One of the most interesting cards of the weekend, the combination of Crucible of Worlds and Tectonic Edge/fetch lands was responsible for Gregory Orange's quarterfinal victory over Taylor Laehn's URG Delver deck and then again for almost taking out champion Jun Young Park's Scapeshift deck in the Semis. In the heavy control matchup against Laehn, Orange was able to consistently keep Laehn off of green mana and keep him from getting more than five lands in play at a time, essential to winning the many Snapcaster Mage battles that were the hallmark of their match. Eventually whittled down to just five basic lands, Laehn had to sit back and watch as Arid Mesa after Arid Mesa gave Orange a massive advantage, one that eventually gave him the win. While the match against Park ended up in Park's favor, the Crucible was still incredibly potent at keeping him off of the requisite seven lands required for a lethal Scapeshift. Unfortunately for Orange, the larger amount of basic lands in Park's deck gave him the ability to get up around the soft lock long enough for him to take the match.
Some card are engines that drive entire archetypes. Others, like Electrolyze, are glue that support multiple decks. Appearing in half the Top 8, Electrolyze is useful to fight the small mana creatures of Birthing Pod decks, fighting the small fries found round Affinity and Splinter Twin, or even just slinging 2 damage to opponents' faces.
And as if it didn't already do enough, it also draws you a card along the way. You can't ask for much more utility beyond that.
3. Birthing Pod
What's the most powerful and consistent deck in Modern? The deck that gets the most arguments in its favor is Melira Pod. As team ChannelFireball displayed this weekend, taking one of the namesake cards out - Melira, Sylvok Outcast - left you with a deck just as powerful. Birthing Pod is an engine that consistently delivers, again putting multiple players into a Modern Grand Prix Top 8.
A tapped out opponent is almost always an irresistible target to find. What can someone do in Modern if they don't have any mana? Jund and Black-Green Rock players showed you with Slaughter Pact: Interfering with Restoration Angel antics, fighting off man lands with an otherwise empty battlefield, and responding to Birthing Pod being played are just a few of the highlights of the "free" removal spell from the weekend. Andrew Huska's Jund deck even benefited from its interaction with Dark Confident, drawing a needed answer while avoiding a painful payment of life kept him afloat at crucial moments in his march to the Finals.
While the flashy options and obvious skill requirement of other combo decks, such as Storm and Pod-types, draw lots of attention it's Scapeshift that's been quietly putting in solid results. Like at Richmond, an undefeated player ran deep in Minneapolis only this time turned it into a march into the Top 8. Jun Young Park's patience in setting up lethal Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle triggers pulled victory through walls of countermagic, and set up Scapeshift for a return to the Modern deck spotlight.