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Staying on top of the competitive field in Magic: The Gathering is no easy task. The ever-evolving meta of Standard format, now two sets deep in 2020 with Theros: Beyond Death and Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, requires players to stay on their toes for the latest strategies and ideas, lest they find themselves on the back foot at the next tournament. That said, there’s a few decks you can build right now that’ll give anyone an edge in competition. What’s more, these builds should hold good value for resales and trades too, giving you some fodder for newer rarities down the line.
It’s worth noting, of course, that the fluctuating market for Magic: The Gathering means these are just the prices at time of writing, as set out on sites such as mtgdecks.net. Always double-check current standings before investing.
Average Overall Price: $401
This blue, white, and red deck is near the top of the leaderboard in Standard at the moment, and for good reason. The tri-color control system is a formidable thing to get around, filled with ways to acquire your opponent’s creatures and counter their spells. A lack of creatures means it’s a good, if expensive, pivot if you’re looking to broaden the ways you’re most comfortable playing.
The thrust of it lies in having three of the rare Agent of Treachery, a 2/3, 5-and-two-blue rogue that allows you to take an opponent’s permanent when it enters the battlefield. The Agent was introduced in the 2020 Core Set, and as the only creature in Jeskai variants, is an integral part of the deck in any version you want to make up, and will cost you nearly $10 to pick up on its own.
From there, a few commonalities emerge, such as the uncommon counter-spell Dovin’s Veto, which counters a noncreature spell and can’t be countered. A fairly cheap card, this is one to keep an eye on given its usefulness. There’s also the rare sorcery Shatter The Sky that destroys all monsters with power 4 or greater, or Shark Typhoon, an enchantment that turns noncreature spells into tokens.
The lands are where a lot of the accumulated value comes from. The rare Fabled Passage, allowing you to put a basic land into play untapped if you’ve already put several lands out, is priced at $12 currently, or Sacred Foundry, which generates red or white mana, not far behind at $11.52. Raugrin Triome, a rare land from new set Ikoria that provides red, white, or blue mana, is slightly cheaper at the moment at just over $8, so it’s worth tracking some of those down in the new boosters.
Average Overall Price: $511
This thing skews expensive, but it’s worth it. Another triple-color control-esque offensive, this time there’s two central combinations players tend to go for: blue, green, and red, or blue, white, and green. The former is cheaper as of now, as the latter tends to be upwards of $600 to put together, sometimes stretching over $700, due to some very specific rares. We’ll start with the blue, green, and red, which is a little easier for the more inexperienced collectors out there.
The hardest cards to acquire, if you’re going for exactly what’s ranking high right now, will be the four Breeding Pool cards, a rare, green-and-blue land, from the Dissension set.
The next priciest lands, Fabled Passage, the blue-and-red Steam Vents, and the Ketria Triome, producing blue, red and green mana, will set you back roughly $7-$10 each.
There’s also considerably more creatures here, at 20, and many of them can be found cheaply. Brineborn Cutthroat, a 25 cent uncommon that had flash and gets a 1/1 counter when you cast a spell during your opponent’s turn, is a fine get for the price, as is the Frilled Mystic, who also has flash and counters a spell when it enters the battlefield, though the doubled-green, double-blue mana means interest probably won’t ever get too high.
Mythic rare Brazen Borrower is the selling point, with flash, flying, and an instant ability that lets you bounce non-land permanents back to an opponent’s hand. These are valued at around $15 at the minute, from Throne of Eldraine, so are a decent investment with a reliable turn-around if you want to get them quick.
Blue, white, and green makes some key alterations. Agent of Treachery makes an appearance, as does another mythic rare Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath from the Theros set. The legendary elder giant is a powerful ally, at 6/6 for a combined cost of 1-three-green-three-blue that gives you three life every time it attacks. This beast is high value at $44 or so, and some builds are running four, so if you want to go all in it will cost you a pretty penny.
There is also blue-white legendary planeswalker Teferi, Time Raveler, who limits your opponents to casting only during sorcery times. At $20, he’s another chunk of change if you want to run four of him in your deck, but he’s likely to stay relevant in the Standard marketplace for some time to come.
Red Deck Wins
Average Overall Price: $92
Something decidedly cheaper to end on, this mono-red aggro is a classic Standard format play that gets results if you know what you’re doing and build it right. Versions of this circulate all the time, and though there isn’t the biggest market for some of the cards, it being such a regular archetype, you can always find someone to trade and barter with if you’re looking to shift some of your red pile.
The high-end right now, at the hundred-dollar mark or so, is using some specific rares to give it an edge. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, the legendary dwarf, is the most expensive creature, at around $8, and he adds two damage to any red attack on your opponent’s life you give.
Mythic rare Robber of the Rich, who has reach and haste, is next at $5, and their ability to let you play the top card of your deck with mana as if it were any color is one that could find a lot of uses in multi-colored decks.
Three copies of Embercleave make up the other big bucks, as a flash equipment that costs less for every attacking creature you control and gives double-strike and trample. $10 or less isn’t much for something that could be a staple of your mountain contingent for years to come.
On the other end of the scale, cards such as Phoenix of Ash, a flying creature with haste that can be given a +2/+0 bonus for three mana as many times as you can generate it, are the most you’ll pay for, at a paltry $1.63, as of now. Legion Warboss, a legendary goblin that generates 1/1 tokens, is a dollar more expensive.
Many of the additions, like Light Up The Stage that lets you play the top two cards from your deck until end of turn (or else they’re exiled), Heraldic Banner which gives a +1/+0 boost to creatures you control, and the uncommon Tin Street Dodger, a one-red, 1/1 with haste that can’t be blocked if you pay one more red, cost pennies, but together create an onslaught. These are cheap, effective, and some could see increased value in the future, as red aggro continues to be a reliable fallback for players of any Magic forum.