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 Madrid into an event to remember …
5. Hangarback Walker
This summer, one thing appears to be a given with all of the European Grand Prix events. That is, Fabrizio Anteri plays Hangarback Walker to a 9-0 record on Day 1. He did so at Grand Prix London, he did so again at Grand Prix Prague, and he did so yet again this weekend at Grand Prix Madrid, all over the course of less than a month! Whereas the previous tournaments were played in the Standard format, this time Anteri was lucky to even have Hangarback Walker at all, finding one in his Sealed Deck pool.
4. Consul's Lieutenant
"Well, Consul's Lieutenant has decided a ton of games in the feature match area," my coverage colleague Riley Knight offered when asked about the standout cards of the weekend. Of course, the Lieutenant also plays into the larger narrative of cheap renown creatures like Topan Freeblade and Undercity Troll which came down early and put opponents in a tight spot right away, a spot that many never got out of again. Magic Origins Limited was renowned, so to say, for creating these kinds of dynamics.
3. Fiery Impulse
We ran the numbers for Sunday's first booster draft and found out the most-played cards among all the 3-0 main decks. In first place, we had Fiery Impulse with twelve copies narrowly beating eleven copies of Timberpack Wolf. While red wasn't the most succesful color—that was white—red came in second and also took up the next two spots on the list of top cards with Ghirapur Gearcrafter and Akroan Sergeant. Red definitely was a good choice, even, or especially, when following an impulse that was quite fiery.
2. Joraga Invocation
There was literally no other card in his colors which could have saved eventual champion Alelsa Telarov in the final game of his semifinals match against Ashraf Abou Omar. Telarov was ridiculously outclassed on the battlefield and facing certain death. But in a shocking turn of events—shocking for Abou Omar in any case—Joraga Invocation allowed Telarov's small creatures to take down all of Abou Omar's larger creatures as well as Nissa, Sage Animist.
Having access to a removal spell with basically no downside and no restrictions proved quite strong time and again over the course of the tournament—and that in blue of all colors! Though the card was usually in high demand, quarterfinalist Sergiy Sushalskyy made it to the Top 8 thanks in large part to the six copies of Claustrophobia in his second draft deck. A much more reasonable number of two found their way into Aleksa Telarov's winning deck in the Top 8 where Claustrophobia was instrumental in giving the victory to the blue-green deck.