There are hundreds of stories and plays from the weekend of Grand Prix Providence. No two of them are alike yet all of them are the illustrations we want to see. Some of the best moments and players are captured here in these top five cards, framing two days packed with Standard action.
5) Satyr Wayfinder
What can a humble 1/1 for two mana do? In Providence over the weekend it did everything. In Pedro Carvalho’s Four-Color Whip deck it found mana while fueling its namesake Whip of Erebos with things like Hornet Queen and Dragonlord Atarka. In Oliver Tiu’s Five-Color Dragons deck it filted poor cards away while ensuring he’d hit the next land drop. In Josh McClain’s Abzan Megamorph deck it fixed mana and played nice with Den Protector.
It’s also insurance against Foul-Tongue Invocation and a healthy speed bump against aggressive decks, both of which were out in force all weekend. “Just” a 1/1 for two indeed.
4) Warden of the First Tree
There are many aggressive cards in Abzan Aggro decks, like the popular Fleecemane Lion that finds itself in a variety of Abzan and Green-White builds. But one unique to the aggressive Abzan plan is Warden of the First Tree. Often overshadowed by more efficient upfront creatures like Rakshasa Deathdealer and Fleecemane Lion, the Warden is truly frightening when players have both run out of steam. Neal Sacks used it as a mana dump to pump it up repeatedly, overrunning his semifinal opponent Eric Severson who was out of removal spells.
Don’t laugh: It might be you on the other end when it works next.
3) Stratus Dancer
Control isn’t the only thing blue can do. Take Stratus Dancer for example. A megamorph that hides an almost-Negate is a fine way to develop a battlefield and have a counterspell handy. But the danger in Stratus Dancer isn’t in just countering a spell: Megamorphing into a 3/2 flying presents a reasonable, evasive clock to opponents. In the right moments it can even just become a 2/1 flying for two mana, enough to begin pressuring an opponent that isn’t expecting it from an Island.
That flexibility was powerful in the hands of Patrick Dickmann in his Top 16 finish with the emerging Ojutai Jeskai deck.
2) Dromoka's Command
If you thought Abzan wasn’t making the most of Dragons of Tarkir technology you haven’t been playing Standard much. While Dromoka's Command had sideboard and main-sideboard splits in both Josh McClain’s Abzan Megamorph and Eric Severson’s Bant Megamorph decks, it was three in the main of Neal Sacks’s Abzan Aggro deck that did the most damage. Using them to handily eat away Eric Severson’s late blockers in their decisive game of the semifinals, and get off to a quick lead in his eventual finals loss against Sky Mason, Sacks’s sacked the competition with them repeatedly.
1) Dragonlord Atarka
The roar of Dragonlords was loud throughout the weekend. While Ojutai and Silumgar were prominent and Dromoka had her moments, it was the fury of Atarka that overcame them all. As the top end of choice for Red-Green Devotion decks, Sky Mason turned the fiery brood leader loose on multiple opponents. While Pedro Carvalho and Oliver Tiu both used Atarka for their own ends in Whip of Erebos and Five-Color Dragons decks, Mason’s plan to windmill it onto the battlefield worked more: In his hands it helped shore up a critical game against Carvalho in the semifinals and provided the firepower to even the score against Neal Sacks in the finals.
Just like everything else Dragonlord Atarka meets, all of Mason’s opponents were eaten by the mighty dragon.