Here are the Top 5 Cards of the 2014 World Magic Cup.
With teams coming in from all over the world, variety in a format like Team Unified Standard seems like the norm rather than the exception. But across all players in all nations, the most played deck ended up being Mardu Midrange, and the focus of that deck was always on the twin pillars of nastiness known as Crackling Doom and Butcher of the Horde. Butcher of the Horde is everything Mardu wants to be—brutally efficient, deadly, and just plain mean. It was appropriate, then, when a Butcher of the Horde finished off the American hopes of a berth in the finals as Greece literally flew over the table for the win with the 5/4 demon.
It's pretty safe to say that Butcher of the Horde ate a lot of goblins over the weekend, both from Hordeling Outburst and from this ubiquitous rabble-rouser, Goblin Rabblemaster. Headmaster of aggressive red decks, Jeskai Token decks, and Mardu Midrange decks the world over, the constant threat of a Goblin Rabblemaster hung over the tournament like so many tokens. In fact, the Jeskai Tokens deck Yuuya Watanabe unleashed on the world during the World Championship was an intriguing addition to the metagame that fostered four of these goblins.
Whip of Erebos decks were all over the place this weekend. "Well, disembodied writer person, why isn't Whip of Erebos number three then?" you might ask. The answer is that Pharika, God of Affliction served as the Trace Buster Buster to Whip of Erebos' mere Trace Buster. Many a mirror came down to Pharika giving one player Whip advantage, and the combo with both Doomwake Giant and Eidolon of Blossoms sent that deck into the stratosphere.
There were two schools of thought on Jeskai Ascendancy this weekend. The first was in the Watanabe camp: no combo, plenty of tokens, and Treasure Cruises. The second was the combo deck, favored by players such as Milos Stajic of Serbia, who rode the combo piece all the way to the Top 8. Both versions performed admirably and made other teams glad they brought Erases and Reclamation Sages aplenty—or the enchantment made them sorry they didn't.
If you saw the final game of the final match, you know. You know what this card means to Simon Nielsen, to the Denmark team, and to Dutch players everywhere. It means their World Magic Cup Championship. Let's set the scene (or just go watch the match): Greece's Panagiotis Savvidis has just fired off the ultimate of Ashiok Nightmare Weaver, but is tight on mana, with just three lands and Sylvan Caryatid. Nielsen—one of three players sporting a single Duneblast in their entire 75 in the Top 8—pushed his opponent to 11 life, but had nothing left. No hand, no graveyard, nothing in play save lands. The game was done. It was absolutely done.
Until it wasn't.
First came the Siege Rhino to drop Savvidis to 8. It certainly looked like something Savvidis could handle in time with a grip full of cards and at least a turn or two to deal with the Rhino itself, plus a few blockers. It was a great draw, for sure, but Savvidis could handle it.
Until Nielsen's next draw, the Duneblast heard round the world.
Duneblast removed all of Savvidis' creatures, including, importantly, a pair of Sylvan Caryatid. Tight on mana and low on life, Savvidis suddenly had limited options. And when a Wingmate Roc brought a friend into play the next turn, Savvidis could do nothing but wonder where it all went wrong.
Duneblast, or what social media has referenced to after the finals as "Daneblast", had delivered the title to the Danes.