What were the biggest cards of the weekend? Then read on to learn more about Grand Prix Atlanta's Top 5 Cards!
5) Eldrazi Skyspawner
When asked what common they’d most like four copies of in a Battle for Zendikar Sealed pool, Eldrazi Skyspawner was the answer we received the most.
It’s easy to see why. Not only does it provide three power for three mana, but it does so in a way that both mana ramps when needed and sticks around as a flying attacker and extra Scion blocker. It’s widely considered powerful enough to first pick when drafting, and — perhaps most importantly — is good across archetypes. While it fits cleanly in the powerful White-Blue fliers deck, Skyspawner is just as much at home in the blue-based Devoid decks that were popular across the room on Sunday. Two attackers or blockers, and even ramps your mana when needed? There’s very little Skyspawner can’t do, and that’s why it was one of the defining cards of Grand Prix Atlanta.
4) Evolving Wilds
Another popular answer to the question posed above, Evolving Wilds more than pulls its weight in Sealed. In a format that rewards players for playing as many of their strongest cards as possible, Evolving Wilds is the simple-yet-elegant glue that holds it all together.
That much is true for Evolving Wilds in any format. But in Battle for Zendikar, Evolving Wilds does so much more. Need a Landfall trigger? Play Evolving Wilds. Need a second? Cash it in for a land. Or — as was seen commonly throughout the tournament — hold on the Evolving Wilds for just the right time to trigger a key Landfall ability.
It’s no surprise that Evolving Wilds is good in a set built around lands, but thanks to all its synergy with both Converge and Landfall, this reliable mainstay is better than ever.
3) Turn Against
No single card swung more combat scenarios this weekend than Turn Against. Sure, using it as a more expensive Act of Treason was seen plenty in Atlanta, but the card truly shines when it comes to using it on an opponent’s turn. Possibly the best card in Battle for Zendikar at turning a losing situation into a winning one, it allowed players all weekend climb back from near-hopeless situations by stealing whatever creature they felt most appropriately suited to blocking its former brethren.
On Saturday, multiple players found success splashing red in their deck simply to have access to the Eldrazi instant. And when it came time to draft on Sunday, no one was unhappy to open their pack and see Turn Against staring back at them. Let it be known, the Eldrazi are not above using your own allies against you.
2) Kalastria Healer
One Kalastria Healer can be okay. Two is usually very good. Any more than that, and things get downright silly.
That’s why Kalastria Healer is seen as one of the defining cards of an entire archetype. The White-Black Lifegain decks rely on Healer to do the bulk of the work, from protecting their own life total to draining opponents to triggering the all-important abilities on cards like Bloodbond Vampire that turn into legitimate bombs when paired with this unassuming Ally. Not to mention that at two toughness Healer is big enough to block Eldrazi Scions and dodge spells like Boiling Earth.
It’s not often that drafters are thrilled to find a 1/2 late in the draft, but Kalastria Healer proved all weekend exactly why it’s the exception.
1) Snapping Gnarlid
Green has been the most-maligned color in Battle for Zendikar, but that didn’t stop Tom Martell from taking down the Top 8 with a base-green deck that he said had everything it needed outside of a third copy of this innocuous two-drop. Gnarlid has seen some time in Standard in aggressive Red-Green Landfall decks, but it hasn’t been considered a Limited powerhouse before now. Martell’s performance with it in Atlanta may begin to change that conventional wisdom.
The Gnarlid, at its worst, will usually trade with an opponent’s creature. But the upside is so much more; it’s a great attacker on the third turn and combos well with Natural Connection, a card that Martell used to great effect in his semifinal match, using it as both a ramp spell and combat trick to turn his Gnarlid into a 4/4 that won combat with a Dominator Drone. The play was the key to breaking open that match, and it catapulted Martell into the finals. All of it thanks to the little, forgotten Gnarlid.