Top 5 Cards

Posted in Event Coverage on August 10, 2015

By Adam Styborski and Marc Calderaro

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

5. Unravel the Æther​

Going into this weekend, everyone was worried about the Red Aggro threat, and people prepared their sideboards accordingly. However, not enough people prepared for Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact—as people underestimated its position after the Pro Tour. And it was the most-played deck in Day 2.

But why didn’t any copies make it into the Top 8? Because the players on Day 2 knew better—they had Unravel the Æther in their sideboards. This card was instrumental in taking apart the combination of Ensoul Artifact + anything else (including Darksteel Citadel), breaking up the deck’s greatest threat. Oh, and does it get rid of Hangarback Walker without giving the owner more tokens? It does!

One of the biggest surprises of the weekend was the exaggerated “demise” of Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact. But the people who were a little more cautious about it, got rewarded.

4. Dromoka's Command

Is there anything this card can’t do? I mean, I know that there are literally many things this card can’t do, but it did everything you could want from a card this weekend. Annihilate annoying enchantments like Ensoul Artifact? Stop cold the damage from Shrapnel Blast, Wild Slash, and every burn spell in between? Make one creature bigger and use another to swat a blocker down premtively? Both Corey Burkhart and Loren Eakins put it to work all weekend long, alongside a long list of other players, to drop both Red Aggro and Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact down a peg.

Who needs a Pro Tour finals deck when you have Dromoka's Command instead!

3.Starfield of Nyx

Starfield of Nyx is the type of card that gets peoples’ brains working. Even in the semifinals, Pro Tour Hall of Famer Paul Rietzl admitted to not really understanding the card fully. But it gets your brain working in the best way and it’s really powerful.

Played in both the Green-White Constellation deck (piloted by ninth-place Eugene Hwang) and the Abzan Constellation deck played by finalist Artur Villela, Starfield of Nyx serves as a card-advantage engine to grind out the midgame, then doubles as a win condition.

When combined with Eidolon of Blossoms, the opponent is put in a catch 22. If anything gets killed—like, say Banishing Light—not only will it come back, but it’ll also net an extra card. So how can you stop your opponent advancing at all? And once you get enough enchantments, those eidolons are now 4/4.

Though both Hwang and Villela question the long-term viability of their decks in the format, the power of Starfield is not in question.

2. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy

After about a million copies showed up in decks at Pro Tour Magic Origins, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy had a disappointing finish—with not one copy in the Top 8. However, this weekend was a different story. Benjamin Weitz’s Jeskai, Paul Yeem’s Esper Dragons, and champion Michael Majors all played the two-mana soon-to-be-Planeswalker. In fact, they resurgence of Jeskai is attributed so strongly to Jace, that people have taken to calling the deck “Jace-skai.”

He’s a “looter,” (harkening back to Merfolk Looter) and when you don’t need a looter anymore, he’s a Planeswalker who gives your spells flashback. Seems like a good deal. The looting helps you find the cards you need, while also fueling the graveyard for spells like Dig Through Time. All for a two-mana investment.

And you’ve never lived until you’ve given a draw spell flashback with two Sphinx's Tutelages out. Speaking of ...

1. Sphinx's Tutelage

This card is like the Spanish Inquisition, it’s mean, deadly, and no one expected it. Though Andrew Cuneo debuted the Blue-Red Tutelage deck last weekend to much fanfare, few people thought it was actually a player in Standard at large, let alone a 1,500-player Grand Prix. But the power of the deck’s namesake will not be denied.

Michael Majors took down the whole tournament using this humble enchantment. Once on the field, the draw spells used to find it gain new utility, and double as a kill condition. I’ve seen people die from something as simple as a Treasure Cruise, because there were three of these enchantments on the board. That’s one mana to mill a guaranteed eighteen cards—and with the proliferation of multi-colored cards in the format—likely much more.

If you are playing against Blue-Red Tutelage, and instead of answering this card you’re hoping to race it—unless you’re playing Red Aggro, you’re probably wrong. And sometimes, even when you are Red Aggro.

Cards and decks will come and go, but forever Grand Prix San Diego will be remembered for the Blue-Red Tutelage deck, and this simple card.

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