We're getting right into it today. It's almost the weekend; you're trying to get straight to the meat. These are the best-selling wizard squares of the week:
Not the most shocking development. More than half of the Top 32 decks at GP Pittsburgh were black-green, and that doesn't even take into account all of the B/G/X midrange decks floating around Modern.
As the contours of Aether Revolt Standard come into sharper relief, comparing Walking Ballista to Hangarback Walker becomes more and more foolish. Walking Ballista is a dynamic role-player in every green-black deck Aether Revolt Standard has to offer, triggering revolt, providing two types for delirium, and synergizing with Winding Constrictor. Hangarback Walker was just a two-drop that became annoying to remove from play - Walking Ballista is that and lots more.
Who made the executive decision to make gremlins look like anteaters? That person deserves a raise. Magic gremlins are the best.
Modern didn't have enough pain-in-the-neck brick walls, so now there's Renegade Rallier, which gets back Voice of Resurgence and won't drive any opponents up the wall, ever. Also goes great with Kitchen Finks!
Check out Craig Wescoe's latest piece on black-based midrange decks in Standard. Fair warning: both decks feature a heaping helping of Gifted Aetherborn.
It's Aether Hub. It's going to be in every deck forever and ever until it rotates out of Standard. Describing why Aether Hub is good is like trying to describe why a sunset is good. It's just good. Don't overthink it.
While you're recapping this week's articles, Seth Manfield's look back at testing for Pro Tour Aether Revolt is worth it if just for the discussion on Gonti, Lord of Luxury and the differences between the black-green decks alone.
Yep. Winding Constrictor's a card that's gotta die on sight. If an opponent's untapping with a Winding Contrictor in play, that's bad news. That's where Standard's at right now.
Wandring into Monday's comments, I discovered that this card's spiking because of a spec, and continuing to rise thanks to a bunch of side bets. Kind of a freeroll, I guess; if you're losing, you're losing small, but if the card catches, you're winning big. I'm not really in the business of making judgment calls on what people do with their money, so, yeah, go nuts. Buy all the Dark Intimations you want. Let me know how that goes.
Funny that Fatal Push and Shock exist in the same set-both cards have similar functions, but Fatal Push is just so much better at its job, whereas Shock has fallen off the map since Pro Tour Aether Revolt. Thanks to Kaladesh's rare land cycle, mana's pretty free, so most decks that would normally play Shock can just play Fatal Push.
In Aether Revolt Standard, there's no chipping away at an opponent with incremental advantage. In a world with Wild Nacatl and Kird Ape-Toolcraft Exemplar and Inventor's Apprentice, respectively-and removal defined by its mana efficiency rather than its versatility, damage comes through in huge chunks. Any board advantage snowballs effortlessly. In an environment like this, there's no room for a card like Shock because it's so hard to stabilize that the "two damage to target player" mode has far less value than it has in the past. This isn't a condemnation of Aether Revolt Standard, but rather another way of stating that context is important when evaluating cards.
See you next week.