TOP 5 CARDS

Posted in GRAND PRIX NASHVILLE 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on November 3, 2014

Through two days of Khans of Tarkir Team Sealed, with a flourish finish in Team Draft, led to nearly every card in the set being played. While we don't hold out hope for Lens of Clarity, there were certainly a few standouts that rose to the top of consideration down the road.

5. Swarm of Bloodflies

What's one of the important considerations in Sealed? Killing opponents' creatures. What's one of the important considerations in Draft? Killing opponents' creatures.

Swarm of Bloodflies doesn't kill creatures but it's strikingly good at killing players. With decks built to trade – pairing morphs off against other morphs or aggressive creatures – it wasn't uncommon to find Swarm of Bloodflies as a 5/5 or larger. Against an opponent missing removal, or backed up with protection like Feat of Resistance, Swarm of Bloodflies could carry a victory alone thanks to it benefitting from anything else falling away. Shahar Shenhar used it in a critical-to-win second game against Gaudenis Vidugiris as the flier grew unhindered and unfettered on repeated attacks.


4. Flying Crane Technique

It isn't some tricky technique passed down from master to master that brings victory in Magic: It's knowing what works and when to use it. Matthew Nass, in his team's march to victory in the finals, played Flying Crane Technique in every deck until the finals draft. Both of his Sealed decks as well as the Top 4 draft featured the creature-enhancing instant, and it was in his Top 4 match where it won each of his games against David Sharfman.

When you can cast a spell and attack for 16 "out of nowhere" you know you're doing something right.


3. Sagu Mauler

If you look up the term "unbeatable bomb" in The Book of Magic Phrases (Not a real book.) you'll find Sagu Mauler parked next to any Khans of Tarkir Limited discussion. Across the top tables at the end of the first day, Sagu Mauler consistently made its presence known. Both smoothing mana by being a morph and jamming a hexproof fatty off of just two colors, Sagu Mauler is one of the never-pass bombs cited for Team Draft strategy.

What has your six mana fatty done for you recently?


2. Duneblast

Winning games that go long is important for a deck that isn't built for speed. When you're Abzan, packing removal and creatures with outlast, or a more-than-three-color deck playing the long game you need ways to stabilize against decks going wide. Duneblast, like it's less colorful companion End Hostilities, wipes the opponent's slate clean. Unlike your typical Wrath of Godd effect, Duneblast leaves you with your best creature.

The obvious play of destroying the opposition and attacking with a fatty secured plenty of victories over two days, and was a feature in Tom Martell's semifinal draft deck that helped his stave off Sam Black's aggression far long than it was otherwise possible.


1. Icy Blast

Without its ferocious clause active, Icy Blast is just a delaying tactic. Spells that "just" buy time are often eschewed by players, where the idea that creatures and removal that kills things are better works out more favorably.

However, when Icy Blast is ferocious it's among the best ways to rip victory from even the jaws of defeat. Matthew Nass, in his finals battle against Tom Martell, quietly call the shot he needed to turn a nigh-unwinnable game into his team's Grand Prix victory: "I really need Icy Blast here."

Sure enough he drew it, tapping Martell's superior team down. The stunned Martell could only cast Kill Shot, count the remaining damage, and extend his hand.