Top 5 cards of Pro Tour Journey into Nyx

Posted in Event Coverage on May 18, 2014

By Blake Rasmussen, Nate Price

Prognostic Sphinx

5. Prognostic Sphinx

Easily the breakout card of this tournament, Prognostic Sphinx came to define the decks that came the closest to true control. Both of the ChannelFireball teams played BUG decks in large part because of Sphinx's spot in the metagame. And if nothing else, Sphinx was certainly a metagame call. Too small to die to Elspeth, too much flying to to get blocked by soldiers, and too much activated hexproof to die to number four on this list. When multiple Sphinxes got going, it felt like activating Sensei's Divining Top AND shuffling in the same turn. And we all know how fair that was (hint: it wasn't).

Hero's Downfall

4. Hero's Downfall/Silence the Believers

There were two things that everyone knew were going to show up here at the Pro Tour this weekend: aggressive creature decks and Elspeth, Sun's Champion. As such, it's no surprise that roughly two-thirds of the players in the field turned to two of the best black removal cards for the format.

Planeswalkers are incredibly powerful in this Block Constructed format, especially Elspeth. There are no cards in the format that are able to deal with planeswalkers as reliably as Hero's Downfall, and especially none that offer the sheer versatility of the card. Elspeth got you down? Downfall. How about Brimaz, King of Oreskos? Downfall. It's like the old "Doom Blade kills it" jokes, but now even more stuff dies.

Silence the Believers is another similarly powerful card. While it doesn't have the versatility of Downfall, it makes up for it in raw power. There are precious few ways to gain card advantage in this Block Constructed format, and Silence the Believers is one of the best. Operating as a single-target spell in the early stages of the game, Silence the Believers turns into Plague Wind in the late game. Routinely seen taking two and even three creatures out in one fell swoop, Silence is a force to be reckoned with at any stage in the game.

Perhaps the most important thing about these cards is the collateral damage that they were able to inflict on the format. Yes, it's important to deal with planeswalkers and the aggro decks, but synergistic decks like Constellation and Inspired also get pieced apart by the removal spells. Their presence warped the format, and were a major reason that cards like Prognostic Sphinx had as big an impact as they had.

Eidolon of Blossoms

3. Eidolon of Blossoms

While our number two cards (yes, plural) were the main reason to play green this weekend, the newest "enchantress" wasn't far behind. Eidolon of Blossoms was the most robust draw engine available, and plenty of players planted this particular seed in order to take advantage of the block's enchantment theme, including finalist Nam Sung Wook. It cost four mana and died to literally every removal spell played in the tournament (almost no exaggeration), but still headlined one of the most played decks in Junk Constellation. Such was its power.

Sometimes paired with Doomwake Giant or Strength from the Fallen, but always paired with our next cards on the list, Eidolon of Blossoms is value all on its own, but becomes downright ridiculous when the enchantments start flowing.

Sylvan Caryatid

2. Sylvan Caryatid/Courser of Kruphix

These two green staples get a dual mention for always appearing one after another. Virtually no one played one without the other, and almost everyone who played green played four copies of each. Those who didn't, didn't last long. The format's difficult mana combined with the speed of the aggressive decks led to the ubiquity of these two cards in any deck that wanted to play past turn five. Caryatid served as the best mana fixer in the format while Courser stepped in as the primary card advantage engine in a format with few of them. In fact, they were the only cards to remotely challenge our number one card in sheer number played.

Forever linked, Courser of Kruphix and Sylvan Caryatid defined the Top 8 even more than Elspeth did. Of 32 possible copies of each in the Top 8, there were 28 among the seven green decks that made the Sunday stage. Only a single White-Red Heroic made it without playing the dynamic duo, and it quickly died when faced with the 2/4 and 0/3 holding it back.

Elspeth, Sun's Champion

1. Elspeth, Sun's Champion

Was there ever any doubt?

If there was, it was likely erased in the finals, where two Elspeth decks faced off and, essentially, came down to who could cast and keep the six-mana planeswalker on the board. In the first game, Chapin's Elspeth took him home. In the second, an uncontested Elspeth earned Nam his only win. In the third, both players traded removal and Elspeths until there was just one standing - and to the surprise of no one, she led her controller to a win. Patrick Chapin may forever have the Sun's Champion to thank for his Pro Tour victory.

Elspeth was both the card everyone was aiming for and the one everyone feared. She shaped the format and was responsible for a number of the other cards on this list being as good as they were only in the context of a format that was, for all intents and purposes, hers from the moment she set foot on Theros. And on a weekend when it was announced that the character Elspeth perished on Theros, it was a fitting send-off that she did most of the slaying here this weekend.

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