Standard in Dallas

Editor's Note: While accounting documents use red text to indicate negative values, it wasn't the case for Nick. We've updated one of his data table to reflect that the values are, in fact, positive. We apologize for any prior confusion.

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 and tickets from The graphs display the strategies, colors, and most played archetypes of the top 16.

PlaceDeckColorsAvg ManaCost ($)Cost (Tix)
1Naya Humans {W}{R}{G}2.49$617367
2BR Dragon Zombies{B}{R}2.42$664435
3Bant Auras{W}{U}{G}1.84$401237
4Band Auras{W}{U}{G}1.84$440281
5Grixis Control{U}{B}{R}2.76$531309
6Monored Aggro{R}2.19$202130
7Bant Control{W}{U}{B}{G}3.85$602293
8GB Aggro{B}{G}2.11$246103
9Bant Control{W}{U}{G}3.46$634330
10Naya Midrange{W}{R}{G}3.16$669427
11BR Zombies{B}{R}2.03$354192
12B/R Dragon Zombies{B}{R}2.39$622408
13Jund Midrange{B}{R}{G}3.06$842551
14Naya Midrange{W}{R}{G}3.00$750477
15GW Midrange{W}{G}3.05$499247
16BR Aggro{B}{R}2.31$489263

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.

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.

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# DecksAvg MainAvg Side
Avacyn’s Pilgrim63.80.0
Restoration Angel63.70.0
Knight of Infamy44.00.0
Silverblade Paladin43.80.0
Falkenrath Aristocrat43.80.0
Huntmaster of the Fells43.80.0
Thundermaw Hellkite62.20.0
Diregraf Ghoul34.00.0
Loxodon Smiter33.71.0
Rakdos Cackler34.00.0
Geralf’s Messenger34.00.0

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# DecksAvg MainAvg Side
Searing Spear73.30.0
Pillar of Flame63.51.7
Bonfire of the Damned72.61.5
Selesnya Charm63.02.0
Liliana of the Veil43.02.5
Brimstone Volley33.00.0
Tribute to Hunger30.02.7
Oblivion Ring41.51.7
Ultimate Price42.00.0

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.

Hexproof creatures and the Bant Auras deck were expected after its Grand Prix: Atlantic City success and Liliana of the Veil and Tribute to Hunger showed up in force as a result.

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.

Which deck will win the first major Standard tournament after the release of Gatecrash?

View Results

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Competitive Calendar: Upcoming Events in Standard

Here are some major events coming up in the world of competitive Standard.

1-FebGatecrash Released#MTGGTC
2-FebSCG Open: Atlanta #SCGATL
9-FebSCG Open: Edison#SCGNJ
16-FebSCG Open: Cincinnati#SCGCIN
23-FebGP: Quebec City#GPQC
2-MarSCG Open: Las Vegas#SCGVEGAS
9-MarGP: Verona
9-MarGP: Rio de Janeiro
9-MarSCG Open: Indianapolis#SCGINDY
16-MarSCG 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.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

The Legend (Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Preorder Low$22
Post-Release High$100
Difference $$88
Difference %400%

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)

Preorder Low$40
Post-Release High$25
Difference $-$15
Difference %-38%

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.

The Rest

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.

NameSetDifference $Difference %
Jace, Architect of ThoughtReturn to Ravnica$25.00100%
Gideon JuraRise of the Eldrazi$20.0050%
Tezzeret, Agent of BolasMirrodin Besieged$15.0043%
Garruk, Primal HunterMagic 2012$10.0033%
Nissa RevaneZenikdar$7.0070%
Sarkhan the MadRise of the Eldrazi$5.0025%
Chandra, the FirebrandMagic 2012$5.0017%
Sorin MarkovZendikar$1.007%

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.

NameSetDifference $Difference %
Venser, the SojournerScars of Mirrodin-$10.00-20%
Karn LiberatedNew Phyrexia-$10.00-29%
Garruk RelentlessInnistrad-$10.00-25%
Liliana of the VeilInnistrad-$10.00-20%
Sorin, Lord of InnistradDark Ascension-$10.00-17%
Tibalt, the Fiend-BloodedAvacyn Restored-$10.00-40%
Ajani, Caller of the PrideMagic 2013-$10.00-25%
Elspeth TirelScars of Mirrodin-$5.00-13%
Koth of the HammerScars of Mirrodin-$5.00-10%
Tamiyo, the Moon SageAvacyn Restored-$5.00-13%
Liliana of the RealmsMagic 2013-$5.00-17%
Chandra AblazeZendikar-$2.00-20%
Jace, Memory AdeptMagic 2012$0.000%

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.

The Close

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!

Nick Vigabool