Top 5 Cards

Posted in GRAND PRIX SHANGHAI 2015 on May 17, 2015

By Chapman Sim and Ben Swartz

It's tough to boil an entire weekend down to five cards, but these are the five that ultimately shaped Grand Prix Shanghai 2015.

5. Satyr Wayfinder

Two of the breakout decks this tournament were Makihito Mihara's Dragon Metamorph and Yoshihiko Ikawa's Dragon Devotion. Both of them featured four of this two drop. When asked about it, both players mentioned that this was an all star in their deck. The satyr worked triple-duty: it provided a creature to stem the bleeding of an early onslaught, smoothed out the manabases of the multi-colored decks, and stocked the graveyards for cards like Deathmist Raptor, Den Protector, and Haven of the Spirit Dragon. Eventual champion, Yuuki Ichikawa, also mentioned that it was the best card in his Abzan Control deck. While this 1/1 might look harmless, it allows slow multicolor decks to jumpstart their late game.

4. Dragonlord Atarka

The metagame has shifted once again; the once mighty Abzan Aggro deck that Amand Dosimont used to win Grand Prix Paris last weekend, has given way to Green Red decks. One manifestation that came out in force this weekend was Green Red Devotion, which featured this 8/8 dragonlord. With the ability to power out this guy as quickly as possible, Green Red Devotion players were able to have a must-deal threat for their Abzan opponents all weekend long.

3. Thunderbreak Regent

The other Red Green deck that came out in force this weekend was Red Green Dragons. Yang Dehua and Devsharan Singh played the aggressive Red Green deck featuring this 4/4 flyer. Paired with mana accelerators such as Elvish Mystic and Sylvan Caryatid, the two players were able to use this dragon to pressure their opponent's life total from as early as turn 3. With the help of Stormbreath Dragon, they were able to make short work of their opponents.

2. Crux of Fate

Another consequence of the metagame shift was the rise of Abzan Control Decks. Li Bo and Yuuki Ichikawa both piloted such a deck to the top 8 and both included Crux of Fate. In contrast to Esper Dragons decks, Ichikawa and Li used the 5 mana sorcery to destroy all dragons, leaving them with Rhinos, Lions, and Centaurs. Against other green decks, it gave them access to a quick reset button after their opponents amassed an army.

1. Dromoka's Command

This two mana instant worked overtime here in Shanghai. In the quarterfinals, South Korean Pro, Nam Sung Wook, used it multiple times to two-for-one his opponent in combat. In the final game of the finals, Yuuki Ichikawa used it on his Tasigur, the Golden Fang, giving it a +1/+1 counter to keep it out of Roast range and destroying his opponent's face down Den Protector. When your opponent has Green and White up, watch out for Dromoka's Command!