Last weekend, we got our first look at the cards played from Battle for Zendikar in Standard and I was definitely surprised by the results. In order to make it more convenient for everyone I’ve created a table that inlcudes all cards found throughout the decks sorted by most played. I’ve even tracked the sideboard cards played, to show the direction that the format is taking.
Here’s a breakdown of the played cards at the Pro Tour by card type:
|Land (199)||Sorcery (21)||Creature (127)||Instant (99)||Sideboard (120)|
|25x Flooded Strand||8x Dragon Fodder||16x Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy Flip||11x Fiery Impulse||11x Disdainful Stroke|
|20x Wooded Foothills||6x Hordeling Outburst||15x Hangarback Walker||11x Dromoka’s Command||9x Surge of Righteousness|
|17x Windswept Heath||7x Treasure Cruise||12x Warden of the First Tree||10x Wild Slash||9x Duress|
|16x Mountain||Enchantment (12)||12x Mantis Rider||8x Crackling Doom||9x Arashin Cleric|
|15x Polluted Delta||8x Silkwrap||10x Den Protector||7x Abzan Charm||6x Roast|
|15x Bloodstained Mire||4x Jeskai Ascendancy||8x Siege Rhino||6x Ojutai’s Command||5x Transgress the Mind|
|14x Plains||Planeswalker (22)||8x Anafenza, the Foremost||6x Kolaghan’s Command||5x Rending Volley|
|14x Mystic Monastery||20x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar||7x Wingmate Roc||6x Jeskai Charm||5x Exert Influence|
|12x Forest||2x Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker||6x Tasigur, the Golden Fang||5x Valorous Stance||4x Wingmate Roc|
|8x Prairie Stream||4x Zurgo Bellstriker||4x Titan’s Strength||4x Ultimate Price|
|8x Canopy Vista||4x Soulfire Grand Master||4x Murderous Cut||4x Tragic Arrogance|
|5x Sunken Hollow||4x Seeker of the Way||4x Dispel||4x Silkwrap|
|5x Smoldering Marsh||4x Monastery Swiftspear||4x Dig Through Time||4x Radiant Flames|
|4x Shambling Vent||4x Deathmist Raptor||4x Atarka’s Command||3x Mastery of the Unseen|
|4x Llanowar Wastes||4x Abbot of Keral Keep||3x Temur Battle Rage||3x Fiery Impulse|
|4x Island||3x Nissa, Vastwood Seer Flip||3x Become Immense||3x Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh Flip|
|4x Battlefield Forge||2x Lightning Berserker||2x Utter End||2x Whisperwood Elemental|
|3x Swamp||2x Hidden Dragonslayer||1x Secure the Wastes||2x Valorous Stance|
|3x Cinder Glade||2x Dragonmaster Outcast||2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang|
|2x Nomad Outpost||2x Hordeling Outburst|
|1x Shivan Reef||2x Felidar Cub|
|2x Evolutionary Leap|
|2x Dragonmaster Outcast|
|2x Den Protector|
|2x Crackling Doom|
|1x Sorin, Solemn Visitor|
|1x Self-Inflicted Wound|
|1x Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker|
|1x Ruinous Path|
|1x Radiant Purge|
|1x Ob Nixilis Reignited|
|1x Narset Transcendent|
|1x Lightning Berserker|
|1x Gideon’s Reproach|
|1x Boiling Earth|
|1x Abzan Charm|
Top Creature — Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Top Land — Flooded Strand
Top Instant — Fiery Impulse / Dromoka’s Command
Top Sorcery — Dragon Fodder
Top Enchantment — Silkwrap
Top Planeswalker — Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Abzan took down the Pro Tour, which is shocking to nobody. Key cards from the deck include Warden of the First Tree, Hangarback Walker, Den Protector, Anafenza, the Foremost, and Siege Rhino. Interestingly, even with a Pro Tour win I’m not sure how much Siege Rhino can gain throughout the rest of its Standard life. The Clash Pack printing has devastated the price of the card and I’m not sure if it is going to spike up a large amount simply due to the fact that there are so many other decks out there that aren’t playing Abzan colors, Pro Tour win aside.
Hangarback Walker is the talk of the town, as usual, as noted by its second place listing among the most played cards of the Top 8. I’m sure further breakdowns of the Top 64 and beyond will continue to show the trend, but as we all knew Hangarback Walker is going to continue to shine in Standard due to the fact that it is the strongest colorless option (amongst three and four color decks) that players can choose to include because it does so well against the sorcery speed removal of the format.
Which brings me to Silkwrap, one of the premier answers to Hangarback Walker that is left in the new Standard after Theros block has rotated out. I’m not surprised that copies are bordering on $2 at this point, and keep in mind that it is in Dragons of Tarkir so its shelf life has a farther expiration than Khans and Fate Reforged. I don’t expect Silkwrap to go down in value (unless of course it gets the event deck / clash pack / whatever reprint) so pick up your copies now in order to deal with the Hangarback Walker threat that will be seen over the course of the winter.
Of the most played cards in the Pro Tour Top 8 from BFZ, we have Prairie Stream, Canopy Vista, Sunken Hallow, Smoldering Marsh, and Shambling Vents making a splash in the decks. Outside of lands, the only cards from BFZ to see play in the maindeck of the top decks include Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Dragonmaster Outcast, and Dispel – not a great showing of Battle for Zendikar since two out of those three cards are reprints. Based on these results, expect Gideon spike up to new highs and stay there for a while until the format becomes solved over time as players try and figure out how to make Ingest and Devoid work in Standard. I wouldn’t pick up extra copies of Dragonmaster Outcast since it is a reprint and will continue to drop in price as more BFZ packs are opened over the coming months.
As we continue into the Standard season, I hope that more variety is introduced to the decks. I’m really excited to see what Battle for Zendikar can add to Standard, but it seems like the power level hasn’t quite been figured out yet. Cards like Oblivion Sower seem really powerful in a vacuum but I’m not sure if they are good enough for Standard yet based on the Pro Tour results. As we continue on through Standard there should be opportunity for other cards to shine, like sideboard inclusions Radiant Flames and Exert Influence. Until then however, I would expect aggro decks and Jeskai (whether splashing black or green) to be dominant forces at FNM as more and more players realize that yes, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (and his insane price) is not going away from Standard anytime soon, unfortunately.
4 thoughts on “Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar By the Numbers”
New Zendikar block, new aggro-control deck, new $80 Jace.
Amazing how history is doomed to repeat itself.
Radiant flames is an amazing sideboard card. Not sure why Jeskai black wouldn’t have it in the side for GW aggro or the mirror. But with Hangarback so prevalent I’m not sure if Radiant Flames can make it in the mainboard or if it will spike in value. BFZ is a fun draft format, terrible Standard cards. Before UB aristocrats there was a GB deck which I think can be just as good. I have to look over Calcano’s list, and I know there was a player on GB crats, but with players mainboarding and sideboarding Dispel Coco is tougher to cast. Seems like Calcano made a good meta call avoiding Coco at the pro tour.
The only card of value, literally, in these “Aristocrats” decks is Liliana. Hangarback is a good addition but the budget players can do without him, otherwise it’s a super cheap deck with some fun interactions. And I still think Gideon is super overrated and am having fun flipping him for 2 blue fetches. I’m looking for players to realize that Sorin and Sarkhan Dragonspeaker are amazing and hope the spike comes as I did some speculating this summer. I’m not sure how much longer it is going to take Jeskai players to realize Jeskai Charm is great against Gideon. Maybe none of these things happen, but for as much Magic as I play I can’t be the only one seeing all the angles to stop Gideon and the pet decks of the format.
Thanks for the great analysis and breakdown Yost
Great additional thoughts!
I’m also a huge fan of Radiant Flames and really hope that it can do more as it ages within Standard. Also, I’m really liking Woodland Wanderer and Painful Truths as other Converge cards that seem really powerful in a slower Standard format.
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