Top 5 Cards

Posted in Event Coverage on October 12, 2015

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

Capturing a weekend of tales and battles is impossible with just a handful of cards, but the five from Grand Prix Madison cover the beginnings of the lessons from Sealed Deck and Draft. Catch up on a star-studded weekend of action and the Top 5 cards that defined it.

5) Molten Nursery

Devoid isn’t devoid of strategy. The synergy of colorless cards in concert isn’t just an impressive display of Battle for Zendikar: It’s an effective way to run games. In Sealed Deck, Brian Braun-Duin put the enchantment to work earning his way into Day 2. In Draft, Hall of Fame member and Top 8 contender Paul Rietzl put two into his first deck on Sunday to pick up a 3-0 set of match wins with what he called “the perfect deck.”

It turned out dealing extra damage every step of the game works well.

4) Complete Disregard

There are two ways to get cards in exile for processors: Get in attacks with an early ingest creature, or simply exile things outright. Complete Disregard handles a wide selection of efficient creatures - Cloud Manta, Valakut Predator, Ghostly Sentinel - but importantly fuels processors that follow. Flexible early removal that synergized with powerful late-game options made cards like Murk Strider and Cryptic Cruiser underscore why even without early ingesters blue-black decks could muscle their way through drafts.

3) Clutch of Currents

The power of awaken erupted in Sealed, where longer games meant the full value of five, six or seven mana for a spell plus a creature could turn the tides of a game. On the Draft side, Jon Graham’s Top 8 deck picked up three to propel him into the semifinals. Making creatures (With haste!) while bouncing your opponent’s was a devastating one-two combination to either stabilize the battlefield or push far ahead.

2) Sheer Drop

The ubiquitous white removal spell shares its awaken potential with Clutch of Currents, but it’s utility is far more valuable to a different range of decks. The two copies in Raphaël Lévy’s winning deck were there for the most pressing of situations. In his semifinal victory over Joe Lavrenz, two Sheer Drops pulled him back from a desperate situation against Bane of Bala Ged after falling to three lands in play. In the finals, using it with its awaken mode let Lévy stabilize and come back to win the first game over Magnus Lantto.

Removal is good, but removal that permanently answers the biggest threats around is even better.

1) Infuse with the Elements

Devoid was the talk of the drafts on Sunday, with Top 8 contender Paul Rietzl showing it’s potent potential with a 3-0 start for the day. In the Top 8 things came full circle as blue, black, and red colorless cards were drafted aggressively. Too much competition put a strain on the archetype, opening up opportunities for other approaches to work.

Alongside Woodland Wanderer, another converge card, as well as multicolor hitters like Grovetender Druids and Resolute Blademaster, Raphaël Lévy leveraged a three color deck without any mana fixing to muscle a Grand Prix win. Infuse with the Elements proved to be a surprising hitter, allowing him to overrun his semifinals opponent early in their first game while proving the final answer in the second to send him into the finals. There, against Magnus Lantto, the instant pumped the unblocked flier to ensure the second game closed out well before Lantto could stabilize.

Both a potent combat trick and a colorful card that can’t fit into the devoid decks, Infuse with the Elements ensured the Zendikari, and Lévy, had the last word on a weekend filled by Eldrazi.

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