The time has come to bid Khans of Tarkir farewell from high level play, though the incoming Dragons of Tarkir promises to unleash even more exciting opportunities in Limited play. Fate Reforged bridges us into the new world, and will continue to impact the decks and victories to come.
With an eye on the future and an unforgettable past, these are the Top 5 cards from Grand Prix Cleveland.
Tranquil Cove (and Nine Friends)
One of the defining features of Fate Reforged/Khans of Tarkir Sealed is how mana truly matters. With powerful three-color cards like Siege Rhino, Jeskai Ascendancy, Villainous Wealth, and Sultai Charm running around, great mana fixing is a must. With all of the common lands available in both Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged, players needed to both draft them accordingly and plan around them in Sealed.
The most powerful cards in the format required matching mana, and though the cycle of ten will stick around for Dragons of Tarkir their numbers and need will be far reduced. If you wanted to win in either Draft or Sealed this weekend, these were the lands to have in line.
Whisperer of the Wilds
There aren’t many ways to ramp ahead on mana in Khans of Tarkir or Fate Reforged. One way that’s both making an impact now and sticking around to change the future is Whisperer of the Wilds. With two copies in Gerard Fabiano’s undefeated Day 1 Sealed deck, it let the enigmatic player stay in a game while stuck on two lands, allowing him to deal with threats long enough to draw into the lands he needed to take over. Combined with cards like Temur Sabertooth or Sandsteppe Mastodon, Whisperer of the Wilds’ mana making days will only grow bigger with the Dragons soaring on the horizon.
Act of Treason
It’s not the most desirable card for most players when they think about what they’d like to be doing in Khans of Tarkir/Fate Reforged Limited, but Act of Treason proved to be an invaluable piece of Bill Tsang’s plan for victory. Bill Tsang went against the grain and defied conventional wisdom by including two copies of Act of Treason in his Top 8 Draft deck, including a copy that was his last overall pick in the whole draft. Throughout the Top 8 we watched Tsang get blockers out of the way and attack for lethal damage with Act of Treason. In the third game of the finals, Tsang was able to Act of Treason Jake Mondello’s Avalanche Tusker for a game-breaking play.
One of the best combat tricks in Khans of Tarkir is Dragonscale Boon. On defense it creatures a surprise blocker at a larger size, and on the offense it pushed through damage and creates a blocker ready for any counterattack. Jake Mondello had two in his Top 8 Draft deck, using them to decisively resist Gerard Fabiano’s defenses, once to negate a Throttle and again to put just enough power onto a Tuskguard Captain to defeat a last-minute block. One can be expected, but two will always find a way to surprise an opponent.
When drafting a lot of creatures, there are few cards that have the prospective power of Icy Blast. The ability to get in for two separate unmolested attacks in the late game will almost assuredly be enough to seal the deal. The two eventual finalists of the event, Jake Mondello and Bill Tsang, each had a copy of the high-powered rare in their Top 8 draft deck. In fact, the second game of the finals featured a stalled board state with the players eventually racing each other to draw Icy Blast. Mondello found it first and was able to translate it into a game 2 victory, despite being severely disadvantaged in the matchup.