After a fantastic, entertaining, and thought-provoking weekend, it's almost time for us to turn our full attention to the best players in the world, all competing for the ultimate prize at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir in Honolulu. But before we go, here are five cards that have more than shown their worth this weekend:
You might think that we'd be choosing one of the tri-lands pretty much at random, and you'd be wrong. Yes, they all fix your mana, and yes, they are functionally identical. However, getting to certain colors as a splash can be more beneficial than others. For example, Abzan decks were incredibly popular yesterday in Sealed, but they really wanted access to red, which is exactly what Nomad Outpost gets them. And the reason they really wanted red was often this guy...
Anecdotally, there wasn't a more universally splashed card in the building yesterday. It isn't hard to see why. Black and white were very popular, but sometimes the cards fell towards Abzan. There's nothing about a 5/4 flyer for four mana that Jeskai decks wouldn't like either, and in the case of the Butcher, a little splash mana goes a long way. That's before you add in a toolbox of abilities that sweeten just about any deal you can imagine. What a beating.
Competitive players can sometimes get a little sniffy about 'big dumb animals', although they sure like to hit opponents with them. The Abzan and Mardu Clans seem to have had the best press this weekend, but the 5/5 trampler in Temur rarely disappointed. Melissa DeTora almost took them to victory, but they were winning games in both Sealed and Draft with crushing regularity. And that's what you want. This just in – Trample is quite good.
Sometimes the theme in the set isn't always a pointer to the best cards. This isn't a set about artifacts, or equipment, or mighty blades attached to puny arms. Except the last bit just might be true. Yesterday in Sealed deck play, only 8 players were undefeated. Guess how many had Ghostfire Blade? Five of them. +2+2 turns out to be quite a lot. Fast forward to the Top 8, and Eugene Hwang turned almost anything in his Mardu deck into a game-ending threat, all thanks to the little Blade that slices and dices with the best of them.
How could it be anything else? I'm certainly not going to tell you what's lurking under there. You'll have to work it out for yourselves. And right there is the beauty of Khans of Tarkir Limited. Morph is almost like a box of chocolates. Sometimes, though, you do know what you're going to get, and then you can run rings round the opponents who haven't figured it out.