Though it doesn’t feel right to repeat myself, it’s appropriate to pull a parrot and once again remind you that Trial of the Gods is right around the corner, likely bringing along an earth-shattering change to the Marketplace.
So what did the final days of the Genesis + Core trading activity bring to the table? True to form, the Genesis list features quite a few familiar faces while the Core top 20 remains as volatile as ever…let’s dive in!
Genesis, Week 20: have we met before?
Week 20’s Genesis card list reads like a who’s who of top hits from previous weeks, and could very well indicate a desire by players to “stock up”, so to speak for the dawn of the new expansion with the best and brightest from the current metagame.
We need to keep in mind that there’s an entirely separate metagame of the Marketplace as well, likely to flare up close to a release season, where dedicated traders will try to identify the cards which could attract extra interest in the revamped environment, netting a tidy bundle in the process. It makes sense to focus on the currently strong tools, though the real boons belong to those who can find the uncut gems in the card pool that will shine based on brand new synergies once Trial of the Gods goes live. However, it’s very difficult to spot the best combos in advance so it’s more of a guessing game at the moment.
Notably, the average rarity of the top 20 cards has gone up too, with three Legendary creatures making an appearance on the list (Horus, The Protector in #6, Arius, Augur Paroxysm in #17 and an old friend in the form of Avatar of War in #17). Aggressive War decks remained in vogue throughout the recent period, and it’s no wonder that Whetstone has made a return from Week 18, ending this week in #7. Good old Pyramid Warden is right on its heels though in #8.
The top three for the week are Portal Wrangler, a card which emerged one week earlier and now reached the top of the charts. Check out the previous edition of the column for a breakdown of its abilities! Rolling Watcher emerged in second place, climbing three spots from the previous week – once again, one we’ve discussed last fortnight. Number three? Malfunctioning Servitor. Again, a card we’ve covered in our Week 18&19 insights.
Let’s see how Core cards fared in Week 20.
Core, Week 20: lightweight creatures are not welcome
The volatility of the Core Marketplace makes it a bit more difficult to assess trends than in the case of the Genesis cards, but Week 20 gave us a very specific set of top cards to consider in the form of three removal spells. Two of them are board clears and two of them belong to Light. Can you guess them before reading on? ????
The top Core card of the week is Imperious Smite, a removal spell that can be quite consistent despite the word ‘random’ appearing on it. With some careful threat management, trading and foresight, it can basically work as a 4-mana “destroy your opponent’s largest creature”, which is an incredible proposition.
Right behind it is Purification Filter, an even larger Light removal spell, dealing with any and all small-sized threats of your opponent – though admittedly at the cost of nuking any such creatures you may have in play yourself. Number three? Inferno, the fan favorite from the Favor pool, and a very strong card in its own right for slower Magic decks that look to slow down incoming aggression as they set up their debilitating finishers. Note how it only damages enemy creatures!
Every answer needs a good question though, and it’s worth mentioning the slate of strong curve Vikings right behind these cards in #4 and #5 in the form of Shield Maiden and Viking Outrider respectively. Mind you, the presence of Light’s Levy and Devoted Follower further suggest a dominance of Light on this particular week.
Genesis, Week 21: déjà vu
Regular readers of know how I fixate on cards that consistently rank in the top 20 over the weeks, highlighting their flexibility and relevance in the metagame. Well, those of you will get a chuckle out of Week 21’s top three Genesis cards, and perhaps empathize with my struggle to rephrase the same gameplay insight in many different ways. I’ve been here before, you could say.
Number one is Rolling Watcher. Cheap, flexible, a growing threat. It’s the word each which makes the card work, a 2/3 on your turn with a potential to answer a mid-game creature if left unchecked. It’s a nice way to punish slower archetypes for very little sacrifice in initial stats.
Number two is Pyramid Warden, and if you haven’t yet picked up your copies of this card, please do so (and therefore ensure I have to find yet another way to discuss it in two weeks’ time). Once again, it’s a creature which crushes the Vanilla Test and is especially powerful when played on curve.
Number three is Flying Carpet, yet another regular on this list, and a permanent reminder of Magic’s powerful capabilities. Though fragile, the flexibility and the setup potential makes it a worthy inclusion in, erm, that Magic archetype we all love, or at least love to hate.
Two Legendary creatures made the top twenty this week as well: Hephaestus, the Enchanter and Jason, Medea’s Muse – another one regular readers will be familiar with.
Core, Week 21: a triumph of Nature
If Week 20’s Core cards were mostly about the Light, Week 21 brought along a near-complete dominance of Nature in the top brackets of trading.
Black Jaguar, Valewarden Minotaur and The Hunt take the top three spots, followed by Magic’s familiar Leyhoard Hatchling combo finisher in #4 (last seen at #1 two weeks previously).
Midrange Nature decks were a late-breaking innovation of the current metagame but seem to have found a home in the community, and the approach of overstated-but-confused creatures coupled with randomly generated Nature cards certainly got a lot of support in Trial of the Gods as well, enriching this portion of the class’ identity even further. Canopy Barrage in #5 and Arrow of Rage in #6 bolsters this argument even further.
To sign off for this edition, allow me to highlight the #20 Core card from this week: Sentry Post, which I think is an instructive card from a design perspective and serves well to highlight the value of Backline on a purely defensive unit. Can you imagine the anti-aggro applications? Do you think this card will see play once Trial of the Gods rolls around? The brave new world is right around the corner, and I for one can’t wait to sink my teeth into the new expansion and the brand new metagame it will undoubtedly bring along.
~ Credit – Luci Kelemen