Posted in GRAND PRIX SHANGHAI 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 5, 2014

By Chapman Sim

These were the cards that shaped the tournament, that sparked discussions and were the most debated, the cards that won games and turned Grand Prix Shanghai into an event to remember.

5. Flying Crane Technique

Every draft format has its own variant of Overrun. Overwhelming Stampede, Predatory Rampage, Titanic Ultimatum. In this format however, green isn't the color to benefit from this game-breaking effect. Jeskai players were seen winning games out of nowhere with the aid of Flying Crane Technique. The fact that you can even use it defensively and at instant speed makes it one of the best finishers in Khans of Tarkir.

4. Wingmate Roc

The weekend seems to be dominated by the Mardu Horde, and there are few cards more devastating than Wingmate Roc. For starters, it is a single-colored card and fits easily into three of the five clans. Raid is not difficult to achieve, so you can automatically assume that you will be getting six power, two flying bodies for a mere five mana. Should the original survive, the life gain trigger also makes racing nearly impossible for your opponents.

3. Murderous Cut

The Sultai Brood has many exciting cards, but none are more effective and versatile as Murderous Cut. Cited by many Pros as the single best uncommon in the set, it is not uncommon to see it being cast at one or two mana. Coupled with cards such as Scout the Border and Talgam's Scheming, it becomes very difficult to play around this nearly condition-less prime removal spell.

2. Crater's Claws

According to Yuuya Watanabe, "you should always play Crater's Claws". Fireball-effects have always been prized in Limited for its sheer flexibility and raw power. This one is no different, especially when you throw in The Temur Frontier's signature keyword, Ferocity. In long and grindy games, drawing Crater's Claws might as well read "You win the game." In fact, finalist Xu Su's Top 8 deck consisted of this pretty little gem.

1. Abzan Ascendancy

The five Ascendencies are all very exciting, but none are as powerful as what the Abzan Houses have to offer. Firstly, it's one of the few effects in Khans of Tarkir that enable you to maintain creature parity, even when faced with a removal laden 5-color control decks favored by so many people in the room. It also turns otherwise useless "vanilla creatures" into annoying little spirits with evasion. Most importantly, it buffs your entire army and grants abilities to your entire force if you any of the Outlast cards such as Abzan Falconer, Tuskguard Captain or Mer-Ek Nightblade. In the finals, Yu Yin curved out perfectly with Mardu Hateblade, Ainok Bond-Kin and Abzan Ascendancy and resulted in one of the fast games we've encountered all weekend.

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