Top 5 Cards

Posted in Event Coverage on February 2, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

There were so many impactful cards this weekend, it’s difficult to cut to only five. Fate Reforged has impacted the Limited formats in so many ways, but here are the ones that did the most this weekend.

#5 – Sandsteppe Mastodon

When the Top 8 players were asked what the best card in their Sealed Deck was on Day 1. Three of the eight players named Sandsteppe Mastodon. Throughout the weekend, we saw seemingly unwinnable games swing the other way thanks to Abzan’s newest top end. The card immediately provides players with five points of attacking power and toughness while also dropping a 5/5 Reach body onto the battlefield. While still powerful in Draft, Sandsteppe Mastodon truly shines in the Sealed Deck format.

#4 – Abzan Beastmaster

Abzan Beastmaster gets out of hand very quickly. On multiple occasions this weekend, we watched players cast Archer’s Parapet into Abzan Beastmaster to draw an extra card every turn until the opponent couldn’t keep up with the superior resource generation. When asked what the best Uncommon in the set for Limited is, a lot of the best players in the room pointed to Abzan Beastmaster as a card that’s nearly unbeatable when put into the right deck.

#3 – Elite Scaleguard

When winning a game in Khans of Tarkir/Fate Reforged Limited, there’s nothing that seals the deal quite like Elite Scaleguard. The card provides a tremendous amount of power for its cost and gets a blocker out of the way. A lot of decks can consistently use Elite Scaleguard to remove multiple blockers with mechanics like Outlast and the new cycle of commons that can pick up +1/+1 counters on a whim.

#2 – Ponyback Brigade

The third game of the finals at Grand Prix Mexico City was all about Ponyback Brigade. Pascal Maynard found himself at a precarious four life while he and Mario Flores had an absurd amount of creatures on the battlefield. Maynard needed to carefully keep up enough blockers and removal to live through Flores’s pair of Ponyback Brigades. The presence of Ponyback Brigade drastically changed how the final game of the tournament was played.

#1 – Temur Sabertooth

Temur Sabertooth was the star of the show this weekend. The card is tremendously powerful on its own, but it only gets better when the mechanics of the format are taken into account. With manifest cards, Temur Sabertooth’s activated ability can be used to return powerful spells like Crater’s Claws or Icy Blast back to a player’s hand for victory while also conveniently turning on ferocious. The card provides longevity and versatility when combined with creatures that have come into play abilities too. This Limited format has a lot of lifelink and the ability to bounce one’s own creature after it’s declared as a blocker to prevent the opponent from gaining life proved to be a valuable asset throughout the weekend. Pascal Maynard frequently cast Temur Sabertooth on the third turn with the help of Whisperer of the Wilds on his way to victory in the Top 8. The final game in particular would have been impossible to win if Pascal wasn’t able to stabilize against a pair of Abzan Guides with the help of Temur Sabertooth.

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