Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Seattle-Tacoma 2015

Posted in GRAND PRIX SEATTLE-TACOMA 2015 on November 9, 2015

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

Legacy is a show that doesn't stop into the Grand Prix circuit often, but it's a format filled with incredible moments and memories. Capturing the weekend at Grand Prix Seattle-Tacoma in just five card was impossible, these are the five that did it the most justice.

5. Baleful Strix

One of the cards that appeared in droves across the Top 8 and top tables leading up was Baleful Strix. The two-drop artifact creature is a compact package of defensive blocker with value engine built in. Drawing a card when entering the battlefield put it in a prominent place for Martin Goldman-Kirst's Top 8-placing Aluren deck, ensuring once the enchantment was online the array of creatures grew quickly, as well as the plethora of Shardless Sultai decks, giving that deck another spell for Shardless Agent to cascade into that left the player up another spell – something that both Andrejs Prost and Xin Sui used to their advantage en route top Top 8 as well.

4. Young Pyromancer

Christian Calcano was one of the many Grixis Delver players on Day 2, and in his hands the deck led him to his seventh Grand Prix Top 8 and finals appearance. While Delver of Secrets was the card of honor all weekend, Grixis Delver made good use of Young Pyromancer to both buy time to recover from a slower start and surge ahead when the way was paved clear. The flexibility to generate tokens for either purpose, particularly while pulling together a great hand off Brainstorms and Ponders, made the Pyromancer a high target for any opponent seeing it.

3. Monastery Mentor

Better than Young Pyromancer however was Monastery Mentor. Miracles was one of the big decks of the weekend as well, and it helped define more than just the Top 8. While it was a critical component of Brian Demars's Top 8 appearance, it led other players to experiment on going all-in on Mentor Kills and functioned in a similar role to Young Pyromancer. Unlike its red-colored forerunner, however, Monastery Mentor made tokens that also got bigger when more tokens were made. It allowed Mentor decks to pivot course from defense to offense and create a lethal sequence in just two turns.

2. Sensei's Divining Top

While Legacy is a format oft defined by the staples like Brainstorm and Wasteland, there's one card that arguably stands just as tall as those stalwarts: Sensei's Divining Top. In conjunction with Counterbalance it's been a powerful part of decks for years, and in the land-light manabases that drive the Legacy metagame a first turn Top can mean the difference between falling woefully behind and drawing things exactly when they're needed.

To make it into the Top 8 Brian Demars desperately needed to turn a corner in the third game against his Round 15 opponent. Falling to 1 life, things pivoted as Top's draw massages gave Demars exactly the tools he needed. Once Monastery Mentor hit, a second Sensei's Divining Top became the engine that took his opponent from almost 20 life to defeat in just two turns.

1. Wasteland

There are few cards that shine brighter in Legacy than Wasteland, the venerable uncommon of Tempest that serves as the scourge of demanding dual land manabases. While Decks like Death and Taxes and Temur Delver can use it to keep the edge in tempo, allowing aggressive draws to earn their victories, it serves as one of the many toolbox options available to Lands players.

Winner Jarvis Yu took down his finals opponent Christian Calcano by iterating Life from the Loam to rebuy Wasteland and reduce any chance of a game two comeback. While dancing around Calcano's own Wasteland that threatened to disrupt the Thespian's Stage-Dark Depths duo already in play, Yu also wanted to blank the Submerge that laid in wait beyond. With the fear of a second Surgical Extraction coming down as well, Yu orchestrated a careful grind to take away all of Calcano's lands to ensure that there wasn't any combination that one could have drawn to get out of the lock.

Wasteland was no waste for either player, but when you can Wasteland as many times as you need it can turn into a decisive Grand Prix victory.