They came. They played. The first weekend of Eldritch Moon Standard is in the books. Ali Aintrazi rocked his way to a finalist finish at the SCG Open in Columbus—more on that later—and everyone that had a pulse updates one of Shadows over Innistrad Standard's big baddies (Bant Company) with the latest tools.
Of course, those tools are really good: They brought a winner in Columbus and almost assuredly elsewhere at Preliminary PTQs and beyond.
With better information came better purchasing, and these are the top-selling cards based on a weekend of gameplay. Let's roll.
Incendiary Flow is an unexciting burn spell with plenty of practical applications. Dark Salvation was a fine tool in a few control decks gutsy enough to use it. Lone Rider was a scary threat from retooled white Humans decks. Geier Reach Sanitarium was just too much fun to avoid trying out.
Summary Dismissal was heralded as an answer to Eldrazi. It worked, coming out of the sideboard of Ali Aintrazi's finalist finishing Sultai Control deck:
The plan is simple for this card: Ramp decks counting on firing off something like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and getting the battlefield-clearing effect of Kozilek's Return would be sorely disappointed. It was just one of the many tools Ali packed into his post-cruise brew.
Imprisoned in the Moon is perhaps the best card that didn't see flashy action over the weekend. Blue decks typically do not have hard answers for obnoxious permanents—bouncing something and then countering it later is a harder hoop to jump through—but Imprisoned in the Moon gets there. While adding black or white is the easy way to resolve this, keeping the in-blue option around can't hurt.
Eldritch Evolution is another great card this didn't show its home over the weekend. While proven Modern decks took the top slots at the end of the day, and Standard was the "Bant Company is still a fine deck" show, cards like Eldritch Evolution will take a little finesse to figure out.
Meanwhile, players have figured that out already and are still picking it up in droves. It's up to you whether you want to buy the hype or end up left behind.
Cryptbreaker, too, sat out of the spotlight this weekend. But the Zombie hype is real as players can't get enough of this card. While it might take the Pro Tour to prove whether Zombies can make the Standard cut or not, it won't stop the undead appreciators among us from taking swings at FNM and elsewhere.
Keep your eyes open.
Elder Deep-Fiend was modeled after Mistbind Clique, a totally fair and fun-to-play-against card from Standard long passed. While the Eldrazi Octopus may not be the same card—it certainly has a few more riders around making it work the same way—it is one of the most powerful creatures a blue or ramp deck can muster.
While many players played it safe this weekend, the power of Elder Deep-Fiend will be something every Pro Tour team dives into for their prep. I'll keep my fingers crossed until then!
Thalia, Heretic Cathar is back, and she's found her place in the Standard boogeyman deck: Bant Company.
Devin Koepke was one of the dozens of players that updated a polished deck from last Standard season and piloted it to a phenomenal finish over the weekend. Thalia, Heretic Cathar hits the deck on multiple angles:
Thalia is back, and she means business.
White-Blue Spirits is real, and Mausoleum Wanderer is one of the big hits that makes it so real.
The Spirits decks that made the top tables over the weekend played like typical tempo decks of the past: Get ahead on board with evasive creatures and stay ahead long enough to attack for lethal on the back of tricks in hand.
Mausoleum Wanderer gets to play both sides, forcing opponents to play around Force Spike against their removal even as Negate and other options (...cough, Spell Queller, cough...) lay in waiting behind it.
Spirits is the new Faeries. You heard it here first (or for like the fortieth time or so).
People want to believe. "Bedlam Reveler can be a powerful card." "Bedlam Reveler can be so cheap to cast!" "Bedlam Reveler can win me the game."
What can it do in Standard? The Pro Tour is looming on the horizon to tell us. What can it do beyond? We're still waiting for the winning deck(s) to appear. Until then, it's belief along sustaining the demand.
Selfless Spirit is in a strange spot. There aren't a plethora of great Wrath of God effects seeing play in Standard outside of "doesn't care of indestructible" Languish. Seeing Selfless Spirit at the top tables in both White-Blue Spirits and Bant Company was odd at a glance.
Looking closer is clear what it can really do: Save the creatures that matter more from Ruinous Path, Ultimate Price, Incendiary Flow and other single target removal spells. Selfless Spirit might not be saving armies, but keeping alive the critical Spell Queller that locked down a Languish matter even more.
PS: It's an efficient flying attacker too that Collected Company can pick up on the fly. Neat.
Spell Queller may be busted.
It's a thought paraded all weekend long as the powerful disruption-meets-attacker demonstrated its power across Standard. For Bant Company, it's a creature that the namesake spell finds that answers Languish, Planeswalkers and other hard-to-fight effects for the deck. In White-Blue Spirits it made much the same role but instead functioned like a Cancel, sitting and waiting for the moment the opponent would try to deal with the Spirit army flying overhead.
Spell Queller is a dominate card in Standard just as everyone predicted. (It wasn't hard.) The real questions now are where is its ceiling—Modern? Legacy?—and just how far it will go at the Pro Tour.
Join us this Friday when we break down another week of sales as the dust settles and brews—and testing—find the next angles of attack in Standard and beyond. See you then!