Back again this week to finish up what I started last week, which can be found here, breaking down the existing rares and mythics from the previous four sets that will remain. I am looking for cards that may have not seen as much play, cards that are, in many cases, suppressed by existing cards, or cards that just fit well with the new themes we have seen from Shadows over Innistrad, such as madness, investigate, and double-faced cards. I was able to make it through all of the colors other than black last week, as I feel, of all of them, it should receive the largest boost from the upcoming block. In addition, I have multicolored and colorless to scale this week. Once this list is complete and we have the full set next week, it will finally be time to brew!
Corpseweft — While I am on the fence about whether this card will actually do anything in the coming format, it does have the possibility at the least for ’board play in midrange mirrors to make use of creatures that may not interact from the grave. This card falls into a camp that I look at as a low-cost throw-in for trades or a cheap play set to hedge your bets. It is unlikely to be worth a ton even if it does see play, but it also does not take much to make a single copy cost what a set does now.
Demonic Pact — This card, similar to Corpseweft, has a low buy-in, though the long-term appeal of such a unique card—and mythic to top it off—does give reason to feel it is a fine purchase even if Standard never does find its potential. Angelic Purge being recently previewed also gives me hope for a control shell running Pact, as even countered, it still allows for the sacrifice.
Erebos's Titan — Though this card was one of the more expensive cards in the set when it was first announced, it is only now that it may be playable. It’s another bulk mythic that has a good deal of upside if a strong enough mono-black shell emerges. Even just ’board play for this one would be enough to bring it from the dregs where it currently resides. With cards like Siege Rhino rotating, the 4-drop spot does open up, and Erebos's Titan has a relevant body for the cost. The indestructible clause against control does not hurt, and the recursion may finally be turned on with the grave theme being pushed over this block.
Graveblade Marauder — While I feel this card may still find kitchen-table focus over any real Standard play, it is plausible that this may find a deck, or even a counter to a deck. I am not sold on this guy, but like most cards thus far, he is cheap, has long-term upside, and can be obtained fairly easily.
Languish — While Standard does have a plethora of sweepers as of recent, this is one of the only cards that can come down on 4 and handle the aggressive onslaught some decks can provide. In addition, this circumvents the indestructible clause of cards like Avacyn, also conveniently killing her. With so many sweepers in the format, most have stayed relatively cheap, as there are typically only one or two decks seeking any one, but Languish may pull ahead of the pack for the next few months. Most of the main reasons this card fell out of favor are now rotating. If you are into fancier forms of cardboard, the promos—both prerelease and full-art—are more than reasonable right now as well, and they have more upside if this does take off.
Sidisi, Undead Vizier — Before now, the format has not been slow enough to incorporate a card that requires so much of a cost, both mana and a sacrifice. Reflector Mage may keep this tyrant down, but the potential to sacrifice cards like Restless Dead does make this more appealing. The tutor certainly becomes more powerful the slower the format is, also allowing for a more diverse control shell if all of the pieces can manage to fit together.
As has been the trend, mythics will certainly hit harder if they do gain any traction, and they usually require less play to do so. That being said, every card on this list has potential in the new environment depending on what tier one looks like in a month, and they are as low as they will probably ever be in Standard. I am drawn to the Demonic Pact deck if that shell is strong enough, and thus far, it is shaping up to be.
Demonic Pact Shell ? Shadows over Innistrad Standard | Ryan Bushard
- Creatures (4)
- 4 Erebos's Titan
- Planeswalkers (2)
- 2 Ob Nixilis Reignited
This deck would still need a few pieces, but the interactions between Erebos's Titan and Languish on top of the already-great card-advantage engines and removal will probably have me keeping my eye on this color combination.
Brutal Expulsion — While I had high hopes for this card early on in Battle for Zendikar, it never really panned out given the format. This time around, with double-faced cards and the exile mattering more, I could see this finding a home as a reasonable catch-all if it begins to answer enough problems.
Dragonlords — While they all have potential, I feel the least respected thus far is certainly Dragonlord Kolaghan and, of course, that makes sense considering his largest ability was mostly irrelevant up until now. He may not see much of a push given how fast black and red are shaping up to be, but if he shows up as a finisher in that deck or in any midrange shell, his price is nearly at the floor. The risk is that he has the least appeal of the Dragonlords in the long term given how underwhelming he is in Commander.
Dromoka's Command — This is the only Command on the list for me, though Ojutai's Command does merit an honorable mention. This card’s price has tanked given how much less play it has seen on top of the extras released into the market. This is about as reasonable as this card should ever be. It interacts favorably with a number of cards in the new set and has already proven itself and continues to see play now. I don’t ever expect this to hit the levels of Kolaghan's Command, but even a double-up from where it currently sits would not be unreasonable in the next few months.
Kiora, Master of the Depths — Any time a Planeswalker drops as low as Kiora, you really have to evaluate if the format is just not well-positioned to support the card or if the card does not do enough to support the format. In this case, I believe Kiora is one of the larger sleepers in Battle for Zendikar. Not only does she lose the 4-drop competition, she also plays well with the graveyard if that interaction shows to be relevant in either of her colors. Her ultimate is backbreaking and not all that difficult to reach. Her main issue was that the support of smaller creatures in these colors just led you in another direction, but Kiora has a year to impress, still and somewhere in there, she is going to make us look back at the current price and laugh.
I really expected multicolored to have more potential, but with Khans of Tarkir leaving, we really are losing most of the reasons we currently have to push the mana in the coming format, and that is probably great, as the mana is certainly going to be becoming much worse with fetch lands leaving. I do not have anything worked up with any of these cards yet, as I do not know what color combinations will support each other well without the remaining cards in the set, but I could certainly see Kiora next to Brutal Expulsion if the mana is good enough. This may be asking a lot already at two 4-mana spells, but next week, we should more easily be able to identify which of these cards will see any early play.
Gold Control Shell ? Shadows over Innistrad Standard | Ryan Bushard
- Planeswalkers (3)
- 3 Kiora, Master of the Depths
- Lands (4)
- 4 Corrupted Grafstone
I could see this shell going a number of ways, but if the mana is there—which I believe it is for Bant—Kiora next to Thing in the Ice could prove to be a difficult wall to break through. I am a huge fan of Engulf the Shore, and though it is probably just the old player in me, the selective bounce effects that this style of deck can provide are right up my alley.
Colorless (Including Lands)
Pain Lands — These have already picked up in play with the addition of colorless creatures, but going forward, they will be the exclusive lands to unlocking three colors. With the fetches gone, there will be a void between any three-colored combination moving forward, including colorless mana. If you are still looking to maximize the number of colors you can play, these will be in the list and in even more demand than they already are. It is difficult to see them spike very hard given all of the reprints, but if you expect to need them in the next six months, now would be the time to grab them—before people realize just how much worse mana bases are going to be.
Hangarback Walker — While the addition of more cards with exile on them does hurt Hangarback Walker, it definitely does not keep this from being one of the best artifacts printed. There are some cute interactions with cards like Olivia, Mobilized for War that could push this card into more than just control. But even that alone should prop this card up a little more than the past few months have.
Kozilek, The Great Distortion — This is another card that will probably be great in the long term regardless of what it does in Standard, but it has hit the floor recently, meaning even if you expect nothing for the next year, it is best to snag these now. Madness opens up some interesting interactions. Even if they prove to go nowhere, any plus this card has now will only help it find the future price quicker.
Creature Lands — Though the prices of these have been mostly suppressed by the sets they are printed in, they are similar to the pain lands in that they bridge the three-colored gaps for some decks. With a slower format, these also have more potential for actual finishers and not just next to Sylvan Advocate, as we are seeing now. Shambling Vent and a few others are already probably at the top of the price curve, but Lumbering Falls and the rest will probably have their moments in Standard as well.
Sea Gate Wreckage — The Vampire deck that is shaping up will look to achieve hellbent fairly regularly, and I expect this to be an inclusion in early lists if the mana can support it. That, on top of the Mono-Blue Eldrazi deck, along with any others that may form with rotation, puts this land in a great position to climb steadily.
It really depends on how the meta shapes up as to which lands will look best moving forward, but with so much real estate in Standard not currently seeing much play, there is certainly a great deal of growth that could occur.
Next week, we finally have the full set to break down and process both for play and finance. I have not decided exactly how I am going to go about this set, as it appears there will be a great deal to cover, but I will make sure you are ready to make the right trades come prerelease weekend. If you have any questions or comments, as always, feel free to find me on Twitter or leave them below. It has been a blast looking through what will remain of Standard, but I am ready to let the brewing begin. Sunday cannot come soon enough!