Standard in Dallas
SCG Dallas: The Results
These are the top 16 decks from SCG Open Dallas. I determined the average mana cost of the maindeck, and prices in dollars and MTGO tickets by importing each decklist into the Decked Builder app. Dollars are from CoolStuffInc.com and tickets from MTGOTraders.com. The graphs display the strategies, colors, and most played archetypes of the top 16.
|Place||Deck||Colors||Avg Mana||Cost ($)||Cost (Tix)|
|2||BR Dragon Zombies||2.42||$664||435|
|12||B/R Dragon Zombies||2.39||$622||408|
Deck Check: The Top 16 Rundown
The SCG Open Dallas top 16 was dominated by aggressive decks but had a good mix of different archetypes. Bant Auras made it’s first appearance on the SCG Open Series, quite predictably, after taking first and second place at Grand Prix: Atlantic City the weekend before.
Let’s take a look at the top two decks of SCG Open Dallas.
Naya Humans – Sean Thrasher | Standard, 1st SCG Dallas
This is very similar to the Naya Humans list that has had some success on the SCG Open Series circuit this Standard season. It leverages an early and aggressive Champion of the Parish draw but can also play the midrange game with Huntmaster of the Fells, Restoration Angel, and Zealous Conscripts all able to produce value and pile on damage to take over a game.
BR Dragon Zombies – Will Craddock | Standard, 2nd SCG Dallas
In second place we have the most successful deck of this Standard season: BR Dragon Zombies. Craddock has all the usual suspects here from early game zombies, to hasty fliers to mop up, to plenty of burn for removal or direct damage.
Cards of Choice
Now let’s take a look at the most played creatures and removal spells in the top 16 decks of the tournament.
|Creature||# Decks||Avg Main||Avg Side|
|Knight of Infamy||4||4.0||0.0|
|Huntmaster of the Fells||4||3.8||0.0|
Silverblade Paladin is an addition to this list and is a key part of the aggression of the Bant Auras decks. It gives a hexproof and often enchanted attacker double strike, which can end a game quickly.
|Removal||# Decks||Avg Main||Avg Side|
|Pillar of Flame||6||3.5||1.7|
|Bonfire of the Damned||7||2.6||1.5|
|Liliana of the Veil||4||3.0||2.5|
|Tribute to Hunger||3||0.0||2.7|
Searing Spear overtook Pillar of Flame this week for the top spot. The instant speed creature control is critical for handling a Silverblade Paladin before its soul bonded and hexproof buddy can swing for the win.
The Standard Metagame
The following graphs track the deck archetypes with the most top 16 finishes at major Standard tournaments. The top graph shows results in the last month, and the bottom shows results since Return to Ravnica rotated into the format in October of 2012.
The big question in the air is how Gatecrash will impact the Standard metagame. Let’s review some possibilities.
Boros Aggro is getting a lot of hype and will be a popular brewing target out of the gate as players look to capitalize on the power of Boros Charm and cards like Aurelia’s Fury and Boros Elite. A Gruul Aggro deck could also be very in the mix and we got a preview of what this deck could look like with the fifth place deck at SCG Open San Diego. This strategy will only get better with the addition of Stomping Ground and other Gatecrash cards.
These decks will both have to dethrone the King of Standard Aggro: Rakdos (red and black). BR Dragon Zombies still has plenty of game and the faster “Rakdos Deck Wins” style decks also continue to have potential. Bant Auras is an aggressive deck that greatly limits an opponent’s ability to interact and should continue to find pilots willing to take advantage.
The biggest loser in the Aggro game of musical chairs will be Mono-Red. With Stomping Ground and Sacred Foundry as Standard legal land options and excellent aggressive options in white and green there is less incentive to go with straight up red in February.
Naya Midrange is already the most popular midrange deck and one of the most successful decks in Standard. It too will get even better with Stomping Ground and Sacred Foundry as options to improve mana which could open up new options in the Borderland Ranger spot. There are new interesting options for the deck coming in Gatecrash including Burning-Tree Emissary, Frontline Medic, Aurelia’s Fury, and Boros Charm.
Duskmantle Seer is a promising win condition for a Dimir or Esper tempo deck. We already have a tempo toolkit in Standard, exploited by UW Flash and other decks, including the ability to setup an opponent’s draw step, and this Vampire Wizard fits right into that style of deck.
Esper Control has had a handful of top 16 finishes over the last couple of months and the arrival of Godless Shrine and Watery Shrine will only help. New win conditions and role players like Dimir Keyrune should improve the strategy as well.
What Do You Think: SCG Open Atlanta
So what deck will come out of the gate fastest in February? I want to know what you think. Please vote in the poll below and I’ll discuss the results in a future column.
Competitive Calendar: Upcoming Events in Standard
Here are some major events coming up in the world of competitive Standard.
|2-Feb||SCG Open: Atlanta||#SCGATL|
|9-Feb||SCG Open: Edison||#SCGNJ|
|16-Feb||SCG Open: Cincinnati||#SCGCIN|
|23-Feb||GP: Quebec City||#GPQC|
|2-Mar||SCG Open: Las Vegas||#SCGVEGAS|
|9-Mar||GP: Rio de Janeiro|
|9-Mar||SCG Open: Indianapolis||#SCGINDY|
|16-Mar||SCG Open: Washington DC||#SCGDC|
By the Numbers: Preordering Planeswalkers
In honor of Gatecrash and the spoiler (and preorder) season, I have been analyzing and discussing preorder prices the last couple of weeks. Last week, I looked at Return to Ravnica preorder prices, the week before preorder prices for competitive Standard cards. This week I’ll take a look at preordering Planeswalkers.
I gathered the StarCityGames prices for all Planeswalkers between Zendikar and Return to Ravnica, ignoring reprints. A couple terms worth noting:
• Preorder Low: the lowest preorder price available for more than three days
• Post-Release High: the highest price for the card since release date
Let’s look at how the preorder prices of these cards look in retrospect.
The Legend (Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Jace, the Mind Sculptor is the example often cited to justify the “get it before the price explodes” preorder hype. Jace started out at a $22 preorder price tag that increased to $60 prior to release and has spent a lot of time over $100 since release.
Jace is the only Planeswalker that was never available for cheaper than his Preorder Low and is almost certainly the reason so many Planeswalkers that followed have started with such a high preorder price: known jokingly as the “Jace Tax”.
The Cautionary Tale (Vraska the Unseen)
The opposite of Jace is Vraska the Unseen. There is time yet for her to make her mark, but to date the price has only dropped from the Preorder Low. The Post-Release High was set immediately after release and it has dropped steadily since then, currently available for $7.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor is not the only Planeswalker to reach a higher price than their Preorder Low. Here are the rest that did so.
|Name||Set||Difference $||Difference %|
|Jace, Architect of Thought||Return to Ravnica||$25.00||100%|
|Gideon Jura||Rise of the Eldrazi||$20.00||50%|
|Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas||Mirrodin Besieged||$15.00||43%|
|Garruk, Primal Hunter||Magic 2012||$10.00||33%|
|Sarkhan the Mad||Rise of the Eldrazi||$5.00||25%|
|Chandra, the Firebrand||Magic 2012||$5.00||17%|
It’s worth noting that the Post-Release High for most of these cards were reached immediately upon the release of the set, meaning that the release price was higher than the Preorder Low but the card never got more expensive from there.
Vrasksa is far from the only Planewalker to never top their lowest preorder price after release, none of the following cards have done so either.
|Name||Set||Difference $||Difference %|
|Venser, the Sojourner||Scars of Mirrodin||-$10.00||-20%|
|Karn Liberated||New Phyrexia||-$10.00||-29%|
|Liliana of the Veil||Innistrad||-$10.00||-20%|
|Sorin, Lord of Innistrad||Dark Ascension||-$10.00||-17%|
|Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded||Avacyn Restored||-$10.00||-40%|
|Ajani, Caller of the Pride||Magic 2013||-$10.00||-25%|
|Elspeth Tirel||Scars of Mirrodin||-$5.00||-13%|
|Koth of the Hammer||Scars of Mirrodin||-$5.00||-10%|
|Tamiyo, the Moon Sage||Avacyn Restored||-$5.00||-13%|
|Liliana of the Realms||Magic 2013||-$5.00||-17%|
|Jace, Memory Adept||Magic 2012||$0.00||0%|
The Numbers in Summary
Here is how Planeswalker preorder prices have compared to their price points since release:
- 1 card (4%): Preorder low was the lowest price to date – preordering saved money
- 5 cards (22%): Price went up from preorder low, but only at release – it was possible to profit if you sold right away
- 3 cards (13%): Price went up from preorder low and the release price – the price spiked at some point after release
- 14 cards (61%): Price only went down from preorder low – no potential for financial benefit from preordering
Given this track record, it’s hard to imagine that preordering a Planeswalker is a good plan unless you really want the card right away and are willing to pay the Jace tax for that immediate access.
That wraps up this week’s column. The Gatecrash Prelease is this weekend so there will be no major tournament to report on next week. I’ll be back the following week to review SCG Open Atlanta, analyze the Standard metagame, and review what cards from the new expansion made the cut week one of the updated format. Thanks for reading!