Standard Power Rankings

After the first weekend of new Standard and its share of constructed decks, here there are the top cards of the Standard format.

  • Winding Constrictor   [Last Month: N/A] 

Winding Constrictor With the removal of Smuggler’s Copter and Reflector Mage from the format, 2 drops got a bit of a boost. In this case, the winning strategy (along with most of the Top 4) utilized Winding Constrictor as a good on-curve drop that brings more than straight stats to the table. By increasing the potency of Walking Ballista, Rishkar, Peema Renegade, or Verdurous Gearhulk, it turns Constrictor into a must-kill threat.

  • Grasp of Darkness   [Last Month: N/A] 

Grasp of Darkness While Fatal Push may be fighting for the title of best removal spell in Modern, Grasp of Darkness takes that crown in Standard. Any deck that can pay BB without ruining their mana base should just start the playset of these. Grasp can take out Heart of Kiran, Felidar Guardian, and nearly every other relevant creature in the format, and is one of the strongest reasons to play G/B over other G/x decks.

  • Heart of Kiran   [Last Month: N/A] 

Heart of Kiran While it may not be as dominating as Copter, Heart of Kiran is one of the most potent threats in Standard. It also makes for some interesting racing decisions thanks to vigilance and how big the blow-out possibilities are when you crew it on defense. Toolcraft Exemplar and Scrapheap Scrounger make it a stalwart in Mardu Vehicles. Later, it can tag-team with Gideon for an overwhelming amount of damage that ignores sweepers.

  • Walking Ballista   [Last Month: N/A] 

Walking Ballista Hangarback Walker 2.0? Not quite. Despite some respectable week 1 numbers, this card is only truly strong in the B/G Delirium builds that abuse Constrictor. G/W Tokens also utilizes it as an on-curve play that can become an oversized Triskelion later. What’s nice is that the card is rarely ever bad, much like Thraben Inspector, it tends to fulfill many useful niches despite how ordinary it looks. Still, as decks become more refined, it’ll be interesting to see if Ballista retains its starting spot.

  • Scrapheap Scrounger  [Last Month: 4]  

Scrapheap Scrounger The junkyard dog is back and scrappier than ever. It’s a mainstay of Mardu Vehicles and Esper decks as a 2 drop that’s difficult to kill and can crew Heart of Kiran. Much like Winding Constrictor is the go-to for B/G, Scrounger will only see more play since Jeskai has so many issues with it. B/G also lacks a permanent answer to it, though blocking is a bit easier for those strategies.

  • Saheeli Rai  [Last Month: N/A] 

Saheeli Rai Between Jeskai and 4c variants, Copy Cat Combo put up 25 decks in the Top 64. Meanwhile, Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian were quite possibly the most played creature and planeswalker in the tournament. What’s interesting is how the decks fared, only three made Top 8 and they all got knocked out in the quarters. Obviously this is a strong first showing and everyone was expecting the combo, but considering the sheer numbers present, these results are a bit disappointing.

  • Rishkar, Peema Renegade  [Last Month: N/A] 

Rishkar, Peema Renegade Secretly the best card in the B/G mirror besides Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, Rishkar gives you a ton of flexibility between buffing your curve and giving you a late game edge on mana. Normally the mana wouldn’t be so important in these types of decks since Ishkanah is on the bench, but with Walking Ballista, suddenly you have a reason to want 8+ mana. Rishkar is one of the few cards in the deck you’ll be relatively happy to see early or late.

  • Gideon, Ally of Zendikar  [Last Month: N/A] 

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar Of course this list wouldn’t be complete without Gideon. While Gideon is one of the strongest cards in the format, Heart of Kiran is a serious threat to him. Unlike Copter, you can’t play Gideon into many Vehicles boards now, and B/G can threaten him with Mindwrack Demon. Meanwhile, many of the Saheeli decks simply aren’t threat-centric enough to utilize Gideon well. He’s a strong individual play without an impressive home at the moment.

Standard Power Rankings

This is an update, after Grand Prix Denver, to the top cards ranking of the Standard format.

  • Panharmonicon  [Last Month: N/A] 

Panharmonicon One of the coolest innovations to come out of this tournament was U/W Panharmonicon value in the hands of Seth Manfield and Pascal Maynard. Going from a fun budget FNM deck to finishing in the Top 8 of a GP is one of the biggest stories in recent memory. It also reflects how quickly things can shift, considering that, going into this GP weekend, the format was considered a two horse race. Instead, the Panharmonicon deck took advantage of the free turns in this format to set up its value engine and simply ran away with games: 2 cards, 2 bounces, and 2 life at a time.

  • Aetherworks Marvel  [Last Month: N/A] 

Aetherworks Marvel Aetherworks was a huge success this weekend, putting up half the Top 8 decks at GP Madrid and two more in Denver. While not a card all that many people actually like due to the extremes between turn 4 nothing and turn 4 Emrakul, it remains one of the most powerful effects in the format. As expected, Marvel has effectively put a cap on how well G/B Delirium can do because of how lopsided the matchup is.

  • Emrakul, the Promised End  [Last Month: N/A] 

Emrakul, the Promised End Hopefully this is the last we see of the Eldrazi for a good long while, because Aetherworks getting popular has given us way too much Emrakul. Unfortunately for us, the Promised End is a long way off, so expect many more turns to be taken from you. As Marvel’s popularity grows, expect more Lost Legacy and Pick the Brain to keep these Titans in check.

  • Scrapheap Scrounger  [Last Month: N/A] 

Scrapheap Scrounger Scrounger has had limited success before this weekend, but this was its chance to shine again. Showing up in the B/R Aggro decks at Madrid and all the Vehicles decks, this unassuming 3/2 has made its mark as one of the best aggressive creatures in the format. Being nearly impossible to kill really puts a damper on playing slower strategies without your own set of giant blockers at the ready.

  • Torrential Gearhulk  [Last Month: N/A] 

Torrential Gearhulk Ari Lax and a handful of other players were just a win or two off from a GP Top 8 playing various flavors of Jeskai Control. As Marvel picks up steam, this strategy only gets stronger in the current metagame. It already has the tools to stand up to U/W Flash and G/B Delirium, and hopefully more people will put some faith in Torrential Gearhulk and play control instead of assuming the tempo deck auto wins.

  • Ishkanah, Grafwidow  [Last Month: 1]  

Ishkanah, Grafwidow Ishkanah and G/B Delirium took a beating this weekend from the resurgence of Marvel. If the meta comes full circle and ends up looking like the PT, combo, tempo, aggro and midrange, then we could have a very real decline in Ishkanah. Of course, the G/R Marvel decks still run her as a 3 or 4 of to help provide some defense, so she’ll remain a staple of the format.

  • Unlicensed Disintegration  [Last Month: N/A] 

Unlicensed Disintegration The best aggro decks are still B/R based and are some of the few strategies that have a valid way to win besides turning creatures sideways. Disintegration has only grown more important as a catch-all answer. Meanwhile, B/R Aggro was brought by a number of pros as a potential answer to the metagame. Mardu Vehicles is also always lurking, as Matt Severa demonstrated by winning GP Denver.

  • Metallurgic Summonings  [Last Month: N/A] 

Metallurgic Summonings Looking for something fun to pick up until Aether Revolt? Look no further! Try U/B Control with a win condition that doesn’t involve Torrential Gearhulk. There are no real answers against Summonings in the format. Bobby Fortanely just missed Top 8 glory with his cool iteration on the classic strategy, and it could be an interesting and fun angle to attack the format from moving forward.

 

Legacy Power Rankings

After Grand Prix Chiba and its share of constructed decks, here there are the top cards of the Legacy format.

  • Show and Tell

Show and Tell Show and Tell stole the entire tournament this weekend, putting also two copies of the deck in the Top8.This card is bonkers, it lets you cheat into play some stupid giant creature like Emrakul or Griselbrand and getting from them all the value. This weekend’s victory put back on the radar this powerful deck.

  • Counterbalance

Counterbalance Miracles is still one of the top contender in Legacy, if not the one. This weekend we have seen different version of this deck, but all of them have their power in this enchantment. Counterbalance warped the format so much that Abrupt Decay, #7 in this list, is played almost in any deck. Miracles still put up results, and for that, Counterbalance is #2 in this list.

  • Deathrite Shaman

Deathrite Shaman This little guy is played in BUG and in Elves, both putting up some great results in this GP. BUG was the third most played deck on Day 2. A big part of the success come from this mana Elf that was too strong for Modern. Legacy’s all about finding small advantages or building toward a single huge play, and Deathrite comes packed full of different ways to develop those advantages or hamstring that big play: Liliana on turn 2, exile a Life from the Loam or Griselbrand, shrink an opposing Tarmogoyf. When good card advantage is hard to find, Deathrite Shaman gives you an irreplaceable tool.

  • Brainstorm

Brainstorm Brainstorm is a Legacy staple. Every deck that play blue basically want this in. There were 24 copies of the card in the Top 8 of GP Chiba, and the only decks that didn’t play it were the ones without blue. The combination of Brainstorm plus Fetchland is one of the best form of card advantage and card selection you can have.

  • Eye of Ugin

Eye of Ugin Eldrazi decks still have success despite none of them made Top 8 this weekend. The power of the deck comes from its manabase, where Eye of Ugin is an all-star and a centerpiece for the deck. Discounting your big Eldrazi and allowing you to cast them early make the deck so much powerful. If Eldrazi put up a fast start is quite difficult for every deck to catch them back.

  • Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration

Delver of SecretsInsectile Aberration On Day 2, coverage broke down the metagame by archetype. Then, if you combine all of the Delver variants into a single grouping, you get the most represented Day 2 archetype by far. Sure, maybe the usefulness of that analysis is limited, RUG Delver plays nothing like BUG Delver, but it illustrates one point very clearly: a 1-mana blue creature is the best threat in the format.

  • Abrupt Decay

Abrupt Decay Going into Grand Prix Chiba, as going into every other Legacy tournament, Counterbalance was the card to beat. Well, what beats Counterbalance? Abrupt Decay is the natural answer, and BUG Shardless and BUG Delver were all in the top tables. On top of that, the very nature of the format, that just make Counterbalance such a dominant force, i.e. an environment filled with 1 and 2 mana spells, made Abrupt Decay the ideal answer to almost anything an opponent could throw at you.

  • Recruiter of the Guard

Recruiter of the Guard Recruiter is one of the newest card in the format, but it gave a boost to an old and familiar strategy, Death & Taxes. This deck, powered up by the Recruiter, may have found the way into being a Tier 1 in this format. One copy made his way into Top 8 but it also was the fourth most played deck on Day 2 of the Grand Prix.

Standard Power Rankings

This is an update, after Grand Prix Warsaw and Grand Prix Santiago, to the top cards ranking of the Standard format.

  • Ishkanah, Grafwidow  [Last Month: N/A] 

ishkanah So many Spiders…. G/B Delirium was the top dog this weekend, despite U/W Flash winning both of the Grand Prix events. The Top 8 was absolutely loaded with G/B decks, and Ishkanah and Grim Flayer were both the top cards from each one. What we merely suspected last weekend came true as the metagame moved toward a trifecta of W/R/x Vehicles, G/B Delirium, and U/W Flash. In such a meta, Ishkanah is far more relevant than Emrakul and every indication is that the meta will stay like this.

  • Thraben Inspector  [Last Month: N/A]

thraben-inspector That’s  the most popular creature in the top decks. Despite the massive population of G/B decks, Inspector remains the little 1 drop that could. Every white aggro/tempo strategy that can go Inspector into Smuggler’s Copter remains a respectable threat in this format. There’s enough value in curving out that aggro remains a reasonable option despite the push back from G/B.

  • Grim Flayer  [Last Month: N/A]    

grim-flayer Grim Flayer is the on-again off-again relationship for G/B Delirium. At this point there’s no question, you want a set simply because the meta overall simply doesn’t have a great answer to him on turn 2. U/W Flash in particular has a bunch of mediocre removal options on the draw and can’t even Reflector Mage before the G/B player gets to attack once. As long as U/W Flash remains popular, Grim Flayer should be ensured playset status.

  • Gideon, Ally of Zendikar  [Last Month: 4] 

gideon-zdk Grand Prix Warsaw showed us the potential endgame of the Standard metagame, one defined by the trio of W/R/x, G/B Delirium and U/W Flash, with B/R Zombies/Aggro being the only non-niche deck with a number in the Top 64. Gideon is a threat that G/B can’t easily deal with and still provides plenty of value in the other two matchups. Gideon is effectively locked as the most popular planeswalker choice for the foreseeable future.

  • Liliana, the Last Hope  [Last Month: N/A]  

liliana-the-last-hope Maybe Liliana has what it takes to steal the crown from Gideon before Aether Revolt. As G/B grows in popularity, so does play for Liliana, and the number of X/1 creatures that are viable takes a dive. Selfless Spirit takes a beating despite the utility it provides because Spirit is the only creature in U/W that straight up dies to a Lili +1. It cannot be stressed enough how bad it is when your turn-2 play can be eaten by a turn-3 planeswalker. The uptick in Liliana will help mold which cards are actually viable.

  • Spell Queller  [Last Month: 5] 

spell-queller While G/B Delirium put up amazing numbers, U/W Flash still won both Grand Prix events, which cements it as a top choice even with a bullseye on it. It turns out Spell Queller is still a significant roadblock for many midrange decks and combined with the other utility from U/W, keeps a number of decks from being viable. This card is single-handedly keeping combo from making a resurgence to pick off all these durdly G/B decks.

  • Transgress the Mind  [Last Month: N/A] 

transgress-the-mind One reasonable way to combat U/W while not having too many dead cards is to lean heavily on discard for interaction. Transgress the Mind has seen a major uptick since the Pro Tour and is becoming one of the top sideboard cards in the format. It gracefully dodges Spell Queller and hits nearly all the key cards in both Delirium and U/W Flash. While not great against Vehicles, they also have enough cards to hit that Transgress isn’t dead game 1. As we see midrange decks popping up again, Transgress will see more game-1 play out of the delirium decks.

  • Smuggler’s Copter  [Last Month: 2]  

copter Copter takes a dive this week due to the burst in popularity of G/B Delirium. Not only does the deck have better answers to the card than most, many of the builds cut the Copter, which lowered its dominating presence from the past few weekends. Grasp of Darkness remains arguably the best removal spell in the format, and, combined with any artifact removal out of the board, actually makes Copter a liability post-board. Sideboarding Copters out is a serious option at this point for many decks. 

Modern Power Rankings

After Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth and its share of constructed decks, here there are the top cards of the Modern format.

  • Noble Hierarch

noble-hierarch  Hierarch remains one of the best cards in the format. Nothing showcases the power of 1 drop ramp creatures better than Hierarch in decks like Infect or Abzan. The fact that it’s also a sort of static permanent pump spell makes it a very powerful card in the meta. When you see it you’d better kill it.

  • Cryptic Command

cryptic-command No one expected the resurgence of the Command. Prior to this GP everybody thougt that the days where Command shines were over but instead the decks that were playing it this weekend put up good results and even two of them made the Top8. A modal spel like Cryptic is simply great because you can take advantage of the right modes in any given time.

  • Skred

skred No one saw this coming and that’s probably why  this card won the whole thing in Dallas. We talked about the deck just prior this weekend on this website, thinking that it could have been good positioned in Modern right now. Skred, with 21 Snow Lands, can serve as a removal for small to big creatures and also act like a Fireball to shoot down your opponent.

  • Gitaxian Probe

gitaxian-probe Probe was  one of the most played cards this weekend. The fact that sees play in various deck make it one of the most powerful card in Modern. It’s like you play a 56 cards deck plus a bonus to look at the opponent hand so you know what is going on.  In certain decks, i’m looking at you Death’s Shadow Aggro, the fact that you can cast probe also paying 2 life is super relevant and in general acting as a free cycle spell is what makes Probe this strong.

  • Serum Visions

serum-visions It’s the glue that holds together many of the blue based decks in Modern. The fact that is basically the only one mana good cantrip in the format just says it all. The ability to scry is super relevant and gives you the reach to filter through your deck and find what you need. It’s a staple in every blue based control and midrange deck and also the best cantrip in combo decks like Ad-Nauseam or Storm.

  • Death’s Shadow

deaths-shadow Death’s Shadow Aggro is now a well known deck in Modern but its ability is quite unique. This deck aim to damage yourself very quickly in the first turns of the game, thanks to its painful manabase, and then play a Death’s Shadow and combo the opponent off with Become Immense and Temur Battle Rage. If you’re going to a Modern tournament be prepared to face this card.

  • Golgari Grave-Troll

golgari-grave-troll The troll is the best Dredge card. It helps you Dredge through the deck and also, when facing some graveyard hate, you can simply hard cast it and swing in for the win.

  • Inkmoth Nexus

blinkmoth-nexus A staple on both Infect and Affinity. It does all you want from a card like this. Being one of your win condition in the Infect deck thanks to the fact that it has evasion in the form of flying. In the Affinity deck it’s both a mana source and an alternate evasive win condition thanks to its Infect ability; you can equip it with your Cranial Plating and shot your opponent down in just one swing.

Standard Power Rankings

After Pro Tour Kakadesh and its share of constructed decks, here there are the top cards of the Standard format.

  • Aetherworks Marvel

aetherworks-marvel   Marvel gets the top of the chart this week. As many have pointed out, effectively winning the game on turn 4 is usually the domain of Modern decks or a broken Standard format. In this case, the Aetherworks deck is consistent enough to bring to a tournament, and slamming an Ulamog or Emrakul onto the battlefield with the cast trigger is enough to win in the majority of cases. It may not have been the best deck, but it was certainly the most important.

  • Smuggler’s Copter

copter What was considered the scourge of the format coming in, turns out to still be very good. While the Aetherworks deck makes Copter look quaint, Copter is still a threat that’s keeping the planeswalker legions in check and is a lock for every aggressive deck for the foreseeable future. What we have seen is that you still can play non Copter decks and be competitive.

  • Torrential Gearhulk

torrential-gearhulk This was called out as potentially the best Gearhulk if control decks existed. With the Pro Tour results we now see that control is a completely valid option and multiple builds finished with 8-2 and 7-3 Constructed records, so it’s not just Hall of Famers that can win with it. Gearhulk is one of the best cards control has had in a while. Chaining them is almost a guaranteed victory if your graveyard is stocked, and at worst you get a reasonable 2 for 1.

  • Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

gideon-zdk He is the only planeswalker to make a significant splash in a multitude of decks. Gideon was considered as one of the best threats coming from the old format and he remains that way in the new one. He was in nearly every white aggressive build, U/W Flash, and in the sideboards of many of the Jeskai Control decks. While I see him turning into an emblem far more often, he remains one of the strongest solo threats in the format.

  • Spell Queller

spell-queller Spell Queller  fell off the map for these past 2 weeks. It just didn’t line up well against the aggressive strategies. The 2/3 body couldn’t slow down the average creature, and the resurgence of red made Spell Queller a liability in some cases. With over 20% of Day 1 at the PT bringing the Aetherworks combo to the table, suddenly Spell Queller was better positioned than ever before. The tempo swing Spell Queller can provide is inescapable for some of these decks and a big reason why U/W Flash had three 9-1 Constructed finishes.

  • Emrakul, the Promised End

emrakul-promised-end While G/B Delirium whiffed on making Top 8, Emrakul put up a solid showing throughout the Pro Tour. It remains one of the scariest cards for midrange or control to face down, and Traverse the Ulvenwald means that finding it is a breeze. Aetherworks Marvel provides a cheat way to get the full benefits from Emrakul and I imagine it’ll be a constant threat in the format as long as Eldritch Moon is legal.

  • Harnessed Lightning

harnessed-lightning Harnessed Lightning was the 2nd most played card in the winning Constructed decks from the PT. First place was Smuggler’s Copter, which should tell you that this card would be number 1 in a normal format, and for good reason: it kills Smuggler’s Copter and most of the creatures in the format with its base stats. Also it can be scaled up later in the game to take down larger monsters. When you use it to take out an X/1, you can bank the remaining energy and utilize it in other ways, of which Dynavolt Tower is a popular one.

  • Ceremonious Rejection

ceremonious-rejection It was the most played sideboard card in the tournament and held up alongside Negate as the most potent cards against the Aetherworks deck. With Vehicles, Gearhulks, and Aetherworks skewing the format, Rejection is main deck playable and one of the best answers to many threats in the format. Being able to hold open a single U to represent Rejection is such a powerful threat that even some of the aggressive decks have adopted it with Aether Hub, Spirebluff Canal, and even Cultivator’s Caravan to cast it. Blue actually has better answers and threats now than the last few Standard seasons.