What were the big cards and moments from this weekend's Team Limited action? Here are the Top 5 cards of Grand Prix Portland 2014!
One of the resounding narratives from Grand Prix Portland is how underpowered 1-toughness creatures are in the format, given that they die to so many things.
Generator Servant is one of the few that bucks that trend. Occasionally it will die to a Forge Devil or trade with a Soldier token, but just as often it will accelerate players into game-changing plays. No. 2 Ranked Player Owen Turtenwald demonstrated exactly that in the finals of the tournament when he used it to power out a Nissa, Worldwaker early and use the animated lands to decisively end the game.
One of the most powerful cards in the format is Triplicate Spirits, the white sorcery that is usually played long before turn 6. Given a general lack of flying blockers, Black must often rely on other ways to deal with the barrage.
That other way is Festergloom. It can take out the multitudes of 1-toughness creatures in the format, and in a pinch it can be used after combat to force through that one more point necessary to remove a creature. Or it can be at its best and negate a Triplicate Spirits or the majority of a Hornet Queen.
As Matt Sperling described it at the start of Day 1, "it just cleans things up."
The white decks in the format usually operate on a simple axis: swarm the board and kill the opponent. Raise the Alarm shines in that role. It's an instant-speed combat trick when it needs to be, a Convoke enabler when it needs to be or a source of unexpected attackers when the situation calls for it.
Not to mention it's sometimes free to cast, in the sense that if you have a Convoke spell in hand you can cast Raise the Alarm and immediately use the tokens to Convoke, effectively making the spell cost you zero mana for the turn. It's a key component to the white decks' blistering-fast starts that can overwhelm many opponents.
Pillar of Light has always been considered a good card. It's an instant-speed way of dealing with many of the format's toughest threats.
But it's even better in Team Sealed, where you can be certain that your opponents' decks will be packing those threats. With 12 packs being opened for every team, there is no shortage of difficult-to-beat creatures at the top of the curve. Pillar of Light guarantees that your Sealed deck has the ability to answer anything, and it has the added bonus of preventing your opponents from getting extra activations from any card from the Soul cycle like Soul of New Phyrexia.
It's not often that Green gets access to removal spells as powerful as Hunt the Weak. Creatures like Netcaster Spider or Undergrowth Scavenger are already good on their own, but they become even better when they can be used to remove threats from your opponents' side of the board.
And they become even better in the right deck. Green-white decks be among the most powerful in the format, and flying creatures like Razorfoot Griffin can completely take over a game if they are able to Hunt the Weak and survive. The combination of large green creatures and a premium removal spell sent more than a few base-green decks to the top tables this weekend.