other better.
Cards like these two - Modern-only, relatively pricey, at least compared to the other Super Sellers - can only sell as well as they do as long a time as they have if there's demand and the price stays flat. The Market Price on both cards are flat and neither were reprinted in Modern Masters 2017, now is a good time for a long-term spec on them, given you think the demand will eventually go up by non-vendors, which isn't guaranteed. Also worth noting: a reprint of these cards would be a disaster for a speculator; there are lots of copies of both of these cards out in the world as it is.
Corbin Hosler took over in my stead last week while I was celebrating my birthday in a car hurtling towards the garden state. He did a good job at summing up why someone would buy a Walking Ballista: the card does everything and can be played anywhere.
No idea why this happened. Let's keep moving.
Oath of Chandra looks unimpressive on its face, but is a serviceable role-player in lots of places. It can get blinked by a Felidar Guardian, it can team up with any Planeswalker to Take Down opposing Planeswalkers or just dome folks for two. Never underestimate the chip-shot.
I mean, yeah. This was a foregone conclusion, right? Fatal Push is going to be #1 until Amonkhet is released, and even then, it'll be in the Top 10 for a long time. It's a defining factor of every black deck in Standard and also sees play in Modern. It's a good Magic card.