Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Nagoya

Posted in Event Coverage on January 31, 2016

By Chapman Sim

What were the biggest cards of the weekend? Then read on to learn more about Grand Prix Nagoya's Top 5 Cards!

5. Reality Smasher

Perhaps, the most feared Eldrazi all weekend would have to be Reality Smasher. For starters, four of out eleven undefeated decklists on Day 1 featured this meanie. 5 mana for a 5/5 creature can already be considered to be of high pedigree, but adding Haste, Trample and an annoying discard clause transforms it into a killing machine. Semifinalist Ikuya Asai also credits it to be his MVP on Day 1.

It has also been suggested that Reality Smasher could actually see play at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch next weekend, in combination with Thought-Knot Seer and Eldrazi Temple! Is that true or simply an urban legend?

Regardless, you need to face the reality. This guy's a smasher.

4. Oblivion Strike

Historically, many cards with the word "strike" in its name have been key players in Limited. Lightning Strike. Assassin's Strike. Predator's Strike. Cunning Strike. Distortion Strike. Goblin War Strike. Erm... Scratch that last. Oblivion Strike doesn't fail to impress.

Numerous Pros singled it out for being the best Common from Oath of the Gatewatch, and for good reason. Four mana for unconditional removal is superior even if it takes place at Sorcery speed. I guess if you can use it kill any opposing creature rather and getting mauled to death by it, you won't mind it that much.

Single Black in the casting cost also makes it "splash-friendly", and Hall of Famer Kenji Tsumura was willing to stretch his mana base in order to run two copies in his Blue-Red deck. It is also one of the reasons that Black has been such a popular color all weekend, because this catch-all removal spell is simply irresistible.

The fact that it exiles a creature is also relevant, especially if you're intending trigger Processors like Ruin Processor, or kill an opposing Greenwarden of Murasa or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

3. Lead by Example

Green was a rather under-appreciated color all Saturday, but once Sunday rolled by, it was as popular as can be! Due to the fact that it is more difficult to assemble a tempo-oriented deck in Sealed, Green has been given the cold shoulder.

In Booster Draft however, it is entirely possible to overwhelm your opponents with the "Support" mechanic coupled with small efficient creatures.Shoulder to Shoulder and Saddleback Lagac are also honorable mentions, giving rise to the aggressive White-Green decks numerous drafters have crafted.

As a matter of fact, eventual Champion Tomonori Hirami had to play the White-Green mirror against Fujimura Kazuaki and the matchup was all about piling +1/+1 counters on their low drops. This is a vital strategy to watch out for, heading into Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch.

2. Crumbling Vestige

It's not all that common for a colorless land to make it into lists like this. After all, colorless mana has never been as important in the past. Oath of the Gatewatch changes all of that, and you'll want a constant colorless source of mana to activate your cool toys such as Endbringer, Eldrazi Displacer, Prophet of Distortion, Slaughter Drone, Maw of Kozilek and Stalking Drone.

Wastes is a decent option, until you run too many copies and risk mana screw. Unknown Shores is an upgrade, but doesn't produce colored mana unless you pay double. Holdout Settlement combos pretty well with Vampire Envoy, but having to tap a creature can cost few a few precious life in fragile situations.

Crumbling Vestige has its own drawbacks too, but at least it will never hamper your development on the turn you play it despite entering the battlefield tapped. Players have been seen using Crumbling Vestige as a mana-fixer to splash a third color as well.

How good Crumbling Vestige actually is is something that is difficult to appreciate immediately, but I daresay that majority of players who opened at least one copy will be inclined to play it in their Sealed Deck, making it one of the most important cards in the new Battle for Zendikar Limited format.

1. Spawnbinder Mage

In a world of Touch of the Void, Spatial Contortion and three-powered guys, it has been suggested that four toughness is the Magic number. Pro Tour Prague Champion Takuya Osawa praised this card greatly, and calls it one of the best reasons to be in White/X Allies. Aside from an annoying ability, it also plays well alongside other 'Enters the Battlefield" Allies such as Makindi Patrol and Tajuru Warcaller.

"Trappers" such as Nomad Decoy, Rathi Trapper and Leonin Bola have traditionally been good in Limited play, regardless of what form it takes and Grand Prix Nagoya Champion 2016 Tomonori Hirami was quick to recognize that. The ability to lock down your opponent's best creature on both offense and defense is something that can help you press the advantage or slow down your opponent's assault.

Blinding Drone is pretty good too, but today, it's all about Spawnbinder Mage!

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