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For the first time since some time in the middle of Battle for Zendikar Standard when Rally the Ancestors became playable, we have a Standard format that actually revolves around threat-answer balances.
There aren't auto-win combos at the top of the metagame. There especially aren't ones that are 50 normal Magic cards and some broken stuff.
There aren't unanswerable threats, or at least the ones that exist are conditional in execution and don't automatically provide value.
That means new cards need a ton of context. Unless they break one of the above rules, they won't ever be the undisputed king of the format. Something beats everything.
If any card so far comes close to just being a "jam and always come out ahead" threat, it's Regisaur Alpha. The Siege Rhino versus Polukranos, World Eater discussion comes to mind with this card and Glorybringer. Admittedly Glorybringer is also an immediate-value, immediate-damage threat, so there isn't an obvious winner, but Regisaur Alpha brings a lot to the table. Like, literally seven power on the table right now.
There are a few possible universes we live in once Ixalan becomes Standard-legal. I don't really feel like going through all of them is valuable, as they diverge a lot based on all of the other cards in the format, but it's worth noting that even if Regisaur Alpha is just better than Glorybringer, you can opt to not play green in your deck and still Dragon people over Dinosauring. The big split depends on where a 3/3 Dinosaur token might just be blank, where flying is super-relevant, and where killing their creature is more important than making two bodies to combat with.
I do want to point out that the "haste to other Dinosaurs" clause on Regisaur Alpha isn't irrelevant, but in this equation I think it is fairly minor, just like the second exert on Glorybringer is fairly minor. Any game where you untap with your five-drop alive is going to be a good one.
I regret not preordering Ripjaw Raptor early on. Gerry Thompson spent a bunch of time laying out decks for this card last week , and yes, it's fine on raw numbers, but I don't think he quite hit in why it is going to be so successful. Many 4/5 creatures for four have good-looking abilities and fail because power and toughness alone isn't enough, but Ripjaw Raptor will not be one of them.
My first impression was framed really poorly.
Where is the intersection of "Number of cards is worth it", "Not just Treasure Trove", and "They didn't just die to Ballista to the face"?— Ari Lax (@armlx) August 28, 2017
Walking Ballista plus Ripjaw Raptor is a pretty marginal interaction, despite looking really cool. There are going to be times where you can extend a small Walking Ballista, overextend with a Ripjaw Raptor, and use the ping-card-draw mode as sweeper insurance. Beyond that, the majority of the time with both of those cards on the battlefield, you are better off shoving on Walking Ballista to eventually ping them to death rather than building a Treasure Trove.
I completely missed the most important interaction: cycling your own conditional removal. In spots where you draw a Magma Spray or Abrade and don't want it, you can fire it on your Ripjaw Raptor to draw a card. The ability to freely dump a Cut // Ribbons against control might be the more exciting payoff, as I'm pretty sure Cut // Ribbons is going to be one of the biggest winners of the rotation.
This means that Ripjaw Raptor is going to be doubly good whenever damage-based removal is good. Not only does it mean your opponents are more likely to have cards that are horrific against your threat, but it is harder to punish your copies of those cards.
In the context of the B/R Ruin Raider shells I discussed last week , this is a real reason to play the artifact subtheme, as you get Unlicensed Disintegration. Killing Ripjaw Raptor is doable, but killing it profitably is hard in aggressive decks. I will refrain from making a decklist until I actually see a Pirate one-drop, but I guess the point there is that I want to do anything I can to avoid playing Bomat Courier in these lists. Ruin Raider is enough card advantage; I don't want to play Raging Goblin.