Grand Prix Mexico City 2014 - Top 5 Cards

Posted in Event Coverage on February 15, 2014

By Mike Rosenberg and Nate Price


5. Floodtide Serpent

In the immortal word of Marshall Sutcliffe: value. Floodtide Serpent epitomizes the word. It may not look it at first glance, but the second you see it combined with cards like Fate Foretold, Dragon Mantle, or Nylea's Presence, your eyes will begin to grow with thoughts of the possibilities. The combination is reminiscent of the Wall of Blossoms/Stampeding Wildebeests combo of the old Stupid Green deck. You get a beneficial effect, an extra card each turn, and a big creature to boot.

It even works wonders with cheap bestow creatures. Feel free to drop you Flitterstep Eidolon on the second turn and get some damage in before returning it with the Serpent and putting it on a bigger beater. Get that Baleful Eidolon into play to deter attackers before picking it up and finding a better home. There are an immense number of things that the Floodtide Serpent can enable, and it's highly likely that many more will come to light at next weekend's Pro Tour.




4. Kiora's Follower

Voyaging Satyr was already considered one of the top green commons that you'd want in Theros Limited for its ability to ramp you into your monsters before your opponent has a chance to get going. Kiora's Follower, while more constrained in where it can be played due to its multicolor status, does all of this and more.

Aside from being the size of a Grizzly Bear, making it an effective attacker when you have nothing to ramp into, Kiora's Follower can also mess with your opponent's combat step. Once you already have a big creature in play, the Follower allows your massive creatures to play defensive as well. It also combos very nicely with Retraction Helix, allowing you to bounce two of your opponent's creatures instead of just one when you target another creature to go with Kiora's Follower. We saw this brutal play in the final round of Sealed yesterday, when Chris Fennell succumbed to this combo when Fernando Aguilar assembled it in their first game.




3. Nyxborn Shieldmate

This is more of a nod to the bestow creatures in Born of the Gods overall, but Nyxborn Shieldmate is the stand-out from that common cycle. The Nyxborn Shieldmate may not have a cheaper bestow cost than Nyxborn Rollicker, but it has a very relevant additional toughness that it provides to whichever creature it is bestowed upon. When it is bestowed on-curve onto a 2/2, this gives that creature the ability to attack through the important 3/3 creatures that oftentimes hold back the aggressive red and white decks that have picked up in play thanks to Born of the Gods. Attacking through Nessian Coursers and Ill-Tempered Cyclops has never felt better!

The Shieldmate also allows the heroic decks of this draft format to pick up more creatures that are also cheap heroic enablers, and cheap bestow effects are among the best of ways to trigger heroic. The Shieldmate is a fine example of why cards like Phalanx Leader have dramatically gone up in value with the addition of Born of the Gods.




2. Ill-Tempered Cyclops

What was already considered an underrated card in Theros Booster Draft has now become one of the top commons to be on the lookout for with the addition of Born of the Gods. The Cyclops serves its purpose well: it is a fine 3/3, stats that can hold back many of the aggressive two mana creatures in the format. It has monstrosity, one of the more flexible and powerful ways to take advantage of potential mana flood. It's also in red, a color that has been given quite a boon with the new set in Limited.

The Cyclops saw play in many decks through yesterday's Sealed rounds as well as Sunday's drafts. Players in red were scooping up Ill-Tempered Cyclops as their creature of choice in red once the Theros packs were opened, including Grand Prix Mexico City 2014 Champion Mark Lalague, who took advantage of both of his creatures in his Top 8 matches.



1. Fall of the Hammer

In a format full of monstrosity triggers, heroic effects, and auras, instant-speed removal reigns supreme. Fall of the Hammer is one of the cards that has pushed red into the spotlight as one of the most popular colors to draft this weekend. Unlike Lightning Strike which, despite still being a top tier card to take, Fall of the Hammer has the capability of taking out creatures much larger than three toughness. It also has the ability to trigger your own heroic effects, ensuring that this card is capable of doing double duty if you draft the right deck.

The instant speed effectiveness of Fall of the Hammer as a premiere trick was seen in the final match, where Marc Lalague used it to effectively take out three of Marcelino Freeman's cards for one removal spell in their first game.

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