The black discard spell, originally printed in Lorwyn has been praised ever since the reprint in Theros last fall. The further the format has developed, the more it stands out as the ine card that makes the Mono Black Devotions decks able to handle any deck in the format. We have seen players revealing their hands all weekend, we have seen players keeping sketchy opening hands only to shake their heads in disgust after their opponents cast Thoughtseize on turn one. The card also sees heavy play in both Modern and Legacy, which is always a sign of a strong card!
One of the questions coming into the Grand Prix this weekend was whether Jund Monsters would be out in force. Turns out the Russian players have been quick to pick up on the deck, and as many as a fourth of the players on Day Two put their fate in the hands of Jund Monsters. It was also the all star of Efim Kashapov 's interesting 4 color midrange deck. It provides the colored mana you need, it allows you to accelerate into large threats and it even acts as a hexproof blocker for early creatures. Sylvan Caryatid was a stable in Block Constructed a few ago and is sure to stick around as a power house in Standard after rotation this fall.
In a field where most of the players chose to take a deck from the known metagame, maybe change a few cards, or just spend weeks testing it. It was Dimitryi Butakov's deck who stood out. He's been playing Blue, Green and White for most of the standard season and seems to have come up with the ultimate build of his Planeswalker deck. And among the Planeswalkers, Kiora, the Crashing Wave that made for some very nice plays. An honorable mention goes to Efim Kashapov, who was also running Kiora, the Crashing Wave, and had the unorthodox curve of turn two Pack Rat into turn four Kiora in one of his top 8 games.
Tied for the second best card with Young Pyromancer, these two were the core of Igor Gorbunov's deck that took down the trophy in Moscow. In a deck that people might think lacks sources of recurring damage, Chandra's Phoenix is quick to prove them wrong. We saw him defeat some of Russias greatest players with it and in the final it was only after recurring two copies of Chandra's Phoenix that he was able to even be in a position where he could draw a burn spell to finish the job.
Of all the burn spells in Igor Gorbunov's deck it was Warleader's Helix that sealed his victory over Sergey Zheleznov in the finals. After a miraculous comeback from his countryman he had one more turn to top deck the burn spell he needed. He knocked the top of his deck, and even wrote a short Russian poem reading "Top deck help" on his sheet of paper and flipped the top card of his deck. When it was the game winning Warleader's Helix the crowd went wild and the 32-year-old restaurant owned could claim the title. In the words of coverage reporter Riley Knight is was a top deck that beat even Craig Jones famous Lightning Helix. See it all again on twitch.tv/magic!