THE SPECIALTY OF EACH CLAN

Posted in GRAND PRIX SHANGHAI 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 4, 2014

By Chapman Sim

Delve

Yuuki Ichikawa (2-time Pro Tour Top 8 Competitor and Platinum Pro) was witnessed summoning Shambling Attendants as early as turn four, largely with the help of Scout the Borders. Such is the power of Delve. He was stuck on only three mana, all white and green. Scout the Borders found him his Swamp, while dumping five cards into his graveyard to enable this powerful play.

It has also been suggested by Albertus Law (Pro Tour Barcelona Top 8 Competitor) that Taigam's Scheming is playable in the right deck. The theory is that you would be filtering away useless cards you don't want to draw anyway, negating the perceived card disadvantage. "It's possible to play Taigam's Scheming in a deck with great cards like Dead Drop and Sultai Scavenger."

Tiago Chan was sharing with me that his favorite card in Sealed is Treasure Cruise. "It's been quite a while since you could Concentrate in Sealed deck." Of course, how could you expect Mr. Snapcaster Mage to not like drawing cards? Hall-of-Famer Shuhei Nakamura's been doing really well all day despite his "self-proclaimed" terrible "deck of commons", and he credits his double Murderous Cut for helping him out of many situations. "Sometimes I cast it for 2 mana, and sometimes 1. So good!"

To quote Nam Sung Wook, "It's every player's dream to cast powerful spells for little to no mana."

Outlast

Possibly the most important mechanic of a slow drawn-out game, Outlast was seen breaking stalemates across the entire room. Abzan Falconer was cited as one of the most insane uncommons in the set, and for good reason. Evasion rules! Bruce Pai was also witnessed assembling the deadly duo Mer-Ek Nightblade and Ivorytusk Fortress in a Featured Match.

It's important to remember that Feat of Resistance and Dragonscale Boon work really well with any of the Outlast creatures that grant abilities. Armament Corps and Azban Ascendency also quickly empower your creatures.

Prowess

Sui Xin is one of the top players in China and he has a little something to say about Prowess. He feels that the ability is sometimes redundant on certain creatures and he would never draft or build a Prowess-focused deck.

"For example, Riverwheel Aerialists and Pearl Lake Ancient are already big enough. Prowess has little impact on those cards. Jeskai Elder is pretty good though, most people are too afraid to block it and you might get to draw a card or two. I also like Seeker of the Way, lifelink is very important for a race." It's also because of Prowess that cards like Defiant Strike turn from average to spectacular.

Raid

I overheard an argument between Kuo Tzu Ching and Huang Hao Shan on the issue of Mardu Heart-Piercer. Kuo postulates that it is a superb card, whereas Huang feels that its extremely situational and borderline average. Huang theorizes that if your opponent bites the bullet and blocks your turn three morph, the Heart-Piercer suddenly becomes a very poor card.

Huang shared with me that Mardu Skullhunter is much better in Sealed Deck than it is in Booster Draft. "Many players try to get greedy and splash multiple colors. If you force them to discard a card, you could catch a dual-colored land or a great spell that your opponent can't cast at that point of time. Worst come to worst, you can always drop it on turn 2 to keep up the tempo and ignore Raid altogether." So what's the best creature to "activate" Raid? Huang instantly replied "Jeskai Student" with a smirk on his face.

Ferocious

I've always loved Alpine Grizzly. It's cute, and it's cuddly. In addition, it hits like a truck. Lee Shi Tian agrees with me now. "I used to think it was bad, since it always trades with morphs, but it is the fastest way to "switch on" ferocity. When used in conjuction with Savage Punch, the tempo and life swing is so huge. I like this bear now."

Yuuya Watanabe's deck is also pretty scary. He has chosen to complement his pair of Savage Punches with a duo of Abzan Guides. Since "fight" deals damage, he will be gaining 6 life once Savage Punch resolves, and an additional six more when it enters the red zone. Watanabe was also contemplating splashing Crater's Claws in his Abzan deck. With Ferocity in the mix, Crater's Claws makes for one of the sickest Fireballs to ever be printed in the game's history.

Sometimes, all you need is a tiny bump from good to greatness. Dragon Grip at instant speed is much more devastating than sorcery speed, and you really want all the abilities on cards like Barrage of Boulders and Roar of Challenge.

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