Grinder Finance – Weathering the Eldrazi Winter with Standard

World Breaker by Jaime Jones

Yeah I don’t know if I agree with that idea.  Eldrazi are like a cold front that rolled in for a month or two and will probably roll out when Shadows over Innistrad comes out in April.  But in the mean time, you can play this sweet Standard format, right?

Standard hasn’t been a featured format on weekend coverage for 3 weeks so not much head way has been made in the largely Rally dominated format.  That being said, there are still plenty of things we can do to prepare for the next format.

Generally at the start of Standard formats (ie right after a new set has come out) decks will add new cards to an already existing archetype until someone comes along with a completely new look at the format.  We can take a look at some of the most popular standard decks right now and see which largely survive rotation as those will be ready to go out of the box.

Witness the End by Igor Kieryluk
Witness the End by Igor Kieryluk


If you play 4 Color Rally, Mardu Green, Jeskai Black, or any flavor of Abzan your deck will likely not survive in its current form.  Without the powerful 3 color cards and Khans of Tarkir fetch lands it’s hard to see any world where they could.  If you want to avoid the Eldrazi Winter in Modern I don’t suggest building these decks unless you already largely own the deck.  Personally, I decided to play Rally since I owned all of the cards for the deck except for Rally the Ancestors and Grim Haruspex.

Devour in Flames by Svetlin Velinov
Devour in Flames by Svetlin Velinov

On Life Support

Atarka Red is a deck that is losing a lot of its support for “go wide” strategies and its combo kill.  Monastery Swiftspear, Hordeling Outburst, Become Immense, Temur Battle Rage, Wild Slash, and their heavy fetch mana base are leaving.  While most of those cards are not particularly expensive the deck will need to find a way to replace those token makers or give it a lot of raw power to keep competing.  I won’t say the deck is dead but I wouldn’t invest a ton into it expecting it to be a player in the next Standard.

BR Dragons is a deck that while is only two colors has some pretty heavy color requirements.  Grasp of Darkness and the double red creatures are not very easy to cast with only 2 lands for fixing.  This deck is definitely going to be more alive than Atarka Red due to the raw power of it’s cards but it may be a misstep to play a deck without any of the manlands next Standard.

Bant Collected Company decks might seem like a weird deck to put here. Its heavy reliance on a fetch and battle land mana base to support it’s 3 colors makes me question how easy it will be to cast Deathmist Raptor along side Reflector Mage in April.  This deck might morph (no pun intended) into a deck closer to a G/X deck with a light splash.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it dropped most of the white spells in favor of being the only Jace and Collected Company deck.  With that in mind, I’m not super interested in buying into the Deathmist Raptor part of the deck.  If there are very strong graveyard decks it is likely that there will also be very strong graveyard removal cards (which we currently don’t have).  On the flip side, if we get more cards like Satyr Wayfinder again, it makes Deathmist Raptor a lot better.  I think you should go with your gut in this instance because I’m not sure which is right.

Best Value

Ruin in their Wake by Jason Felix

Standard in April will have 4 sets from the current Standard.  Two of them (Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins) will rotate out in September with the release of the unnamed next block.  The other two sets (Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch) will survive until the following April.  There is one deck that is reasonably good in Standard now that is largely made up of cards from the most recent block.

G/x Eldrazi ramp decks ill be good in some flavor.  Maybe they will be Red and play Chandra, Flamecaller and Kozilek’s Return.  Maybe they will be green and colorless using Wastes to power out Ruin in their Wake.  Either way the bulk of the core of the deck survives for some time.  The exception to this, being Nissa’s Pilgrimage and Explosive Vegetation which leave in September.  This deck is pretty heavy on Mythic rares which means it could become VERY expensive if it is a clear leader in the next Standard.  World Breaker is a very affordable $7 on TCG Player right now and will likely be a key part of anything Eldrazi.  If going a little bit bigger is more of your thing, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger can be found for $19, Oblivion Sowers are under $5, and Kozilek, the Great Distortion is a surprisingly low $7.50.  Now that I think about it, I’m almost interested picking up Kozilek at $5 cash purely to hang onto for a few years.

As far as rares, it seems like the base of Sanctum of Ugin and Shrine of the Forsaken Gods will be good for 15 months.  I’m finding it hard to figure out a better way to spend $8 than to buy those two sets of lands.  The worst case scenario is you lose $8 but we can see from battle lands and manlands (like Shambling Vent) that Battle for Zendikar rare lands can support a higher price tag.

Oath of Nissa by Wesley Burt
Oath of Nissa by Wesley Burt


Oath of Nissa is another card that might be poised for a big up tick in play.  It’s legendary which means the 2nd one you play puts an enchantment into your graveyard.  This is relevant for the new Delirium cards.  The other thing it does is make it a lot easier to cast Planeswalkers.  Right now mana is really good so that doesn’t matter that much but when our mana gets much worse it may be relevant.  All 7 of the Standard legal planeswalkers from Dragons of Tarkir, Battle for Zendikar, and Oath of the Gatewatch have 2 colored mana symbols (with 3 of them being different colors).  While I won’t say you should buy out your local shop of Oath of Nissa, I would advise getting a personal playset before they get too expensive.

Final Thoughts

  • Drana, Liberator of Malakir and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet are two cards we might see an uptick in use come rotation.  They have relevant creature types for Innistrad.  Last time we got lords like Stromkirk Captain.  I wouldn’t rule anything out for them.
  • While there are not many Zombies in the last year, Risen Executioner and Sidisi, Undead Vizier are two cards I would look at if there are Zombie tribal themes coming out of Shadows over Innistrad spoilers.
  • If I was a betting man, I would say we will see Eldrazi Temple on the Modern banned list in April.

10 thoughts on “Grinder Finance – Weathering the Eldrazi Winter with Standard”

  1. Why not Eye on the banned list?

    Also I can’t disagree that losing Swiftspear won’t greatly hurt the red decks, other than Bolt it’s the best one drop red spell ever…but i’m sure there will be a new iteration of RDW/Atarka Red that is a force to be reckoned with. Some of my friends already are in love with the Madness burn spell that deals 3 damage for a red. And without Rhinos and Sorins to gain life, and the format slowing down without warden, into pump warden, into anafenza etc, exquisite firecraft might be a more viable main deck burn spell. There’s sill Abbot, Zurgo, lightning berserker, dragon fodder, and reckless bushwhacker. It’s no become immense temur battle rage combo kill, but dragon fodder into bushwhacker is 6 haste damage for just 4 mana on a dry board.

    I completely agree that oath of nissa seems criminally underplayed, and if madness is real oath of Jace should be picked up now for bulk. GW megamorph does largely survive rotation, apparently it only loses Wingmate Roc and I don’t believe that card is necessary in that deck.

    1. Nothing is banned because it’s not April yet. There has only been 1 emergency banning and that was for Memory Jar. Everything has always followed the 4 B&R statements per year.

      Like I said, we will have to wait and see what happens. The deck that loses the least is Ramp.

  2. Great article man. I not only like nissa for SOI but also oath of jace. He’s cheap right now and feeds delirium.

  3. I know the leaks aren’t official, but Lightning Axe and Fiery Temper are in SOI, so Mono-Red has some play come rotation. The biggest issue is finding the discard outlets to make Temper good on its own, rather than needing Lightning Axe every time.

    1. while that’s true, the deck doesn’t need 1 efficient burn spell to keep competing. It’s losing it’s best creature and it’s highest potential for blow out turns.

  4. Jim or anyone else, I know u r writing about standard but why is archangel of thune spiking? Is it a software glitch on or is it really that expensive? And what is driving the spike? Thanks, sorry to go off topic from your article. I just have a bunch and want to know if I should sell and trade them now

    1. It’s probably in a Modern decklist. It was played in pod a while ago with spike feeder to gain infinite life. Infinite life against eldrazi seems pretty good.

    2. Deck is called “Archangel Chord”. Pretty much the old Birthing Pod thing Jim said. A lot of cool chord toolbox type decks are popping up. Some with Kiki-Jiki, some with the Archangel combo and many others. Aside from Affinity and Merfolk it looks like this is the only other deck that can even try and compete with an Eldrazi Meta. The toolbox creatures are key in getting past most obstacles and built in combos for infinite life and kills make them “unfair” enough to occasionally top 8.

      So if you don’t play Eldrazi, Affinity or Merfolk… You are probably going to end up with one of these Chord of Calling lists if you want to “have fun” playing and stand a chance to Top 8.

  5. Thanks for your thoughts about which decks survive rotation. I’d like to mention that a lot of people are going to end up with the “Jaceless Bant CoCo” list rather than the one we saw Top 8 recently. This list survives rotation very well too. And without Jace… some people tend to cut Deathmist Raptor and a lot of other blue out of the deck. It makes the mana a lot “easier” which was one of your concerns for its survival AND… you don’t need Jace or Deathmist raptor so it is budget friendly.

    The deck ends up being more of a G/W CoCo list splashing blue for Reflector Mage/ Krasis and possibly counterspells or fliers but they aren’t always necessary. If you think about Bant CoCo in terms of Reflector Mage and not Jace and Deathmist Raptor, you end up with quite a few options that seem very good for the future. Not to mention that white is getting a pretty crazy card if you have seen the SOI spoilers recently.

    I highly doubt CoCo lists will be cutting white once SOI drops and instead, many people are going to be cutting a lot of blue and just splashing for Reflector Mage. I’m sure Jace will still have a place, but its nice to see options emerging that don’t force you into such an expensive deck.

  6. Thanks for your first explanation WUBRG. I love Archangel of thune and am glad she has a home in modern again.

    Deathmist Raptor really isn’t expensive anymore and it’s gonna keep dropping because it isn’t played in any other format. And I thought that 4 color rally was initially dumb to stretch the mana just for jace and that’s turned out pretty ok…fortunately reflector mage was printed. Plus there might be some valuable madness spells that jace can enable. And ojutai’s command seems like it could get even better when SOI is released just from some of the fast creatures rotating out.

    I still feel like so much is going to depend on what lands we get in SOI. It could be easy to play the shards or darn near impossible, same with the Khan’s wedges. For innistrad we got enemy check lands, I would be surprised if we DIDN’T get enemy lands this time around as well.

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