Top 5 Cards

Posted in Event Coverage on December 1, 2013

By Mike Rosenberg and Josh Bennett

These were the cards that shaped the tournament, that sparked discussions and were the most debated, the cards that won games and turned Grand Prix Prague into an event to remember ...

Voyage's End

5. Voyage's End

Theros sealed deck is set apart from other formats by its removal. While you are given plenty of options to deal with small creatures, if you want to get rid of something big your answer is going to be situational or expensive. That is, unless you're a blue mage. Then you get two great answers at common. Now it's true, Griptide and Voyage's End do not kill creatures, but they still do a lot work. They reset supercharged Heroic or Monstrous creatures, force bestowed Eidolons and Emissaries to fight for themselves, and mix up combat at instant speed. Best of all, Voyage's End lets you scry, an ability that is often undervalued.

Sip of Hemlock

4. Sip of Hemlock

Theros is a format that has many combat tricks, but few forms of hard removal. Lightning Strike, Griptide, and Lash of the Whip serve their purposes, with Griptide perhaps doing the most heavy lifting out of all of these, but sometimes you just need an indiscriminate form of creature removal.

That's where Sip of Hemlock comes in. The six mana removal spell is expensive, but it does one thing, and one thing very well. This effect is crucial in Sealed Pack, where monstrosity oftentimes dominates the board and Nessian Asps can help their controllers run away with games. Sip offers a straight-forward approach to taking out creatures that get out of hand.

This also applies to Booster Draft, where a creature can get large even if it doesn't have monstrosity. Heroic creatures, or creatures that have received a big benefit from one of the Ordeals can all get very big, and Sip ensures that they will die. Size does not matter.

Ordeal of Erebos

3.) Ordeal of Erebos

The number three slot on our Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Toronto is not quite accurate. Number three represents not just one Ordeal, but all five Ordeals. Ordeal of Erebos in particular stands out as one of the key cards in Grand Prix Toronto Champion Ari Lax's deck, where it did some serious work in putting games out of his opponent's reach.

However, the Ordeals in general have proven to be key cards in this draft format. With an early creature on the first or second turn, an Ordeal, no matter the color, can easily put games away. Even if the enchantment is dealt with before its effect triggers, the +1/+1 counters that a creature acquires with each attack oftentimes grows smaller creatures to a large enough size that mid-sized or larger creatures must trade with them, paving the road for whatever follows to mop of a match.

One thing has become clear over the past few weeks: if you intend to consistently win games in Theros Booster Draft, then you must be prepared for these two mana enchantments.

Aqueous Form

2.) Aqueous Form

The unassuming one mana enchantment does a lot of work for its cost. It's a cheap way to trigger heroic powers, it ensures that you will have a form of combat damage that the opponent will be limited in interacting with, and it even lets you ensure that your draws are smoother.

More importantly, when backed up with great blockers and a few tricks, Aqueous Form can also be a path to victory when you cannot out-match an opponent by sheer attrition. This is the plant that finalist Greg Ogreenc committed to in his Semifinal match against Richard Kraupa. When staring down three copies of Triton Fortune Hunter, it became clear to Ogreenc that he would need to take a more aggressive approach if he wanted to win.

And so, he did. Aqueous Form played a pivotal role in getting Ogreenc through both the second and third games against his blue-black opponent, as the one mana enchantment succeeded in getting Ogreenc's powerful creatures through Kraupa's battlefield of solid blockers.


Time to Feed

1.) Time to Feed

Both finalists had copies of this dangerous little card in their decks. It's tailor-made for races. Not only do you get a life boost, but punching a hole in defences that are already stretched thin can mean big damage. In the first game of the finals, the one-two punch of Time to Feed and Voyage's End left Ari Lax dead on turn six. Then in the tense third game Ogreenc devoured Lax's Nessian Asp with Vulpine Goliath. Lax, however, had the last laugh. His own Time to Feed wiped out the big threat, and though he lost a creature to do it, it left Ogreenc unable to stop the tide of creatures.

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