These were the cards that shaped the tournament, that sparked discussions and were the most debated, the cards that won games and turned Grand Prix Lyon into an event to remember...
5. Turn Against
The effect may be unusually weak in this format. While in most older environments you'd be able to take one Hill Giant and trade it against another, the disparity in creature sizes in Battle for Zendikar Limited often makes for awkward applications of the card. As a consequence, especially the more controlling decks can have better things to do. All true. Still, sometimes Turn Against leads to blowouts unlike any other, and turned quite a few games in the feature match area early on Saturday.
When asked about the best strategy in Battle for Zendikar Sealed Deck, various pro players mentioned the Eldrazi Titan Ulamog. "If you open that card, you should build around it," said PT champ Joel Larsson. "In Sealed, it's as absurd as Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Quarantine Field, and Planar Outburst." This environment combines the aggressive elements of the previous Zendikar set with the ramp aspects of the original Rise of the Eldrazi—but ten mana is still very much attainable!
In the quarterfinals, Grip of Desolation multiple times proved to be Tomoharu Saito's best weapon. He killed the biggest threat on the board plus put his opponent off five mana. As my colleague Riley Knight pointed out, "We also saw the card critcially destroy lands against converge decks. They often search for their one land of a certain color, and once it's gone, it's gone. To see a 6-mana Stone Rain have such an impact was astonishing."
Christian Seibold's white-blue draft deck which took him all the way to the finals was a fine collection of lots of solid cards. Ghostly Sentinels and Courier Griffins were able to get the job done often, especially when backed up by his two copies of Clutch of Currents and one Roil Spout. But there are certain situations none of these cards could ever get him out of. That's precisely when Planar Outburst comes in handy. It was instrumental in Seibold's semifinal victory over Tomoharu Saito and it almost would have allowed him to turn the second game of the finals back around. That is, if it hadn't been for...
The big bad guy of Zendikar played a central role in the finals between Christian Seibold and eventual champion Damien Bouillot. Bouillot had the planeswalker in both games and was even able to make good use of all three of his abilities. In game one, Ob Nixilis Reignited came down and immediately destroyed a big threat of Seibold's, then ticked up for a steady stream of cards for Bouillot. In the second game, Ob Nixilis managed to reach his ultimate goal. The deadly emblem prompted a quick concession and ended the game, match, and tournament.