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 Manila into an event to remember...
What's better than a huge creature? A huge creature with a Lightning Helix attached! Over 40% of the Day 2 field included Siege Rhino in their decklists. If you had access to Abzan mana it didn't matter if you were aggro, midrange or control, you kept a pet Rhino in your backyard. Plus it has a tent on its back. How awesome is that?
Whip of Erebos
B/G Constellation Whip? Sidisi Whip? Azban Whip? No matter what the colours, GP Manila was committed to Whipping it good. Whether recurring Siege Rhinos to burn an opponent out, or Hornet Queens to create dozens of tokens, or simply keeping a player out of burn range, Whip of Erebos defined the metagame at GP Manila. If you didn't play it, or couldn't answer it, you were in trouble.
Sorin, Solemn Visitor
Of all the Planeswalkers that were in the Top 8, only the two decks containing Sorin, Solemn Visitor made it to the finals, a pair each in both Tzu Ching Kuo and Joseph Sclauzero's maindecks. The ability to generate tokens and turn races around are its most important assets and what's amazing is that they showed up in two different decks that could support it, Abzan and Mardu. While it might not be the most powerful Planeswalker in Standard, it certainly is one of the most relevant today.
Although it wasn't in every deck, two of the Top 8 decks featured it, and Kuo Tzu Ching declared it his MVP. Game after game End Hostilities allowed his deck to come back from terrible positions and re-enter the game. With so few people running it, so few people expected it, which is exactly what made it so powerful over the past two days.
Jeskai Ascendency combo proved to be the perfect metagame choice to prey on the slower midrange decks that dominated GP Manila. The combo didn't care how much life you could gain, as long as you gave it enough time to assemble the pieces to mill you out or create an arbitrarily large creature to you hit you with. The engine of the deck is Jeskai Ascendancy, an enchantment made to be broken and guaranteed to show up again.