Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix San Jose 2015

Posted in Event Coverage on February 2, 2015

By Adam Styborski and Marc Calderaro

There were so many impactful cards this weekend, it’s difficult to cut to only five. Fate Reforged has hit the Limited formats in so many ways, but here are the cards that did the most this weekend.

#5 – Palace Siege

When Pros say they are looking to pull a powerful rare in Sealed, this is one of the rares they are talking about. There are so many ways to kill creatures and stop your opponents’ moves, and Palace Siege is the nail in the coffin. If you cast it into an otherwise stable board, your opponent will have to make move real quick to overcome the swing in the turns ahead.

Have you ever tried a Palace Siege with a Merciless Executioner? How ‘bout a sacrifice outlet and a Sandsteppe Outcast? And if you’re Seamus Campbell, you had a Kheru Bloodsucker, Palace Siege, and Wingmate Roc. Gain life, drain your opponent, make endless flying 3/4s? Sounds good to me.

In the semifinals, Chris Fennell even scooped earlier than he normally would, solely so he didn’t show his opponent Palace Siege. All weekend, peoples’ heads were in their hands trying to figure out an audible line of play that wouldn’t let the constant card advantage or draining engine bury them.

It was a menace in its first week.

#4 – Crux of Fate

It’s been a while since a black border sweeper like this has been printed, and let me tell you, the rumors are true. This card is as big and nasty as you’d think. In Limited it’s hard to truly play around big board sweepers, especially at rare. But in a format like Team Sealed, with more rares than you’d usually see, a wise opponent would at least consider this card before losing the game to a 5-for-1.

Oh, and synergy? Paul Rietzl showcased two in the semifinals match alone. Against Ari Lax, in the first game, Rietzl swept the board while his Meandering Towershell was turtling in exile. After the board was clean, the 5/9 came back to an empty board. Then in the second game, Abzan Ascendancy made the symmetrical effect of Crux much less so, as Rietzl Spirit tokens after the fall closed out his game.

#3 – Pyrotechnics

What more do you want from a red card, people?! This is the card Arc Lightning really wanted to be in Khans of Tarkir. The Arc was an old standout, but in the world of 2/2 morphs, though good, it rarely net the two creatures for one card everyone assumed it would.

Well Pyrotechnics gets two creatures for one card—at least. In the semifinals, (24) Craig Wescoe had this as the last card in his hand, facing down Matt Sperling, who was building his defenses better and better each turn. Right when it looked like Sperling had stabilized, Wescoe wiped Sperling’s plate clean. This card gets you back when you’re behind, and closes the door shut when you’re ahead.

#2 – Typhoid Rats

This little common has made Black a force to be reckoned with. Sure there are big splashy, expensive rares like Palace Siege and Crux of Fate, but you wouldn’t get to play them if it weren’t for this one-mana stop sign.

People were playing Mardu Hateblade during Khans of Tarkir, and this is better in almost every conceivable way. Heck, I was hearing players referring to Ruthless Ripper as a “rat.” Semifinalist Chris Fennell pointed to his Top 4 draft cards and said, “I can survive, I have these rats.” The card has been out for less than a week and it’s already renamed a great card that’s been out for months.

There are so many +1/+1 counters to make this thing survive combats, and don’t even get me started when you are returning this thing with Timely Hordemate. It’s great against a fast opponent, or a big green stompy deck. Typhoid Rats is the real deal.

#1 – Marang River Prowler

Marang River Prowler made its presence known through the semifinal and finals of Grand Prix San Jose, particularly in Paul Cheon’s title-clinching game. Stalemate situations weren’t uncommon in the Top 4, but Marang River Prowler ensured the scales would tip. Inching away at Paul Rietzl’s life total, Cheon’s Prowler turned into the clock that kept him out of danger of milling out. Even against the mighty Necropolis Fiend the Prowler stayed true, forcing Rietzl to spend time killing a 2/1 that just won’t stay dead and opening the way for Cheon to get in the final points of damage.

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