TOP 5 CARDS

Posted in GRAND PRIX STOCKHOLM 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 26, 2014

By Frank Karsten

Here are five cards that sum up some of the biggest stories of the weekend.

5. Riddle of Lightning

The new delve spells from Khans of Tarkir have already left their mark on almost every single format, but there are always new avenues to be explored. Here in Stockholm, Mikael Magnusson combined Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise with Riddle of Lightning, and piloted his blue-red counter-burn deck to a 41st place.

Dealing 8 damage in one strike is certainly one of the flashiest ways to end a game. In one noteworthy match, Magnusson managed to chain Riddle into Riddle over the course of two fiery turns, and took his opponent down from 22 life to 0. There are few burn spells that can do that.


4. Doomwake Giant

One of the breakout decks from this tournament was G/B Enchantress, with both Lukas Blohon and Matteo Cirigliano piloting their versions of the deck to the Top 8. Doomwake Giant plays a key role in this deck: It blocks Siege Rhino, it triggers Eidolon of Blossoms, and it's one of the best answers to Hornet Queen.

Hornet Queen is one of the best end-games in Standard because it offers a 5-for-1 that most decks have a lot of trouble with. Hero's Downfall or Lightning Strike, for example, don't match up very well against the collection of bees. But Doomwake Giant does. At a time when more and more players are (re)discovering the power of Hornet Queen, Doomwake Giant is the next level.


3. Gods Willing

When three-mana removal spells like Hero's Downfall are everywhere, countering them for a single mana is a good way to get ahead on tempo. And if necessary, you can use it as a Falter to evade any blockers, too.

Jan van der Vegt finished in 52nd place with an updated version of the U/W Heroic deck from Theros Block Constructed and said that Gods Willing was the best in his deck. Eventual champion Matej Zatlkaj ran a singleton Gods Willing in his Jeskai deck---an inclusion that he was rather satisfied with. In particular, he was able to win the semifinals by countering a Bile Blight that threatened to kill two Goblin Rabblemasters. If it weren't for the white instant, he might not have been holding the trophy at the end of the weekend.


2. Whip of Erebos

The number of Satyr Wayfinder and Murderous Cut in the Top 8 deck was startling, but the glue holding everything together for the graveyard-reliant decks is Whip of Erebos. Christian Seibold, Thiago Rodrigues, and Lukas Blohon all named it as the card that won them the most matches this weekend.

It returns Hornet Queen for a swarm of difficult-to-beat insects. It returns Sidisi, Brood Tyrant to fill the graveyard with six more cards. And it provides a lot of life to make sure you can win any damage race. The matches between Christian Seibold and Lukas Blohon were a sight to behold, as they regularly got up to 80 or 100 life while jockeying for superior board presence. It was like they were holding their own Commander subtournament. But even if you're not planning to venture into Whip of Erebos mirror matches yourself, you'd better come prepared with an answer to the legendary enchantment in any upcoming Standard tournament.


1. Ashcloud Phoenix

Both finalists had the 4/1 flyer in their deck, and it was instrumental in the first game of the finals, where it basically accounted for 100% of the creature damage that eventual champion Matej Zatlkaj dealt.

Ashcloud Phoenix matches up very well against spot removal spells like Crackling Doom, Stoke the Flames, and Hero's Downfall. It blocks Stormbreath Dragon, Wingmate Roc, and Savage Knuckleblade all day. And it offers an amount of late-game inevitability that rivals Dig Through Time. Even though Whip of Erebos and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant were appeasing necromancers al weekend, Ashcloud Phoenix was the main card that kept coming back from the dead over and over again.