Every event has its shining moments. For Grand Prix Baltimore, these are the five cards that filled our memory jars the most.
Better than flying, sneakier than deathtouch, and slides into any deck with blue: All of those descriptions fit Mystic of the Hidden Way. Whether it was with rares like Ghostfire Blade and Trail of Mystery or a deck packed with other common morph creatures, Mystic of the Hidden Way was one of the many trumps that gave blue decks an edge in long games. Pressuring opponents through even the steeliest of defenses, it forced players to either find a way to deal with "just" a 3/2 or accept a loss.
Even when it couldn't finish closing the game out itself, getting good removal out of an opponent's hand led to bigger and flashier creatures to stay alive and finish the job. No matter what, the Mystic made an impact in every game it hit.
4. Dead Drop
To play a ten mana sorcery, most players would want it to read "You win the game." While that text isn't anywhere on Dead Drop, it's effect feels nearly the same.Clearing away creatures of all shapes and sizes, setting up a turn where dead drop finishes off the last - and often biggest - pieces of an opponent's army was a winning play all weekend.
Both finalist David Foster and champion Gerard Fabiano wielded the weapon in their Top 8 decks and both found the spell a crucial pivoting point for their wins throughout, driving home just how powerful delve is in every format.
Almost unanimously, everyone in the Top 8 wanted to open and draft Wingmate Roc. While the mythic Bird was nowhere to be found there, the miniature version was a popular creature all weekend long. Mardu Hordechief is among the premier common cards in the set, doing everything from feeding Butcher of the Horde in a battle between players vying for undefeated to setting up a critical Rush of Battle.
While a 2/3 may not feel as splashy as straight removal or as powerful as making even more tokens, the Hordechief was often the glue binding together the powerful white decks many sought after.
While it fizzled in Craig Wescoe's hands in his quarterfinal match against Gerard Fabiano, Flyign Crane technique continually popped up in places throughout the weekend. It worked for David Foster in his march to the Top 8; It was a spectacular show in Jon Finkel's hands with Jeskai Ascendancy already in play; It helped Andrew Cuneo rise to undefeated on Day 1.
While the card itself may not be ancient, the potency of any Overrun-like card is never lost in Limited.
2. Sultai Charm
One card nobody had on their radar but quietly performed in unexpected ways was Sultai Charm. In the hands of champion Gerard Fabiano all of its modes matters: Against semifinalist Ben Stark it destroyed a Raiders' Spoils crucial to the Warriors plan; Against finalist David Foster it helped stock up a graveyard for a just-in-time Dead Drop to wipe away the battlefield; Against everyone in every match it nailed relevant mono-colored creatures.
The flexibility of Sultai Charm was a perfect weapon for the unexpected ways of Gerard Fabiano, a perfectly paired match for a pitch-perfect ending to the weekend.