Each event has cards that produce stories, and their impact oftentimes defines the field for either Constructed or Limited. Here are the Top 5 cards of Pro Tour Magic 2015!
The naysayers have been silenced. Nissa, Worldwaker is easily the most powerful card in Magic 2015. The ability to make huge amounts of mana is nice, but the truly impressive side of the card is the prospect of creating 4/4s every turn that can't be targeted by Detention Sphere or killed by Planar Cleansing.
Planeswalkers have traditionally been very strong against control, but the best control lists from this weekend included three or four copies of Planar Cleansing. Nissa, Worldwaker takes over a game very quickly and there aren't any cards that efficiently punish a Planeswalker that's able to jump to five loyalty on the turn it enters play.
Throughout the tournament, Yuuki Ichikawa completely dismantled his opponents with Nissa, Worldwaker. When asked what he learned about Standard from this weekend, Hall of Famer Shuhei Nakamura responded, "Everyone else learned that Nissa is very good, but I already knew that."
In the draft portion of the tournament, a lot of people were talking about Soul of Theros, Soul of Shandalar, and Soul of Zendikar, but there was another soul that quietly crushed the Limited rounds. Ensoul Artifact was aggressively drafted by Team Revolution and was responsible for a lot of 3-0 drafts this weekend.
When combined with Darksteel Citadel or Ornithopter, Ensoul Artifact makes a 5/5 body with upside as early as the second turn of the game. The card was overlooked by most players this weekend and the few in the know were able to take full advantage of it.
In Round 1, 2013-2014 Player of the Year Jeremy Dezani cast Ensoul Artifact on his Ornithopter on the second turn and won over the course of the next few turns as a result. Patrick Dickmann also managed to 3-0 the first draft of Day 2 with a six-creature deck that featured three copies of Ensoul Artifact!
The Standard format slowed down significantly before Pro Tour Magic 2015 and the aggressive Red deck played by Team Revolution took full advantage of that. Time and time again, decks playing expensive spot removal spells found themselves in a helpless situation against Goblin Rabblemaster.
Ajani, Caller of the Pride can end games out of nowhere. It turns the lowliest of creatures into formidable threats and combines well with pump spells to allow its controller to attack for well over 20 points of damage with a single creature.
The prevalence of aggressive strategies and Red decks had previously prevented Ajani, Caller of the Pride from being a major player in the Standard format. This weekend, Black decks slowed down and Control decks stopped playing Detention Sphere, making it the perfect time to assassinate foes with Ajani, Caller of the Pride.
Finalist Jackson Cunningham used Ajani, Caller of the Pride to dominate games. In the second game of the finals, Cunningham's Ajani, Caller of the Pride turned less than stellar creatures into formidable monsters that could win the game on their own. In the Semifinals, Jackson Cunningham drew Ajani, Caller of the Pride off the top of his deck at the end of the third game to take out Pierre Mondon in one tremendous attack step.
Quicken has always been an exciting card with a ton of potential, but it's never truly had a time to shine at the Pro Tour before this weekend. Quicken allows players to use cards like Supreme Verdict, Divination, and Planar Cleansing at instant-speed.
Previous versions of the Standard control decks played cards like Detention Sphere and Banishing Light, but the addition of pain-lands to Standard changed the dynamic of the format. Suddenly, Black strategies were playing Obzedat, Ghost Council – an issue that Quicken solves beautifully.
Throughout the weekend, eventually champion, Ivan Floch combined Quicken with Supreme Verdict and Planar Cleansing to great effect. In the Semifinals, Floch used Quicken and Supreme Verdict to wipe Owen Turtenwald's board clean after Turtenwald used Elspeth, Sun's Champion's ultimate ability.