One of the most aggresively costed cards in Born of the Gods, it was only a matter of time before the big kitty found a home. Fighting against a tide of Monoblue Devotion and Esper Control, Brimaz powered decks like longtime Goleador del Torneo Axel Rodriguez's Esper Midrange deck and the pair of Selesnya Aggro decks that remained in Top 8 contention to the end. El Rey is incredibly strong against Thassa and her ilk, and, when paired with Precinct Captain, can provide one of the quickest ways to defeat Esper Control in the format. In addition, Brimaz works wonders against any of the creature-based decks in the format, from Jund Monsters to any of the various aggro decks players brought to bear here in Buenos Aires.
While he may not have quite made it into the Top 8, Brimaz certainly made his presence felt throughout Saturday and Sunday. Considering the success of the white-based creature decks towards the end of the weekend, I would not be surprised in the slightest to see Brimaz ascend the throne at a major event in the future.
One of the newest kids on the block is Jund Monsters, an evolution of the R/G Monsters archetype that appeared first at Pro Tour Theros. Since then, the deck has fallen in and out of favor as it struggled to deal with the dominant Mono-Blue and Mono-Black Devotion decks. Things have gotten a little better since the addition of Born of the Gods, which gave the deck Courser of Kruphix and better mana. Now, the newest incarnation of the deck takes this evolution one step further, picking up black for a few important cards.
Probably the most important of these two cards is Dreadbore. An incredible removal spell, Dreadbore just simply kills many of the threats that the other removal spells the deck has access to simply can't. It's quick enough to catch Pack Rat, it kills Desecration Demon, and it is capable of shutting down Planeswalkers, all without having to resort to Hero's Downfall and the double black requirement. It has lent a dimension to the deck that it didn't have before, and is one of the major reasons that Jund Monsters was able to make such a big impact this weekend.
In addition to the place it found in Jund, Dreadbore was an incredibly important card in Sebastian Martinez's B/R Control deck. Adding yet one more way to stifle the sea of Esper Control and Jund Monsters decks and their Planeswalkers, Dreadbore was a key element of Martinez's path to the Top 8, though it eventually failed him against Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and his Elspeth, Sun's Champion.
Detention Sphere has been absolutely everywhere this weekend. Whether it's detaining Elspeth, Sun's Champion, or Elspeth, Sun's Champion, it provides the most versatile removal in the format, answering almost every threat Standard has to offer. Most notable in the Esper Control deck, the most-played deck in Day 2, Detention Sphere was also one of the major reasons that many players made the transition from Monoblue Devotion to Uw Devotion. Between those two and the WU Control decks in the room, it would be unsurprising if Detention Sphere was one of the most-played cards on the weekend, as it is virtually never found in a deck with less than four. And considering the relative equality of Standard right now, its utter versatility makes it a chase card in the format right now.
But don't just take my word for it. Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa put it best.
"While I think that Revoke Existence has been the most surprisingly good card for me this weekend, there's no question that Detention Sphere has been the best. It is an answer to all of the cards that your deck wouldn't have answers to normally, like Thassa, God of the Sea, and Planeswalkers. Against cards like them, Sphere is very powerful, and against anything else, it's still just a great removal spell. It is one of those cards that is either absurdly good or just plain good. Sounds like a good card to me."
One of the most impressive decks in Grand Prix Buenos Aires didn't manage to make it through to Top 8, but its presence could still be felt in the decks that did make it through. All of the Blue Devotion decks that made it to Top 8 can thank the Boros Burn decks that were left behind for helping them get there.
Incredibly potent at keeping the Esper Control decks that littered the room under control, Boros Burn shaped the field such that the Blue Devotion decks had an easier path to victory. In addition to that, the Boros decks had one serious weakness that resided in the Blue decks: Master of Waves. Virtually unkillable in that match-up, the only reliable ways for the Burn decks to deal with the Master once he hit the table were the meager copies of Chained to the Rocks they had, or a potential trade with Mutavault, which was unlikely to happen. Basically, once the Master was out, the only real path to victory was to try and kill the Blue player first, and racing Master of Waves is laughably difficult to do.
It has been said numerous times before, but Master of Waves produces a mind-numbing amount of power for a relatively small investment. The black-based decks and Supreme Verdict-based decks are fairly strong at dealing with the Master, but it is a situation where if they don't remove it effectively immediately, it will win the game. It is a must-kill threat with an inherently fast clock, and it happened to be one of the best-positioned cards for the field in this tournament. It's an easy inclusion in the Top 5 cards of the weekend.
It is impossible not to say nice things about Polukranos. First off, it is hilariously large for four mana. Considering the number of Elvish Mystics and Sylvan Caryatids in the format, this 5/5 monster is often seen hitting the table as early as turn three. Once there, Polukranos kills people fast. It doesn't take too many swings before this massive body is able to get the job done. It even provides an impressive two mana symbols for the various Devotion outlets that Jund and RG Monsters have at their disposal.
Yet even with all of this, its most important feature has to be the monstrous trigger itself. The third most-played deck in Day Two of Grand Prix Buenos Aires was Mono-Blue Devotion. Capable of easily killing most of the creatures in the deck, the true power of the trigger can be seen when dealing with Master of Waves. The Master is already easily one of the Top 5 cards of the weekend, and Polukranos is one of the only ways that the Monsters decks have to deal with him. It is able to do what Domri Rade, Mizzium Mortars, Dreadbore, and Anger of the Gods cannot, and it can do it at instant speed. This trigger played a large part in Phillipe Monlevade's Quarterfinals against Mateus Dos Anjos, helping clear out Master of Waves and his Elemental army at crucial times to secure his advancement to the Semifinals, and ultimately paving the way to his Grand Prix victory.
As long as Monsters and Blue Devotion are decks, Polukranos will be a major player in Standard.