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Brewer's Minute: Reevaluating Standard

Hey, everyone! It's time for another Brewer's Minute. Rotation is an exciting time for Standard. Not only does it mean that we have a bunch of sweet to cards to try out, but it also gives us a chance to reevaluate some cards that have been in Standard for a while but haven't quite made it yet. The combination of a lot of powerful cards leaving the Standard format and new mechanics and cards from Ixalan means that some cards from Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks have the potential to be a lot better in Ixalan Standard than they were over the past year. So, for our Brewer's Minute today, we're going to talk about some cards I'm reevaluating in the new format and the reasons why these cards are worth another look in Ixalan Standard. Then, make sure to let me know in the comments which other cards from Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks you think might have potential in our exciting new Standard format!

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Samut, the Tested

Reason for Reevaluation: Dinosaurs!

Samut, the Tested isn't a powerful planeswalker in a vacuum, and she backed this fact up by seeing essentially zero play ever since she was printed a few months ago. However, there might be hope for the Gruul planeswalker in Ixalan Standard, thanks to the biggest tribe from Ixalan: Dinosaurs. The only potentially powerful ability on Samut, the Tested is her +1 to give something double strike, but this ability is almost completely dependent on which creatures she is able to target. The targets just weren't good enough in Hour of Devastation Standard, but huge, potentially hasty Dinosaurs like Carnage Tyrant and Gishath, Sun's Avatar means it might be time to give Samut, the Tested another look. Playing a Samut, the Tested on Turn 4 and following up with a Turn 5 Carnage Tyrant with haste from Otepec Huntmaster equals up to 14 trampling damage, which just might be enough to make Samut, the Tested Standard playable.

Hour of Revelation

Reason for Reevaluation: Stasis Snare rotates.

Hour of Revelation is a powerful wrath, not only hitting all creatures but planeswalkers and Vehicles as well, but it never really caught on in Hour of Devastation Standard. The reason why? Nearly all white decks were reliant on Cast Out and Stasis Snare as their primary removal spells, and blowing up your own enchantments (and giving your opponent back whatever was exiled underneath them) was such a nonbo that Hour of Revelation simply wasn't worth it. Fast forward to the present, and Stasis Snare has rotated, which means white control decks are less reliant on enchantment-based removal, which might mean it's Hour of Revelation's time to shine!

Gideon of the Trials

Reason for Reevaluation: Gideon, Ally of Zendikar rotates.

This one is pretty simple: Gideon of the Trials is a super-powerful planeswalker, but it suffered from being the second-best Gideon in our past Standard, since Gideon, Ally of Zendikar was such an absurdly powerful card. As a result, Gideon of the Trials mostly sat on the sidelines or occasionally showed up in very small numbers. Today, in Ixalan Standard, Gideon of the Trials is not only the best Gideon but also one of the stronger planeswalkers in the format. Decks looking to fill a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar-sized hole (like Mardu Vehicles) could turn to the three-mana planeswalker, and it's started to find a home in UW Approach decks as well. Regardless, without Big Brother Ally of Zendikar around, Little Gideon is certainly worth another look in Standard.

New Perspectives

Reason for Reevaluation: Metagame Shifts

New Perspectives is essentially a metagame deck. It can be close to unbeatable if nobody is playing counters and there are a lot of midrange decks in the format, but the slower combo deck struggles if everyone is countering spells and the meta is super fast. While it's too early to say what Ixalan Standard will look like, make sure to keep New Perspectives in mind as we start to see more and more tournament results over the next couple of weeks. Although it might be unlikely, if things shake up just the right away, it could be time for New Perspectives to sneak in and steal a tournament or two before the metagame catches up.

Tezzeret the Schemer

Reason for Reevaluation: Treasure tokens!

Tezzeret the Schemer is actually a placeholder for the improvise mechanic in general. It seemed to get a lot better with the release of Treasure tokens, which offer more cheap artifacts to fuel improvise costs in general (and Tezzeret the Scheemer in specific). Things were more hypothetical when I made this video last week, but a Grixis Improvise list with Tezzeret the Schemer took down the SCG Classic over the past weekend, which means this reevaluation is already paying dividends! 

Torment of Hailfire

Reason for Reevaluation: Primal Amulet.

One thing we learned while playing Torment of Hailfire is that no matter how much mana you make, the first copy is rarely enough. However, the second copy of Torment of Hailfire almost always wins the game. Well, with the printing of Primal Amulet in Ixalan, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to cast two copies of Torment of Hailfire, since you can do it all at once by doubling up the sorcery for free after flipping Primal Amulet into a land! Whether or not this makes Torment of Hailfire into a Standard staple remains to be seen, but considering that Torment of Hailfire is the most powerful, expensive instant or sorcery in Standard and people are going to want something sweet to double up with Primal Amulet, the time is right to give Torment of Hailfire at least a second glance. 

Marionette Master

Reason for Reevaluation: Spell Swindle in specific but Treasure tokens in general.

Treasure tokens are amazingly powerful with Marionette Master. If we can get just five on the battlefield, a single copy of Marionette Master can drain the opponent for 20 at instant speed! While finding the right build of the deck is tricky, it might involve Spell Swindle, which is pretty close to a two-card "I win" combo in Standard. If you can counter something that costs at least five mana with Spell Swindle, you can untap, cast your Marionette Master, and kill your opponent on the spot!


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Reason for Reevaluation: Treasure tokens (again).

We've talked about Treasure tokens a lot today, and for good reason, since they create a lot of interesting new synergies in Standard, but I wanted to briefly mention one more on the way out the door: Treasure tokens are a great way to trigger revolt. This could mean pumping your team with Call for Unity or dumping huge Dinosaurs into play for free with Aid from the Cowl. It could also mean simpler things as well, like getting something back from the graveyard with Renegade Rallier or even just killing a four-drop with Fatal Push. Regardless, when it comes to Treasure tokens, it's important to keep all the possibilities in mind. Not only can they add mana and be tapped for improvise, but the fact that they provide free revolt triggers at instant speed could come in handy in Ixalan Standard as well!


Anyway,  that's all for today. What other cards from Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks are worth reevaluating for Ixalan Standard based on rotation or new Ixalan cards entering the format? Do any of the cards we talked about today have the potential to break out in Ixalan Standard? Let me know in the comments, and as always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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