Standard is ruined.
This time, probably forever.
You heard it here first.
It's official and it's all Ixalan's fault.
What exactly is going to ruin Standard, you might ask? Well, something is. I can guarantee you that much! It may have already even happened.
Yes, I know it's too early to accurately make such a prediction. Yes, Standard has actually been diverse and interesting lately. Yes, I haven't actually played any of the new Standard. Yes, I know Ixalan was just released and the first big event #SCGDFW is about to happen and everything could only get better...
But the signs are there. The Portents, Ponders, and Preordains all say the same thing: the sky really is falling. I'm not crazy... just look at Star of Extinction and tell me otherwise. If I'm wrong, may I be horribly crushed from above somehow… which would then technically make me right, since the sky would have literally just fallen.
Often the past is the best predictor of the future. Let's take a look at Standard's recent track record, which includes such greatest hits as:
Collected Company? Boom! Ruined Standard.
Emrakul, the Promised End? Boom! Ruined.
Smuggler's Copter? Ruined!
Aetherworks Marvel. Yup! Literally unplayable.
Felidar Guardian? Boom! You'd better believe that ruined Standard.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me five or six-ish more times, shame on me.
You'd best believe something is going to ruin Standard!
Listen, I'm an optimistic person, but I have my limits, and it's time to give up and reach the acceptance stage.
I wouldn't be making such drastic claims without evidence, so here are the Top 8 Reasons why Ixalan Standard is already ruined, starting with what won't work in the new format:
#8: Gideon, Ally of Zendikar Is Gone!
Battle for Zendikar was released October 2, 2015, which means we barely got to have a brief two-year love affair with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Now Gideon has left Standard.
Gideon was a rock. A rock you could always complain about.
Something wrong with the format? Blame Gideon. Now we'll have to get a bit more creative.
He survived every ban announcement, no matter how much the odds were stacked against him, and now gets to rotate out of the format gracefully due to natural causes.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, I salute you. Now something even worse will have to ruin Standard.
#7A: Merfolk Suck
They can't print one good Merfolk in all of Ixalan?
It's not hard:
Creature - Merfolk
When Fish Face enters the battlefield, slap your opponent with a cod.
See? If you're going to print some Merfolk, at least make one of them Standard-worthy! Especially if you're going to go to the trouble of making green Merfolk, at least make a Green Merfolk lord that kicks some butt. What's next, a blue Ape?
A Merfolk deck could've balanced the scales of Standard. Now there is a Goldfish-cracker-shaped hole in all of our hearts, at least until Rivals of Ixalan drops.
#7B: …And Explore Is Confusing
Instead of good Merfolk, we get the Explore mechanic, which is basically a giant wall of text. I've tried to budget a day's worth of time to read it all, but so far it's been too daunting a task.
Reveal the top card of your library. Put that card into your hand if it's a land. Otherwise, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature, then put that card back or put it into your graveyard. Then attempt to put your right foot in, if you succeed, put your right foot out and then proceed to shake it all about. Next flip a coin, if heads, flip until the coin lands on tails and eat a cracker.
On the plus side, there aren't really many Constructed-worthy Explore cards.
#6: Field of Ruin Is Overpowered
Double-faced cards are pretty cool, other than having to go through all that time and effort of having to take them out of the sleeve and flip them over when they transform.
The double-faced cards from Ixalan seem like a lot of fun and both sides are interesting and don't seem overpowered… except they all flip into lands! Which plays right into Field of Ruin's hands. More like Field of Ruining all the fun.
Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field, and only a fool would play nonbasics into an open Field of Ruin!
Gods, I was nonbasic then! Be smart and don't flip your double-faced cards, unless you have to because some aren't a may effect.
#5: Brews Are Doomed!
You think your brew will work?
Reality check: it won't!
Just take a look at this brew I made that won't work:
- 4 Metallic Mimic
- 4 Adanto Vanguard
- 4 Duskborne Skymarcher
- 4 Legion Conquistador
- 4 Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
- 1 Oketra the True
I'll admit Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle is a tempting card to build around, but is it worth it? Whenever you attack with a nontoken Vampire, including Mavren Fein, it triggers to make more Vampires. The lifelink should not be overlooked here, not only because it's tricky to race a swarm of lifelinking Vampires, but especially if Ramunap Red is a significant portion of the metagame.
A two-mana 3/1 indestructible creature would be absolutely insane and Adanto Vanguard is kind of almost halfway there. It seems like a potentially annoying card to deal with for many decks. The nice thing is you won't be missing four-life chunks if you're making it back thanks to your Vampire tokens.
Printing interesting new cards is exactly how they get you! They raise your hopes before crushing them with the cold efficient netdeck hammer!
None of the Ixalan cards are playable. Nothing new ever works. Deal with it.
#4: Temur Energy
Aetherworks Marvel was banned and energy decks still ended up being the best?
- 4 Bristling Hydra
- 3 Glorybringer
- 4 Longtusk Cub
- 4 Rogue Refiner
- 4 Servant of the Conduit
- 4 Whirler Virtuoso
There's not even a completely busted card in the list to put the blame on and get mad at!
Who thought a mix of lands and reasonable spells would be acceptable to print!?
You think Dinosaurs or Pirates are gonna compete with energy? Dinosaurs and Pirates are made of energy and energy can't be created or destroyed! Checkmate, Ixalanists.
You'd better hope and pray Temur Energy is the worst thing about the new format because the other options are even more terrifying!
#3: Ramunap Red
- 4 Bomat Courier
- 4 Ahn-Crop Crasher
- 4 Earthshaker Khenra
- 4 Rigging Runner
- 4 Soul-Scar Mage
- 4 Hazoret the Fervent
Here is a forecast for the initial format metagame breakdown:
49% Temur Energy
49% Ramunap Red
*2% = margin of error
As the format evolves, I expect the top two decks to only become more refined and take up more of the metagame. You might as well just sleeve up Temur Energy and Ramunap Red and then flip a coin to pick between the two.
If you want to be part of the "others" and be a special snowflake while still completely staying inside the box, there are a few other archetypes that should continue to survive.
If for some reason control is good, you get to enjoy an endless parade of Glimmer of Genius, because it's never been so "hard" to tap your mana and draw a bunch of cards. Not since the days of Sphinx's Revelation have such wanton acts of card drawing been on display.
Each of these decks is more broken than the last!
Don't try to tell me it's a diverse format and you can play plenty of different styles of decks successfully! It's just that the decks are so degenerate that the format merely appears to be balanced, like when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object… or like how Mr. Burns's many diseases cancel each other out and create an uneasy deadlock equilibrium.
All the current degenerate decks in the format are in perfect balance, but even the slightest breeze could ruin everything!
#1: Dinosaurs Will Savagely Stomp Everything
Clearly I'm still focusing a little too much on what is going to ruin Standard from the past when I should be focusing on what new wonders will ruin Standard.
If there's anything that's going to disturb the gentle metagame balance, it's gonna be Dinosaurs!
- 2 Carnage Tyrant
- 4 Deathgorge Scavenger
- 4 Drover of the Mighty
- 4 Otepec Huntmaster
- 4 Regisaur Alpha
- 4 Ripjaw Raptor
Let's take a look at the upcoming Standard format with another classic Simpsons clip! Except this time it will be the Dinosaurs wiping out everything else, because Engineered Plague isn't legal.
Carnage Tyrant is a nice, safe, reliable card and hexproof is a nice, safe, reliable mechanic. Reliable for ruining Magic! Nothing could possibly go wrong printing such a huge uncounterable hexproof creature!
Ripjaw Raptor is a beefy one that also happens to draw cards if you try to kill it using conventional methods. The words "better than Siege Rhino" are tossed around too much these days, but I can confidently say Ripjaw Raptor is better than Siege Rhino in every way!
Sure, Dinosaurs may seem cool now, but a sweet new deck will just get boring before long anyway. We're screwed no matter happens this time! I say we take the Dinosaurs and make them extinct before they try to rewrite history to mess up the delicate Standard ecosystem.
The End of Standard
There you have it: empirical proof that Ixalandard is about to suck, guaranteed!
With the new set just releasing, there's a lot to complain about, and I'm sure I missed some things. Why do you think Standard is about to suck? Or, if for some insane reason you think it is going to be great, let me know why in the comments!