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By: MindlessMarty, Filipe Rodrigues
Jan 31 2018 1:00pm
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 We are now heading into week three of this new post-ban meta of Ixalan and we already got some tournaments to look at some results. There were two SCG Team Constructed Open and a SCG Standard Classic alongside a Standard PTQ Online.  We also got to see some decklists for a 192 player tournament organized by Hareruya. There were definitely some spicy brews, some expected decks with new tech and some more of the same old. In case you missed it, in this article I will be talking about some cards that did great over this first weeks and some that quite didn’t perform as we hoped. Some cards you already know they are good, others might be a surprise!

Heart of Kiran

Mardu Vehicles won the tournament so obviously, this card has to be the first I write about. It's no surprise this card is good. It's no Smuggler's Copter but Heart of Kiran does the job, even if the winning list has no Planeswalkers in it such as Chandra, Torch of Defiance or Gideon of the Trials. Mardu Vehicles was surely a safe bet for week one since in the first weeks of a new meta, it's consistent and aggressive at the same time, two qualities that are proven to be advantageous at this stage of discovery for decks.

This card is resilient to control and sweepers such as Fumigate or Settle the Wreckage which made every approach difficult against it. Not only that but since it has flying it also is very good against tokens due to evasion and other matchups such as mono red also struggle since the card has vigilance and is a 4 power, 4 toughness with at only 2 mana cost, which makes it a good blocker to early threats. In this particular deck, it has good synergy with the "vehicle lord', Veteran Motorist but it could also be used on other decks such as a trigger for Rhonas the Indomitable, the Indomitable. I think everybody loves Heart of Kiran and I am glad to see it put good results again. This trend might continue in the future, it might not as Mardu Vehicles is the deck to beat after week one. Be that as it may, Heart of Kiran will always be a good card though.

Rekindling Phoenix

When this card was spoiled my first thought was "I like my phoenixes with haste" so I kind of shrugged it aside. However, this card has proven to be amazing not only because flying is very good right now, but also because it's so hard to deal with. You basically have to always spend two cards for this one as it always comes back as a 0/1 elemental that turns back into a phoenix in the upkeep. The trick here is to use something to kill and right after use another card to kill the 0/1 elemental before opponent’s upkeep.

This card started at 10 tix and I hope you bought some because at some point it doubled value during the weekend. Both Temur and Green Red Monsters did great with it and I suspect we will keep seeing it. I see it being great in Grixis, Temur and even other builds such as Red-Blue Flyers. If you have red in your deck, besides Glorybringer and Chandra, Torch of Defiance this might be another card you will have to put on your deck. It just seems great, even if you don't use a full playset and just go for one or two.

Jadelight Ranger 

This card was first hyped because it was a merfolk. And a good one at that. 3 mana that gives some sort of card advantage and is a 4/3? Nice, we said then. But then the bans came out and Rogue Refiner was no more. Jadelight Ranger seemed an obvious substitute and it seems to be doing its job since Temur Energy is still a thing.

The first round of SCG almost seemed like the meta didn't change. Jessup was playing Sultai while his opponent was playing Temur. Ah, just like the old days. Instead of Rogue Refiner, there it was, Jadelight Ranger doing its thing. But it was actually on the Sultai side that this card shined. Dan Jessup didn't have any Winding Constrictors in his deck but paired up with Winding Constrictor you could have a 6/5 for 3 mana. How great is this? I feel Grixis might be better with Champion of Wits but if you are running green you probably will want this card. Rogue Refiner was very good to the point it was banned. This card is pretty close to it, so you can only guess it will be a very good card.  If not, it will always be a good merfolk although one could argue you already have Merfolk Branchwalker for explore effects in Modern and Jadelight Ranger may be too much. We shall have to wait to see how this card ages an if it fits Modern, but it is sure to be a good card for Standard.

Rhonas the Indomitable

If it's not clear already, Gods are broken cards. The fact that they are indestructible make them amazing blockers, when they are able to do, but also very hard to deal with removal wise. After The Scarab God and Hazoret the Fervent, Rhonas the Indomitable was the God who saw most play in the previous metagame.

However with the bans on energy, Confiscation Coup is handicapped and this might mean the return of Rhonas the Indomitable. Players brought it in Green Red and Temur Monster decks and it made for some great beatdowns. Giving trample has never been more relevant since you need to go over other Gods or just other creatures on the battlefield against midrange decks. It's also Brad Nelson's favorite God and that must mean something right?

Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Ghalta, Primal Hunger was the most hyped dinosaur since it could enter the battlefield with high power creatures such as Bristling Hydra and Glorybringer and it also had 12 power to trample some Gods in the way. However, I felt disappointed with this card. The Top8 monster list didn’t even have 1 copy of it and the RG version of the deck, which made the 9th place (not so bad) only ran 1 copy. The meta isn’t settled but maybe this Dinosaur should just belong in a museum or a Jurassic Park.

Tetzimoc, Primal Death

Unfortunately, this new card from Rivals of Ixalan didn't show up much. After Ghalta, Primal Hunger, it was the most hyped dino in this new world of Standard. Not only is this card a bomb in limited with its big 6 power and 6 toughness, deathtouch body which can block some gods such as Hazoret the Fervent and The Scarab God, it also is a powerhouse against any midrange deck since you can use it to deal with many of your opponent's creatures. Also, If by some chance you put some prey counters on your enemies creatures and the card itself is countered, you can always try again if you have two copies in the deck, as the counters don't disappear and the second one still triggers the effect. Better yet, you don't even need two copies because of our great Scarab God. Reanimating dinosaurs is not only epic but sweet!

Other mentions :

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

I mean, this card is everywhere now boosting its price from 2 tix to 8. I hope you profited on this one as this might be the card that most resembles Dark Confidant. Even with the bans on Energy, this card holds its ground as a card-draw engine and since it has menace you can squeeze some more juice out of those energy batteries. This might be the best thing to do on turn 2 in Standard right now. It doesn’t win games on its own so you never see it as the main hero or MVP of a game, but this is for sure a player you want on your side.

The Scarab God

Now, this is the real MVP. Everybody knew this card was incredible.  If you can afford it and it's in your colors and playstyle you will for sure love it. If you are playing against it you will certainly hate it. Whatever the case, there are some ways to deal with it, so just be ready with some trample creatures, Approach of the Second Sun, Cast Out, Vraska's Contempt or even some Scavenger Grounds or the new Relic of Progenitus, Silent Gravestone

Hazoret the Fervent

Like I have said many times earlier, Gods are great and Hazoret the Fervent is the main reason mono red is a thing. Despite the bans, mono red is alive and well and Hazoret the Fervent is still a bomb. With few ways of dealing with indestructible creatures, Commit/Memory might make a comeback. Anyway, it was no surprise this card did good and there is not much more new stuff I can say about it honestly.

Carnage Tyrant 

I always liked this card and I feel this might be the time for it. Again, just like Rhonas the Indomitable, Carnage Tyrant wasn’t played due to Confiscation Coup, but now with the bans  it seems safer to play it now. Why? This card seems great against Grixis Midrange. Just like Ghalta, Primal Hunger, it has a big body with trample that goes over the Gods, but contrary to Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Carnage Tyrant also has hexproof and can’t be countered. Those are some important words against control decks, so I can’t wait to play this card again.

In conclusion, we are still exploring Ixalan and all its new possibilities after the bans. Tribal decks still didn’t make the cut yet, however, we are still in the first weeks of this new meta. People played safe and choose to Opt for aggressive linear decks or consistent, proven ones. Energy is still a thing, which is something to be glad for as it is intended that you can still play your deck and not just throw it away because you ban a card or two. As people get more confident with their builds I hope to see more tribal decks and a metagame with diversity. We are doing great with some new builds and this is just a start. Don’t forget to comment below what has been working for you and what you liked so far in the new meta.

Keep planeswalking and have fun!