"So it felt like there were level one decks — all the aggro stuff that did well at the Standard Open before the Pro Tour, then the Aetherworks Marvel decks that beat up on those were level two, and then the control decks that dunked on Aetherworks Marvel were level three."
"I think you're leaving out a tier."
"The black-green delirium decks are real. I mean, contextually speaking, anyway."
"Why the 'contextually' qualifier?"
"Because all the decks in this Standard are crap."
"Like, leading into the Pro Tour, I played against all the decks, and nothing really stood out as being even good. So I resigned myself to firing the cannon a lot."
"And how'd that go?"
I missed the column on Friday because I was en route to Grand Prix Providence; it's like I'm starting with a clean slate. When I left off, Electrostatic Pummeler was a consistent top-seller, but it looks like it's settled nicely into Mediocre Card in Mediocre Cheap Yet Sometimes-Competitive Deck Purgatory, right where it belongs. Spell Queller experienced an unsurprising jump; white-blue decks were really hyped coming into the Grand Prix weekend as a deck that performed well at the Pro Tour that boasted a positive matchup against both of the control decks that made the finals of the Pro Tour. Servant of the Conduit is a fine role-player in any green energy deck. Lots of people are speculating on Madcap Experiment, which leads me to speculate that they are all illiterate. I'm very excited to be wrong about that.
After what felt like an eternity of blue being irrelevant in Standard — there was a brief blip during Dragons of Tarkir for Esper Dragons, but that deck fell by the wayside quickly enough — blue has regained its stranglehold on the market share of Standard-viable decks. Spirebluff Canal as a top 10 seller should come as a surprise to no one at this point.
The glue holding all of Standard's control decks together. The tradition of the Cancel With Slight Upside card archetype's still going strong; this iteration interacts favorably with opposing Torrential Gearhulk by either countering Torrential Gearhulk (duh) or exiling a desirable flashback spell for a Torrential Gearhulk to be played later.
It's appropriate that Cancel with upside is followed by Shock with upside. This iteration of Shock doesn't hit players, but each subsequent copy scales nicely into the late game, making Galvanic Bombardment the best Shock that's been printed in a while.
A Cancel variant and a Shock variant lead us right into... an Inspiration variant. I'm a sucker for an Inspiration, and Glimmer of Genius feels really pushed. I am going to cast this card before it rotates, dammit.
Is it fair to call Blossoming Defense a Giant Growth variant? Is Fleecemane Lion a Watchwolf variant? The mind reels.
Smuggler's Copter! The first card on the list that can't really be interpreted as a variant of anything!
In this case, maybe that's not so great.
Combining the Top 64 decks from both GPs from last weekend, there were 413 out of a possible 512 copies of Smuggler's Copter present. So maybe now isn't the best time to remind people that we just won an extra six months with the looter scooter.
On its face, Ceremonious Rejection looks like an odd card to exist, but in Kaladesh Standard, it really shines, serving as an efficient answer to Smuggler's Copter and Void Shatter alike.
What recap of old card variants would be complete without a good old-fashioned Incinerate variant? I seriously underestimated how good Harnessed Lightning would be, even with other Harnessed Lightning as the only other source of energy. Harnessed Lightning plays a lot like Galvanic Bombardment in that it scales as the game goes on; if the first Galvanic Bombardment only deals one, the next can can deal up to five, and its floor is that it kills a Smuggler's Copter dead. Not a bad place to be.
I loved this card two years ago, but this is just a spec, and a weird one at that. I get that Khans of Tarkir cards are really low right now, but a buyout of a rare of questionable power level in a set that stands as one of the most-opened all-time is odd. The catalyst was probably Jeff Hoogland's deck tech from the Modern Open, which... sure. Live your life, wizard square speculators.
Shifting gears to an actual playable Magic card, Aether Hub serves as the glue for a lot of three-color aggressive decks and energy decks alike, as well as any two-color aggressive deck looking to get just a little more juice out of their Harnessed Lightning.
See you Friday.