The Top Five Cards of Brazil Nationals 2011

Posted in Event Coverage on September 18, 2011

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.


Preordain - If ever there was a card that kicked off more games than any other this weekend, it was this innocuous little number. It's exactly the kind of card that newer players ignore utterly. It isn't a creature, doesn't deal damage, doesn't kill anything, doesn't force discard, doesn't gain you life, doesn't even counter a spell. It's just really, really good.


Splinter Twin

Splinter Twin - It was interesting that so many players here in Brazil would have chosen to play Splinter Twin in Modern, if they'd been at Philadelphia. There's no doubt that infinite damage is quite a lot, and more than your average opponent is equipped to handle. Nonetheless, the quarter finals were a beating for the twin decks, with three losing, and the fourth losing by default when the pilot conceded. Even so, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa would still play this if Nationals started again tomorrow, and that's a sign of how strong the card, and the deck, is.


Torpor Orb

Torpor Orb - It's a negative card to be sure, but boy oh boy does it ever do good things. Time and time again it has been the last line of defense, and time and time again it gets a player over the finish line. Another great card that doesn't look super-exciting at first glance. It's Null Rod that has the priceless flavor text:
"But it doesn't do anything."
"No, it does nothing."

Torpor Orb feels a bit like that. Flint-hearted spoilers rejoice, Torpor Orb is your friend.


Jace Beleren

Jace Beleren - You know what's better than 'better than all'? Well, maybe not, but the disappearance of the Mind Sculptor has reminded us just what an utter kicking Jace Beleren is. There may be twenty Jace variants twenty years from now, but people will still talk about this guy. He draws you cards, and lots of them. He draws you a card for three mana, and draws opposing attackers like a moth to a flame. That's the worst that can happen, for three mana. A gentlemen's wager: when and if Planeswalkers reach three figures, Jace Beleren will still be in the top ten. Real men can admit it - Jace, we love you.


Birthing Pod

Birthing Pod - Any time you see Kenny Oberg of Sweden coming to game with a deck, you know that it's probably going to be what's euphemistically known in the trade as a 'skill-tester'. Coming into Pro Tour Nagoya, Birthing Pod was a card that was getting a lot of under-the-radar interest. If anyone could work out just what the optimum build might be, maybe it was the sort of card that could 'break' a Pro Tour environment. That didn't happen, but Birthing Pod is still an awesome card to have fun with, and as Marcus Camargo showed, go a very long way with, if you can play it right.

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