Episode 120 – RIX Constructed Predictions

As you may be able to guess from the title, this week we make some predictions about how Rivals of Ixalan might impact constructed formats by picking some of the cards that have been spoiled so far and discussing their merits.

Neal, the idealistic optimist, believes that basically every card we talk about will have a place somewhere, while Ben shoots down everyone else’s cards and picks only boring obvious winners to talk about himself. Tristan is perfectly positioned in the middle, correctly evaluating every card, probably.

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1 thought on “Episode 120 – RIX Constructed Predictions

  1. WanderingWinder

    I hope you won’t read this whole comment, especially verbatim, next podcast πŸ™‚

    I think the biggest problem Standard is likely to have is in some respects the mana fixing. In particular, there’s only one set of enemy-colored duals that’s better than gates. So like, if I want to play Merfolk or Vampires or UR pirates, all of which seem at least reasonable to try as agro to aggressive midrange decks based on spells… well, it doesn’t really work. There is Unclaimed Territory, but then, if I want to play e.g. Merfolk, the creatures being more green-based than blue necessetitates a manabase something like 5 island, 4 Sanctum, 4 Unclaimed Territory, 9 forest, which doesn’t get you great mana, first of all, but also can’t cast blue non-merfolk, which is particularly bad since the spells you most want to play are blue (counterspells mostly).

    This means that you either need to play a lot of artifacts, so you can use Spire of Industry, or play a control deck (usually allied color), or a mono-color deck, or… Energy. A huge part of why I think Energy is so dominant right now is because it just makes your mana so much better, on top of getting spells that are as good as the alternatives. Attune and Hub go a LONG way to fix you, especially when we’re talking wedges.

    Thoughts on the episode:
    Azcanta can pull any non-creature non-land, not just instants and sorceries. So that helps Kumena’s Awakening, but I still have a hard time thinking that card is good enough; if you always had it ‘on’, I’m not sure if it would be busted (though of course it would be quite good), but this still seems like too much work for not enough payoff. I agree with Ben that you could be doing better things if you get that far.

    I also agree with Ben that most of the cards discussed are very unplayable in Standard. Which surprised me a little, because I don’t think that none of the cards spoiled are good or playable. On the other hand, a lot of the good cards aren’t all that interesting – e.g. lords are lords, what is there to say?

    But there are a few cards which seem cool and possibly playable – e.g. the 1GG 2/1 double explore merfolk. I’m pretty unsure of whether it’s better or worse than it’s little brother (Merfolk Branchwalker) from the last set, but I’d lean toward slightly better (in standard; probably worse in older formats). It’s also enough value that I think it might show up outside of just Merfolk decks. The pirate that turns stuff into 0/1s until EOT when it attacks is cute, especially as a way for e.g. a UR deck to deal with Scarab God or Hazoret. And the Phoenix seems very strong, and in a vacuum very Standard-playable. Of course, it has a hard time with spots being crowded right now – has to compete against Hazoret and Chandra and Glorybringer. But I’m not entirely sure it won’t see any play even so. (e.g. Temur could play a copy or two over Chandra, potentially also adding to add a copy of Immortal Sun)

    In terms of practical impact, probably the biggest thing is that Sultai Energy has gotten some more toys than Temur, to make them on closer footing with each other, though I’m not sure it’s enough to tip the balance. That, of course, is hardly exciting. On the other hand, there were several more spoiled today which are harder to evaluate (pseudo-wrath, huge mana flip-land, token-stealer (which seems good against GPG, Scarab God, BW tokens)), so I don’t know. Hopefully this discussion will continue on future episodes (though I’m looking forward to what I assume will be initial Limited impressions next week). πŸ™‚

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