Punny titles just make my heart sing.
So the banhammer showed up this past Monday and hit hard on the two tall trees in current Standard, making Energy and Ramunap Red both less consistent yet not completely dead.
I want to reiterate that point, before we go much further: The decks aren’t dead, they just aren’t as good as they were. Energy loses a lot of the free buildup it got with Attune with Aether and Rogue Refiner, which makes a lot of the associated cards worse. It’s not impossible that someone builds a pretty good Energy deck, but it’s harder to do. Red loses the reach of Ramunap Ruins and also the oppressive power of Rampaging Ferocidon, a card I was going to write about in a week or two.
On the heels of that announcement, we have a number of cards that are jumping in price, and frankly, it’s exciting. The hammer came down on four cards, and a bunch of other cards popped up.
Keep in mind that these are prices for week 1 of Standard, we haven’t gotten the large-scale product being opened until this weekend.
To the cards!
Deeproot Elite ($5, up from $2.50)
Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca ($23, up from $10)
Jadelight Ranger ($8, up from $3)
First of all, I want to apologize for last week, when I wrote words indicating that Kumena wasn’t good enough and you should sell at $12. I didn’t think this through. Merfolk are pushed in Standard right now, and yeah, they were waiting for their chance to shine. Maybe now is that time? People are buying up this card at rates to indicate this is the case. Even Kopala, Warden of Waves has gone up by $1.50.
I can absolutely see the appeal to the Merfolk deck, and the linear way it’ll play. Double explore on turn three is just great value no matter how you end up with cards, and there’s a lot of synergies to play with.
Lots of other Merfolk have seen minor bumps, but these are the big three and these are the ones to look out for. This feels like a ceiling, I wouldn’t be holding out for $30 on Kumena or $10 for the other rares, even though the other two really love being four-ofs. If Merfolk does well this weekend, on camera as part of the SCG Tour, they might indeed grow this first week until supply can be opened enough to meet demand.
Sleeper pick: Heroic Intervention
So here’s the thing: Merfolk wants to flood the board (pun intended) and the best answer to the perfect Merfolk curve is a sweeper, like Fumigate. Heroic Intervention is going to rotate in a few months, putting some risk on it, yet it’s in 6500 Commander decks over on EDHREC and that makes me feel a lot better about picking up a few copies.
Ghalta, Primal Hunger (up to $5 from $2.50)
Tetzimoc, Primal Death (up to $3 from $1)
These two have doubled in price because they are powerful and awesome. Tetzimoc is being hailed as one of the best Limited cards ever ( a fair assessment, if you’ve played with it or against it) and Ghalta is able to land on turn four or five in Standard these days, ending the game rapidly if there isn’t an answer.
Regisaur Alpha also gained $1.50 this week, seems decent with Ghalta?
Are these giant death lizards enough to combat the finned menace? Perhaps. It’s a lot of fun to play cards like these, even if both die to the Ravenous Chupacabra. What seems clear is that people want to play with these cards in Constructed, which is why the prices doubled this week.
Sleeper Pick: Slaughter the Strong
This card basically says “Sacrifice all Dinosaurs, including that pesky Carnage Tyrant!”
I don’t think it’ll be a four-of in maindecks. I see this as being a three-of in control sideboards, who don’t always want to give the mana advantage of Settle the Wreckage. You can find Slaughter right now in the $1.50 range, and I don’t think it’ll be adopted in the first week, giving it a chance to slide under $1. That’s a pretty sweet price point to move in on, and it’s a card that has a year and a half to make waves.
Twilight Prophet (Up to $9 from $7.50)
Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle (Up to $2 from $1.25)
Sanctum Seeker (Up to $2 from $1)
We had a small window for profit on these back in November, when Mono-White Vampires made a splash at the Pro Tour, but the deck didn’t stay around. It’s got the potential to do some truly amazing things. Sanctum Seeker is the second coming of Hellrider for these decks, and perhaps people have forgotten how fast that card closes games? Not having haste is worse, yes, but there’s a lot of good cards to play.
The other B/W legendary vampires haven’t seen much movement yet, and that’s not a huge shock so far. They are for more grindy games, and at first blush, Standard looks like a race.
Sleeper Pick: Yahenni, Undying Partisan
It’s easy to forget about the sweet vampires we were given in Aether Revolt, and Gifted Aetherborn is an easy four-of if the deck is real. Yahenni has potential to see a big bump as an addition to the new Vampire decks, as long as they aren’t too far on the white side.
Cliff is an avid Cuber and Commander player, and has a deep love for weird ways to play this game. His next project will be a light-up sign for attracting Cubers at GPs, so get his attention @wordofcommander on Twitter if you’ve got ideas or designs.