While some of the newly released cards have had a lasting effect on the Grand Prix Madrid metagame, it were some iconic Magic cards that made a comeback and that helped shape the event in the Spanish capital.
5. Siege Rhino
Going into the weekend, it seemed a viable question whether we would get to see more or less than 20 copies of Jeskai Ascendancy in the Top 8 decklists. We ended up with 0. Instead, a different card tended to show up in a number of decklists, even though it wasn't always played in 4's: Siege Rhino.
Marcio Carvalho, the most-decorated player in our Top 8, described it as "too strong to ignore" and the single most important card in his deck. Additionally, all three Birthing Pod players were running at least one copy of the Abzan war beast, easily earning it a spot in our list of the Top 5 Cards this weekend. With its impressive stats, its Trample Ability and its trigger to buy you some more time while stealing a few important points of life from your opponent, it can often be the deciding factor in a tightly fought race.
Dig Through Time has seen plenty of play this weekend. The card is simply too versatile. Splinter Twin players used it to go looking (and often finding) the missing combo piece (or both) while plenty of UW Delver players ensured that they were drawing into more aggressors or more protection, depending on what the current situation on the field was asking for.
While some established players like Ivan Floch instead went with Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time seemed to be the more popular choice overall. Thanks to fetch lands and other enablers like Though Scour, Dig Through Time could often be cast as early as turn three to give its controller an important advantage.
3. Birthing Pod
Few people were expecting Birthing Pod (both the deck and the archetype) to be the most popular choice of our Top 8 players this weekend. Apparently there's life in the old dog yet after all. If that old dog happens to be named "Kitchen Finks", you might want to add Melira, Sylvok Outcast, which technically translates to a different archetype and it's what secured Andrew Devine's place in the Top 8.
So Pod decks in all shapes have been leaving a lasting impression in the Spanish Capital, so don't expect them to disappear off the radar anytime soon.
The runner-up in the most popular deck choice of the players that made day 2 catapulted Till Riffert into his first Grand Prix Top 8. He was able to add two more important victories, courtesy of the namesake card of his deck's archetype (Scapeshift), ending up in the finals where he eventually met his master in Immanuel Gerschenson.
It's surprising to see a seemingly slower deck do this well in a metagame that was supposedly dominated by a deck that could wrap things up as early as turn 3 as well as the very aggressive Delver decks that came in a variety of forms, with UW Delver earning the crown as the most popular day 2 deck.
Since I don't want to repeat the phrase I used above, we will instead coin a new one: "There's life in the old Goyf yet."
Chants like "I'd love to Goyf it up!" went through the Twitterverse while the finals were underway and the repercussions of today's event will shake the Modern Multiverse for months to come. No one would have thought that a creature that depends heavily on the number of cards in a Graveyard could have such an effect in a format where Delve was a real thing, but Immanuel "Goyfenson" Gerschenson and three more Top 8 players proved them all wrong! As opposed to the Monastery Swiftspear, that the usual UW Delver Decks run, Tarmogoyf is great whenever the deck does not run perfectly. Especially when facing mass removal like Anger of the Gods, which otherwise kills every single creature in the deck.
So congratulations again to the all-star that's been around since 2007, so don't forget, there's life in the old Goyf yet!